Many people don’t think twice about throwing used coffee grounds in the trash. But even if you’re not a proponent of the zero-waste lifestyle, there are so many reasons not to waste coffee grounds – including lots of uses that can save you time & money!
If you’ve simply been wondering how to dispose of coffee grounds safely and effectively, without adding to the town’s landfill, you could simply throw them in the garden or in the compost. But if you’re asking yourself ‘can I reuse coffee grounds?’ then you’re in luck – we’ve rounded up a plethora of uses for spent coffee grounds. You’ll be amazed that you ever threw this little miracle worker away!
Let’s look at some of the best ways to recycle coffee grounds – that you may not have thought of before!
How to Reuse Coffee Grounds Around the House
Recycle Coffee Grounds in the Garden
Are coffee grounds good for plants? We’ve all heard those rumors that coffee grounds are good for the garden, but the truth is a little more complex. Both fresh and used coffee grounds can be beneficial to your garden, but that doesn’t mean you can just go around sprinkling them everywhere!
The trick is to know how to use coffee grounds for plants correctly, and for maximum benefit. Let’s dive into some of the best ways of using coffee grounds in the garden.
Coffee Grounds Compost
When creating compost at home, it’s important to create a balance between ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials. Green materials include wet or fresh things like food scraps, grass clippings, and weeds. Brown materials are dry & woody material such as leaves, woodchips, and sawdust. Coffee grounds count as green material – despite their appearance.
Adding coffee grounds to your compost helps with adding nitrogen to the mix, and helps the compost structure too, while not altering the pH.
Simply throw your coffee grounds in the compost bin – you can even toss used coffee filters in too!
Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer
Don’t have a compost? You can add used coffee grounds directly to your soil as a fertilizer. It can help improve the drainage and aeration of your soil and aid in attracting earthworms.
Which plants like coffee grounds?
When used in the above ways, all plants can benefit from coffee grounds. But what if you’re trying to find uses for unused coffee grounds?
Fresh coffee grounds are highly acidic – but this acidity neutralizes when you use them. If you want to use fresh coffee grounds in your garden, they’re best reserved for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, lilies, and hydrangeas. For these flowering plants, you can sprinkle freshly ground coffee directly onto the soil and work it in just a little.
Do Coffee Grounds Keep Cats Away?
Cats and coffee grounds don’t mix – they simply hate the smell! – and will go to great lengths to avoid it. This is great news if you’ve been looking for a safe and effective way to keep cats (your own or your neighbors) out of your vegetable garden.
Simply sprinkle used coffee grounds in and around the edge of your garden and cats should start to avoid that area. Do note though, that you’ll need to do this fairly regularly for it to stay effective.
How to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden to Ward Off Slugs & Snails
Slugs & snails can be a real hazard to your garden. Slugs will often decimate kitchen gardens as they eat leaves faster than they can grow back. Luckily using coffee grounds in your garden can ward off these pesky creatures!
Sprinkle used coffee grounds around your garden in a continuous line. When slugs or snails come into contact with the grounds they’ll quickly be repelled as they’re very sensitive to caffeine. The coffee grounds won’t kill the slugs and snails, but it will deter them. And it’s a much safer alternative than many store-bought solutions.
Recycle Coffee Grounds for Skin & Hair
Did you know there are several ways to reuse coffee grounds on your skin? While freshly ground coffee offers several benefits to your skin including protecting it from free radical damage and helping to keep it hydrated, spent coffee grounds can be used to create wonderful DIY face & body scrubs.
Try this cinnamon and coffee body scrub for a beautiful glow, or whip up an exfoliating face scrub which will leave your skin feeling amazing.
Used Coffee Ground Face Scrub
Recycling used coffee grounds for face scrubs is one of the best frugal beauty hacks out there! Simply mix 1/2 a cup of dried used coffee grounds (find out how to dry coffee grounds below) with 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of melted coconut oil. Add a few drops of vanilla extract and you’re done! It couldn’t be easier. Use all over your face & body, but be careful to avoid the delicate eye area.
Using Coffee Grounds in Your Hair
When thinking of uses for old coffee grounds, you probably won’t immediately think of your shower!
If you’ve made the switch to natural shampoo & conditioner already, chances are you may have a build-up of product residue that’s weighing your hair down. The cure? Grab a handful of spent coffee grounds and massage your hair and scalp before you shampoo.
Reuse Coffee Grounds to Deter Fleas and Ants
Coffee grounds are a natural deterrent for insects – including fleas and ants. Because of this, they make a natural and cost-efficient way to treat your pets and protect your home.
To use coffee grounds on dogs, simply rub used coffee grounds through their fur after shampooing. Make sure you rinse it off thoroughly though to ensure your dog doesn’t accidentally ingest any coffee.
Coffee grounds and ants don’t mix well either, so simply scatter some where ants enter the house, and they’ll promptly leave the building!
Coffee Grounds Deodorizer
Used coffee grounds absorb odor really well, so using them around the home to eliminate unwanted smells is an ideal way to recycle them.
Use them anywhere that smells occur, such as in your fridge or freezer. Simply place a container of used coffee grounds in your fridge to absorb odors from onions or leftover dinner.
Keep a container by the sink also as they can come in really handy for getting rid of lingering garlic and onion smells on your hands.
Coffee grounds for foot odor
Used coffee grounds don’t just work on kitchen smells, they work on body odors too. Sprinkle some in your shoes to absorb foot odor, or fill an old sock to hang in your shoe closet.
Used Coffee Grounds for Cleaning
The abrasive nature of spent coffee grounds makes it a whiz when trying to get rid of stubborn stains. Use it when your pots need a good scrub or to clean your grill. It makes a great alternative to commercial products and they even have antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them even better for use in your kitchen.
Don’t want to use Drain-O? Coffee grains make a fantastic alternative for cleaning out your clogged drains.
Used Coffee Coffee Grounds for Antiquing
You guessed it.. You can recycle coffee grounds when upcycling furniture too! Simply sand down your wood and use a sponge dipped in a paste of wet used coffee grounds to lightly color the wood with an antiqued tint, before applying a sealant or varnish coat.
This can make your old flea market furniture look like a unique and interesting find that was worth much more!
Final Notes for Coffee Recycling
So now you know many uses for used coffee grounds you have got no excuse to throw them in the trash! But there are a final few things you need to know when coffee waste recycling.
Do Coffee Grounds go Bad?
When making coffee, it’s always best to buy beans and grind it fresh every time you want to make a brew (find our favorite grinders here!). But failing that, you can store ground coffee in an airtight container for a couple of weeks without it going bad. If you want it to last longer, keep a small amount in an airtight container for daily use, and store the rest in a sealed container in the freezer.
How to dry Used Coffee Grounds
In order to use spent coffee grounds in face masks or as an ant deterrent, you’re going to need to dry them out first. There are a couple of ways to do this.
- Put the used coffee grounds on some newspaper and place it in the sun to dry out for 2-3 days.
- Put the spent coffee grounds on a baking sheet and place it in the oven at 200 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Storing your Used Coffee Grounds
If you’re not going to use your used coffee grounds immediately, dry them out first using one of the methods above, then place them in an airtight container. It helps to place some newspaper or a paper bag around the coffee, to wick away any last bits of moisture.
If you’ve dried your coffee grounds thoroughly, they can last many months when stored this way!