I admit I am a great contributor to the creation of copious amounts of coffee grounds. So I looked into finding the many uses for my leftover coffee grounds. As it turns out, they can be used for a variety of cleaning, gardening and body care uses. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, you may want to check out your local coffee houses for their leftovers.
Uses for coffee in the home
1. Skip the toxic abrasive cleaners for pots and pans and use a handful of coffee grounds instead.
2. Scour non-porcelain sinks (stainless steel, concrete, cast iron, etc.) with coffee grounds.
3. Clean old food off dishes. Be aware not to use coffee grounds on materials that might be absorbent or porous, so you don’t end up with brown stains.
4. Scrub your grill or electric griddle.
5. Deodorize with coffee grounds. Place in a jar or dish to absorb odors from refrigerators and freezers.
6. Leave a dish of coffee grounds out to absorb smells in rooms that have an unpleasant odor.
7. Deodorize a car that may have had one too many fast-food items left in it.
8. Place a layer of grounds in your ashtrays to greatly reduce the stench of old cigarette butts.
9. Rub on hands to remove food prep odors.
10. Use wet grounds when cleaning your fire place or wood stove to keep the dust and ash from flying. You could use wet grounds for the same purpose in a pellet stove, very sparingly so the burn pot doesn't get clogged.
11. Use coffee grounds for natural ant control. Place dried grounds in the areas ants frequent. The smell is a deterrent.
12. Dye paper, fabrics, or other porous materials with a strong coffee solution.
13. Cover up scratches in wooden furniture. Dab a strong solution of coffee onto the scratch. Naturally, this works best on darker woods.
Uses for coffee in the garden
14. Apply coffee grounds as a non-toxic, fully degradable fertilizer -- a good source of nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals. While not all plants, such as tomatoes, love coffee, most are enriched by the added nutrients.
15. Coffee grounds are an excellent nutritional addition to compost.
16. Use as a non-toxic insecticide. Use a solution of coffee to spray your plants. The smell is too strong for most bugs. You’ll need to reapply after a rain.
17. Keep cats from digging and pooping in your garden with coffee grounds. Not only are cat feces bad for your plants, I personally hate the experience of accidentally scooping some up with my hands while gardening.
18. Use coffee grounds to deter slugs and snails. Both the smell and the abrasive surface help keep these pests out of the garden.
19. Add nutrients to acid-loving plants such as azaleas and roses. Simply pour any leftover coffee around the base of the plant.
20. Kill ants outdoors too (before they come indoors and invade your house). Just place grounds on the hills.
A word on worms: they love coffee as much as we do. Science suggests the bacterium which grows on the many-sided grounds is not only a food source, but adds grit to their diet, allowing them to digest better. Coffee-eating worms reproduce faster, which is great for oxygenating our gardens and compost. So, for the benefit of worms, you can:
21. Work grounds into the soil.
22. Place grounds in your compost.
23. Mix grounds and soil to help keep fishing bait alive longer.
24. Put your bait worms in moist coffee grounds to mask human odor.
Uses for coffee as a beauty aid
25. Rub grounds through hair and rinse to add softness and shine.
26. Add highlights to brown hair by soaking in coffee.
27. Use grounds as a facial scrub or mask.
So drink up and enjoy the many benefits that come even after your cup is empty.
Cris Carl is a Networx writer.
Updated January 25, 2018.