What’s your usual method for disposing of used coffee grounds? Does their destiny lie in the garbage disposal? The trash? Do you toss them out the window?
As it turns out, the coffee experience doesn’t have to end with the last sip of your mug. Those used coffee grounds are capable of an encore. They just keep giving and giving.
There are many things you can do with your used coffee grounds, but a lot of them are burdensome or unrealistic. We’re not interested in wasting your time, so we’ve narrowed this list down to just eight.
Our eight favorite uses of used coffee grounds are simple, practical, and rewarding. Check them out and put your used grounds back to work.
1. Repel Those Pests
A variety of bugs don’t like the intense acids and aromas of coffee grounds, even when they’ve been used to brew. There are a few ways you can use this to your advantage.
Keep ant colonies from venturing into your home by spreading a 1-2 inch thick line around vulnerable areas of your home. You’ll want to refresh that line with some fresh grounds every two weeks.
I was able to keep ants from coming into my kitchen for a week before the pest service could arrive in my last apartment. Worked like a charm.
You can also keep snails and slugs off your garden by spreading some grounds around. These guys are really not fond of coffee, so a thin line or gentle sprinkling will work.
Scare fleas off your pets with a coffee ground wash. Just make sure you do this outside - you don’t want fleas jumping all around your house in a frenzy!
These all-natural pest solutions are effective, inexpensive, and easy to implement.
2. Mix Body Scrub
The gritty texture and acidic content of coffee grounds cause them to be great exfoliators. With only a few simple ingredients, you can create your own body scrub.
Mix these items in your kitchen and store in a mason jar.
- 3T Used coffee grounds
- 1T Natural oil (coconut, grapeseed, almond)
- 1T brown sugar
We’ve done this a few times at my house and I can’t remember the last time I paid for an exfoliator. Sure, it doesn’t make my skin smell like sandalwood and mint, but it works well.
You can read about this recipe and others on StyleCaster.
3. Make Homemade Coffee Candles
If you enjoy candlemaking, you’ll love using coffee grounds as an ingredient. You’ll never want to use aromatic oils again - real used coffee grounds smell so much more authentic and look great when layered in candles.
As the candles burn down, the grounds become exposed and the heat releases the rich coffee aromas. Yum!
If you’ve never made candles before, this easy guide will get you started and show you how to use coffee grounds in your candles.
Image courtesy of House of Smilla.
4. Remove Hair Product Residue
Coffee grounds, thanks to their abrasive texture, are great at ridding your hair of sticky residues.
As much as the idea of natural shampoo and conditioners sounds great, the residues they often leave behind can kill the experience. Many people use apple cider vinegar to rinse them out, but it’s annoying to deal with.
It’s much easier to just keep a jar of coffee grounds next to your shower items. When you wash your hair, grab a few grounds and mix with your natural product. The residue will cling to the grounds instead of your hair!
5. Enrich Your Compost Bin Or Garden
Used coffee grounds make great additions to compost bins and gardens. They’re what the gardening world calls “green”, or very rich in nitrogen. Worms love nitrogen-rich soil, which means adding coffee grounds to your compost bin makes worms more likely to stick around.
Used grounds are also rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. This makes them a decent fertilizer. Spread them around your garden or rake them into the soil between seasons.
Just be careful not to add grounds to areas where you’re growing plants that could be damaged by a boost in soil acidity.
6. Touch Up Furniture Scratches
If you have furniture with dings or scuffs, there’s an easy fix!
Most solutions are expensive, difficult, and use toxic materials. Coffee grounds do the same thing without any of these downsides.
To fix those lightly-colored mishaps, grab a q-tip and your used coffee grounds. Pour a few drops of water on the grounds and dab the q-tip in the mixture.
Now, lightly dab the q-tip on the scuffed area and wait 5-10 minutes. Buff the area with a soft rag and see how it looks. Repeat the process if necessary.
7. Deodorize Everything
Coffee grounds like to soak up all the odors around them. This is why you should always keep coffee bags sealed shut - you don’t want your fresh beans to taste like anything other than delicious coffee.
Once you’ve used those beans, you can use this attribute to your advantage.
Put some dried used grounds in a shallow jar and place it in the back of your fridge. It won’t mask the odor of anything that severely spoils, but it’ll help keep things smelling fresh in there.
Toss a couple tablespoons of grounds down the drain, followed by two drops of soap and boiling water. This will break down the grease, clean the pipe, and reduce drain odors. Don’t do this more than a couple times per month though to avoid accidental clogging.
Image courtesy of Helping.
8. Save For Winter
If you live in an area where snow and ice are likely to pile up, keep your used coffee grounds for those storms. They make for a great de-icer!
Salt is the usual de-icer. It lowers the freezing point of water, causing snow and rain to be less likely to freeze. It also creates a point of friction, making it easier to walk.
Coffee grounds work in a similar way. Nitrogen is a known ice-melter, and used grounds are rich in nitrogen. They also provide touch points that increase friction and reduce your risk of slipping.
However, coffee grounds are “green” and don’t pose any environmental harm compared to salt. Save those grounds and sprinkle them along walking areas next Winter.
There are many ways to put used grounds to work at home, but these are among the best. These strategies are all-natural, non-toxic, and inexpensive.
But what do you do with the extra money you’re saving on exfoliators, pest toxins, and salt? Reinvest in better coffee, of course!
You’ve worked hard to be responsible with your used coffee grounds, so it’s time to reward yourself. Buy yourself coffee that’s richly flavorful, freshly roasted, and deeply satisfying.
Check out our JavaPresse Coffee Subscription. We send you freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans every other week that we’ve sourced from some of the world’s best coffee farms.
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