8 Things to do With Coffee Grounds

You brew a cup of coffee every morning and throw away your used coffee grounds. Is there is better to get rid of or reuse these grounds? In fact, there are 8 things you can do with them that will enhance your beauty, garden, cleaning routine, and more.

8 Great Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

  1. Use in your compost
  2. Insect repellant
  3. Eliminate foul odors
  4. Exfoliate the skin and reduce under-eye circles
  5. Use as a furniture dye
  6. Make coffee scented candles
  7. Clean caked on food from pots/pans
  8. Cleanse scalp and give your hair a shine

Let’s take a closer look at each of these uses for coffee grounds. I’m positive you’ll find at least one that you’ll want to try and waste those used grounds no more!

Use in Your Compost

Coffee grounds are an excellent addition to any compost pile and add many great nutrients to your container and soil. Because they are finely ground, they quickly break down at a fast rate.

Compost is designed by nature to release many nutrients slowly over time, making it highly beneficial to all sorts of plants. Adding compost enriches the soil in your vegetable or flower garden while helping keep moisture in and preventing plant diseases and pests.

Coffee grounds are high in Nitrogen, so they are considered the green material in your compost bin. In addition to Nitrogen, they also contain potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.

If you don’t want to take the time to do a full compost, you can use used grounds as a fertilizer for certain plants who love acidic environments, such as azaleas and hydrangeas.

Click here to learn how to add coffee grounds to a compost bin or start one from scratch.

Insect Repellant

Due to coffee’s naturally acidic properties, used coffee grounds are great at repelling all sorts of insects, including slugs. Slugs do not like these acidic properties, so wherever you are having an issue with these pests, put grounds out to make a barrier. They will not cross it.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests burning the coffee grounds before using them as a repellant to increase their potency. Place on a flat surface outside and burn as you would incense.

Besides slugs, other bugs, including snails, wasps, bees, mosquitoes, ants, and flees, are turned off by the smell of coffee grounds. No need for those toxic bug sprays from the store; simply use your old coffee grounds to keep the bugs away!

Eliminate Foul Odors

Not only are coffee grounds a natural bug repellant, but they are also a natural deodorizer. Due to the high nitrogen levels in coffee, placing a container of grounds in your refrigerator, as you would baking soda, will help eliminate any foul odors.

The Nitrogen in coffee help combats the sulfur found in the air in your fridge, where all those nasty smells linger. The foul odors are pulled into the grounds to help keep your refrigerator smelling fresh and clean day after day. Why stop there? Have other areas in your home where you need to eliminate smells? Bowls or containers of grounds can be placed anywhere in your house.

This trick even works when trying to get smells from your hands. For instance, if you are cutting garlic or onions, and soap and water are cutting it to get your hands smelling clean. Rub coffee grounds around your hands, wash, and voila! No more garlicky hands.

Exfoliate the Skin and Reduce Under-Eye Circles

Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that many swear by to improve the look and health of their skin. One of my favorite uses for ground coffee is skin exfoliation. There is also some evidence to show that it can be used to treat acne, increase blood flow, and balance pH levels in the skin.

To make your coffee grounds exfoliant scrub, mix equal amounts of grounds and brown sugar and add in a liquid of your choice, such as lemon juice, olive oil, or coconut oil. I like using coconut oil.

Check out the recipe below to make your own at-home exfoliant.

How to make exfoliant with coffee...
coffee grounds plus brown sugar plus coconut oil

By gently massaging into the skin, the rough coffee grounds and brown sugar lightly exfoliate to eliminate any dead skin cells and clean out clogged pores, leaving your skin looking and feeling amazing. I’ve used this to exfoliate my face, neck, and the tops of my hands, and I love it.

Use as Furniture Dye

This next one may be a new concept for you, but you can actually use coffee grounds as a furniture dye to touch up any knicked or scuffed areas on tables, chairs, or any other dark-colored piece of wood.

All you have to do is make a quick paste by adding a small amount of water to the used coffee grounds. You don’t want it too runny to avoid it dripping off the area you want to fix. With your finger or Q-tip, gently rub the paste into any scratches, knicks, or scuffed areas. Let sit for about 15 or so minutes, and gently rub off with a clean rag or towel.

The dark color of the coffee should have filled in any imperfections in your furniture, leaving it looking newer.

TIP: Can also be used to dye fabrics and give paper an old vintage look.

Make Coffee Scented Candles

Next, we have probably the most creative and fun ways to use your old coffee grounds; make coffee-scented candles. I haven’t had a chance to actually try this one yet, but it is definitely on my to-do list! Who doesn’t want the delicious coffee fragrance in their house?

All you need is four simple ingredients: wax, a wick, any glass container, and of course, coffee grounds. First, melt the wax down (the video below shows how to do so if you are unsure).

Next, place the wick in the center of your glass container. Then pour 1/2 inch of wax into the container, followed by one teaspoon of coffee grounds. Repeat this process until your glass container is almost full. Lastly, cut the wick to the appropriate size.

Light the coffee candle and enjoy! This would be such an excellent gift for friends and family. Check out the easy-to-follow how-to video below to help you make your homemade candles.

Clean Caked-on Food on Pots/Pans

Not only does the rough nature of coffee grounds gently clean your skin, but it can also clean your pots and pans. We all know that over time, your pots and pans can get pretty dirty, and regardless of how much you wash, those caked-on stains and burnt foods are near impossible to get off.

Before you throw them away and buy new ones, try using a coffee scrub. The naturally rough texture of coffee grounds is great for hard jobs like this.

First, generously cover the pots or pans with the coffee grounds. Next, scrub them as you typically would. Lastly, rinse off with warm or hot water. Those caked-on stains and food should be gone!

Clean Scalp and Give Your Hair Renewed Shine

Our eighth and final way to reuse used coffee grounds may initially sound a bit odd. Coffee grounds are a great way to thoroughly clean your scalp and give your hair a renewed shine.

First, let’s talk about scalp treatment. Thanks to all those antioxidants, coffee can help block a hormone that contributes to baldness and hair thinning. By periodically using this scalp treatment, you can reduce this occurrence and boost hair growth.

Additionally, it can exfoliate the scalp and help prevent dryness and dandruff. First, mix coffee grounds with your favorite oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Add a small amount of grounds to the oil and gently massage it into the scalp.

Once you are done rubbing into your scalp, work the coffee grounds down to the ends of the hair. This will help rid the hair of product build-up and enhance its overall shine. When finished, rinse out your hair with warm water.

I recommend doing this process seldom, as you don’t want to strip your hair from its natural oils.

What Not to do with Used Grounds

I once was told that disposing used coffee grounds in the garbage disposal is good for keeping it clean and smelling fresh. Although this is partly true, coffee grounds will do far more damage than good.

Never put grounds down the garbage disposal. Unlike many substances that dissolve and break down in the water, coffee grounds are primarily insoluble and will clump together to form a sticky residue. This buildup can lead to clogged pipes and issues with drainage. 

To read more about why coffee grounds should never be put in the garbage disposal, click the link.

Final Thoughts

Alright, we are finished with our list of things you can do with used coffee grounds. Hopefully, you found at least one thing that interested you and can go try it for yourself!

Can I Put Coffee Grounds in My Composting Bin?

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