As a home roaster and coffee drinker, you probably have thrown out countless pounds of used coffee grounds after brewing your coffee throughout your life, but did you know there’s more than one use to them. Outside of making a delicious drink, used coffee grounds can do many things outside taking up space in your trash can.
From cleaning your dishes, infusing your homebrew, to acting as an all-natural insect repellant, used coffee grounds are Swiss-army like in the number of applications they are being used for; especially if you are into living in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.
Let’s delve into just some of the ways you can use your old coffee grounds once you’ve finished brewing up your morning cup of coffee.
Fertilizer for Your Garden
If you consider yourself a gardener, old coffee grounds make for excellent fertilizer. On top of absorbing heavy metals that can be present in the soil, the grounds contain many helpful chemicals that your plants and flowers will love such as nitrogen, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, and more. Veggies like carrots love old coffee grounds, as well as radishes, blueberries, and flowers like azaleas, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons.
If you garden at all, we wouldn’t be surprised if you also have a compost pile. In case you weren't aware, your old coffee grounds make an excellent addition to your compost pile. Not only that, but they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that occur during the natural breakdown that occurs in composting.
If you’re looking for an all-natural insect repellant for either mosquito season during the summer or perhaps when you’re outdoors, used coffee grounds make a great natural repellant as the coffee tree has evolved to naturally repel most insects. While it may not feel great, adding some used coffee grounds to an essential oil like lavender or lemon eucalyptus can create an all-natural repellant for most insects.
Flea Remover for Pets
In the same way, that coffee acts as a natural insect repellant for people, used coffee grounds can also work the same way for pets by repelling fleas and other insects such as ticks.
You may have noticed this already, but have you ever had a smelly garbage can and then dump out your grounds into the trash only for the smell to go away? The nitrogen present in used coffee grounds acts as a natural odor absorber and gets rid of that spoiled food smell. That being said, you can also use used coffee grounds to neutralize odors for other “smell-prone” areas like your gym bag or car.
All-Natural Cleaner and Body Scrub
Throw away your sponge, as your used coffee grounds are also an all-organic abrasive that can be used for tough, caked-on food stains for your pots and pans, or if you prefer, they can act as an exfoliate and remove dead skin cells as a body scrub. To make the body scrub, simply mix the grounds with equal parts water and coconut oil until it’s a thicker paste. Luckily, old coffee grounds have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, so rest assured you’re not just making your dishes or yourself dirtier!
If you like to fish, used coffee grounds make great worm chow to keep your bait alive, and this is just personal hand experience talking, but the trout seem to love the coffee-infused worm bait!
Natural Dye for DIY Projects
For the more crafty and artsy among us, recycle your grounds by using them to create an all-natural and organic dye to give your paper a vintage look and feel.
You could even use the natural dye within the grounds to help better conceal furniture scratches and scuffs, especially for wood furniture. To create this "concealer", make a thick paste of the used grounds and water in equal parts and apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the wood to absorb the bean’s color. If the wood stain is darker, keep applying the paste until you achieve the desired wood color.
De-Icer during Winter
A greener alternative to the damaging synthetic or natural rock salt sold during the winter months, used coffee grounds make a perfect and easy substitute for de-icers during the winter. The nitrogen in coffee helps melt the snow while the abrasive qualities act as traction similarly to salt.
Clean Your Fireplace with Them
For those lucky enough to have a fireplace in their house, before you throw away your used up coffee grounds, spread them around the burned ash to prevent ash clouds from forming during cleaning.
If you are a big fan of grilling steaks or barbecuing, adding your used coffee grounds to your dry rub recipe or overnight marinade can add an additional layer of flavor and make your meals that much more delicious. It also happens that the natural acids in the grounds also make your meats more tender.
For the homebrewer, adding some used coffee grounds to your homebrewed beer can help give it that extra flavor.
Hair Care and Growth
If your hair is thinning, or your scalp is a bit dry, massaging used coffee ground into your scalp before shampooing has been found to increase blood flow to the skin’s surface and also have been found to stimulate hair growth.
Similarly, to if you use your old coffee grounds for composting and fertilizer, the grounds also act as a great substrate for specifically growing mushrooms as grounds are both nutrient-dense and rich.
Treating Under Eyes Circles
For those with bags under their eyes, your used coffee grounds also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling and stimulate blood flow to the area. Like making the body scrub, apply to the area for around 10 minutes before rinsing the paste away.
Hopefully, you found this little listicle helpful in finding out some other, eco-friendly ways to reuse and recycle your coffee grounds outside of just making coffee. If you want to make sure you don’t have to throw away your grounds too early, be sure to know how to properly store them and with one of the storage containers we sell so you can keep your beans as fresh as possible.
From haircare to flavoring your food, to concealing furniture scratches, the uses that the humble coffee ground can do is just another reason why we at Coffee Bean Corral love coffee so much.