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10 Fun Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

Updated on May 19, 2017
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a simple living, frugal, DIY enthusiast who loves showing others how to live their best by embracing simplicity.

Bet you didn't know coffee had all these uses!

Fun and Useful Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Fun and Useful Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds | Source

Unusual Uses for Left Over Coffee and Grounds

Coffee has a wide variety of purposes besides just a morning pick-me-up. Coffee is excellent for the garden, for hair and skin, in recipes, and as a natural order absorber, and it can even be used in crafty DIY projects. What follows are ten fun and unusual ways to recycle your coffee grounds.

Get Crafty With Coffee!

Coffee Soap

Coffee is a great additive for soap. Not only is it a natural deodorizer, it also helps skin look brighter and younger when used as a gentle exfoliant. Grounds can be used as an additive to any soap recipe from old-fashioned hot process soap to easy melt-and-pour recipes. The end result will be a lovely caramel brown colored soap that is gently exfoliating. Use it in the kitchen to pull strong cooking odors like fish, onions, and garlic out of your hands. Use it a couple of times a week on the face to gently exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.

Natural Dye or Stain

Coffee makes a great natural dye. Soak grounds overnight in leftover coffee and add paper or white cloth to create an interesting “aged” effect for your craft project. I have even soaked unfinished wood in coffee for a few minutes to get a natural light stain and antiqued effect to the wood. Do not overdo this technique with wood! Wood can be ruined if completely saturated for long periods of time. Soaked coffee grounds give your projects a nice sepia toned appearance. The longer you soak your paper or fabric, the darker the color. With fabrics, it will fade with washing, so best to use on items like pillows, wall hangings, sachets or other items that won't be washed often.

Around the House

Polish Wood Work and Dark Wood Furniture

Soak used coffee grounds in leftover morning coffee grounds for a couple of hours to get a deep rich color. Strain the coffee through a filter into a glass. Add a tablespoon or two of the strained mixture to ¼ cup of olive oil or linseed oil, stir well and use this to polish wood furniture. We use this technique to revive our antique Walnut dining room set and staircase a couple of times per year.

Repair Wood Scratches

Make a paste with coffee grounds and a bit of light olive oil and rub gently into the scratch going with the grain of the wood. Allow to sit briefly before wiping off with a clean, lint free soft cloth. This works well for minor scratches and dings, is safe for the wood, and will save a great deal of money over commercial products.

A Natural Insect Repellent

Mix coffee grounds into garden soil before planting. Once plants are established mix more in around the plants to repel garden pests like slugs and snails while also giving nutrients to your plants. Coffee grounds also repel ants, so place them around the perimeter of the home and around the bases of cabinets to help prevent ants from coming in.

Room Deodorizer

Coffee will absorb odors in small rooms and is especially useful in closets and other small spaces. Place coffee grounds into a sachet made from old nylons or cheesecloth. Tie it off with a ribbon and hang it or simply place in drawers as a sachet.

Deodorize Pantries and the Refrigerator

Use coffee grounds in place of baking soda to deodorize the refrigerator, pantry, or other kitchen areas. Coffee absorbs odors very effectively and also repels some pests so it's great to keep on hand. In addition, you can also rub coffee grounds on your hands or on cutting boards after chopping stinky foods like fish or onions.

Restore Your Sense of Smell

Carry whole coffee beans in a small container in your purse while perfume shopping or take a quick sniff of coffee grounds at home to clear the air literally. This is very useful when the sinuses get tired while smelling many things at once. It instantly clears out the nasal passage and allows you to get a true scent. You can use this trick for cooking, perfume shopping, and picking the right candle fragrance.

The small business highlighted in the video above uses coffee grounds from cafés to produce mushroom growing kits. Apparently three pounds of used grounds grows 1 & 1/5 pounds of oyster mushrooms. Who knew?

Coffee as a Beauty Treatment

Cellulite Treatment

The one common ingredient most expensive anti-cellulite creams and treatments contain is caffeine. The caffeine works by plumping skin cells and reducing the cottage-cheese-like appearance of the skin. You can make your own very effective treatment inexpensively by adding coffee grounds to some melted coconut oil. Rub the mixture onto the skin in a circular motion for several minutes and then rinse it off. The skin will be moisturized and smoother in appearance. Coconut oil is also loaded with nutrients that are amazing for the skin so you get a double treatment with this recipe.

