According to an article published by the Independent, Brits drink 95 million cups of coffee per day, with 65% doing so at home. So if you’re one of those who drinks coffee at home, what are you doing with your leftover coffee grounds?
Hopefully you’re not pouring them down the drain, because as we discussed in our post on how to use a French press, that will only lead to blocked pipes! Next time you’re enjoying your brew and wondering about what to do with old coffee grounds, perhaps consider some of the following creative ideas.
#1 Fertilize Your Garden
We’re often asked, are coffee grounds good for the garden? The answer is yes. Coffee grounds are rich in nutrients, including nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, making them a pretty great option for fertilising and enriching your soil for plant growth (especially tomato plants).
If there are heavy metals in your soil, the coffee grounds can help absorb them as well, which will help your plants flourish. All you need to do is sprinkle the leftover coffee grounds around your plants and they will act as a fertiliser.
Linked with the first point, composting is a great way to treat soil and replenish its nutrients. All you need to do is simply add the leftover coffee grounds to your compost bin, and then wait for everything to decompose. Once that happens, you can use the compost to further enrich and fertilise your garden.
#3 Eliminate Odours
We all know how good a fresh cup of coffee smells. And while leftover coffee grounds might not smell the same, they can help eliminate odours. That’s because they contain nitrogen, which gets rid of foul-smelling sulphur from the air when combined with carbon.
If you want to create portable air fresheners, simply fill and seal cloth sachets with coffee grounds. You can use the sachets in shoes or gym bags, under car seats, in your bedroom drawers or fridge or garbage bin – anywhere you need to deodorise.
#4 Go Fish
If you love to fish, you know worms are great bait. With coffee grounds and some aged horse manure, you can make a thriving worm bed (also known as a worm bin). The worms can be used when you go fishing, and they can also be used to treat your garden– as they help improve soil structure, water movement, plant growth and nutrient replenishment.
#5 Repel Insects
Coffee grounds can smell quite potent, especially when burnt, and have been found to be effective at repelling insects like mosquitoes, fruit flies and beetles. All you need to do is fill bowls with coffee grounds and leave them wherever you’d like to repel insects – such as outdoor seating areas. You could also burn the coffee grounds as you would incense.
#6 Use As A Cleaning Abrasive
If your pots and pans are rusty, or have stubborn caked-on food, then you can use coffee grounds to help get them clean again. All you need to do is add some rough coffee grounds to a rag and then use them as an abrasive.
This is a great idea for cast-iron or stainless-steel cookware, though we suggest you avoid doing this with dishes that stain easily.
#7 Dye Materials
Coffee grounds, when wet, give off a very beautiful golden colour. They are the perfect alternative to traditional dyes, and are also non-toxic. Simply wet them again and use them to dye paper, fabric or whatever materials you are looking to colour. They can even be used to deepen the colour of dark hair.
#8 Repel Fleas
Are fleas bugging your pet? Fleas are repelled by coffee, so much so that the grounds can even be used to treat an ongoing infestation. Either mix the coffee grounds with your pet shampoo before scrubbing your pet (taking care to avoid getting the mixture in your pet’s eyes), or you can bathe your pet and use the grounds to scrub their fur. Make sure to give your pet a rinse before allowing them to dry off and enjoy being free of fleas!
#9 Enhance Flavours
Coffee grounds can be used as a dry rub to tenderise meat and give it a rich, smoky flavour. Plus, once cooked, the grounds form a dark, crispy crust. For the perfect dry rub, add a spoonful of used coffee grounds to your favourite rub recipe, and apply the rub mixture to the meat 2 to 3 hours before cooking. Alternatively, you can use the coffee grounds mixture to marinate meat in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking.
#10 Clear Up Acne
Coffee grounds don’t dissolve in water. This combined with their coarse texture make them a perfect exfoliant. They can be used to scrub away dead skin cells to improve circulation and rejuvenate your skin.
Simply mix the coffee grounds with a bit of water or coconut oil and then scrub away! Make sure to rinse it off when done for lovely, glowing skin.
#11 Wash Your Hair
Coffee hair treatments have grown in popularity in recent years. And with coffee grounds, you can exfoliate your scalp to remove build-up and dead skin cells. Before you shampoo, simply grab a handful of coffee grounds and massage them into your scalp and hair for a few minutes, then wash and rinse as you normally would. This can also help promote softer and shinier hair.
#12 Fight Cellulite
Plenty of beauty stores endorse the use of coffee grounds to completely eliminate cellulite, though sadly this is not quite true. What is true is that you can use a coffee grounds scrub to help plump up skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite, albeit temporarily (roughly a few days to a week). That’s still pretty handy to know, especially if you’re self-conscious about cellulite and have a beach trip planned.
Coffee grounds can also be used in homemade soaps to add a great aroma and a gentle exfoliant for your skin. Not convinced? Try a creamy coffee soap bar like this one to see how delectable this idea could be, before you have a go at making your own.
#13 Make Homemade Scented Candles
If you enjoy arts and crafts, then you can always use your leftover coffee grounds to make scented candles.
Here are some basic instructions on how to do this:
- Select a glass or mug for the candle.
- Add a drop of superglue to the bottom of a candle wick (which is longer than the height of the glass or mug), and then glue the wick inside the mug, to the centre of the base.
- Melt roughly 300 grams of wax in a pan on medium to high heat.
- Add a tablespoon or two of coffee grounds evenly across the melted wax.
- Once the wax has fully melted, pour it into the mug while keeping the wick standing straight up. And that’s it, you’re done!
As you can see, there are plenty of creative and useful ideas for what to do with coffee grounds. Please let us know if there’s something you do with your leftover coffee grounds that we didn’t mention here – we’d love to add to the list! In the meantime, when you’re next wondering what to do with old coffee grounds, make sure you try out one of the ideas in this article.