Why Does My Pepper Grinder Not Work?

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Why Does My Pepper Grinder Not Work? There could be a lot of reasons why your pepper grinder won’t work. It could be a rusty burr, a clogged grinder(which is usually or often the major reason for a faulty grinder), , an over-tightened knob, or even a lack of maintenance on your grinder.

Also, there could be a mechanical or electrical issue causing the grinder to malfunction or not to work. These are further discussed below.

Reasons why your pepper grinder is not working

Lack of maintenance

Some people use their pepper grinders for as long as they want without the thought of cleaning it. Others clean them once every two or three weeks. But your grinders need more of your hygienic attention than that.

It is safe to keep your grinder away from constant contact with water in order to avoid a malfunction but it does not discredit regular cleaning or maintenance. You should clean your pepper grinder after every two to three times of usage.

Over screwed knob

When the top knob of your pepper grinder is too tight, it can cause your grinder not to work as it is supposed to.

If you desire a coarse grind, you can turn the top metal mechanism of your grinder to the left and to the right, if you want to have a fine grind. Ensure not to make it too or less tight for whichever grind you may desire.

Clogged grinder

Grinding your pepper will definitely leave some of its particles in the grinder, most especially when you store ground pepper in them.

These tiny residues begin to form an army of by clogging to themselves which will eventually become the base cause of a faulty grinder. When these particles are left uncleaned, they get the chance to bake and therefore create a harder (but soft) version of themselves.

Once that is achieved, they clog onto your grinder burr or even within the walls of the grinder. This will cause your grinder to malfunction during a grind.

Also, avoid grinding your peppercorns when they are wet, this will easily allow for them to clog unto your grinder because they won’t come out smooth from the grind. The leftover residues are easily united against the grinder mechanism and cause them to malfunction.

Rusty burr

The best way to make metal rust is to subject it to wetness. Once a metal is subjected or submerged in water without a proper dry, they begin to pick up a brown look. This means that the water components do not coexist with metal. Water corrodes metal.

When your pepper leaves some oily components in your grinder during a grind, it could possibly cause your burr to rust too.


A blunt burr in a pepper grinder is like a Python without teeth; harmlessly hunting on its prey. The gum just keeps rubbing off the prey’s skin, causing little or no effect and now all she must do is sit and wait for the day it dies from hunger. In the case of a burr, it becomes completely useless.

This is because it will rather cause more clogging in the grinder than smoothen your pepper. Problem upon problem.

A blunt burr will only rollover your peppercorns without affecting a grind or smoothening. It may just split them into large tiny particles instead.

Technical problem

When your pepper grinder has fallen for over some time, you will begin to notice a malfunction which could be due to a misplacement of the grinder’s mechanical items.

When your pepper grinder falls, a mechanism gradually begins to lose its position for every single fall. A knot might begin to loosen, causing your grinder to lose its firm grip and composure to grind properly.

It could also be that a wire is not firmly connected to the right place due to the shakiness and fall it has experienced.

How do I fix a faulty grinder?

There are a few things and practices to consider if your pepper grinder is faulty or stops working. And also these tips should help prevent you from falling victim to a faulty grinder but just in case you are already there, I think there is a way out for you.

Regular cleaning

This is the best way to maintain the perfect working state of your grinder. When pepper residues are not given the chance to dwell and clog your grinder, you will always have a smooth and perfect grind.

This implies that you should always ensure to clean the mechanism of your pepper grinder with a dry towel or cloth. But if it is necessary that you use water, properly dry the water off by keeping the mechanism out under the sun or by using your dryer if you have one.

I would prefer you dry your grinder mechanisms with the former though. It is natural with zero risks and consequences. Your dryer could get scratches and possible damages from drying your pepper grinder mechanisms in it.

Adjusting the fill

If you notice that your grinder is not working or has a fault with smooth grinding, one of the first things to do is check the amount of peppercorns inside. Confirm whether or not it is the appropriate amount to be in there.

This is because pepper grinders are structured with small and large grooves. They vary in their accommodating ability for a grind. Make sure you take note, measure, and stick to how much peppercorns your grinder can accommodate for a grind to avoid a malfunction.

Check for Softened peppercorns before or during a difficult grinding

Peppercorns always come hard because they undergo a drying process. When they are completely dry they tend to submit to the voice of the grinder blade easily. They can be stubborn enough to clog your grinder during a grind when they are soft and moist.

This is true because the blade slips right through their soft skins without much effect and that makes grinding rough. The peels that were not completely grounded will eventually form the base of clogging agents in your grinder.

So, when you notice that your grinder is clogged, pour out the peppercorns into a safe dish and check them for moisture in a microwave.


Do pepper grinders wear out?

There is an unlikely case of a wear-out at an early stage of purchase. This is because the burr mechanism of a pepper grinder is made of hardened steel which is tempered and made sharp with a high carbon material. This makes it extra hard too.

There is more of a lifetime warranty for the burr mechanism and for the grinder’s body, two years. This is so because the body is the most likely to wear out first.

Is a pepper grinder worth it?

For some reasons, they have been regarded as a healthier source of creating and blending your spices. It creates the best spices you may need for your S&P.

It does not mess with the freshness of your ground pepper and can be used to store spices without fear of contamination. You should try using some good pepper grinders to figure out the worth for yourself.

How do you change the grind size on a pepper mill?

In the process of replacing the top, you can tighten or loosen the silver nut to adjust the grind size of a pepper grinder.

You should leave the bolt almost completely loose if you want to have a large grind and slightly loose/tight for a medium grind. You should tightly twist the bolt if you are going to make a fine grind.

How do you clean a Cole and Mason pepper grinder?

The general way to clean your pepper grinder is to use a colorless, damp but not wet towel or cloth. The grinder mechanism should not in any way be subjected to regular contact with water and neither should they be submerged in water for any reason.

Dry your grinder straight after cleaning. This is necessary to prevent having a rusty or faulty burr. The Cole and Mason pepper grinder is amazing and you should check it out.

Can you put salt in a pepper grinder?

The structural formula of the pepper grinder is quite different from that of a salt grinder. The pepper grinder is structured with tiny and large grooves to improve a good grind.

One reason why you shouldn’t put salt in a pepper grinder is that the salt has contents that can have corroding effects on the metals of the pepper grinder and the metal strength of a salt mill may not be able to withstand the hardness of peppercorns.

This implies that it is safer to grind pepper in a grinder specifically designed for that and salt in the salt grinder. This will help maintain and ensure long lasting-ness in grinders.

Why Does My Pepper Grinder Not Work – Conclusion

A faulty grinder is often as a result of clogged pepper particles in the grinder. When you notice that your grinder isn’t working well or stops working, do not panic, simply find out the possible cause and the perfect solution for it.

Grinders were not structured to break down easily but with a little bit of mishandling, they will pick a fault and could eventually stop working. This is to say that you need to regularly check up on your pepper grinder and fix any problem you notice at the early stage.