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25+ Things You Should do with Your Used Coffee Grounds

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So you've finished making your cold brew, and now you've got a large mound of coffee grounds. What do you do now?

Should you throw your spent coffee grounds into the garbage disposal, bury them in the yard, toss them in the trash?

You might be surprised to learn that your coffee grounds may have more life in them.

While you can do tons of things with coffee grounds, we want to give you some practical applications for your used coffee grounds.

Make Hot Coffee from Used Cold Brew Coffee Grounds

Making cold brew relies on deep immersion, the cool drip of water, or the rapid agitation of one of those high-tech machines. The result is a deliciously strong batch of cold brew concentrate (in most cases).

Still, you may be able to squeeze a little more life out of your used coffee grounds by brewing some hot coffee with them.

There are some things to keep in mind with secondary brewing:

  1. Do you really need hot coffee with all that cold brew?
  2. Are you prepared for a less jittery cup?
  3. Are you ok with bitter flavors?

Why is this practical?

There are many reasons you might want the taste of coffee but want to forgo the caffeine. While this is not considered decaf, it will certainly taste better than most decaf varieties you find in the store. Brew yourself a cup after dinner with a side of pie or something sweet.

You don't need fresh grounds in hot coffee in recipes.

Some recipes call for coffee grounds or flavorings, such as tiramisu or coffee cake. Suppose you want the flavor of coffee without the high caffeine content. In that case, you can use your secondary brew or the used coffee grounds in recipes that call for coffee.

Used Coffee Grounds as a Rub to Tenderize Meat

If you were under the impression that a good cut of meat only pairs with wine, let me tell you a secret many steak enthusiasts flock to coffee grounds. This is because coffee grounds work great in rubs for better-tasting, tenderized meat.

You see, the reason wine pairs so well with fatty meats like steak is because of the tannin content, which coats your mouth and allows you to truly enjoy the richness that comes from the fats contained in the meat.

Coffee grounds, especially those made via cold brew, contain a similar tannin profile due to the acidic nature of coffee beans.

As a result, your used coffee grounds have loads of flavor-amplifying acidity locked within.

The best part is, you can repurpose your used grounds on practically any cut of meat. Still, you'll experience a softer, moisture-rich flavor on a steak. Try it for yourself! You can also use your spent coffee grounds to clean up afterward.

Scour Your Pots and Pans

Got some caked-on food that just won't budge? Tired of ruining all of your cleaning sponges on dirty pans? Give these coffee grounds tricks a try.

Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of old coffee grounds to warm, soapy water and use a soft sponge to tackle hard-to-clean pots and pans. Since coffee is a natural degreaser, you'll have spotless pots and pans in no time at all.

Deep Clean your Oven and Grill

All you have to do is soak your grill grates from the oven or grill in a hot water bath with 3 teaspoons of used coffee grounds for up to 1 hour. The built-up stains will come right off.

Used or Fresh Coffee Grounds Neutralize Odors

When completely dried, you can use old coffee grounds to absorb bad-smelling odors from garbage, rotten food, even cigarette smoke.

You see, coffee grounds are good at absorbing odors because their nitrogen acts as a filter for bad smells. So simply leave a jar of dried coffee grounds in the corner of any room with foul odors, and allow some time for them to get to work.

Fresh coffee grounds are more potent as a deodorizer. Still, they don't waste fresh coffee grounds when you can use coffee grounds that you've already enjoyed.

Deodorize Fridge

An excellent place for your coffee deodorizer is in the fridge. Like baking soda, dry coffee grounds absorb odors.

All you need to do is spread your wet coffee grounds on a baking sheet and allow time for them to dry. Then, place them in a jar with a cloth-covered lid to prevent spills, and replace them after 2 weeks or when you notice new smells.

Make Home Made Coffee Candles

There are many ways to deodorize smells from your home, but one of the ways I enjoy most is to add my used coffee grounds to candle wax for DIY coffee candles. Here is how to make them.

Coffee Candle

Materials

  • An old coffee mug or votive.
  • Some unscented candle wax
  • 1 candle wick
  • A funnel
  • A heating source to melt the wax
  • A butter knife or spoon
  • 1 tbsp. used coffee grounds

Prep Information

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Project time: 1 to 2 hours

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Thoroughly clean your coffee mug or votive candle holder.
  2. Heat up and melt the unscented candle.
  3. Once melted, remove the wick, cool the wax on it, and set it aside.
  4. Place the wick in the center of the coffee mug and pour a small layer of wax into it using your funnel.

    Use the straight end of your spoon or knife to hold the wick's bottom plate in place.

    Allow it to cool and lightly harden before removing the spoon/knife.
  5. Sprinkle coffee grounds into the mug to lightly coat the wax layer.
  6. Add grounds to the wax mixture and stir with your knife or spoon.
  7. Pour the rest of your wax/used grounds mixture into the mug and allow it to cool with the wick standing wholly upright and centered.
  8. It is ready to use once fully hardened.

