10 Smart and Unusual Uses For Coffee Grounds

More reasons to love your morning brew! Before you discard those used coffee grounds or send them straight to the compost, consider these clever household uses for them. Some are very eye-opening!

Before you discard those used coffee grounds or send them straight to the compost, consider these clever household uses for them:

10 Smart and Unusual Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

1. As an Exfoliant

The rough texture of the coffee grounds can be used on your skin as a scrub. Coffee scrubs are all the rage. Just mix 1/2 cup coffee grounds and 1/2 cup sugar (any kind) with 1/4 cup coconut oil in a small jar with a lid. Work into wet skin, and rinse. Many commercial scrubs use coffee to reportedly combat cellulite.

2. Soil Aeration and Nitrogen Boost for Houseplants

Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes also love acidic soil! Sprinkle a thin layer on top.

3. Neutralize Refrigerator Odors

Placing them in a shallow dish in the refrigerator to act as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.

4. Natural De-Icer

Sprinkle used grounds on your freshly shoveled walk or driveway to help melt the ice—it’s a natural and environmentally friendly way to add more traction underfoot. Just wipe your feet well before coming indoors!

5. Dye Easter Eggs or Paper Crafts

Easter eggs painted with natural egg dye from fruits and vegetables. Homemade naturally dyed Easter eggs with ingredients.

Soaking in a solution with water and used coffee grounds can be used to give an “antique” sepia appearance to watercolor paper or Easter eggs.

6. Water Your Roses

Coffee grounds can help lower the pH in your soil which your roses love. Mix 1 cup of grounds in 1 gallon of water, and water the roses. This method helps distribute the grounds evenly and get the nutrients to the roots. (Never add grounds right next to the plant which can cause burn).

7. Scour Pots and Pans

No scrubbie pads on hand? The gentle abrasiveness of coffee grounds can help in the kitchen to remove stubborn caked-on food from your pots and pans. Just scrub first, then wash and rinse.

8. Snail, Slug, and Cat Repellent

In the garden, use coffee grounds as a barrier around the garden. It will help keep these pests at bay.

9. Steroids for Your Carrot Crop

Carrots love coffee grounds! They will grow larger and sweeter and the plants will have a greater yield. Just trowel grounds in when planting. Radishes love it, too!

10. Fishing Secret

Mix a cup of used coffee grounds in with your bait worms to keep them alive and wiggling longer. Plus, fish—especially trout and bass—are attracted to coffee-scented worms.

Do you have a special way you use those used coffee grounds? Tell us in the comments below!

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Edward Higgins

Edward Higgins is a freelance writer, artist, home chef, and avid fly fisherman who lives outside of Portland, Maine. He studied at Skidmore College and Harvard University. His article 10 Best Edible Insects appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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I mix 50/50 (dried coffee grounds) with baking soda and sprinkle on any fabric or upholstery that needs deodorizing or freshening. Vacuum off after a few hours. Odors gone, smells fresh.


I use it to keep ants under control. Here in sentral Alabama it is a big problem. Especially last summer. My yard was the only one with just couple of hills. When neighbor’s yards had about 10 times more. I just mix used grains with good bit of water and dump it on the center of ant hill. Often just one application is enough. And in winter I keep throwing the grains all over the yard.


Do you use used or fresh ground? How much per mound?

Dorothy P.

Add old meds to used coffee grounds in a zip lock bag, let set for awhile, this dissolves the drugs and makes them useless, place the bag in your trash can. Do not pour down your drain.
When my mom died, the nurse told me to do this and I have used this over and over.

Frances Owen

I have done this for years on recommendation of my pharmacy. Then wrap in foil before you toss in trash.


Coffee grounds are sludge, best thrown in the garbage. People claiming use for them must be telling the truth, but my research, and experience, indicates a waste product with no uses.

Jan Blevins

I throw the coffin grounds in my flower bed and when ground are dry I till them into the soil


dry used coffee grounds and burn them keeps mosquitoes away

Susan Higgins

Hi Pillyester, we hadn’t heard that one, but we’ll have to give it a try!


That is FANTASTIC!!! I will definitely try this one!!! Thank you. Have a blessed week.


If you have places that have stagnant water pour coffee grounds or fresh coffee (of the cheap kind that you would never drink) into the water to deter mosquitoes


Occasionally I put my coffee grounds in a blender with my energy drink mix, I know it sounds gross, but try it.
It gives that energy drink a kick in the ass


Gross both in safety, and in language for the Farmers’ Almanac.


I use my used coffee grounds for fire ants beds.. I skim the top of fire ant hills then I put my grounds on the top of them and they take them to there queen and the bed is empty and moved away from my home. I used just one filter that I made a 10 cup pot of coffee. I save a lot of grounds to spread all around my mobile home and it seems to help keep ants and other crawling bugs from entering my home. I do have to put extra on my ledge of my windows because they come from tree limbs that hang over my home.


I will try this on my windowsills this spring. I have a terrible problem with ants in the house.

