Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. I drink 2-3 cups of coffee every day! After I’m done brewing coffee, I’m always left with used coffee grounds. Rather than throwing them directly in the trash, there are many ways to repurpose these grounds and use them around the house.
Fertilize Houseplants and Gardens
Used coffee grounds make an excellent fertilizer and soil amendment for houseplants and gardens. The grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other nutrients that plants need.
Here are some tips for using coffee grounds as fertilizer:
Mix grounds directly into the soil around your plants. This adds organic material and nutrients.
Make compost with the used grounds to create nutrient-rich soil.
Create coffee ground tea by steeping the grounds in water. Use this liquid to water plants. The nutrients will leach out into the water.
Sprinkle grounds around the base of acid-loving plants like tomatoes, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and roses. The grounds help acidify the soil.
Use grounds as a top dressing mulch in the garden to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
I like to save my used coffee grounds in a bin in the freezer. Then I can add them to my houseplants and garden beds whenever needed. The grounds really do wonders for the plants!
Used coffee grounds can help absorb odors inside your refrigerator. The grounds trap and neutralize smelly food odors that can linger in the fridge.
Here’s how I use them:
Place wet or dry grounds in a small bowl.
Put the bowl on a shelf inside the refrigerator.
Replace the grounds weekly.
You can also put used grounds into a mesh bag or cheesecloth sachet. Hang or set this inside the fridge to deodorize the space.
Scrub Pans and Dishes
Coffee grounds are mildly abrasive, so they work well for scrubbing pans and dishes. The grounds will help remove stuck-on foods without damaging surfaces.
To use them, make a paste by mixing grounds with a small amount of water. Use this paste and a sponge to gently scrub cookware and dishes. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
The grounds are safe for non-stick pans since they are soft and non-scratching. They also won’t hurt most plates, cups, or metal pots.
Used coffee grounds make an inexpensive exfoliant for your skin. The coarse texture helps slough off dead skin cells and reveal smoother skin underneath.
To make a body or face scrub:
Mix used grounds with coconut oil or olive oil to form a paste.
Gently massage the scrub onto your skin in circular motions.
Rinse off and pat dry.
This leaves my skin feeling super soft! I use a coffee scrub in the shower about once a week.
Dye Fabrics and Paper
Here’s a neat trick – you can use coffee grounds to naturally dye fabrics and paper a brown shade. This allows you to upcycle old clothing or make custom colored paper.
To dye with grounds:
Create a strong coffee extract by boiling grounds in water for 30 minutes. Strain out the grounds.
Add the fabric or paper and simmer until the desired shade is reached.
Rinse and allow to dry.
It may take some trial and error to achieve the exact hue you want. But it’s fun to experiment with different quantities of grounds, dyeing times, and materials.
If you’ve ever chopped onions, garlic, or fish, you know how lingering the smells can be on your hands. Used coffee grounds provide a quick solution:
Rub wet grounds vigorously onto your hands to help remove odors.
The grounds will act as a gentle scrubber.
The grounds neutralize and absorb the odors, leaving your hands fresh. I keep a small jar of used grounds next to the sink for this purpose.
Repel Insects and Pests
Placing used coffee grounds in problem areas can help repel some household pests naturally:
Ants hate the smell of coffee. Sprinkling grounds in ant trails or entry points prevents them from coming inside.
Slugs and snails dislike crawling over coffee grounds. Scatter some around your vegetable garden to protect plants.
Coffee grounds repel mosquitos when applied to your skin. Make a paste with water or coconut oil to apply topically.
The strong scent of the grounds deters these insects and pests. Reapply the grounds after rain or watering for ongoing protection.
As you can see, used coffee grounds have so many uses around the home! I try to be creative and find new ways to reuse the grounds instead of sending them to the landfill. With a little ingenuity, you can too. Let me know if you have any other ideas!