What to do with used Coffee Grounds?

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Johny Morrisson

You can use used coffee grounds as a fertilizer for your garden, you can use them to prepare body scrubs for your skin, also you can use them for cleaning purposes, and there are many more unusual uses. 

It is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily. And this generates a lot of waste in the form of used coffee grounds. And most of that goes to waste garbage.

I used to do the same before I discovered that there are plenty of ways these spent coffee grounds can be used effectively.

In this article, I will share 20 creative ways you can use spent or expired coffee grounds. I bet after reading this article you will think twice while disposing of used grounds.

Here’s a chart for 20 creative ways to repurpose used coffee grounds. Save this chart, this will help you to figure out what to do with grounds after brewing a cup of coffee.

What to do with used coffee grounds
Uses of Spent coffee grounds

1- Use coffee grounds as a Fertilizer in the garden

You can use spent coffee grounds directly as compost material or as a fertilizer. 

Composting is a natural process of creating fertilizer using organic waste such as leaves, waste food material, and animal waste. According to a study, compost made with coffee has way more nutrients than normal compost.

The main benefit of using coffee grounds as a compost is that it adds many valuable nutrients to the soil which increases soil aeration and water retention in the soil. Also, microorganisms beneficial for plants can flourish on used coffee grounds. 

Coffee also attracts earthworms which are very beneficial for the soil. 

So, from now on, instead of throwing used coffee into waste beans throw the grounds around your garden and make them useful. 

Compost for garden

2- Use them as insecticide or pesticide

You can use coffee grounds as a natural insect repellent or pesticide for your plants.

According to a study, spent coffee grounds still has some leftover caffeine and related methylxanthines which are very toxic for pests and small insects.

To use them as a pesticide, simply sprinkle them on the soil and leaves of your plants. To use them as insecticides you can keep grounds in a bowl in your living room or you can also burn them (as they are more effective when they are burned). 

Used coffee grounds as insecticide

3- Make a body scrub

You can make a great nourishing and moisturizing body scrub at home using spent coffee grounds.

Just mix some coffee grounds with coconut oil, brown sugar, and a bit of water. Scrub it onto your skin and see how it works like magic!

The texture of coffee grounds is abrasive in nature and scrubs away dead cells from your skin and gives a fresher look.

Body scrub

4- Make coffee candles

You can make a candle using spent coffee grounds to fill your living room with a delightful coffee aroma.

To make coffee candles, follow these steps

  • Melt palm wax on the stovetop
  • Pour a layer of melted palm wax into a cup
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds over that layer.
  • Similarly, make three to four layers of melted wax and coffee grounds
  • Again, at the top sprinkle one tablespoon of used coffee grounds
  • Add a wick in the center, and let it dry for one hour

You can burn the mixture once it is dried and enjoy the sweet coffee aroma.

Coffee candles

5- Eliminate odors with used grounds

Eliminating odors with used grounds may sound strange, but it’s actually a simple and effective method.

Rather than spending money on expensive deodorizers, you can repurpose your leftover coffee grounds to absorb and neutralize unpleasant smells in your home.

According to a study, the presence of nitrogen in coffee beans can make activated carbon which absorbs foul-smelling Hydrogen sulfide gas.

Simply place a bowl of coffee grounds in your fridge or kitchen and it will absorb the odors from foul-smelling foods.

You can also put spent coffee grounds in your socks, gym bags, or shoes to deodorize them. Who needs expensive odor eliminators when you have coffee?

6- Scrap your dishes

The abrasive nature of coarse coffee grounds can remove stubborn stains from your dishes.

Simply place used coffee grounds into the utensil and scrub, as usual, to make it clean as new.

Dish cleaning with used coffee grounds

7- Natural dye to Stimulate Hair Growth

There are many benefits of using coffee as a natural dye for your hair. According to a study, coffee can actually stimulate hair growth. Moreover, coffee can darken your hair and make them healthy and shiny.

To dye your hair using used coffee grounds, follow these steps

  • Mix two cups of shampoo with 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds
  • Thoroughly wash your hair with a regular shampoo
  • Now soak your hair with the mixture prepared in the first step. Thoroughly spread the mixture all over your head with your fingers and make sure it gets to the roots of your hair.
  • After sixty to ninety minutes, wash your hair as you regularly do. Make sure to remove all the coffee residue from your hairs
  • That’s it! I’m sure your hair will look lovely with the beautiful dark brown tone.
hair dye of used coffee grounds

8- Clean Your Fireplace

If you’re living in a cold area and have a fireplace at home, you can reuse your coffee grounds as a fireplace cleaner.

Cleaning the fireplace can be very messy because while cleaning dust can fly all over your room. 

Here’s a simple way to clean your fireplace.

  • Brew a pot of coffee for you and your family.
  • Filter your coffee and sprinkle the coffee grounds around the fireplace
  • Now clean your fireplace as usual, and I am sure you will not notice ash flying all over your room as usual.
  • Enjoy the pot of coffee with your family.

The denser coffee particles will weigh down the ash particles and prevent them from flying and forming ash clouds.

clean fireplace with used grounds

9- Polish your scratched furniture

Used coffee grounds make for an excellent natural furniture polish. The abrasive texture helps buff away grime and the oils in the grounds condition the wood.

To polish your furniture with spent coffee grounds, follow these steps

  • Prepare a paste by mixing used coffee grounds and water
  • Apply this paste with a cotton swab to scratches on your furniture.
  • Let it sit for ten to twenty minutes
  • Now gently wipe away the remains of coffee

Where are the scratches? They are gone!

furniture polishing with used coffee grounds

10- Melt sideways ice in winter

Coffee grounds make a surprisingly effective and eco-friendly ice melt. They are good for deicing because they contain natural acids and a large amount of nitrogen.