Repel Insects and Pests

Due to the potency of coffee grounds, you can also use your coffee candle to repel insects. The EPA suggests that burning coffee grounds is a potent way to dissuade would-be pests from bothering you while you enjoy the outdoors.

Note: You need a lot of grounds mixed into candle wax for this to be effective.

Create a Mosquito Barrier

A better solution, in fact, is to place coffee grounds (dried is best) in an aluminum foil pie plate. Then, lightly coat them with lighter fluid (do not drench, or they'll burn too quickly), and light them from far away using a grill lighter.

The idea is that the smoke created from burning these grounds will deter insects, like mosquitos, from hovering around.

Rid Yourself of Invasive Ant Colonies

If you've got problems with ants getting into your home or destroying your lawn, mix some of your spent coffee grounds with powdered cayenne pepper and sugar.

Then, create a ring around an active anthill with the mixture. Scouting ants will lose the scent of their home, and the ants in the mound won't escape. What's more, they'll be attracted to the sugar and carry the sugar/cayenne mixture to their queen.

This spreading of cayenne pepper throughout the colony will make the anthill unlivable. The ants will abandon the hill and move somewhere else.

Stop Slugs in their Tracks

A journal in 2002 by nature suggests that slugs and snails are killed when sprayed by caffeine.

Placing coffee grounds near slugs and snails will prevent them from crossing the path. So, you can use coffee grounds as a deterrent at worst and as a natural pesticide for snails and slugs at best.

The next time you finish a brew, set aside some of your spent coffee grounds and use them as garden coffee grounds for situations like this.

Remove Fleas from Your Pet

As the parent of multiple fur babies, I will do it anytime I can forgo using potentially dangerous chemicals on my pet. 

While this is more of a fringe solution, if you notice your pet has a bit of a flea problem, you can use dry coffee grounds to rub your cat or dog's fur after bathing them.

Simply rub 1 to 2 cups of used coffee grounds into their fur and work it to the skin level. Be sure to rinse well after. 

Not only does this kill fleas, but it will also add a silky smooth sheen to your pet's fur.

Dump the harsh chemicals and go with a more natural solution.

Cockroach Trap

Nobody likes roaches, but they are prevalent in many American homes. So if you want to get naturally rid of them, try placing a small shot glass of moist coffee grounds inside a large jar. Then, fill the jar around the shot glass with water.

Place these jars anywhere you think cockroaches are nesting.

The cockroaches are attracted to the scent of coffee, so they will enter the jar and won't be able to escape.

Check the jars every other day and dump the contents once you have enough drowned cockroaches.

Note: Try to keep your house as clean as possible to avoid attracting roaches.

After emptying, refill the jars and set them back out, repeating the process until all cockroaches are gone.

Fertilize Your Garden

If you've ever thrown your used coffee grounds into the yard or garden, you may have wondered if this was the correct action to take. It turns out that coffee grounds contain nitrogen, an essential nutrient used to make organic material. 

Not bad for a waste product.

Allow your used coffee grounds to dry entirely before spreading them lightly all over the yard or garden to be used as a slow-release fertilizer to help with plant growth.

Grow Beautiful Blue Hydrangeas

Suppose you are growing hydrangeas. Did you know that soil acidity can affect their color?

Used coffee grounds provide extra acidity to the soil around your hydrangeas, making it easier for the plant to naturally absorb aluminum from the earth.

The additional aluminum absorption results in beautifully blue flower clusters.

You can play with the concentration of used coffee grounds you use to adjust the naturally pink hue of the flowers to turn pale blue or even purple.

Take this a step further and mix coffee grounds with water, allowing the mixture to brew overnight (similar to how you made your cold brew, to begin with). Then, you can use that mixture as a garden spray.

Grow Award-Winning Roses

Ever wondered how gardeners grow the best rose gardens? Try adding a banana peel and used coffee grinds to your rose garden for better results.

Banana peels provide immunity-boosting potassium, leading to stronger stems, large green leaves, and healthier buds.

The nitrogen content from your used coffee grounds provides an essential nutrient boost that your roses need to grow happy and healthy.

What if roses aren't your thing?

The following flowering plants love used coffee grounds:

  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Gardenias
  • Holly
  • Lilies
  • Rhododendrons

Larger Yield for Radishes and Carrot Crops

Did you know that root vegetables like carrots and radishes love used coffee grounds?

Try mixing some used coffee grounds into the soil where you want to plant your carrots or radishes.

Alternatively, you could mix coffee grounds with seeds and sprinkle the mixture into rows in your garden.

Radishes and carrots go hand in hand when gardening. Since radishes germinate faster, they can help you mark your rows when you begin.

