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Bright Ideas · Green Living · Saving Money · Used Coffee Grounds? Here Are 20 Surprising Ways to Use Them
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Used Coffee Grounds? Here Are 20 Surprising Ways to Use Them

One man's old coffee grounds is another man's fertilizer! Discover the multitude of uses for coffee grounds here.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ve had plenty of practice making it at various jobs in the past. So when I ran across an article talking about the many uses of used coffee grounds, I was intrigued! Who knew that brown gunk was actually good for something?! 🙂

The average American consumes about 3 cups of coffee a day, which means there are a lot of used coffee grounds out there that are most likely getting dumped right in the trash! Before you throw them out, consider putting them to good use in one (or several) of the ways included below!

Where to Get Used Coffee Grounds? Just Ask!

  • Even if you’re not an avid coffee-drinker, you can usually get your hands on used coffee grounds easily just by asking!
  • Ask at your local coffee shop if they have any used grounds you could have.
  • Many shops, including several Starbucks locations, will happily give bags of used grounds to people who want to use them at home or in their gardens.

20 Uses For Coffee Grounds

1. Eliminate Odors

Spread coffee grounds out on a cookie sheet and allow them to dry, then put them in a bowl in your refrigerator or freezer to neutralize odors. (This also works well to get rid of mothball smells from closets or campers!)

Another useful way to utilize coffee grounds to eliminate odors is to make them into frozen tablets. Just drop one into your running garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh! (Visit the link below for more details.)

Related: How To Clean Your Garbage Disposal With Coffee Grounds

2. Remove Garlic Odor From Hands

Keep some coffee grounds in a small can under the sink. The next time you chop an onion or fresh garlic, scoop out a small amount of grounds, rub them over your hands, then rinse for odor-free hands and fingers.

3. Get Bigger Blooms

Coffee grounds are highly acidic, so spread them generously over the flower beds of acid loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and Hydrangeas, for amazing blooms!

4. Feed Your Compost Pile

Coffee grounds are loaded with phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and copper. They’re a tad acidic and as they degrade they release nitrogen which makes for especially rich compost.

5. Feed Seedlings

Give seedlings a nitrogen boost by stirring grounds into soil or a watering can.

6. Fertilize Your Garden

When planting carrot and radish seeds, mix them liberally with coffee grounds before you plant. You will double your harvest!

7. Repair Scratched Furniture

To disguise a small scratch or scuff mark on your furniture, mix 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Apply the mixture with a cotton swab or cotton ball, then wipe dry. (And as with most DIY repairs, it’s always a good idea to test in an inconspicuous area first.)

8. Clean Up Dirty Hands

Make your own gardener’s soap by melting a bar of glycerin soap and stirring in 1/3 cup of coffee grounds. Pour it back into a soap mold, let it set, then use to scrub and exfoliate dirty hands after a productive gardening session!

9. Trap Cockroaches

Fill a can or jar with an inch or two of moistened coffee grounds, then line the container’s neck with extra-sticky double-sided tape. The scent will draw cockroaches in and the tape will trap them.

10. Food For Worms

If you have a vermicomposting system at home (AKA a worm bin), add your coffee grounds to it! It’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while also producing liquid fertilizers and compost for your garden.

11. Kill Fleas

After shampooing your dog’s fur, rub 1 to 2 cups of coffee grounds into his fur and then rinse well. Not only will this help kill any fleas that may be hiding in his fur, but his fur will feel silky smooth afterward!

12. Deter Ants & Other Pests

Sprinkle old coffee grounds to help get rid of ants, or sprinkle them directly on ant hills themselves. Used grounds can also repel snails and slugs too.

Related: Getting Rid of Sugar Ants In Your House

13. Enhance The Flavor Of Chocolate And Chili

Adding instant coffee grounds or brewed coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate cakes and chili. Substitute strong coffee for some of the water in a recipe to give it a richer, bolder flavor.

14. Deter Cats From Your Garden

Mix used coffee grounds with chopped orange peels and sprinkle the mixture liberally around your garden and flowerbeds. The scent of coffee grounds and citrus will help deter your cat (and those around the neighborhood) from using your garden as their own private litter box.

15. Make An Acne-Fighting Mask

Coffee’s natural astringent and antioxidant properties make it a great DIY mask treatment, especially for those with acne-prone skin. Just mix your coffee grounds with enough milk to make a paste, then apply it and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rub the mixture gently for about a minute before rinsing clean.

16. Tenderize Meat

Add a tablespoon of fresh coffee grounds to your favorite meat marinade. The coffee will help tenderize the meat and give it a mild smoky flavor.

17. Add Shine To Darker Hair

Brunettes and darker redheads can turn up the shine in their hair by rinsing their hair with strong, cooled coffee. Or for a darker, more vibrant shine, steep used coffee grounds in 2 cups hot water for 15 minutes, then allow it to cool before rinsing your hair with it. (Not recommended for blonde hair.)

18. Fight Cellulite

Surprisingly enough, coffee is the main ingredient in many of those high-priced cellulite creams! To take advantage of those benefits at home, mix 1/4 cup of warm coffee grounds with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then apply the mixture liberally to areas of cellulite. Cover the area with plastic wrap and let it sit 10 minutes. Afterward, unwrap and shower as usual.

19. Revive Faded Dark Clothing

Are your darker clothes looking a little faded? Add a pot of freshly brewed coffee and the grounds you used to make it to your washing machine along with your brown and black clothing. The coffee will lightly stain the material to renew and revitalize the look of dark colors.

20. Make An Exfoliating Scrub

Coffee grounds make an excellent exfoliator for skin, and the caffeine in coffee help promote healthier, tighter skin. To make your own exfoliating scrub, add coconut oil, vitamin E oil, or jojoba oil to coffee grounds and rub it over your skin while in the shower.

Those little brown granules sure can do a lot more that just perk up your morning! I hope these prove as helpful to you as they have been to me!

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


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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