In what seemed like a good idea at the time, I used a can of compressed air to clean out my Magic Mill flour grinder.

Picture of one: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/ccdesan/4606041/68177/68177_320.jpg

It did a great job of cleaning out all the extra flour stuck to the bottom of the top part. However, what I didn't realize at the time was it also left bitterant residue, ruining a batch of flour I just made!

The MSDS for the compressed air (Compucessory Power Duster) just lists diflouroethane, but it says right on the can it contains a bitterant!

The bitterant is likely Denatonium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitterant). Is there any household chemical that will dissolve it and the other common bitterants, or better yet, break them down into non-bitter compounds?


2 Answers 2


Since probably only ppm levels of denatonium benzoate are in the compressed air, there are ppm levels or lower of denatonium in your flour grinder. At that concentration, water should dissolve denatonium benzoate. Is that a viable way to clean your grinder?

According to this solubility table, the best solvent for denatonium benzoate is methanol. However I would not recommend using methanol on anything you are using for food. Ethanol is only slightly less good. Maybe you can wash your grinder in some cheap vodka a few times?

Here is a random thread from Google Groups where someone claims to have identified a vendor for non-bitterized air duster cans.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Well, I just tried wiping it several times with everclear, and it did help, but there's still a noticeable bitter flavor on the plastic. Is there a certain soap that would help, or another chemical that would actually break down the Denatonium? $\endgroup$
    – Eriek
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 20:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On some time scale and at some temperature, I'm sure bleach or hydrogen peroxide would oxidize/degrade denatonium. However I'm not sure how long & hot it would need to be. If you are comfortable wiping your grinder with bleach or hydrogen peroxide, then you could try that. $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 21:00

After a bit of trial and error, this formula seems to work:

1/2 tablespoon bleach

7.75 oz mouthwash (enough to make a cup)


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