Al Grab

I make a wood stain using used coffee grounds. Put 1/4 to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds in a 1 qt. mason jar, add 1 steel wool pad, and then fill the jar with white vinegar. Shake well and let stand overnight. The next day stir the contents and using plastic gloves so as not to stain your fingers and hands take out the steel wool pad and use it to apply the stain to your project. You can also keep the pad in the jar and use a brush to apply the stain. I then let it dry and if I want a darker color I apply a 2nd coat of stain. When that is dry I wipe the project with a dry cloth and then finally with a damp cloth. The wiping takes away the chance of the stain from rubbing off on clothing. If I am going to use the project outside I have then applied a coating of a clear water sealing product. I have made several large tables using this formula and actually make my stain in gallon glass containers.

Gary Rethford

I just did that a few weeks ago Al and yes it works great and looks good. You can also use ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce etc. Wipe it off after dry and reapply till it gets to the shade that you want. It smells great and no bad fumes from stain.

Dianna R

Used damp coffee grounds are great for sweeping dusty floor areas. (not carpeted of course)
We (housekeeping) did this in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to combat dusty floors in office areas.
Plus it smelled great. An old timer taught me that.
Easy to sweep dry dusty floors with the damp grounds.

Susan Higgins

Excellent, thank you, Dianna!

Karen Nowak

Don’t use as a de-icer outside on walkpaths!!!!! Stuff sticks to shoes/boots and you bring it in the house. I thought this was a good idea—-NOT!!!!!

Susan Higgins

Hi Karen, it’s really no different from salt or sand; we recommend you wiping feet and taking shoes off before traipsing on carpets.


Put the coffee grounds in a baggy with those unsolicited credit card offers, or anything else that has personal info on it.

Susan Higgins

That’s a great idea, Francie!

Tee Tee

Coffee grounds

Tee Tee

I wanted to mention that using bread bags & tieing the end would be even cheaper to use.


Please keep in mind that septic systems do not like coffee grounds, as I was recently informed. They can also cause clogs, as I was also recently informed. Thanks!

Betty Smith

My husband used coffee grounds for his “worm” beds. Free fish bait.

Charlie Sharbel

This is the best of all the comments so far. I was wondering if anyone used the coffee grounds for raising worm beds. I have a friend, Dr. Mike Higgins in the midsouth who uses the grounds that I bring to him from the local coffee shops to raise black soldier fly larva to feed his ducks who, in turn, produce eggs which he shares with me. The larva is also good for breaking down compost. We figured it out that if we collected all the grounds in our home town and did nothing but raise black soldier fly larvae we could sell the dehydrated larvae to feed livestock for $5 per pound and it would produce a $500,000 dollar a year business.


You can put used grounds into a spray bottle, shake well and spray tender plants against bugs and slugs. Deer don’t seem to like scent either.


Fresh coffe works better, I buy off brand coffee that I would never drink and coldbrew a quart or so and use that for bug control, and the garden seems to love caffeine, cause it grows like crazy


I have tried everything I know to try to stop black spots on my roses. Some of them are roses back in the 1960s and the rose gold that is suppose to stop them isn’t working on these older ones What do I do?

Susan Higgins

Hi Harriett, Blackspot is one of the most common diseases of rose bushes; and, if left unchecked, it can cause quite a bit of damage to your rose garden. Caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae, blackspot begins just as its name suggests, with black spots showing up on the surface of the leaves.This site offers some helpful tips: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-control-black-spot-fungus-disease-on-roses/
Good luck!


Coffee grounds were used to get rid of smells after neighbour passed away and wasn’t found for 4 days. The police put a tin plate out with coffee grounds. Said that’s the only way to rid the smell

Marilyn H

Texas is covered with fire ants and it is hard to get rid of them. I discovered that placing coffee grounds around the mound and then put a lot on the mound caused them to be gone within a few hours. A hay field behind us contributes lots of ants so I always have a use for the coffee grounds. I also toss some on my plants that like acid.

Greg Smith

Not recommended, but fond memories. Seventy years ago when I was 11 my friends and I occasionally smoked dried, used coffee grounds in a corncob pipe. Pretty harsh, but better than corn silk?


I dry them in a pie plate then drop a few drops of lamp oil and burn. The smoke works great on mosquitos.


Oh wow, never thought of that gotta try it

carol hughes

My mother used to put wood and sifted coal ash where she planted potatoes.

Michelle Pulley

What about strawberries?

Dayle Young

Used Coffee Grounds,,, are Great for Worm beds … Also … !….!


My daughter gives coffee grounds to the chicken’s and the pig .

sue brincefield

I’ve also put coffee grounds in standing puddles in the driveway to deter mosquitoes !! It keeps the mosquito larvae from developing . The birds really seem to love it to for bathing and drinking ….preferring it over the neighbors pond .


thanks for that Sue now I know how tocombat lavrvae to form in my water buckets that my birds and puppies drink from.


I use coffee grounds in the garden and also eggshells that have been ground to a powder in the blender – works great!

Vernon Graves

Rose bushes, tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers all love coffee grounds. Been using them for 40+ years.

Nana De

I use coffee grounds in my houseplants, in my outdoor gardens, and in my worm composter. The worms gobble them up and combined with everything else added to the composters, the grounds make an amazing chemical-free, cost-effective, highly-concentrated, all-purpose plant food that can go much further than grounds alone (I have a lot of acreage with gardens).


