7 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
By Amy Okafor
Call it a perk. A stimulus for your wallet. Don’t toss those old used coffee grounds — your fair-trade coffee can have a second (or more) use long after you’re done with your morning cup. We’re here to spill the beans on seven ways to reuse coffee grounds.
1. Face and Body Scrub
Those tiny grains of coffee are the perfect no-fuss, low-cost scrub for your body and face. You can make a DIY coffee scrub using ingredients in your kitchen. Some people claim the caffeine in the old grounds can help with cellulite, but one thing is certain. The abrasive, exfoliating nature of a homemade coffee scrub will leave you feeling brew-tiful, and like a work of art.
2. Garden Pest Control
Slugs and snails can wreak havoc in your garden, but your old coffee grounds can bring them to a grinding halt. The pests hate fresh coffee grounds, and the higher the caffeine content, the more the slimy creatures stay away.
Your old coffee grounds are a no-brainer for the compost bin. They provide nitrogen to your compost content. Use coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable leftovers and lawn clippings along with dry twigs, paper or hay. Over time, this recipe creates a rich soil amendment that will feed your Southern California native flowers or veggie gardens.
4. Food for Hydrangeas and Azaleas
Coffee grounds are pretty acidic, and while you don’t want to spread them indiscriminately around your garden, if you have acid-loving plants like hydrangeas and azaleas, coffee grounds are a good soil amendment. The leftovers from your morning cup of joe can give you healthy, thriving plants — if they’re the right kind of plants. Plants that hate acidic soil? Geraniums, and some varieties of lilies and irises.
5. Fix Furniture Scratches
If your furniture is stained a dark espresso or cherry wood color, coffee grounds will touch up any nicks or scratches that come with normal wear and tear. Don’t grind it into the surface of the wood. Instead, take a cotton swab and spread some of the rich, dark grounds onto the damage. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping it off. Repeat the process, if necessary.
6. Pot Scrubber
Why waste money on scouring pads? Take a fistful of coffee grounds and scrub your pots and pans hard. Use the abrasive action to grind off stains and burned or dried food off your metal pots, pans and other kitchen gadgets. The grounds can also help remove any lingering smells, and cut down on the number of kitchen chemicals you use. It’s just one of many ways you can use ingredients that are already in your kitchen to clean your pans.
7. Scent Freshener
Keep some of your used coffee grounds handy for when you’re chopping garlic or onions, or any other strong-scented ingredient. Scrubbing with coffee grounds afterward will eliminate lingering cooking odors and leave your hands smelling a latte better! You can also keep used coffee grounds in the refrigerator instead of a box of baking soda, to soak up food smells.
Coffee grounds are a good example of the saying, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Most people toss those grounds without a second thought. But you can put them to use in multiple ways that are good for your wallet, and eco-friendly too.
Amy Okafor loves a good landscape and seeks inspiration for the one in her backyard by visiting everyone she can in her travels. She writes about gardening and landscaping for a variety of local and national publications. She also admits to drinking way too much coffee.