So, instead of throwing used coffee grounds in the waste bin throw them on the ice in front of your home in cold winters.

Just be careful not to use too much, as it can stain your pavement.

Melt ice with used coffee grounds

11- Use for art and crafts

Used coffee grounds make the perfect medium for artists looking to add a little extra flavor to their creations.

Their earthy scent is delightful and can also bring a unique texture to your artwork.

You can prepare a coffee dough with old coffee grounds and use them to create coffee paintings which can be fun for kids or artistic adults.

Plus, if you spill some grounds while crafting, no worries – just brew another pot and keep the creativity flowing.

12- Use old coffee grounds for fishing

Using coffee grounds for fishing can definitely be a nifty trick. Coffee grounds can keep your bait worms alive and kicking longer. Worms absolutely love feeding on those grounds, so mix some into their bedding.

But coffee grounds don’t just feed the worms – they can also attract certain fish like bass and trout. Apparently, these fish are drawn to the aroma of coffee.

Next time you’re packing for a fishing trip, scoop those used grounds into a bag. Mix them into your worm bedding or even try molding the grounds around your hook.

fishing worms

13- Keep your flowers fresh for longer

Cut flowers used for decoration can’t stay fresh on just water and only last a day or two.

You can use spent coffee grounds as a source of nourishment that can keep your decorative flowers fresh for longer.

Coffee is rich in nitrogen which acts as food for plants. Simply add one to two tablespoons of coffee grounds to a vase of flowers containing water and see the magic.

flowers vase

14- Use to reduce dark eye circles

If the 5th cup of coffee isn’t enough to keep dark circles at bay, you can use spent coffee grounds to remedy them.

The skin under the eye is a delicate area that may become darker as you age or develop dark circles due to lack of sleep.

According to a study, the caffeine in coffee has anti-inflammatory properties which increase the blood flow in the skin surrounding your eyes and prevent the appearance of dark circles.

Many skin and cosmetic products use coffee or caffeine as an ingredient because of its immense usefulness.

Prepare a scrub by adding coffee grounds to water or coconut oil and apply it to the skin surrounding your eyes. Let it sit for ten to twenty minutes and wash your face as usual.

15- Remove odors from your hands

While preparing the food your hands can become smelly because of chopping onions or garlic. And that smell is annoying, it doesn’t go away no matter how hard you wash your hands. It even worsens when you wash your hands with soap or handwash.

You can use spent coffee grounds to get rid of odor from your hand as they are great natural deodorizers.

Simply use coffee grounds to clean your hands after cutting onions or garlic. Magic again! You will not notice any smell.

hand washing with used coffee grounds

16- Trap cockroaches with used grounds

Almost every one of us hates cockroaches in our houses and we use different kinds of cockroach repellents to keep them away.

Well, coffee grounds can also be used to trap cockroaches and throw them out of our homes. Like humans, cockroaches also love the smell of coffee and are attracted to it, and here you can make a trap for them.

  • Fill a large glass jar with water and mix coffee grounds in it.
  • Cockroaches will be attracted by the scent of coffee and will enter the jar.
  • Once they enter the jar, they will be unable to escape because of the water. 
  • Now simply discard this water out of your home.

17- Reduce cellulite using old grounds

Spent coffee grounds can be very useful in treating cellulite. Cellulite is a common skin condition that causes lumpy flesh on thighs, hips, or buttocks. It mostly affects women and though harmless, it can ruin the beauty of your skin.

Simply prepare a scrub by mixing coffee grounds with water or coconut oil and apply it to the affected area for ten to twenty minutes once or twice a week.

The caffeine content in the coffee increases the blood flow through that area which breaks down the lumpy tissues and reduces the cellulite.

18- Use them as a dark dye for clothes

You can use spent coffee grounds as a natural dark brown colored dye for your clothes.

We all know that getting rid of the stain from the coffee on our clothes is not an easy task. So, they can be used as a permanent dye.

Simply pour coffee grounds into some large utensils containing water. Boil the mixture and add the piece of clothing to it.

Let the cloth soak completely in water for thirty to forty minutes and then hang it to dry completely. You can also run the iron over it to make the color more stable.

19- Use them while bathing your pets

You can use coffee grounds to keep fleas away from your pet. While some insects love the scent of coffee, luckily fleas hate it.

Usually, pets with large hairs or furs on their skin attract fleas which ruins the ambiance of the home. There are several flea-repellant chemicals available on the market but why spend money on them when you can do it for free? 

While bathing your pet, rub grounds into his fur or hair and then clean it off with water. 

After doing this, I am sure you will love the scent of your pet, and fleas will hate it, and that’s exactly what we want.

Pet washing with used coffee gorunds

20- Marinate the meat

You can marinate chicken or red meat with used coffee grounds. Simply put the meat in water and add two tablespoons of coffee grounds to it. Leave it overnight and cook the meat next, I bet you will enjoy the taste of that meat.

Coffee contains acids and enzymes that are effective for tenderizing meat.  

If you want to do barbeque, instead of adding water, you can simply apply the coffee grounds to the meat and grill it on coals. This way you will have a nice smoky and crispy flavor that you will love.

marinate meat with used coffee grounds

Final Thoughts

The caffeine, nitrogen, and natural antioxidants present in spent coffee grounds are very valuable and you should use them in a better way instead of throwing them out.

All the uses I have mentioned above are completely natural and can save you a lot of bucks if you apply them. 

I hope after reading these 20 amazing ways to reuse coffee grounds you will never discard the grounds after drinking coffee and repurpose them in a better way.

Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite coffee ground trick I missed – we should be squeezing every last bit of use from those grinds!

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Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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