The Best Ideas for Used Coffee Grounds

Our customers frequently ask for ideas for using used coffee grounds. We researched and compiled a list of the Best Uses for Used Coffee Grounds and ways to dry out used coffee grounds and included some tips on how to store them!

Thank you, Dave Z, for suggesting the YahooLife list of uses for coffee grounds!

14 Best Uses for Used Coffee Grounds – from most suggested.

  1. The most suggested use for used coffee grounds is to repel insects and pestRepel Mosquitos and other insects with burning coffee grounds.s.
    • Ants and other bugs  – Some bugs don’t like coffee grounds’ intense acids and aromas. Spread a 1-inch thick line around areas where you see ants in your home. You’ll want to refresh that line with fresh grounds every two weeks.
    • Cats dislike the strong scent of coffee. Use coffee grounds to keep them out of flower beds! Keep cats out of flowerbeds with coffee grinds.
    • Mosquitos, flies, bees, and wasps – Several sources suggest burning coffee grounds to repel flies, mosquitos, bees, and wasps. Use dry coffee grounds. You can put them on a foil, a baking tray, or a clay pot to burn. Smoldering coffee grounds create smoke that repels mosquitos.
    • Slugs and snails– scattering coffee grounds around your plants helps create a barrier that slugs and snails do not like to crawl over.
  2. Use in a Garden. With Spring approaching, this is rather timely! Here are some ideas we gathered.
    • Coffee is great for composting. Some studies show composts comprising 40% coffee grounds produced minor greenhouse gasses and the highest quality compost. The grounds help to aerate the soil and add back certain nutrients (nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium) that are good for most plants.
    • Mike and Sue ( recycle plastic food containers during the growing season, dump their wet grounds into them, and then distribute them outside in their planting beds, around shrubs, etc.
    • You can put those grounds around some plants like;
      1. Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Camellias grow best with well-drained soil having a pH between 4.5 and 6 and a good amount of organic matter. In this case, the grounds add to the organic matter but are not acidic enough.
      2. Hydrangeas – several sources suggeSome sources say coffee grounds bring out vibrant blue in used coffee grounds will increase the acidity and bring out vibrant blue colors.
      3. If you love roses, try mixing a cup of grounds with a gallon of water and water them to lower the pH in the soil helping the nutrients get to the roots.
      4. Many sources suggest that worms are attracted to coffee grounds and are great for your garden.
      5. For veggie gardens, use grounds in the trowels with planting carrots and radishes for a greater yield of larger veggies! Tomatoes also love acidic soil! Try sprinkling a thin layer on top.
  3. Neutralize Odors
    • Garbage – Mike and Sue ( dump their grounds (once they are somewhat dry) in with their waste. Mike adds that coffee is an odorizer and absorbs other smells! Hence, one reason you do not want to leave fresh coffee beans/grounds exposed to air, they will absorb what is around them and get stale. Never put fresh beans or ground coffee in the fridge or freezer. That is an entire topic of conversation in itself. See our “How to Keep Your Coffee Fresh” article in our Coffee blog section.
    • Fridge or freezer – A container with used coffee grounds in your fridge or freezer will neutralize odors. Watch out for mold – change often.
    • Car, shoes, gym bag, drawers -Try filling old socks or pantyhose with coffee grounds and create portable air fresheners by tying them off.
    • Hands and feet – Use as a scrub after chopping garlic or onions or for stinky feet!
  4. Use as a natural dye.
    • Give fabrics and paper a vintage look with coffee grounds. Try using coffee grounds this Easter to dye your eggs.
  5. Cleaning scrub 
    • With the texture of coffee grounds being coarse, they are ideal for scrubbing hard-to-clean kitchen utensils. Scrape your dishes and scrub pots and pans that have caked-on food. Always rinse thoroughly! This is a nice alternative to cleaning with chemicals. Give caked on dishes a scrub with coffee grounds.NOTE: Do NOT use on porous material to avoid causing brown stains.
  6. Clean fireplace 
    • Removing ashes from a fireplace can be a real mess. Coffee grounds scattered over the ashes to weigh them down prevents smoke clouds from forming.
  7. Exfoliator