Simply put, coffee grounds, especially fresh grounds, tend to raise the soil's pH level. Therefore, plants that thrive in acidic soil will do very well when you use them.

Here are some other garden plants that do well with coffee grounds:

  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Elderberries
  • Fruit Trees
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar Beets
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Eggplants
  • Blueberries

Grow Mushrooms

Fresh coffee grounds, as in coffee grounds that have been brewed within 24 hours, work best when growing mushrooms because the mycelium has to compete with other molds.

However, suppose you are looking for a new hobby to grow your own mushrooms. Given you already have the coffee grounds, you'll find the two go hand-in-hand.

Growing mushrooms is an art form that we are not very familiar with here at Cold Brew Hub. Still, the mushroom-growing communities on the internet rave about using fresh grounds to grow certain types of mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms.

Composting Coffee Grounds for Later

One tried, and true method of recycling your used coffee grounds is to throw them into the compost pile. Damp coffee grounds provide aeration and improve your soil's water retention, encouraging microorganisms and worms into your soil.

To have a successful compost pile, you'll need to alternate piling on green and brown items. Green items include your used wet coffee grounds, food scraps, tea bags, and grass clippings. Brown items include paper coffee filters, dry leaves, newspaper, sawdust, wood branches, and pine needles.

As long as you maintain a healthy balance of the two sources, composting coffee grounds could be a great way to assist in your gardening. Otherwise, perhaps you could create an environment for earthworms for other purposes. After all, worms love coffee grounds.

Go Fishing with It

Given you like the idea of creating a habitat for earthworms to grow, composting coffee grounds is a great way to provide a green source to your compost pile. In addition, a healthy compost pile is a breeding ground for worms that you can go fishing with.

So, if you are interested in composting coffee grounds for creating a worm bin, consider checking out vermicomposting with coffee grounds.

Use it as a De-Icer in Winter.

Before you run outside to dump your French Press full of coffee grounds, let's first talk about the right way to use your used coffee grounds as a de-icer in the wintertime.

Let's assume you've already used salt on your sidewalk. Still, maybe you've run out or want to try one of these nifty uses for coffee grounds written in this article.

Well, you may be surprised to learn that coffee grounds work to prevent ice from forming due to the acidity within, similar to how salt works to melt the ice away.

Like sand and salt, coffee grounds provide a rough texture to make walking on sidewalks safer. Only your used coffee grounds won't cause vehicle damage as salt does.

Clean Your Fireplace

That rough, coarse texture from used coffee grounds makes coffee scrubs to clean your wood-burning fireplace. 

Still, the best part about using coffee grounds for this purpose is that they help contain dust particles from making a mess.

In contrast, you clean up after a long wood-burning season.

Simply spread damp grounds directly to the fireplace.

 The damp grounds absorb the dry dust and debris, so you'll spend less time cleaning the areas around your fireplace by using coffee grounds!

Used Coffee Grounds for Natural Beauty Products

Companies go the extra mile with their marketing for beauty products, promising remarkable outcomes at the expense of applying sometimes dangerous chemicals to your skin and hair. But did you know that your personal beauty regimen can benefit as one of the many uses for coffee grounds?

Use It as a Natural Soap

Like when scouring pans, the coarse texture of coffee grounds provides an exfoliant to help remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oils from your skin and hair.

There are tons of soap-making recipes out there and kits you can buy to make the process much simpler.

The idea is to add coffee grounds to the soap as you make it, and done!

If you are feeling crafty, try experimenting with making soaps, scrubs, and creams that contain coffee grounds.

Exfoliate Your Skin with Coffee Creams and Scrubs

Make sure your coffee grounds are completely dry to get the most out of your exfoliant. 

Then, add them back to your coffee grinder to make fine grinds, the kind you would make for espresso.

Then, combine them with a natural moisturizer, like yogurt, and apply it to your face and neck.

Don't have yogurt or want something that will last a bit longer? 

Try mixing the grounds with your favorite moisturizing lotion instead.

You can also mix your used coffee grounds with some bentonite clay and coconut oil for more oily skin or with oatmeal, milk, and aloe vera gel for dry and oily skin. 

Got acne? Mix your powdered coffee grounds with rice flour.

The uses for coffee grounds are seemingly endless for beauty applications.

Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite

The appearance of cellulite and acne scars can make anyone feel a little self-conscious. 

But did you know that the caffeine content within coffee grounds can help temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite?

The scrubbing motion increases localized circulation, while caffeine stimulates and dilates blood vessels.

What's more, is the grounds also contain antioxidants which may increase collagen production. This application is best paired with unbrewed coffee grounds.

However, if you don't have any unbrewed coffee grounds around, you can still opt for those.

