There are ways that we can reduce the waste in landfills. Being conscious of how we discard our coffee grounds, we can do our little part in that effort.
John Sylvan, co-founder of Keurig and the inventor of the K-cup, said that if he had known how much waste was going to the landfills, he never would have invented it. Eventually, these pods will have to be manufactured with more consideration given to the planet. In the meantime, we can reuse the coffee in these pods in the same way we use other coffee grounds by just breaking open the foil top and scoop out the goodness inside.
We’ve listed a bunch of ways to reuse coffee grounds from any machine like an automatic drip coffee maker or from a plain pour over cup.
If you want to try these suggestions, dry the grounds out before you use them. Don’t skip this step as wet grounds can be a carrier of mold. Spread the grounds out on an old cookie sheet to dry them thoroughly. That’s it! Your coffee grounds are ready to use.
Way to Reuse Coffee Grounds Outside the Home
Coffee grounds can be used as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. The natural acidity is very useful in breaking up other types of vegetable matter so if you’re composting, coffee grounds are a natural component to add.
Now, we’re not recommending rubbing yourself with coffee grounds, but if you’re having problems with insects in your garden (as if gardens didn’t have insects?) add some coffee grounds to the soil will repel pests such as slugs. Just sprinkle grounds in your flower beds.
Keep the cats from turning your flower beds into their litter box by sprinkling coffee grounds around the plants.
Foil the Ice Follies
You can use coffee grounds in place of salt/sand during the winter. Just grab a bucket and start filling it with coffee grounds all year. By the time winter arrives, you sprinkle it on the sidewalks and driveways just as you would sand or salt. It provides just as much traction as any cat litter. The beauty of it is it won’t contaminate your water supply. If it gets into the grass, it will decompose naturally.
Flea Repellent for Your Dog
Before we head indoors, think about adding coffee grounds to your dog’s soap or shampoo. It won’t bother them but the smell acts as a natural flea repellant. Just keep in mind that it acts as a natural cat repellent, too.
Using Coffee Grounds in the Home
You don’t even have to take your coffee grounds outside to reap their benefits. Here’s some ways to make use of them indoors.
Coffee grounds are great for eliminating odors. To use them in your refrigerator like baking soda, first spread the grounds out on an old cookie sheet to dry them thoroughly. Don’t skip this step as wet grounds can be a carrier of mold.
After the grounds have dried, add them in an open container in the back of the fridge. To soak up odors in the freezer, wrap them tightly in a fine woven cloth such as a sock, pantyhose or empty tea bags. This will work wherever you need to neutralize odors so try putting them in your shoes overnight.
Run them through the garbage disposal to get rid of odors in that machine, too.
Speaking of garbage disposals, if you happen to own one, this opens up other opportunities to use your old coffee grounds as a natural abrasive. If you don’t have a disposal, you’ll want to find a way to keep the grounds from getting into your plumbing before trying the next suggestions.
Coffee grounds work as a natural abrasive on pots and pans. Use them on a microfiber cloth in place of a Brillo™ pad or other type of steel wool pad.
You can pull a lot of grease off of the stove, too. Don’t use it in the oven though. Cleaning out coffee grounds from the bottom of your oven will be more trouble than it’s worth.
Remove Odors from Hands
If you’ve been cutting up foods like onions or fish, your hands have probably picked up some odors that are tough to tone down. Keep some coffee grounds by the sink and just grab some, add water and rub between your hands to pick up the odors.
Or just use them dry. Rub dry coffee grounds between your hands to pick up odors, too. The grounds can then be used again so there’s no need to worry about getting them in the sink.
Coffee Scented Candle
If you’re looking for that wonderful coffee smell, try making a candle. These not only smell heavenly, they make great gifts – think about a gift basket with coffee, cookies and a trio of scented candles.
You can add any scent that you’d like to the wax during the melting process to add some variety.
The amount you use will depend on the size of the containers you choose.
- Coffee grounds
- Glass container for candle.
Set up the wick in the container. Easily done with a skewer or other dowel suspended across the top.
Melt the beeswax according to package direction. The best way to accomplish this is melting wax over low heat in a non-reactive double boiler designated for crafting. Make sure the water in the pan underneath doesn’t boil away.
Add layer of wax to base. You might find it easier to use a funnel instead of pouring straight from the pan.
Allow to cool slightly before adding a layer of coffee grounds.
