Mornings start better with a cup of coffee, don’t you think? Our pour over coffee maker produces about a third of a cup of used coffee grounds. You have seen my worm bin, it is small. Our small colony is doing a great job with the food we give them, but adding all those used coffee grounds would be too much food for them. Plus, like us, worms like a diverse menu offering. Sadly, most mornings, I end up throwing away coffee grounds. What a waste!
As I watched the coffee drip I wondered if there were another option for these used grounds.
I Googled it. (What we did we do before Google?!)
Low and behold, I found not a few ideas, but a plethora of things to do with used coffee grounds! Below you will find 17 uses for coffee grounds! For your sanity (maybe a little bit of my own), I grouped these ideas into three sections: Self-Care, Inside the Home, and Outside the Home. Enjoy!
Coffee is filled with antioxidants and caffeine which may help to combat aging skin, cellulite, and under-eye circles.
I read several recipes but ended up creating up my own to accommodate the ingredients currently in my pantry. My recipe is as follows:
1/3 cup coffee grounds
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp avocado oil*
1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions: Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use within 2 weeks.
*Other oils can be substituted, but consider using one that won’t clog your pores, check this link.
For a full body scrub (excluding your face), use it in the shower once or twice a week after rinsing your body.
Exfoliating scrubs are great for removing dead skin cells and creating smooth skin. If you are looking for a scrub that will treat cellulite specifically. This scrub can help! Applied topically, caffeine can help break down fat and increase blood flow which should decrease the appearance of cellulite. To target these annoying areas, scrub for 10 minutes twice a week.
It probably goes without saying, but don’t use this if it causes irritation and be sure to thoroughly rinse the shower after use. Slipping from oil residue is not the way to end a shower and neither is discovering a stained shower floor.
Hair and Scalp Treatment
Shampoo, conditioner, and styling products can leave residue that will dull and weigh down your hair. Remove buildup by exfoliating your scalp with coffee grounds for a few minutes before you shampoo. Then thoroughly rinse the coffee grounds and continue with your normal shampoo and conditioning routine. Add this as needed. I would try once a month to start.
Puffy Eye Mask
Caffeine has been found to help reduce puffiness around the eyes. There are many recipes online including everything from egg whites to black pepper. They all seem to have varying levels of effectiveness. If you want to keep it simple, apply used coffee grounds to the area beneath your eyes and gently wash them off once they have dried.
INSIDE THE HOMEWith so many positive attributes, it’s hard to identify a single component that makes coffee grounds shine when it comes to uses inside the home.
I hit the jackpot when I found this recipe! The active cook time is short at just 15 minutes. Your patience will be tested though - the wait time for them reach their peak of excellence is 45 minutes. I can’t wait for you to try this yummy biscotti recipe from The Splendid Table.
The aroma of coffee has a way of inviting you into home. This particular recipe from The Honey Comb Home, caught my attention because of its simplicity and versatility. In place of the essential oils, add two tablespoons of coffee grounds. By incorporating the grounds, you get to enjoy the delicious coffee aroma as the candle melts and the coffee grounds become exposed.
Given their abrasive nature, coffee grounds are excellent at removing buildup on hard-to-clean surfaces. Polish your cookware or clean your grill by adding a few coffee grounds to an old cleaning cloth (or at least one that you don’t mind being discolored). This is a great way to keep harsh chemicals away from your food. Coffee grounds should not be used on porous material, however, as they can cause stains.
For this one you will need dry grounds. You can still utilize your used coffee grounds by drying them on a cookie sheet left outside for an hour or two on a sunny day, or in the oven (at a low temp for just a few minutes) if weather doesn’t permit.
Place dry grounds in a covered container that has holes in the top. (A mason jar with a few holes punched in the lid would be perfect.) This jar can be placed anywhere that tends to hold onto odors. You might try the refrigerator, near the garbage, in your son’s bedroom - you get the idea.
You may recall that at Christmas, my daughter gifted homemade soap . We used melt and pour goats-milk soap base and concocted fantastic scents using essential oils, coffee grounds, and herbs we found around the house. The coffee ground soap smelled particularly lovely and had the added benefit of providing an exfoliating scrub.
