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17 Creative and Practical Uses For Coffee Grounds

Don’t throw away your coffee grounds before reading this list. Here are 17 smart uses for coffee grounds to give your beans a second life!
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Everything in this list has been tried and tested by me and they really do work wonders. As a coffee enthusiast, I love the smell of coffee, so number 17 is my personal favorite.

Each morning many of us brew our coffee and dispose of the leftover grounds giving no thought to it. The life cycle of coffee grounds doesn’t have to end after your last sip. 

Coffee grounds still contain a lot of nutrition after brewing. Using these ideas you can help yourself and the environment.

Keep reading to find out the many uses of coffee grounds.

What Are Some Uses For Coffee Grounds?

1. Make A Natural Body Scrub

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Give your body a boost with a coffee body scrub. Coffee grounds can be used as a natural exfoliant. They can be easily mixed into other scrubs to remove dead skin cells, bacteria, and unclog pores. [1]

Exfoliation can make the skin look brighter and feel silky smooth. The caffeine in the grounds has antioxidant properties which can reduce cell aging. It boosts levels of collagen and increases blood flow. [2, 3, 4]

To make a scrub mix 1 cup of coffee grounds with 1 cup of coconut oil or water. You can then rub the grounds into your skin to exfoliate or apply it as a face mask. Be sure to throw grounds away in the trash to avoid clogging your drains.

2. Scour Your Pots and Pans

Coffee grounds have an abrasive and acidic quality. It is extremely useful for getting rid of the burnt residue and grease left in your pans. Gone are the days of endless scrubbing!

Simply soak your pans for 30 minutes then rub coffee grounds gently onto the surface with a cloth. Avoid scrubbing nonstick pans or using a lot of force as this could damage your cookware.

3. Clean Smelly Hands

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Coffee grounds have an abrasive quality and can easily remove odors. Scrub your hands using a cup of coffee grounds with water. Say goodbye to the bad odors from strong-smelling foods such as fish or garlic. It will leave your hands with a coffee scent but that’s better than garlic! You can use soap after to remove the scent of coffee if you prefer.

4. Tenderize Meat

Coffee grounds are acidic and can break down the fibers in the meat to soften it before cooking. They can also be used to marinate meat or as a meat rub for a smoky flavor. Depending on the coffee beans used, the flavor can vary the intensity of the smoky flavor.

5. Coffee Bath Bombs

If you’re feeling stressed and low in energy, a coffee bath could be exactly what you need. The caffeine leftover in the coffee grounds can trigger your body to repair damaged cells.

Put a cup of coffee grounds in a cloth or any porous bag and tie it up. Place into the bath and relax. Feel free to add any fragrances or salts you like for a more relaxing experience.

6. Get Rid Of Dark Circles And Puffy Eyes

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Studies show that the caffeine in coffee grounds is proven to reduce the puffiness and dark circles around your eyes. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and stimulates blood flow. Apply damp coffee grounds around your eyes for 10 minutes. Wash them off once they have dried for a bright and refreshed look. [5, 6]

7. Make A Hair Rinse

If your hair is looking dull and unhealthy, a coffee ground rinse could be the solution. It can make your hair shinier and give a deeper, rich tone. 

Soak your hair in wet coffee grounds until completely covered. Wrap your hair up in a shower cap and let it dry. Once your hair is almost dry, rinse it out. Massage the grounds into your scalp. This can promote hair growth, prevent hair loss and remove any residue from hair products. [7, 8]

If you have lighter hair, don’t leave coffee grounds in for too long or it will temporarily darken your hair. [9]

8. Make Fertilizer

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Plants need potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus to grow. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen so can be used to produce healthier plants. Studies show that it can improve nutritional value and can reduce weeds. [10, 11]

Ensure you mix the coffee grounds with a regular fertilizer to balance their acidity. Coffee grounds can be great for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, etc. [12, 13]

9. Use For Compost

If you have excess fertilizer, coffee grounds are great to add to your compost. They can provide your plants with the nitrogen they need to thrive. 

They also attract earthworms which help to distribute all the nutrition from the coffee grounds through the soil. [14, 15]

Sprinkle the area around your plants with a layer of coffee grounds. As the grounds decompose they have been shown to reduce common fungal diseases from occurring. [16, 17]

10. Get Rid Of Bad Odors

Coffee grounds are naturally great odor absorbers. They have similar absorption qualities to baking soda and can easily get rid of any bad odors by pulling the sulfur into the grounds. [18, 19]

Place some dry coffee grounds in a tray or container and leave them to sit in a fridge or room overnight.

11. Tame Fireplace Ashes

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Fireplace dust can get everywhere and make a complete mess. Ensure the fire is fully out, then sprinkle some wet coffee grounds on top of fireplace ashes. This will weigh the dust particles down for an easy clean-up (your lungs will thank you).

12. Repair Furniture

If you have any damaged wooden furniture and you’re not a fan of the rustic look, coffee grounds can be used to stain the wood as a cover-up. 

Create a paste from your coffee grounds by mixing it with water. Rub it into the damaged area and let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it away. It is great for little scratches as it will provide a natural stain, this is usually better for darker stained woods.

13. Insect and Pest Repellant

Protect your plants against destructive garden pests. The smell of coffee and caffeine acts as a natural pesticide. You can burn dry coffee grounds to ward off insects or pests. It can also be sprinkled on the ground to keep slugs and ants away. [20, 21, 22]

Coffee grounds are acidic so beware when sprinkling near plants that favor alkaline soil. To apply directly to your plants you can create a spray. Soak coffee grounds in water overnight and strain the grounds out. This can deter caterpillars from eating your leaves.

14. Create A Natural Dye

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Coffee grounds can dye fabrics to different shades of brown. This depends on how much coffee is used or how long they are left to mix. It can be used to stain paper too and give your arts and crafts a vintage feel. [23]

15. Sidewalk Ice Melt

Use coffee grounds as grit on the sidewalk during the winter months to prevent any slips. It can help to melt some of the ice and add some traction.

16. Flea Removal

Get rid of the fleas on your furry friend with a coffee exfoliating session. Like the one for your skin, you’ll want to create a paste and massage it into their fur. The abrasion will rid your pup of fleas. Be sure your dog does not ingest any coffee grounds as they can be toxic and fatal.

17. Coffee Candles

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If you love the smell of coffee you can use your coffee grounds for some homemade candles. Melt some wax and mix with your coffee grounds, place a wick in the center and leave to harden. Experiment with different beans for different aromas. Turn any room into your very own coffee shop.

What To Do Next?

Coffee grounds have so many uses, their life cycle doesn’t have to stop after brewing your cup of coffee. Try some of these ideas out and make the most of your coffee grounds. Check out our guide on how fine to grind coffee beans.

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