Hair and Scalp Treatment for Brunettes

This trick is for brunettes only as coffee will often stain the hair and scalp a bit. Rub coffee grounds into the scalp for a normalizing scalp treatment that will remove and prevent dandruff while improving circulation. This technique can help promote hair growth. Rinse the hair with coffee periodically to intensify color and enhance shine on dark brown or black hair.

What Fun Ways do You Reuse Coffee?

Do you have a fun use for coffee I haven't shared here? I'd love to know about it. I am always looking for clever ways to reuse and re-purpose things from our daily lives. Share your ideas below in the comments!

© 2012 Christin Sander

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      really? I have never thought coffee ground could be so useful

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Pamela, glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Pamela Bush profile image

      howtopam 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi there Christin S;

      Very informative hub on innovative uses for coffee grounds and whole beans. I do use my used coffee grounds in my garden soil as an ant repellent and in my refrigerator in place of baking soda to absorb unpleasant food odours. After reading your hub I will now attempt the coffee grounds use in other areas.

      Thank you

      howtopam

      Pamela

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comments ladies :) Coffee grounds make great compost and you can use them when you leave the garden also as a scrub to get the dirt off your hands and such and remove odors.

      Coffee soap is awesome Angela - you should make some or find someone who makes it to purchase it from. It's exfoliating and moisturizing and of course it smells like coffee :)

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Love Hubs with good, useable information such as this one. I love your "coffee soap" -- Best/Sis

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      ChristinS,

      Being that I am an addict, coffee of course, I had to check out this hub and I'm so glad I did. Great job! Even some of the things I had heard briefly before, you eleborated! I am going to be taking my grounds out to the garden this year for sure. I'm looking forward to seeing how much of a difference those "otherwise useless" grounds can make. Excellent hub.

      Voted up and Useful

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Stephanie - coffee soap is absolutely fabulous hope you get a chance to make some or buy it from someone.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      As an avid coffee drinker, I always have used coffee grounds around - great to know there are so many uses for them! I like the idea of making coffee scented soap! Voted up and useful and pinned!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comment and votes visionandfocus much appreciated :)

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 5 years ago from North York, Canada

      Wow, all we do with coffee grounds is put them in the fridge as a deodorizer. I had no idea they can be used in so many other ingenious ways. Will definitely try it on our wooden furniture and see if we can get rid of those little scratches. The soap is a great idea too, esp. in the kitchen as you say, to get rid of fish, garlic and onion smelly hands. What a great hub! Voted up and everything else!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the vote and comments cloverleaf - much appreciated. I will definitely give some to our poor pitiful rose bush. It's been a brutal summer here and a lot of our plants have paid the price for it.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great hub. Another great use for coffee grounds is roses. Rose plants love them. Voted up.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      @Roses - I agree for flowers. I was actually talking about growing veggies organically in straw bales. I wrote a hub on it you can check out - a very easy way to keep/maintain an organic veggie garden. Thanks for commenting :) (I agree some of the most beautiful flowers are considered "weeds" around here also)

      thanks for the comment idigwebsites - I appreciate it and glad you found them useful :) I love coffee in scrubs and soaps - makes the skin glow

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 5 years ago from United States

      Yes, I've been re-using those coffee grounds as a anti-cellulite bath scrub (on my thighs in particular), but I never knew that they have more uses than that. Thanks for sharing them! :)

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 5 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      I've never tried a straw bale. I kinda like weeds. Some of them have pretty flowers so I let them grow. The flowers we grow in our gardens all started as pretty weeds that we brought into our gardens and then "improved".