My neighbor when I was growing up used to put ‘Crisco’ on her youngest son’s face and then coffee grounds over the Crisco”, dress him in old cloths, give him a stick with a small bundle on the end of the stick and he’d win every year with this HOBO costume at the park district Halloween contest parade!


Got a good laugh from that use of coffee grounds I use them in my compost bins and for ants.


My neighbor when I was growing up used to put ‘Crisco’ on her youngest son’s face and then coffee grounds over the Crisco”, dress him in old cloths, give him a stick with a small bundle on the end of the stick and he’d win every year with this HOBO costume at the park districk Halloween contest parade!

Ed Badgett

Great for worm beds in the garden area. Sprinkle/spread them liberally around. Apparently worms are big coffee lovers, too.

Joanne C

I use spent coffee grounds around my Azaela Bushes and Rhodi’s , they love the Acid.


I scatter wood ashes from my fireplace under pecan trees, seems to help control the web worms, can also make grandmothers lye soap stir in lard and heat, pour into molds.


And I believe lye is also an ingredient. Just be extremely careful handling the lye; it burns badly on skin.

Courtney MacDonald

Use coffee with milk to dye fabric…And if you get a spot on your shirt..just paint petals around it.

Rebecca Boehmer

I saw a comment on another site that coffee grounds could be used to combat fleas does anyone know about this

Kathy B

I Use Coffee Grounds,Banana skins, around my Raspberries ,Roses, tomatoes and what a crop of these fruit & veg i had this year and the raspberries are ever baring and there still loaded with a second crop hope we don,t get frost early


I used them on my wisteria that refused to bloom, and it bloomed the following spring. Of course, that could be age or coincidence, but I’ll be doing it again when I cut it back. Now that I know about roses liking coffee, I’ll give them some grounds too.


Does anyone have a reason and a cure of why a once beautiful healthy red velvet roses bush that has healthy leaves stems and roses the beginning of the season, but for the last 8 years blooms few roses with black edges on each pedal and some leaves have yellowed and holes. We have fed them rose food, used the banana & coffee treatments, applied rose bug killer and cut them back at the end of each season only for a repeat performance yearly,in southern CT. HELP!

Wanda Stevens

Someone told me to use coffee grounds around my tomato plants and they would thrive. Anyone know about this?


I always dumped my coffee grounds into the garden. I forget the rationale for why I did that. And placed my banana peels about the roses in the garden and still do. And the heads of fish (purchased at the open market in Elizabeth,NJ) about the rose bushes. I recall my Mom doing that with the fishheads in her garden. I wonder if they still have the open markets near the Harmonia Bank area on Elizabeth Ave still!!!! And down the port on opposite days!!!! And “Jerry s hot dogs on Elizabeth Ave.!!!!!! I guess its not there any longer???? Reminiscing about my favorite places in Elizabeth NJ!!!!! Chicks restaurant down the port across from the old Singers Bldg. What great food!!! And nothing like a White Castle hamburger on the corner of Westfied Ave. and Elmora Ave.We do not have any White Castle restaurants in So Jersey……I have not seen any in years. The park across from St. Patrick s Church (a beautiful cathedral) along with the Grammar and High Schools that I went to as a child and teenager.The old Police Station I remember and then the current new one (my husband a Police Officer……reported for duty at both at the time. Memories of good ole Elizabeth, NJ.!!!!!!


I place them on my rose bushes


I place it on rose bushes


My coffee machine creates min-hockey pucks after each cup. I fling them into the yard and the garden. When it rains, it smells like a fresh cup of coffee… 😉


I use wet coffee grounds to get rid of ants. Spread them in a small area of where ever they accumulate and within a day they totally disappear. Just wipe them up and they are animal friendly and no dangerous pesticides around children and animals.

Christine H

FYI do not use coffee grounds in the sink if you have a septic system. they do not dissolve and can cause serious damage to the whole system. But roses love them, as do blueberry bushes who like high acidic properties. 😉 Love reusing stuff. Save the lint from your dryer and the toilet paper rolls (once the toilet paper is used lol) stuff the rolls with the lint and you have fireplace starters. Works every time and reduces what you throw in the trash.

Patti Jensen

I use coffee grounds in my night crawlers. They grow plumper and stay lively longer.


Starbucks gives their grounds away for free! Ask for them for your garden!


I also heard that they are bad for a garbage disposal. However, my roses were looking thin and having to be staked- this year after giving them coffee grounds they are sturdier and more colorful than I have seen them in 10 years!! I have 20 bushes!

Jayson Baker

Use ice cubes before the coffee grinds to clean the garbage disposals. Grinds alive are likely to jam the lower power disposals.


COLLECT and FREEZE used lime lemon or orange rinds in a qt size storage bag. Running your disposal with 1-3 frizen wedges every other day will keep your sink pipes disposal blades clean and fresh. Citrus juices have natural antibacterial properties.

Susan Higgins

Hi Jessica, yes, that’s one of our favorite tips! Take a look: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/tips/smelly-garbage-disposal/

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