16 Ways To Reuse Old Coffee Grounds.

June 8, 2010

Don’t just toss those used coffee grounds in the trash after you’ve enjoyed a cup – they have many more uses before being thrown out! While a cup of coffee (or 3) in the morning is great, the used coffee grounds can serve many more purposes around your house after giving you your morning jolt of caffeine. After you grind your coffee beans and make your coffee, here are 16 ways to reuse old coffee grounds that you may find quite useful (or surprising, as I did), but please do leave comments if you have more that I didn’t list. Sometimes the simplest leftovers can be incredibly useful!

1. Deodorizer - You can put them in a bowl in your refrigerator or use them to get rid of food smells on your hands.

2. Furniture scratch fix – A little water and some coffee grounds makes some nice brown stain for your scratched furniture legs.

3. Fertilizer – Your plants will love this addition to their soil, whether in ground format or made into a “tea” spray.

4. Worm food – No, not for the worms living out in your yard. But the ones in your worm-bin composter will love some coffee grounds!

5. Insect repellant – Tired of bugs making their way into your house? Try sprinkling coffee grounds around the cracks in your foundation.

6. Skin exfoliant – Not that I’ve ever tried, but you may want to try lightly massaging some dried grounds onto your skin to exfoliate!

7. Easter egg dye – Sure, they won’t be pink or blue, but they will be dyed a lovely shade of brown.

8. Shoe Deodorizer – Yep, dried grounds help to deodorize your stinky shoes.

9. Pet Groomer – Mix coffee grounds with water and you have a nice grooming solution that leaves Fido’s hair shining bright.

10. Household cleaner – Just like the use as a skin exfoliant, they can also be used as an abrasive cleaning solution around the house.

11. Ash reducer – Sprinkle some wet coffee grounds on fireplace ashes before you shovel them out to reduce ash flyaway.

12. Cat repellent – Neighborhood cats using your garden as a private bathroom? Coffee grounds can help keep them away (and of course, fertilize the garden too).

13. Pet flea dip – Dried coffee grounds can help kill off fleas.

14. Kitchen drain odor remover – Boiling water and coffee grounds help to get rid of stinky odors.

15. Add shine to your hair – When washing your hair, massage some grounds through your hair.

16. Great compost addition – Add to compost piles/bins to help balance pH. If you use paper filters, they can also go in the compost bin.

What uses for coffee grounds would you add to the list?

Photo from Shutterstock

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About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (36)

  1. david says:

    If I had much hair, I probably would. :)

  2. nan fischer says:

    Wow, I’m going to try some of these. Have you put them in your hair? ;)

  3. Holly says:

    Great ideas! They always go straight to the compost bin in our house, but I know they’re very acidic, so these are some great alternatives.

  4. Great ideas David – love the furniture scratch fix – brilliant! Another interesting use I came across was to use a pot of coffee & grounds when washing brown clothing, fabric etc. The stains will give new life to fading fabric…very creative! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Dario says:

    It’s amazing how many things you can do to reuse coffee

  6. Since I don’t have a yard, or even a pot of dirt to compost with (apartment living), I figured I didn’t have other choices for them. I will put some in my fridge and freezer today! Thanks for the heads up.

    In terms of using them on my skin or in my hair, I’m afraid of clogging up the drains.

  7. Emily says:

    I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve been researching ways of growing mushrooms in used coffee grounds. There are companies that sell kits specifically for doing this at home.

    Also, I added coffee grounds directly to my garden when I tilled it this Spring. The grounds can be sprinkled on top, too. Some people claim that sprinkling coffee grounds around cabbages prevents worms.

  8. Marti Long says:

    Use petroleum jelly on your face and then press coffee grounds on. Makes a terrific beard or “five o’clock shadow” for plays or costuming.

  9. Condo Blues says:

    I reused coffee grounds in my hair and as a skin exfoliate. It worked best for my skin but be warned – both applications leave a mess in the shower!

  10. deb says:

    hydrangeas in particular really love coffee grounds. You can just sprinkle them directly around the base of the plant.

    Great suggestions, love the one for furniture scratches!

  11. KeithTax says:

    I use coffee grounds as fertilizer. I’ll need to drink more coffee for the other uses.

  12. Debra Rincon Lopez says:

    I love all of these idea’s, I am going to start trying some of them immediately.

  13. D R says:

    great ideas. I currently put grounds in my compost bin.
    not sure if one should use hot water down a garbage disposal, though.