Soften Lips

When you first feel the signs of chapped lips, try mixing 1/2 teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of used coffee grounds into a small bowl. Mix it thoroughly, and gently rub the honey-coated coffee grounds around your lips for about 30 seconds. This scrub will help exfoliate and soften the appearance of your pucker.

Once you are finished using the scrub, cover your lips with your favorite lip balm.

Treat Under-Eye Dark Circles and Swelling

The changing of the seasons often brings about allergies and puffiness. Other causes for under-eye circles are fluid retention and lack of sleep. Still, others suffer from this condition via their genetics. Whatever the cause, we have a solution: Used Coffee Groundsof course!

Simply apply chilled coffee grounds to your under-eye area and let it sit there for about 10 minutes. Then, rinse them away.

As it absorbs into your skin, caffeine naturally restricts the tiny under-eye blood vessels that swell up or cause circles to appear. It doesn't take much caffeine to limit blood flow in this area, so save your fresh coffee grounds and go with used coffee grounds.

Stimulate Hair Growth and Strip Buildup

Taking care of your hair is essential if you want luscious locks. Still, nobody wants to spend a lot of money on additional products to remove the already existing product.

It seems counterproductive. 

So, to stay as natural as possible, you can take advantage of your used coffee grounds before washing your hair.

Adding coffee grounds to your hair care routine by giving it a deep clean every six weeks helps prevent hair product buildup.

Still, you may be surprised to learn that caffeine in coffee grounds may jumpstart hair growth, according to a 2014 British Journal of Dermatology study.

Additionally, you may notice after several treatments that your hair appears shinier with continued use.

Another killer application for coffee grounds in haircare is using it as a natural dye.

Mix a few teaspoons of used coffee grounds with some conditioner and lather it in. Rinse it out after 5 min to boost the richness of your brunette hair.

Note: It's not ideal to use coffee grounds for light-colored hair.

Use Spent Coffee Grounds as a Natural Dye 

Aside from using coffee grounds as a supplementary hair dye, you can use coffee grounds around the house as a natural stain or dye. While I wouldn't paint the walls with it, there are many practical uses for coffee grounds around the house for small projects.

Revitalize Dark-Faded Clothing

Over time, your black and brown clothing will start to fade as you wear and wash, over and over again. Suppose you'd like to slow this process down without using harsh chemicals.

You'll need 2 hardware buckets, brewed coffee from your used coffee grounds, and time.

Try brewing 3 or 4 cups of hot coffee using coffee grounds from your cold brew batch, and add the mixture to a bucket of cold water(2 gallons). Throw in a pair of jeans, an old shirt, or another dark faded clothing item into the bucket.

One item at a time, please.

Gently rotate the clothing within the bucket and allow at least 45 minutes to pass before removing the item, squeeze out the liquid, and place it into the second bucket.

Repeat the process until all your faded clothing has had time to soak before throwing them all into your wash cycle. Set at a gentle wash (delicate) with cold water and light detergent. Finally, allow these items to air-dry.

Some methods call for this process using your washing machine for the staining process. Still, the water used in the rinse cycle will dilute your coffee mixture too much. As a result, it may unevenly stain your garments.

Personally, I won't be doing this because I don't want to risk staining my washer or dryer.

Use it as a Stain for Arts and Crafts.

Coffee grounds make for a great addition to art projects, but the staining effect has a cool vintage look when used as a wash to an existing project. Spilled coffee on a newspaper as your canvas, and then paint over it? Feeling inspired yet?

Naturally Dye Easter Eggs

A straightforward and common project to use coffee grounds as a dye is with your Easter celebration. To make your dye, bring a pot of water to boil, add in your used coffee grounds (about 3/4 cup) with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and allow it all to simmer for 15 minutes. You now have a rich and deep brown dye to use for your Easter eggs. For the best effect, allow the eggs to sit in the dye for a few hours to overnight.

Repair Furniture Scratches

Using a similar recipe for Easter eggs, you can create a stain with used or fresh coffee grounds to help repair furniture scratches. The key is to allow enough time for your mixture to steep so that the natural stain extracts into the liquid.

Next, rub the mixture into wood scratches for a natural treatment to furniture scuffs.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a ton of ways to use coffee grounds around the house. You can fight litter box odors, throw them in the compost pile, fertilize your rose bushes, or even decorate toilet paper rolls with them.

Remember, you can always visit your favorite local coffee house to find used coffee grounds. So don't let your frequency of cold brew coffee brewing slow you down.

There are so many ways to use coffee grounds, so before you chuck them out, give one of these tips a try and leave a comment below with how you've used your coffee grounds.


About the author

My name is Brandon and I love cold-brew coffee. If you're a fan of everything homebrew, then we'll get along just fine. I also enjoy riding my Onewheel around town, and going on adventures with my future wife! As an online work-from-home advocate, it's important that I stay connected to the world while being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

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