Continue layering until about ½ inch from top. Add a few grounds for a decorative effect and trim the wick.
If you need to clean and/or filter your beeswax, check out this article by Making Honey.
If you want to use solid colored containers (like up-cycling old coffee mugs,) simply pour coffee grounds into the wax in layers while the wax is still at the melting point and work your way up to the top.
Three Ways to Use Coffee Grounds in Your Fireplace
- Try throwing some coffee grounds into your fireplace to fill your home with the coffee smell.
- Throw wet coffee grounds on the ashes before cleaning. This will help keep the ashes from flying everywhere.
- Place coffee grounds on any wood you’re planning on burning to help prevent sparks. This works not only with fireplaces, it’s fantastic for bonfires.
Hide Scratches on Dark Wood
You can hide scratches on dark wood using linseed oil and coffee grounds. Blend a little of the two together and gently cover the scratches with the mixture. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours to allow the liquid to soak into the scratch. Gently wipe the mixture off with a soft towel.
Using Coffee Grounds as a Dye
Coffee stains are tough to remove which means coffee grounds and water are an effective dye.
Natural fabrics work best with this method.
You can also use a pot of strong coffee to do the coloring but there will be more shrinkage. The color will vary according to how diluted the water is and how long you let it set.
- Soak in coffee dye at least one hour. For deeper color, let set overnight.
- Rinse in cold water.
- Set the color by soaking in another vat of clean, cold water that has one to two tablespoons of white vinegar mixed into it for ten minutes.
- Just be sure if using on cloth that you wash those items separately to avoid having the stain discolor other light-colored items.
If you enjoy paper craft or calligraphy, dye watercolor paper by soaking it in water with used coffee grounds to give the paper an antique look.
Using Coffee Grounds as a Beauty Aid
Whenever you’re using coffee grounds as an exfoliant, you’ll have better results with a finer grind. Coarse coffee grounds can be very hard on the skin. Not only that, they can easily clog your drain, so use sparingly. A little used with a light touch will still go a long way.
The easiest facial exfoliant uses a teaspoon of coffee grounds mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub them together and then gently rub on your face using a light touch and a gentle circular motion. Finish with a pH neutral soap and rinse it all off with lukewarm water.
You can also experiment by adding sugar (any kind) or fine sea salt.
These are also great as body scrubs but go light on the oil. If it feels too rough, dilute and warm it all up with a little lukewarm water.
Lighten Dark Circles/Puffiness Under Your Eyes
For dark circles under your eyes, create a paste with a natural oil like coconut oil or almond oil. Pat gently on the circles. Let dry for about 20 minutes and rinse with soap and warm water.
Remove Product Buildup in Your Hair
Work about 1/3 cup of grounds into your scalp and then shampoo as usual. This will pull out a lot of product that sticks in your hair. You can also experiment by adding sea salt and/or tea tree oil to the coffee grounds.
While there are recipes that use coconut oil in your hair, we don’t recommend it. If you’ve ever tried using it in your hair, you’ll know it takes several runs with a clarifying shampoo to get it all out. If you’re in the shower doing this, all of your moisturizing efforts not only run down the drain, they can also make the shower floor very slippery! In fact, don’t try to use the shower head to get all of the grounds out if you have a rain shower head. There isn’t enough pressure to remove the grounds.
Tint Your Hair
If coffee grounds can be used as a dye, you would think that they could also be used in your hair. We’ll say it works but only if your hair easily takes commercial hair colors as well. One tester tried it and there was absolutely no change in her color. Also, make sure your hair is clean to the oils the best chance of working into the hair shafts.
- 1 tablespoon coffee grounds
- 3 tablespoons of your favorite conditioner.
Add coffee grounds to your conditioner. Add enough that it looks like a crushed up Oreo cookie. We found that letting the grounds set in the conditioner for at least an hour helps extract the oils which act as a dye. Work the mixture into your hair, covering thoroughly. Let set for fifteen to twenty minutes. Rinse out.
There are some great recipes online for using coffee grounds in soap.
We like this one from BeautyCrafter that is basically just using a goat’s milk melt and pour soap base, adding coffee grounds and a little fragrance, then remolding the mixture.
Quick Hand Scrub
If you’re looking for a quick hand scrub that eliminates odors and exfoliates at the same time mix these two ingredients up:
- 1 teaspoon coffee grounds
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Rub on hands and rinse with lukewarm water.