  14. Mohit Sharma says:

    well almost anything that stinks can be de-odorized by coffee grounds as coffee beans are used to test perfume samples its better if they start using grounds.

  15. fred says:

    will these ideas work with loose tea leaves too?

  16. Shane says:

    Thanks for the article. I also have an interest in coffee grounds for the garden and have started an initiative called Ground to Ground to get more people into it.
    My blog has become dedicated to the topic of coffee grounds in the garden, and you are welcome to share in the growing body of knowledge I am assembling there.

    http://shanegenziuk.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/ground-to-ground/

  17. Shane says:

    Very true D, they are great for keeping away snails and slugs, and also ants and cats.

  18. D says:

    they also make a good slug repellent, put the used coffed grounds (sharper/rougher the better)round seedlings & vunerable plants to deter slugs :)

  19. Bridget Gibbons says:

    For years my mom has put coffee grounds in the garden, as I do now, but even in apartment living- your house plants can still benefit- if you drink your coffee black, or have a little left in the pot once it is cool just use that to water house plants. Not exactly grounds, but along the same line. The grounds so work very well as a stain too, and to keep bugs out- especially as the weather cools off and they try to come inside.

  20. Thanks, great ideas! Though I did try using coffee grounds to keep ants out of the house without success. In fact, they seemed to like it and get more fired up. I hope I didn’t create a new generation of caffeine-addicted ants!

  21. Claire says:

    Coffee grounds are wonderful at the base of hydrangeas.
    They acidify the soil, making deep blue flower heads. Also great for keeping slugs off your plants if put at the base as a mulch. Just toss in compost if you dont have any time for the above.

  22. Josee says:

    If you dry them out on newspaper and place them in a large storage container of your choice, it makes a great indoor sandbox for your kids.

  23. Dylan says:

    Coffee grounds are good for growing certain types of mushrooms in!

  24. What an interesting reading! I already use coffee grounds to fertilize plants; my mother was doing the same. It works very well; it repulses all bugs and plants looks more healthy. I didn”™t know about the other usage of coffee grounds but it sounds really good. Well, price for coffee was rising for past few months so we have to find the way how to get a maximum of these “beans””¦

  25. Dino Nunno says:

    You had me until you suggested I put them in my hair. As for the others? Hey, I’ll give em a try.

  26. Antje says:

    Re #7 (easter egg dye):
    For lovely natural easter eggs collect wildflowers & leaves (daisies & clovers work very well). Moisten eggs with water & ‘stick’ on the leaves/flowers. (Optional: For additional color effect, carefully cover with onion skins.) Carefully wrap a sheet op old paper around the egg & tie down with string (to keep flowers & leaves in place & firmly pressed against the egg). Boil eggs for 20 mins in a think soup made with coffee grounds (for alternative color try tea or various plants & natural dyes). Let eggs cool off completely & carefully remove wrapping. Admire the beautiful silhouettes of your flowers & leaves (don’t forget to compost the wrapping :-)

  27. Larissa says:

    My partner drink a lot of coffee, though I drink quite a bit of tea. Now I know what to do with all his leftovers, though that leaves me with many used loose tea leaves! Any thoughts on practical uses for this – besides antiquing paper projects in grade school assignments?

  28. the dude says:

    used coffee grounds? best cockaroach attractant you can obtain at any price.

  29. Sharon Mathew says:

    You have shared a nice list of reuses of coffee. We can actually use it in many ways. Thanks for sharing!

  30. ines says:

    Wow, I’m going to try the 13th advice :).

  31. Guardian says:

    Ive got my mum using it on her skin mixed with some milk to reduce or remove freckles and sun spots from her skin and she says she noticed a reduction plus a soft moisterising effect on her hand

  32. Devilicious says:

    I love using coffee grinds in the shower. I wash my face, body & hair with it. My skin is super smooth & my face doesn’t break out anymore. My hair feels soft and healthy.

  33. Cris says:

    Caffeine is poisonous to cats and dogs. Please do not use on your pets.

  34. Mary says:

    These are great ideas. I wonder if flavored coffee grounds would be ok to feed the worms and used as fertilizer? Would anyone know?

  35. TM Davidson says:

    I have read that you can put coffee grounds in your worm-composting bin…I read that they seem to love the stuff…I don’t have worm composting bins but to encourage them to live in my veggie garden, I plan to cover coffee grounds with mulch to provide them with a habitat where they can fertilize my soil directly…because I hate to work more at it than I have to and that way worms can live where they belong.