If you drink coffee every morning or even just enjoy the occasional pot, the number of grounds left behind can really add up. Tossing those grounds into the trash may feel wasteful, but the good news is there are plenty of clever uses for coffee grounds. Not only is this helpful for your wallet, but it is also better for the environment.
Many of these tricks require dried coffee grounds. In order to dry them, place damp coffee grounds on a cookie sheet or shallow dish. Store them in a cool, dry place in your kitchen, stirring them frequently until they are dry throughout. With that said, here are 20 quick and easy uses for coffee grounds.
Turn Coffee Grounds Into a Body Scrub
Make a body scrub that will tone your skin. In a small bowl, add a cup of coffee grounds with a cup of large granule sugar. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil or shea butter and stir the mixture until it is evenly blended.
Apply the scrub in the shower for easy cleanup, and rub it on your skin in a circular motion. The caffeine helps to tighten the skin and break down cellulite for a nice glow.
Make Natural Brown Dye
One of the more creative uses for coffee grounds is to turn them into brown dye. Allow a cup of coffee grounds to steep in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes and then strain. Dip standard white paper (or spray it with the mixture) to create an aged look. This is perfect for school/art projects and other DIY projects such as scrapbooking.
Neutralize odors with coffee grounds. Fill a bowl or cup with dried coffee grounds and leave them uncovered in your refrigerator to absorb odors (be sure to keep the mixture dry). You can also use coffee grounds in cabinets to neutralize musty odors, but be careful to place it somewhere that it will not be knocked over.
Add Coffee Grounds to Compost
Add coffee grounds to your compost to speed up the breakdown process. Mix the grounds into the rest of your compost with a rake or shovel. The nitrogen in coffee grounds will also be a great boost for your soil.
Add Coffee Grounds to Steak Marinades
Coffee grounds can be added to your steak and other beef marinades. The caffeine can help tenderize the meat without altering the flavor too much. Add a tablespoon or two of grounds to your typical marinade to tenderize and add a slightly smoky flavor.
Create an Exfoliating Soap Bar
Given that they’re great at exfoliating the skin, of course there are plenty of uses for coffee grounds in DIY self-care products. Here, spent coffee grounds are turned into an exfoliating soap bar that smells absolutely incredible, too.
Uses for Coffee Grounds in the Garden
Sprinkle coffee grounds around your garden and flower bed to increase the nitrogen levels of the soil. Coffee grounds can also increase the acidity in your soil. To learn about even more uses for coffee grounds in the garden, check out this resource.
Deter Cats and Pests From the Garden
Deter cats from intruding on your garden. Sprinkle dried coffee grounds around the perimeter of your vegetable garden or flower bed. The aroma will keep your cat from digging in your flowers, and coffee grounds also repel snails, slugs, and ants.
Freshen Your Garbage Disposal
Clean your garbage disposal and give it a fresh scent. Mix a cup of dried coffee grounds with a quarter of a cup of salt and a quarter of a cup of baking soda. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar or water to the mixture without making it too moist.
Naturally Darken Your Hair
Naturally darken your hair with coffee grounds. This works especially well for people with dark hair. Allow 2 cups of already brewed coffee grounds to steep in 4 cups of hot water for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain the grounds out of the mixture and rinse your hair repeatedly with the mixture. The coffee will bring out natural undertones and add a slight shine to your hair.
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Press the mixture into half-inch balls, or press them into an ice cube tray before placing them into the freezer for storage. Toss the frozen grounds into your garbage disposal and flip the switch for a fresh scent.
Use Coffee Grounds in Your Fireplace
Pour coffee grinds over the ashes in your fireplace to reduce dust and spillage while you are cleaning out your fireplace. Damp coffee grounds work best.
Create a Homemade Fly Trap
Place an inch or so of dried coffee grounds at the bottom of an old jar. Place extra sticky, double-sided tape around the inside rim of the jar. The smell of the coffee will attract insects (such as cockroaches) and they will be caught in the sticky tape.
Fight Fleas With Coffee Grounds
Fight fleas with extra coffee grounds. After bathing your dog or cat, rub a handful of coffee grounds through their coats and leave for 10 minutes. Then thoroughly rinse their coats and brush away excess grounds. This helps fight fleas and will also give your pet’s coat a nice shine.
Make an Exfoliating Face Scrub
Create your own exfoliating face scrub. In a small bowl, add 2 teaspoons of coffee grounds to a half cup of moisturizer, olive oil, or shea butter. Mix the grounds until the mixture is creamy.
Apply the scrub to your face and gently massage the mixture into your skin in small circles. Rinse away the grounds to reveal a tighter, rejuvenated complexion.
Deep Scrub Your Pots and Pans
Scrub pots and pans with extra scrubbing power. Sprinkle a spoonful of dried coffee grounds into particularly tough pots and pans. Using a sponge and soap, rub the grounds around in a circular motion to scour.
Restain Old Wooden Furniture
Allow 2 cups of dried coffee grounds to steep in hot water for 45 minutes. Strain the water and then apply it generously to old wooden furniture with a paintbrush or cloth.
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The natural colors will brighten and create a fresh appearance in the wood. This is one of the most versatile uses for coffee grounds because you can use it to both refresh your wood furniture and stain plain wood from scratch for DIY projects.
Make a DIY Hand Deodorizer
Create a natural hand deodorizer with coffee grounds. Keep a small bowl of dried coffee grounds near the sink. Sprinkle the grounds on your hands with soap and rub them together when trying to remove difficult smells such as fish or onions. The grounds will exfoliate your skin and help neutralize odors.
Uses for Coffee Grounds as a Plant Fertilizer
Water plants and rejuvenate. Steep dried coffee grounds in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool completely and water house plants with the mixture to give them a boost of nitrogen. Roses especially, love this treat.
Fix Small Scrapes and Dings
Repair small scratches and dings to dark wooden furniture. Rub damp grounds into the grooves or scratches with a cloth. The dark color of the coffee will lightly dye the wood and diminish the look of scratches.
Provide Traction to Icy Sidewalks
Create traction on icy sidewalks. Sprinkle dried coffee grounds on your icy sidewalk to help create traction and to melt the ice faster. The grounds can be easily swept away when the ice melts.
So next time you make a pot of coffee, don’t toss out those spent coffee grounds! Try out one of these clever uses for coffee grounds and let us know how it turns out in the comments below!