Amazing Uses for Coffee Grounds

Three espresso portafilters lined up. One filled with beans, one filled with grounds, and the final one filled with a shot of espresso and milk designed to look like a tiny latte
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Three espresso portafilters lined up. One filled with beans, one filled with grounds, and the final one filled with a shot of espresso and milk designed to look like a tiny latte 

I don’t know about you, but I love the aroma from a new bag of coffee beans and the feel of a warm cup in my hands. I do find myself feeling a bit sad about the amount of grounds that can seem to go to waste. It seems such a shame that they should just be tossed, and thankfully they don’t need to be! Coffee grounds are one of the most versatile “trash” items you likely have in your home. They have so many wonderful uses! Here are just a few to get you started. (Be sure to let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any!)

1. Compost It!

Probably the easiest way to discard your used coffee grounds is to simply add it to your backyard compost pile or bin. This gives you coffee grounds new life and can help to balance the pH of your heap, especially if you’re adding egg shells. When I’m not using mine for other things, I add them to a countertop compost bin during the week and empty into my compost bin on trash nights.

2. Soil Amendment

Add coffee grounds to the soil to help boost acid loving plants, and acid tolerant plants like:

  • Azaleas
  • Beech Trees
  • Begonias
  • Daffodils
  • Dogwood Trees
  • Gardenias
  • Holly
  • Hydrangeas
  • Irises
  • Magnolia Trees
  • Marigolds
  • Rhododendrons
  • Roses

In addition to ornamental plants, coffee grounds can be supplemented to the soil for acid loving (& tolerant) food-bearing plants like:

  • Beans
  • Blueberry Bushes
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips

3. Bug Repellent

Sprinkling coffee grounds and mint around your home can help to deter pests from setting up a new home and may also help to drive existing ones out.

4. Pet Repellent

Adding coffee grounds to indoor plants may deter frisky pets from digging in them, if they are prone to that. It won’t work for all pets, but it’s worth a try!

5. Homemade Skincare

Add coffee grounds (especially those from espresso!) to your body washes and soaps for gentle exfoliation, heavenly smells, and a little boost of from the natural antioxidants.

6. Deodorizing Onion Hands

Have you ever cut up onion or garlic and had your hands smell like it into the next day? No matter how many times you washed them? One way to help remove those odors is to use a bit of fresh coffee grounds to scrub your hands while you soap up.

7. Deodorize Your Home

Use dried coffee grounds to create sachets (coffee filters are great for this!) Place them in smelly areas to help absorb and combat odors. If you’d like more power, try mixing in baking soda or your favorite essential oils.

8. Garbage Disposal Deodorizing

If you are on public sewer (don’t use this or anything that can cause a blockage down the road for septic users) you can put a tablespoon or two of coffee grounds into the sink, slowly run the water, and flip on the disposal.

9. Crafts

Coffee grounds can add fun color and texture to a variety of craft projects. Use them to dye fabrics and paper for an antiqued look, eggs, and more. Add to clay, dough, paints, and other mediums to bring fragrance and texture to kids’ crafts

Three espresso portafilters lined up. One filled with beans, one filled with grounds, and the final one filled with a shot of espresso and milk designed to look like a tiny latte. Over the image are the words "Amazing Uses for Coffee Grounds"

Amanda Hearn
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