How to Upcycle Used Coffee Grounds into Handmade Soap

How to Upcycle Used Coffee Grounds into Handmade Soap

How to Upcycle Used Coffee Grounds into Handmade Soap


Reusing old coffee grounds is a great way to reduce waste and get creative in the kitchen. Coffee grounds contain oils and acids that can help exfoliate and cleanse skin when added to handmade soap. Making your own soap with used coffee grounds is simple, inexpensive, and results in a natural, aromatic soap that lasts for months.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the entire process of upcycling used coffee grounds into handmade soap bars. We’ll cover:

  • Benefits of coffee ground soap
  • Ingredients and materials needed
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Tips for customizing your soap
  • Coffee ground soap recipes

So read on to learn everything you need to know to turn your morning ritual into a luxurious handmade soap!

Benefits of Coffee Ground Soap

Before we get into the how-to, let’s look at some of the top reasons to make your own coffee ground soap:

  • Exfoliating – The coarse texture of coffee grounds makes them a great natural exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells. This leaves skin feeling smooth and refreshed.

  • Deodorizing – Coffee grounds absorb odors. When added to soap, they help eliminate stubborn smells from your hands like garlic and fish.

  • Anti-inflammatory – Compounds in used coffee grounds are thought to reduce inflammation and redness of the skin. The caffeine may also improve blood circulation.

  • Moisturizing – Natural oils in coffee grounds provide moisture to nourish the skin as you wash.

  • Aromatic – Coffee ground soap retains the delicious aroma of fresh coffee for a truly invigorating cleansing experience.

So in summary, reusing coffee grounds in soap provides both practical skin benefits as well as a luxurious sensory experience!

Ingredients and Materials Needed

Making soap from scratch allows you to control exactly what goes into the finished product. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Base oils – This makes up the bulk of the soap. Common options are olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil.

  • Lye – Also called sodium hydroxide. This reactive compound saponifies the oils to create soap. Use caution when handling lye as it can cause burns.

  • Distilled water – Used to dissolve the lye. Tap water contains minerals that can react with lye.

  • Used coffee grounds – About 1-2 tablespoons per 1 pound of soap. Make sure grounds are completely dry before using.

  • Essential oils (optional) – For fragrance. Start with 0.5 oz oil per 1 pound of soap.


  • Digital scale – For precisely weighing out ingredients.

  • Thermometer – To monitor temperatures of lye-water and oils.

  • Safety goggles & gloves – For protection when working with lye.

  • Silicone molds – For shaping finished soap bars. Avoid metal molds which can react with soap.

  • Mixing bowls – Glass or stainless steel only. Avoid plastic which can melt with lye.

  • Immersion blender – For blending the soap mixture to trace.

  • Cheesecloth – For straining coffee grounds from oil infusion.

Now that we know what we need, let’s go over the steps!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps carefully to safely transform used coffee grounds into aromatic handmade soap:

Infuse the Oil

  1. Measure out the amount of base oil needed for your desired batch of soap. Olive, coconut, or a blend all work well.

  2. Gently heat the oil in a small saucepan or double boiler until warm but not simmering.

  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of used coffee grounds per 1 pound of oil.

  4. Allow the grounds to steep in the warm oil for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. The oil will take on a rich brown color.

  5. After infusion, strain oil through a cheesecloth to remove the grounds. Compost grounds if desired.

Make the Lye-Water Mixture

  1. Using your digital scale, carefully weigh out the amount of lye needed for your recipe.

  2. In a separate glass container, measure out the distilled water. Use a 1:1 ratio of lye to water.

  3. Slowly add the lye to the water and stir gently until fully dissolved. Never add water to lye!

  4. Allow this mixture to cool to around 100-110°F.

Combine and Blend

  1. With your thermometer, ensure the infused coffee oil and lye-water are between 95-110°F before combining.

  2. Slowly pour the lye-water into the oils, stirring constantly.

  3. Using your immersion blender, blend the mixture on low for 2-3 minutes until light tracing occurs.

  4. Increase blender speed to medium and blend for 3-5 more minutes until thick trace is reached. The batter should leave trails on the surface when drizzled.

  5. For added exfoliation, gently fold in a spoonful or two of fresh coffee grounds.

  6. At this point, you can add any essential oils for fragrance if desired.

Pour into Molds

  1. Carefully pour the traced soap batter into your silicone molds.

  2. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and evenly distribute. Gently tap the molds to release air bubbles.

  3. Set the filled molds aside and allow soap to fully saponify for 24-48 hours.

  4. Once hardened, remove soap from molds and cut into bars if needed.

  5. Allow bars to cure in a dry location for 4-6 weeks before use.

And that’s it – you now have a batch of homemade coffee ground soap! With some patience, you can transform used grounds into a handcrafted gift or bathroom staple.

Tips for Customizing Your Coffee Soap

One of the great things about making your own soap is that you can customize it however you like! Here are some variations to try:

  • Add coffee grounds to just part of the batch for a marbled swirl effect.

  • Use a combination of coffee and other saponified ingredients like oatmeal or clay.

  • Vary the types of coffee used – try grounds from espresso, French press, or your favorite roast.

  • Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder along with coffee grounds for a mocha scented soap.

  • Use different base oils like avocado, almond, or castor oil for a new skin feel.

  • Experiment with essential oil blends like coffee & vanilla or coffee & orange.

  • Create fun shapes by pouring into novelty molds like hearts, stars, or bars.

  • Decorate tops of cooled soap with whole coffee beans, grounds, or dried flowers.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and come up with your own signature soap recipes!

Coffee Ground Soap Recipes

To get you started, here are a couple specific coffee ground soap recipes to try:

Simple Coffee Soap

  • Oils: 38 oz olive oil, 12 oz coconut oil
  • Lye: 6.1 oz lye
  • Water: 15 oz distilled water
  • Coffee: 1-2 tbsp used coffee grounds

This easy beginner recipe uses just two base oils plus coffee grounds for a basic exfoliating soap.

“Wake Me Up” Coffee Soap

  • Oils: 24 oz olive oil, 21 oz coconut oil, 5 oz shea butter
  • Lye: 7.2 oz lye
  • Water: 18 oz distilled water
  • Coffee: 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee + 2 tbsp grounds
  • Essential oils: 1 tbsp vanilla + 1 tsp each orange & peppermint

This soap combines the exfoliating power of coffee grounds with a sweet, invigorating essential oil blend. The added liquid coffee provides extra aroma.


I hope this article has gotten you excited about the possibilities of upcycling used coffee grounds into handmade soap! With a bit of time and creativity, you can turn a morning ritual into a cabinets-full of customized bath products. Making your own soap allows you to control the ingredients, customize scents and textures, and reduce waste. Turn your kitchen into an aromatic coffeehouse spa.