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What to Do With Used Coffee Grounds

What to Do With Used Coffee Grounds

Clark Clark
7 minute read

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Coffee grounds can do much more than provide a good cup of coffee. We just need to think outside of the cup.

What are some ways to use coffee grounds? Coffee grounds can be used for:

  • Gardening
  • Self-care
  • Cooking
  • Household chores
  • Crafts

Grounding Your Grounds: Gardening With Coffee

You’ve probably heard of people using coffee grounds in their gardens. If you’ve ever wondered why, we’re here to get into the nitty-gritty.

Coffee as Fertilizer

Coffee grounds contain several minerals that can improve soil quality:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Used grounds have just enough acidity and prove beneficial to acid-loving plants such as:

  • Azaleas
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Hydrangeas 
  • Radishes
  • Roses

For any fungus fans, mushrooms LOVE coffee.

Compost Your Coffee

Coffee grounds and even coffee filters can improve your compost bin. Compost piles consist of 2 types of organic materials:

  1. Browns- twigs, dead leaves, straw, sawdust, paper, etc.
  2. Greens- grass clippings, food scraps, fruit peels, old coffee grounds, etc.

Browns are nitrogen-rich, while greens are carbon-rich. A ratio of 3 to 1 greens and browns works best to enrich the soil further.

Composting enables the soil to retain water and minerals better, making for healthier garden plants.

Repel Pests

Incorporating fresh coffee grounds into your yard or garden can help keep pests away. Caffeine acts as a natural repellent that keeps bugs at bay like ants, slugs, and snails. 

Spent coffee grounds can also deter cats who might be tempted to use mulch as a litter box.

Coffee grounds can also prevent skunks from becoming curious about your yard (and subsequently the dog). However, in the worst-case scenario, coffee grounds can help eliminate the skunk smell should Rover manage to get skunked.

Feed the Worms

Worms play a vital role in enhancing our soil. They increase aeration, improve soil structure, enhance drainage, and help with nutrient cycling.

Worms gravitate to gardens enriched with coffee grounds. Also, adding about a cup of grounds per week to your worm bin can help you optimize your composting efforts. For nature’s decomposers, coffee grounds are easy to consume, and they help with their digestion which is all-important for creating quality soil.

Prevent Fleas

Coffee grounds can be a good means of getting rid of fleas. Simply bathe your pet like normal with the additional steps of scrubbing with coffee grounds and rinsing.


We typically think of the coffee’s health benefits in terms of drinking it. Here are some ways coffee can benefit your body from the outside:

Make an Exfoliating Scrub

Because of the gritty nature of grounds, they make an excellent exfoliant. Add coffee grounds to coconut oil, and voila, you have a new means of creating smoother skin.

Pro Tip: Don’t use this scrub on your face or areas where your skin might be sensitive.

Fight the Appearance of Cellulite

Two compounds known for their ability to fight cellulite are caffeine and antioxidants, both of which are in coffee grounds. Caffeine can help tighten skin, while antioxidants can help ward off free radicals (which aid in cellulite formation).

Strip Hair Product

Many shampoos and conditioners leave behind residue that can cause product or dead skin buildup on the scalp. Once again, you can use coffee grounds to work out that buildup.

Household Chores with Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds keep on giving as they can come in handy for DIY projects around the house.

Scour Pots and Pans

Pots and pans are notoriously tricky to clean, especially if grease has been left for a time. Coffee grounds can be a great abrasive additive to scrub away the grime.

Deice in Winter

Though salt is the typical go-to for deicing, coffee grounds work similarly. Their high nitrogen content helps break down ice. In addition, the coarse texture helps with traction.

Deodorize the Fridge

We’ve all played the game, “find the smell in the refrigerator.” Once again, coffee grounds to the rescue. Coffee grounds act like baking soda and absorb foul smells. Just scoop grounds into a small, uncovered container, pop them in the fridge for a few days, and the smell should be eradicated.

Similarly, pouring coffee grounds into a stinky garbage disposal can help eliminate unwanted odors.

Clean the Fireplace

Yet another perk of coffee grounds is that they can cut down on smoke from a fireplace or fire pit. And the granular texture of grounds can help dislodge soot.

Cooking With Used Coffee Grounds

Not only does coffee make excellent beverages, but coffee also lends itself well to the culinary arts.

Meat Rubs

The acid and enzymes in coffee tenderize meat by breaking down tough muscle fibers. So, instead of physically breaking down fibers with exhausting pounding, let coffee do the heavy lifting. 

Savory Soups

Coffee grounds make a great addition to chili and hearty stews to help enrich the flavor. 

Chocolate Cake

If you’re a chocolate lover looking for further depth in terms of chocolate flavor, sprinkling coffee into the mix can actually accentuate the natural flavors of cocoa. This also applies to brownies.

Home-Brewed Beer

Naturally, darker beers like porters and stouts already have hints of coffee or chocolate flavors. If you’re into home brewing, consider coffee. You can add it at any point in the process: heating the extract, fermenting, or bottling. If you add coffee later, the flavor will likely be more concentrated.

Arts & Crafts

Brewing coffee has become an art form in and of itself. Check out these other ways you can creatively use coffee:

Stain Furniture

If your furniture has collected scratches or chips, coffee can help disguise those marks. Mix coffee grounds and water to create a paste. Then use a cotton swab to dab the mixture onto the unwanted scuffs. Allow it to dry. Repeat until you achieve the desired color.

Use as Natural Dye

Typical dyes contain oodles of harsh chemicals. Coffee is a great natural alternative. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a large bowl or pot with water and coffee grounds
  2. Put fabric in the bowl and stir (the longer you leave the fabric, the more pigment it will take from the coffee)
  3. Once you reach the hue you want, wring out the fabric
  4. Place dyed fabric in a bowl of fresh warm water with a few tablespoons of vinegar for 10 minutes (this will set the dye)

Go for an Antique Look

Coffee grounds make for a fun way to “age” paper to look like old letters or even a treasure map. Here’s how:

  1. Steep coffee grounds in a mug
  2. Place a sheet of paper on a tray or waterproof surface
  3. Use a sponge brush to coat the paper
  4. Allow paper to dry

Just like that, you’ll have paper that appears to be from the 18th century.

Make Coffee-Scented Candles

Few scents can rival coffee’s aroma. Adding fresh or used coffee grounds into melted candle wax will make for a more authentic scent than any store-bought candle could replicate.

So, what are the advantages of coffee grounds? The primary advantage of using coffee grounds is reducing waste. Coffee grounds don’t have to take up more space in landfills – they can be repurposed.

Additionally, using coffee grounds can be cost-effective. Fertilizers, skin-care products, and cleaning products can be expensive. In short, drinking coffee has the potential to save more than you spent on the coffee beans.

Interested in a new kind of coffee ground?

If you’re looking to get more out of your morning coffee while minimizing the acidity and bitterness, golden grounds are best! Try our variety pack today! 

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