25 Uses For Your Coffee Grounds

By Liesl Clark

25 Wondrous Things to do With Your Coffee Grounds. Photo © Liesl Clark

25 Wondrous Things to do With Your Coffee Grounds. Photo © Liesl Clark

We all love our coffee here in the Northwest, but where I live, on Bainbridge Island, we love our coffee grounds perhaps even more. No where else will you see farmers, home gardeners, landscapers, and vermiculturists fighting over the grounds produced by local cafes. Let’s face it, coffee grounds and plants go well together. I can assure you they’re all using them #2 and 3 below, as coffee grounds fertilizer and worm food, but the other 23 uses are worth looking into. Some might even surprise you:

1) Turn Your Hydrangeas Blue: Hydrangeas can be blue or purple depending upon your soil Ph. Acidic soil begets blue hydrangeas. Coffee grounds, when brewed, are acidic. Use them as a top dressing on the soil around your hydrangeas, making sure to scratch the coffee grounds into the soil and you’ll enjoy blue bursts of color.

2) Feed the Worms: We have a worm bin and those squirmies tend to thrive on 80% coffee grounds 10% eggshells and 10% dried leaves.

3) Coffee Grounds in Your Compost: Everyday, we use our coffee grounds as fertilizer. Most people put them in their compost along with their kitchen scraps. They’re a great source of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

4) Coffee Grounds Provide Shine to Your Hair: I haven’t tried it, but word is out that if you work some wet grounds into your hair they’ll help create a beautiful shine. They’ll also give you some great brunette highlights. Cover up the grays? Let us know.

5) Coffee Grounds Construction Play: This homeschooling family uses coffee grounds for play with small construction vehicles. The grounds are an interesting replacement for sand or dirt.

6) Coffee Grounds Abrasive Dish Scrub: Use grounds as your scrubbing agent for dirty dishes.

7) Deodorizer: If your freezer or fridge are smelly, put a bowl or 2 of dried coffee grounds in there and the grounds will absorb the odors. Add vanilla for a different scent.

8) Facial Scrub: Just apply slightly wet coffee grounds to your face and exfoliate. Coffee grounds are found in some skin care products.

9) Furniture Scratch Remover: Cover up furniture scratches by rubbing them down with wet coffee grounds that match your furniture’s color.

10) Easter Egg Dye: Dye your eggs with coffee grounds for a pretty rust brown color.

11) Ant Repellant: Ants don’t like coffee grounds. Sprinkle them along their path.

12) Coffee Grounds Body Scrub: Scrub them over your body as a gentle exfoliant.

13) Tool Cleaner: Coffee grounds can help clean up your tools as an abrasive rub and gunk remover.

14) Coffee Ground Fossils: Spoonful has a great tutorial for making cool fossils or pretty imprints with the kiddos.

15) Ice Remover: Use grounds to “salt” your icy sidewalks. Then take your shoes off before treading on your fancy carpets.

16) Dust Buster: Sprinkle over your fireplace ashes when cleaning them out to dampen down the ashes.

17) Seed Spacer: Add dried coffee grounds to your tiny seeds like carrot seeds when sowing as they help spread out your seed dispersal when doing it by hand.

18) Slug Repellant: Some slugs are reportedly coffee ground haters. Not ours. But I don’t want to deter you from trying to put a ring around your favorite slug-devoured plants. You don’t likely have enormous slugs like we do that’ll slime their way through a fire pit filled with ashes. They don’t call them banana slugs for nothin’.

19) Mosquito Larvae Killer: I can’t verify this one either but some people say if you pour some grounds into your puddles it’ll kill mosquito larvae. Hmmmm….kill? Doubt it.

20) Vintage Wood Stain: Here’s a simple wood stain recipe using coffee grounds. Good luck.

21) Cockroach Trap: This Old House has an interesting-looking coffee-bait roach trap for you.

22) Treasure Map Paper: Dip some blank white paper into a bowl or sink-full of grounds and some water. Pull it out and let it dry. Then have fun with your map-making.

23) Cat Repellant: Cats apparently don’t like coffee grounds so you can put them around your spots (like your sand box?) where you don’t want cats to, um, do what they do in dirt.

24) Meat Marinade: Add a teaspoon of coffee grounds to your steak marinade and impress your favorite coffee lover.

25) Secret Brownie Ingredient: If you’re the boss, add a few grounds to your brownies to give everyone (not for kids!) a boost at work.

Lastly but definitely our favorite, Grandma Inge’s best coffee grounds reuse tip is to put a bowl of grounds in the car to keep you (and the car) refreshed and perky throughout the day.

Now, if you have coffee bags to deal with, we’ve got reuses for them, too! Come visit our Trash Backwards app for great reuse ideas to green up your coffee habit even further:

Click Through For Coffee Bag Reuses at Trash Backwards!

Click Through For Coffee Bag Reuses at Trash Backwards!

And then there are those pesky coffee stirrers….

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Categories: DIY, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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17 Comments on “25 Uses For Your Coffee Grounds”

  1. March 22, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    Interesting! I produce waaaaaay too many coffee grounds, and living in a flat, I hope I don’t have any worm to feed. But I will definitely try some of these!

    Coffee grounds as body scrub are said to be especially good, better than any generic powder, because of the caffeine; only problem, I found they tend to clog the drain, so I’d advise to find some way to prevent it (I cover the drain with a cloth and use a wet cloth to wipe myself down, not just step under the shower).

    • March 22, 2013 at 2:24 am #

      Hi Amara: Yes, I was thinking to add a note saying to be sure to have a means to either dilute your coffee grounds (they’re apparently excellent drain cleaners, too) so you don’t get too many in your drain at once and clog it up. I like your approach! Thanks for commenting.
      — Liesl at Trash Backwards

  2. March 22, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Thank you for featuring our coffee grounds construction play. What a lovely site you have! Following you on Pinterest now.

    • March 22, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Hi Julie. Great to hear from you. We used to homeschool, too (and might again someday soon). I’m always impressed by the creative ideas coming from homeschool families — yours included.
      — Liesl at Trash Backwards

  3. March 22, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I never thought of using them for construction play. I’ll have to pass this idea on to my son. This list is a good one, I won’t be using it on my skin (can’t stand the smell of coffee) but I do want to start composting other people grounds for my garden beds.

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Wishing you success in finding more grounds from friends, Lois. Over here they’re a hot commodity!

      • March 22, 2013 at 11:13 am #

        They haven’t caught on around here. Most end up in the trash.

  4. AL
    March 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    I save all the grounds in a pickle bucket all winter long, then make a soup to cast the lot over my Blueberries 7 my Spruce & evergreen wind break, Bith are coming along nicely. wonderful ideas. Thx to my Niece for sharing!

    • March 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      I like the idea of making a “soup” of it so the grounds don’t smother your bushes so to speak. I’ve had troubles when adding them directly and I think it prevents water and oxygen from getting down to the roots. Great idea!

  5. AL
    March 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    My ow my the fat fingers were hopin……


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