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comment OldRoses. I commend you on the organic gardening I go that route myself. Have you ever grown a straw bale garden? I found that helped immensely with keeping up with weeds and keeping bugs at bay. :)

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 5 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Great hub! I didn't know that coffee grounds had so many uses. I only use them in my garden. They add much needed nitrogen to the soil. I'm an organic gardener so I'm always looking for ways to fertilize my gardens without using petrochemicals.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Thelma, I appreciate the comment :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Great ideas! Thanks for sharing this useful hub. I´ll try the coffee grounds with olive oil for my old dark furnitures;-)

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Angelo - the ground is a good place to toss them in that case :)

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Lots of good ideas. I usually just toss the grounds on the ground, of my flower garden that is.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks ignugent17 for the comment and for voting it's much appreciated.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 5 years ago

      My husband is really a coffee drinker and I am happy to see all the uses of it. There is no waste if you know how to use it. Voted up and more.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Mama Kim I appreciate the vote and shares :) I've also heard you can use beer as a slug/snail poison also lol I haven't tried that though ;) . Coffee in the garden or as part of compost is indeed great for the plants.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      This is incredibly useful! I especially like the one about putting it in garden soil. I knew it was good for the plants but I didn't know it repelled snails! That is definitely something I need to do pronto! Voted up and shared!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for commenting ElleBee - coffee soap is wonderful. When I used to sell soap it was one of my best sellers. :)

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      These are really interesting! The coffee soap sounds cool. I just switched to a Keurig, so it sounds like this might be a good use of my remaining cofee grounds.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Tammy - I drink more than my fair share as well and love that you can do so many fun things with coffee.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      These are some excellent green tips for coffee grounds! I drink lots of coffee so I have lots of grounds. Very helpful!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you LadyLola as long as you have dark hair it should work fine. I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

    • LadyLola profile image

      Lanie Robinson 5 years ago from Canada

      I wonder if the coffee in the hair will work just as well on my dye job? If so I'll give it a try, I like nothing more than homemade, natural recipes. I like this interesting and funny article. Cheers!

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for the comment and the votes nikkiraeink much appreciated :)

    • nikkiraeink profile image

      nikkiraeink 5 years ago from So. Cal.

      Great hub! Voted up, awesome and interesting.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks so much for the vote suzette I appreciate it

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you ICarrie I appreciate the shares :) and coffee is the last thing I'd give up I love a cup in the morning

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Quite a unique article! I would have never thought of all these ways to use coffee grounds. Great ideas. Voted up!

    • ICarrie profile image

      Carrie Jones 5 years ago from Georgia

      Great Hub! Tweeted it and shared it on Facebook. So many interesting uses I had no idea. Thanks for the great info. Another reason not to give up my morning coffee.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Angela - I appreciate the info and the comment :)

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      I understand coffee grounds are very good to use in soil while planting gardenias (regular size or dwarf varieties) -- any plants that like acidic soil will like coffee. Great Hub -- thanks for the info! Best/Sis

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      lol drbj, yes it is ok to sniff from a safe distance ;) and it still works splendidly. In fact, some candle shops and other places keep coffee beans in containers behind the counter for this reason. :) Thanks for commenting I appreciate it.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Fascinating uses for coffee grounds, Christin. Thanks for sharing them. I like the idea of using coffee beans to clear your sinuses and restore your sense of smell. As long as one does not inhale too deeply. Else it might be embarrassing to explain that coffee bean stuck up your nose when you visit your favorite medical specialist. Just sayin'. :)

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for commenting blond logic. I have never heard that about making egg shells stronger :) interesting. Something to look into for sure.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      I use coffee grounds in the garden as well. I also was told that mixing just a few with the feed for geese, makes the egg shells stronger.

      Interesting ideas.

    • ICarrie profile image

      Carrie Jones 5 years ago from Georgia

      Another great hub! I hate wasting anything, so my coffee grounds always end up in the compost pile, but you have given me so many new options. Now I really have no excuse to throw out my grounds, but even better I have a few new justifications for drinking my morning coffee. I love it.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comment GiblinGirl - it is indeed multi-purpose :)

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Mhatter - glad you enjoyed it and found it useful.

    • GiblinGirl profile image

      GiblinGirl 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Wow - I had no idea coffee had so many uses. Thanks for sharing the info!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this useful information, a coffee drinker.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Glad you found it useful LEWMaxwell thanks for commenting :)

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 5 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Very useful information. Thanks for posting.

    • ChristinS profile image
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      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the vote up donnah75 I appreciate it :)

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I knew coffee grounds were good for the garden, but the rest of your tips were new. I am a huge coffee drinker, so I love these tips. Voted up.