The Art of Coffee |April 9, 2024

20 Miraculous Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

In the modern world of reduce, reuse, recycle we have found all sorts of creative ways to be a bit more mindful of the impact that we leave on our world. From re-usable shopping bags, to shopping at farmer’s markets, to paperless utility bills, all of us are a little more conscious of better consumption habits. The great news is that used coffee grounds lend themselves to many uses that will have you wondering why you never considered how valuable they were.

First, I’d like to share a few really cool numbers with you.

According to The National Coffee Association, the average per person coffee consumption in the United States is 1,095 cups per person. Now that is an average, and it doesn’t stipulate the size of the cup, but it works out to about 3 cups a day.

Michigan is the highest coffee consumer in the USA, and Utah the lowest. 64% of the 40-59 age group drink coffee, the highest of any age group. Just 5 years ago (2019) 49% of consumers used drip machines, and 24% used pod machines. That number has gotten closer together every year since.

A pound of coffee makes about twenty-one 12-ounce cups, or forty-two 6-ounce cups if you are using a 16:1 ratio. So, this is going to be case by case, but if you drink one to two 12-ounce cups per day, you are consuming about a pound of coffee or so a month. If there is more than one coffee drinker in the household, multiply that by the number of drinkers. and voila a house of four coffee consumers is tossing nearly 48 pounds of used coffee grounds in the trash.

What if there was a way to use all of that in a multitude of beneficial ways? It turns out there is!!

20 Miraculous Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

1. In the Garden – Compost
Coffee grounds make exceptional compost. Rich in nitrogen and many essential nutrients, they hold moisture, smell good, and break down over time into rich soil. Collect your grounds in a 5-gallon bucket with a lid, and on the weekend, work it into your compost. Root-crops (carrots, potatoes, beets) especially love coffee grounds.

2. In the Garden – Pest Control
Generally speaking, insects do not like coffee grounds. Caffeine is a pest toxin in nature, and even used coffee grounds contain some caffeine. Coffee grinds are abrasive and slugs and snails don’t enjoy riding over the grounds. Other insects like fleas, fruit flies and such dislike the acids in coffee grounds.

3. In the Garden – Worm Food
Many insects don’t like coffee grounds but worms love it. It is everything they need and they absolutely thrive in earth mixed with coffee grounds. It will attract worms in your compost but if you do vermiculture separately, adding used coffee grounds to your kitchen waste is a perfect way to keep the worms happy and reproducing.

4. In the Garden – Cat Control
Many people talk about neighborhood cats that use their flower beds as litter boxes. If you are having this problem, save your coffee grounds for about a month, ask your close friends for their coffee grounds as well, and then spread it gently just at the surface throughout your flower beds. Many people report that the cats do not like this scent and go elsewhere for digestive relief.

5. Around the House – Odor Control
Coffee grounds have an amazing ability to absorb moisture, and as a result odor. If you save your used grounds in plastic containers, allow them to dry out, but if you are dealing with pet vomit, oil spills, fireplace cleaning, and even carpet odors, sprinkle the dry, used grounds over the affected area and let it sit for a bit. Then clean and wipe and the odor will leave with the coffee grounds.

6. Around the House – Houseplants
Just like your outdoor garden, most houseplants love a little coffee grounds mixed into the dirt. That dirt will hold onto the moisture longer and release slower with the added benefits of life-giving nutrients slowing breaking down into the pot.

7. Around the House – De-icer
If you live in a snow/icy environment, coffee grounds have been used for years as a de-icer and for added traction. Sprinkle your dry used grounds on entrance walkways, driveways, paths, and anywhere where humans walk for more sure-footed and less slick ingress and egress.

8. Around the House – Wooden Furniture Scratch Repair
After drying your coffee grounds, you may want to regrind into a very fine expresso-like powder.
Mix with hot water and make a thick coffee paste. Using a Q-Tip or cotton swab, dip in the paste and rub the scratch several times. Let it dry and the scratch will be hardly noticeable.

9. Around the House – Heavy Hand Cleaner – Degreaser
When you are working on the car or in the garden and your hands are stained with grime, those store-bought soaps can be expensive and even a little bit irritating. Try this recipe and let me know if it isn’t the best thing you have ever used. Combine 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of dry, used coffee grounds, ½ cup of fine sand, and  ½ cup of dawn dishwashing soap. Add water little by little to make a thick paste. Rub and rinse!