    • The coarseness of those coffee grounds is excellent as an exfoliating agent for removing dead cells and dirt from the skin. Use thoroughly dried grounds to avoid mold, and keep a scrub for a long time. Mix three tablespoons of caffeinated coffee grounds with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Store in a small mason jar. Use it to scrub your hands, face, and body. Due to the caffeine in coffee grounds, you can benefit from the antioxidant properties and increased blood flow, further protecting the skin from sun damage.
  8. Repair furniture scratches or make a stain.
    • Make a thick paste with water and coffee grounds and use it to hide scratches on darker wooden furniture. Using a cotton swab, rub the paste into the scratch and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes. Use a cotton rag to wipe it off. You may need to repeat this buffing process every few hours until your desired color is achieved.
    • Use as a stain – adding coffee grounds as a stain can cause a little lustrous darkening to the wood.
  9. Hair help -Stimulate hair growth, strip buildup, and shiny hair.
    • Note: Do not use on lighter hair like Blonde or Red, as coffee can stain. For people with dark hair, coffee grounds can remove residue from shampoos, hair products, and dead skin cells. The acids will help to soften your hair and add some shine! Some studies show that caffeine increases blood flow and helps with hair growth.
  10. Use for cooking
    • Coffee grounds added to meat rub helps tenderize and add flavor!Tenderizing meat helps break down muscle fibers and proteins. Since coffee contains natural enzymes and acids, it can be used as a meat tenderizer and enhance the flavor. You can even add used coffee grounds to your favorite dry-rub recipe.
    • For spills – Cover spills like olive or other oils with used coffee grounds and let it sit for five minutes. After the grounds soak up the oil, scoop them up and clean the area with a damp paper towel.
    • Flavoring for baked goods – Used grounds retain most of their coffee flavor, making them suitable for flavoring baked goods. Turn them into a homemade powder to add flavors to recipes.
  11. Coffee grounds can help with dark circles under eyes!Eyes – puffiness and under-eye circles
    • One of the first places signs of aging shows up is the delicate skin around the eyes which contains very little fat tissue. Because they have high caffeine and antioxidant properties, used coffee grounds can help prevent the appearance of aging and reduce under-eye circles. Create a paste by adding water or coconut oil to used coffee grounds and apply it under your eyes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and rinse well. You can repeat this process daily or as needed.
  12. Remove fleas from pets.
    • NOTE: Coffee grounds can be toxic to pets, do not let them ingest them. If your pet has fleas, shampoo and then try rubbing used grounds throughout your pet’s fur. Rinse them off thoroughly and dry them as usual. You may also notice extra softness and a shinier coat! This approach may be less effective than a prescription product. You may want to contact a vet to discuss alternative options.
  13. Fishing secret 
    • Fishermen have discovered a secret: worms kept in coffee grounds help them catch more fish! Now they know that fish, especially trout and bass, are attracted to the smell of coffee grounds.
  14. Beer Brewing
    • Add some coffee grounds when home brewing beer for added flavor!
    • Porter and stout beers often incorporate brewed coffee to add more depth to their flavors. Home brewers can use coffee grounds to do the same. Place coffee grounds in a muslin sack and steep in cold water for 24 hours. Then
    •  remove the grounds and add the cold brew you’ve just created to your beer.


How to dry out the coffee grounds:

  • Dry out your used coffee grounds in the sun. 
  • Place the coffee filter with grounds in a dehydrator tray (set temp to 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and turn it on for about 8 hours. 
  • Set your oven to 175 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the coffee grounds on a cookie sheet or old baking pan to “bake” out the moisture.
  • In a hurry and need to dry your used coffee grounds quickly? Place the used coffee grounds on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a cloth, then put in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and let cool before transferring to a paper bag.

How Do You Store Used Coffee Grounds So They Don’t Mold?

Store your used coffee grounds in airtight containers. An airtight container prevents the coffee beans from absorbing any new flavors from the container or anything else surrounding the beans. Additionally, it helps them keep an aroma from being released.

Sources used for this article:

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