coffee grounds

What to do with your coffee grounds after you’ve brewed your coffee.

Many people believe that the life cycle of the coffee bean is complete after it is brewed into a delicious, steaming cup of goodness. The bean has so much more to offer to the world, from health benefits to sustainability, our coffee grounds are extremely versatile. So, next time you instinctively go to throw out your grounds after brewing your morning coffee, consider which of these ideas might be most beneficial to both your own health and the health of our Earth!

Turn into a Natural Dye

You may have learned the hard way that coffee can stain your clothes. Use that to your advantage! Simply rewet used coffee grounds and apply to paper, linen, cotton, rayon, or cellophane to add some color. You can even use them to color your hair darker or dye Easter eggs! This is a great natural, inexpensive way to create a dye at home.

Have dark clothes that have faded through the years? Throw your dark clothing into the washing machine and add a pot of fresh coffee along with the grounds used to brew it. The coffee will lightly stain your clothing to give your old clothes a new, refreshing look.

Deep Clean Your Pots and Pans

Coffee grounds have a rough texture that makes them perfect for scrubbing out dirty pots and pans. If you have dishes that are covered in dried food, try adding coffee grounds and scrub with water and soap. The abrasiveness helps to coax off the excess food, leaving you with a sparkly clean pan. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after washing.

Coffee grounds are a wonderful natural cleaning substitute with no chemicals. They are helpful in sanitizing due to their antibacterial and antiviral characteristics. Use coffee grounds to scrub out your sink, clean your grill, or polish other cooking utensils. Do not use grounds on porous material, as they can leave behind brown stains.

Fight Odors

If you’ve ever had a friend come over after working a shift as a barista, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Coffee grounds are partially made up of nitrogen, an element crucial in eliminating bad smells from the air when combined with carbon. This means that coffee grounds can work to absorb and eliminate odors in your house. There are so many uses for this! Fill old socks with coffee grounds and tie them to create portable air fresheners. Place them near shoes, dirty clothes, your gym bag, your car, or any other location that needs it. Keep a bowl of coffee grounds next to the sink for when you need to scrub your hands after handling potent food, such as garlic or jalapenos. You can also place a bowl of coffee grounds in your refrigerator to neutralize any odor or strong smells.

Insect Repellent

Ditch the smelly bug spray and try this organic alternative! Set out bowls of coffee grounds next to you while spending time outside. You can even sprinkle some of the grounds around the seating area. The caffeine and diterpenes found in coffee are toxic to many insects, including those pesky mosquitos! Additionally, place used grounds in your outdoor garden to create a barrier for other bugs.

Skin Exfoliant

The shape and texture of coffee grounds allow for them to be used as an exfoliant. Mix coffee grounds with water or coconut oil and then scrub your skin to remove dirt and dead skin cells. To create a lip scrub, mix coffee grounds with a bit of honey. These simple tricks can leave your skin smooth and healthy! The caffeine in coffee grounds contains antioxidants that help protect your skin from the sun. Do not use coffee grounds in place of sunscreen, but they can be a great addition to your skin care routine! Exfoliating with coffee grounds can additionally increase blood flow, making your skin even healthier.

Coffee grounds can also help you with under-eye circles! Studies have shown that skin care products with coffee antioxidants and caffeine can assist in preventing aging and under-eye circles. Mix water and coconut oil with your coffee grounds to create a paste. Apply under your eyes and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. The result is smoother, more youthful skin under your eyes!

This technique can also be used to combat cellulite. With the same mixture of grounds, water, and coconut oil, scrub the affected area for 10 minutes twice a week to start seeing the effects. The grounds help to break down fat deposits and increase blood flow.

Fight face acne with a coffee grounds mask. Mix your used grounds with enough milk to turn it into a paste and then apply to your face. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then rub the mixture into your skin before rinsing. The ground’s natural astringent and antioxidant properties make for a great homemade mask.

Fix Scratched Wooden Furniture

By now, you know that the abrasiveness of coffee grounds can be very beneficial for household uses. You can smooth out scratches on your wood furniture by simply creating a thick paste of coffee grounds and water. Rub the paste into the scratches with a cotton swab and let sit for 10 minutes. Wipe off the mixture with a rag and discover a new, smooth surface that has been darkened by coffee! You can continue to add coffee into the scratch until you reach the desired color that matches your furniture. Be sure to wait a couple hours in between each application.

Grow Some Mushrooms!

Coffee grounds are a great fertilizer for your garden, but they can be especially helpful in growing mushrooms. Mushrooms are very picky about their growing conditions and require extra care. They do not grow in normal garden soil because they require a substrate, or another material that promotes growth. Coffee grounds can act as a substrate for mushrooms, as they are full of nutrients that are beneficial for mushrooms. The key to successful growth is keeping the plant moist, so be sure to water everyday. Once the mushrooms’ caps turn upward, you can harvest and eat them!

Tenderize Meat

The natural acids and enzymes found in coffee make it a great meat tenderizer with added flavor. Add your used coffee grounds to your favorite dry-rub recipe and marinate the meat two hours before cooking. The grounds create a dark, crispy crust for your meal! Another option is to rebrew your used grounds to make coffee, then allow it to cool before using it as a marinade. It will tenderize the meat in the same way and add some more coffee flavor.

Grow Out Your Hair

Caffeine found in coffee can actually stimulate hair growth! Using coffee grounds to exfoliate your scalp helps to remove dead skin cells. Grounds can also increase blood flow when applied to the skin. Before you shampoo, rub a handful of used coffee grounds into your scalp and hair and leave in for a couple of minutes. Wash and rinse your hair. Repeat this process once or twice a week for the chance to accelerate hair growth.

Save Up For Winter

Coffee grounds can be used as a de-icer for your driveway and sidewalk! Save up your used coffee grounds in the garage so that you have plenty of melting power come winter. Coffee grounds provide more friction than salt, making it easier to break down the ice. They are also much more environmentally-friendly than salt, posing no threats to the outdoors.

Protect Your Pet

Fun fact: fleas hate coffee! This makes your used coffee grounds a great, natural option for flea repellent. Rub the grounds through your pet’s fur after shampooing, then rinse out the grounds. This option may be less effective than prescription pet products, so you may want to consider an alternative if this option does not fully work. Coffee can be toxic for dogs if consumed, so only use the grounds externally.


Are all of these creative ways to use coffee grounds irrelevant to you? If you can’t use them to improve your household, compost them to help improve the Earth! It is a simple yet crucial step in promoting sustainability.



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