10. Around the House – Refrigerator Odor Control
Usually, we put an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge to absorb odors. Used coffee grounds in an open container will do the same thing. If you want to get really creative mix a half cup each of baking soda, dry, used coffee grounds, and 5-10 crushed bay leaves and return to the baking soda box. Your refrigerator will smell amazing!

11. Around the House – Life extender for Cut Flowers
If you are given fresh-cut flowers for a special occasion, it is always a challenge to get them to stay alive as long as possible. Next time, add 2 Tablespoons of dry, used coffee grounds to the water in the vase and then put in the flowers. Change the water and repeat this process every 2 days.

12. Around the House – Cleaner
If you are polishing garden tools, or cleaning tough stains on almost anything, add a scoop of dry, used coffee grounds to the soap and water you are using and it will help as an abrasive. Keep working the coffee grounds into the residue or stain and scrub it vigorously without worry of damage.

13. Camping – Camping Cleaner
Just as above, when you are camping, add the morning coffee grounds to your pots and pans and you will be amazed at fast and how clean they get! Scrub, rinse, dry.

14. Camping – Outdoor Mosquito Repellant
Take your morning coffee grounds, dry them in the sun in the day-time, and then cook them in your frying pan to a really dark (almost) burnt level. This will get the oil to come out. Mound them up on a piece of foil, and sprinkle lightly with lighter fluid or oil. Place around the campsite. Light it up. Those annoying pests dislike the odor of burning coffee and will lose their appetite for you.

15. Health & Beauty – Puffy Eyes
If you have really sensitive skin, be careful about this one, but many online influencers claim success with the following recipe. They take finely ground coffee grounds (many say it’s more effective to use fresh grounds, but if so please don’t use 100% Kona Coffee) Mix ¼ cup of grounds with ¼ cup of organic coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of raw honey and a couple of sprinkles of black pepper. Mix it into a heavy paste and let cool in the refrigerator. Apply directly to the dark areas under the eyes.

16. Health & Beauty – Shampoo / Scalp Revitalization
You can find many videos on YouTube claiming that mixing in used or fresh coffee grounds with shampoo and water and lathering it into your scalp for 5-10 minutes and then rinsing produce super clean hair, but also a revitalized scalp, promotion of hair growth, and better overall scalp health.

17. Health & Beauty – Body Scrub / Exfoliant
You are going to mix the following and keep them in a plastic jar (with a lid) in your shower.
½ cup of MCT Oil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and ¼ cup of finely ground used coffee grounds, a few drops of peppermint essential oil or peppermint extract.
This will have a thick consistency and take out a small amount and use it like you would a regular body scrub. Your skin is going to feel fresh and rejuvenated.

18. Random Fun – Coffee Candles
Look for these recipes online. Find an old coffee mug you don’t need. Drop some whole coffee beans in the bottom. Melt soy wax flakes and a couple of table spoons of dried, used coffee grounds and melt on a double boiler, place the wick and while holding it upright add the wax to the mug. Add a few more whole beans for looks and allow to dry and harden.

19. Random Fun – Aged Document Homework Assignment
If your child comes home and says they need to “date” a document, a treasure map, create a history piece, a Journal, don’t forget the used coffee grounds. Make different strengths of water to grounds from light to dark and begin to soak the edges of the paper, use paints brushes etc, and you will have an amazingly aged document.

20. Random Fun – Coffee Logs
Now this is pretty involved, and I’m not sure why you would, but if you are one of those DIY, never waste anything kind of people, you can make your own coffee logs with coffee grounds, sawdust, and paper. Click here for the full video. 

So, there you have it! Lots of fun and exciting things to try with your used or expired coffee grounds. If you have additional ideas or unique recipes please share in the comments!

2 thoughts on “20 Miraculous Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

  1. Janis Madias says:

    most informative & I have always sprinkled coffee grounds on my tomatoes & garden.
    Can you reuse coffee grounds for an extra pot?

  2. Matt Carter says:

    Not recommended. I know some people do it but reusing grounds to make another pot
    outside of wartime rationing has no merits.

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