Fireplace Ash Cleanup
A fireplace adds an iconic coziness to a home on chilly days. I have fond memories of the wood-burning stove in my childhood home. I didn’t mind starting the fire, or adding logs, but cleaning out the ashes was a messy chore. If you find yourself needing to clean out a fireplace, hopefully you have some coffee grounds nearby. Simply scatter used coffee grounds (they should be slightly wet) over the ashes to weigh them down and prevent smoke clouds, resulting in easier ash removal and ultimately less mess – brilliant!
I am in awe of whoever created the “surprise” egg. Kids just cannot resist the lure of finding out what is inside, even if the surprise is a small plastic toy. Three years ago, I wrapped these surprise eggs in a vellum bag with shredded paper to look like grass in the bottom. And gave them away as party favors for my son’s birthday party. The kids LOVED them! How much you may wonder? Well, at my son’s birthday two weeks ago, I had one of the kids remind me about them and just how much he loved it! If you have ever purchased these little gems, you know that they come with a relatively hefty price tag. Fortunately, surprise eggs are easy enough to make at home. Using coffee grounds creates a “rock-like” appearance. Use this recipe from Skip to My Lou to create a batch for your favorite kiddos.
Naturally occurring acids and enzymes found in coffee make coffee grounds especially effective at tenderizing meat because those acids and enzymes break down muscle fibers and protein in the meat, which results in a softer texture. What’s more, coffee serves as a flavor enhancer for meat. Try adding coffee grounds to the dry rub recipe of your choice. Don’t have a favorite? Try this one. Dry rubs should be applied to the meat two hours before cooking.
Treat Furniture Scratches
There is no way to avoid it, wood gets scratched. While it is unavoidable, it sure is annoying! Those small scratches have a way of drawing your eye right to them. Coffee can help to blend the color, making the appearance more uniform. Carefully apply wet coffee grounds to a scratched area. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe off with a cloth. Continue this sequence until your wood returns to the rich brown color you desire. Be cautious and avoid unscratched areas to prevent uneven coloring.
OUTSIDE THE HOME
Uses for coffee grounds outside the home abound. For the instances listed here, you will want to use dry grounds. I mentioned earlier how to dry out used coffee grounds, but to prevent you from scrolling, here it is again. Spread grounds out on a tray, then place them outside on a sunny day. Alternatively, a few minutes spread out on a tray in the oven at low temp works too.
Bait Worm Food
Savvy fishermen are known to add a tablespoon or two of used coffee grounds to their fishing bait worms. They have found this helps to keep the worms alive longer, this shouldn’t be a surprise, as coffee grounds are food.
Interestingly enough, it is also commonly believed that fish, especially trout and bass, are attracted to the scent of coffee grounds.
As I already indicated, this is one use that I take advantage of regularly. It’s just so simple…providing you have a compost or vermicomposting bin of course. If you enjoy understanding the nitty gritty of how it all works, check out this explanation.
Typically, salt is the go-to product when one is looking for a de-icer. By lowering the freezing point of water and creating a point of friction, adding salt to the icy ground can make it easier to walk upon. If you live in a chilly locale, you may want to save up your coffee grounds. Similar to salt, nitrogen in the coffee serves as an ice-melter. Also, the grainy texture of the grounds increases friction thereby reducing the likelihood of a slip and fall. An added benefit: coffee grounds don’t pose environmental harm!
Enhance Plant Growth
Most coffee shops are happy to hand off their used coffee grounds free of charge and some even have them prepped in bags by the door for anyone to grab. Some, but not all, plants do well with coffee grounds sprinkled at their base on top of the soil. Try this on lily of the valley, blueberries, carrots, radishes, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and azaleas.
Repel Garden Pests (Slugs, Cats, and Rabbits)
I have probably offended a few of you by grouping cats and rabbits with slugs and referring to them all as pests. It’s not the animals themselves that I am suggesting need to be addressed, rather the consequences of their presence in gardens. Our vegetable garden provides nutritious goods that we love to share – with people. If you have ever grown vegetables, I am sure you can relate to the frustration of finding that an uninvited guest has left their mark in your garden. This simple solution requires very little effort. Sprinkle coffee grounds around the perimeter of your garden. This is a new idea for me, and one that I will be trying out this season!
While most people discard coffee grounds after each use, there are many ways to reuse them. Even after their initial use they remain nutrient dense, abrasive, and enjoyable. So, the next time you brew your coffee, consider repurposing the grounds and enjoying them a second time. Don’t waste the opportunity. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun, my husband’s Dad jokes must be rubbing off on me.)