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10 Smart Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

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10 Smart Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

Before you empty the coffee pot’s grounds into the trash, consider these clever household uses for them:

  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 lid. Work into wet skin, and rinse.
  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.
  3. Neutralize refrigerator odors. Placing coffee grounds in the refrigerator acts 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. Sweeping or vacuuming compound around the fireplace or wood stove. Sprinkling damp coffee grounds around the fireplace or wood stove will assist in reducing dust and ashes in your hearth, making them easier to sweep or vacuum up.
  5. Dye Easter eggs or paper crafts. Soaking with coffee grounds can be used to give an “antique” sepia appearance to watercolor paper or easter eggs.
  6. Blind bake a pie shell. Believe it or not, you can even use coffee grounds as the weight when you blind bake a pie crust. Just be sure to use a large enough piece of parchment paper or foil so the coffee grounds don’t come into actual contact with the pie crust.
  7. Scour pots and pans. The gentle abrasive of coffee grounds can help in the kitchen to remove stubborn caked-on food from your pots and pans.
  8. Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of coffee grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them 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 the grounds in around the immature shoots.
  10. Clean your garbage disposal. Coffee grounds can clean and deodorize your garbage disposal. Just put the damp grounds in, run the cold water, and turn on the disposal. Note: do this only on occasion to freshen the disposal. It’s not recommended to run coffee grounds through daily.

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

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68 comments

1 Greg Smith { 07.26.17 at 7:48 am }

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😜

2 Cindy { 09.30.16 at 7:30 am }

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

3 carol hughes { 09.30.16 at 7:19 am }

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

4 Michelle Pulley { 09.30.16 at 2:09 am }

What about strawberries?

5 Dayle Young { 09.29.16 at 5:11 pm }

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

6 Pam { 09.29.16 at 3:23 pm }

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

7 sue brincefield { 09.29.16 at 1:14 pm }

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 .

8 Linda { 09.29.16 at 12:16 pm }

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

9 Vernon Graves { 09.29.16 at 12:06 pm }

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

10 Nana De { 09.29.16 at 11:57 am }

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).

11 Barb { 02.24.16 at 9:08 am }

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!

12 Barb { 02.24.16 at 9:07 am }

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!

13 Ed Badgett { 01.19.16 at 9:54 pm }

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

14 Joanne C { 01.01.16 at 5:06 pm }

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

15 Al { 12.30.15 at 9:41 pm }

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.

16 Courtney MacDonald { 09.30.15 at 6:45 pm }

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

17 Rebecca Boehmer { 09.30.15 at 12:44 pm }

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

18 Kathy B { 09.29.15 at 8:16 pm }

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

19 Trace { 09.29.15 at 1:44 pm }

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.

20 violet { 08.11.15 at 3:49 pm }

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!

21 Wanda Stevens { 06.12.15 at 4:55 am }

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

22 ELEANORE CIUBA { 05.22.15 at 4:42 pm }

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.!!!!!!

23 Bobo { 05.21.15 at 7:13 am }

I place them on my rose bushes

24 Bobo { 05.21.15 at 7:12 am }

I place it on rose bushes

25 Mark { 05.21.15 at 12:01 am }

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… 😉

26 Sue { 05.20.15 at 8:25 pm }

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.

27 Christine H { 05.20.15 at 11:48 am }

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.

28 Patti Jensen { 05.20.15 at 9:23 am }

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

29 Angie { 05.20.15 at 8:23 am }

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

30 LaVonne { 05.20.15 at 12:19 am }

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!

31 Susan Higgins { 07.21.17 at 9:01 am }

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

32 jessica { 07.20.17 at 11:45 am }

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.

33 Jayson Baker { 05.19.15 at 11:24 pm }

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

34 Kristina { 05.19.15 at 8:34 pm }

My son in law uses coffee grind to stain pine wood to give it a older rustic look to it. He did this on the furniture he made for the café they have. Many compliments on this.

35 Tom K { 05.19.15 at 1:33 pm }

I put coffee grounds on my stumps, which start to disappear after about 6 months. It takes longer than cutting/burning them, but using coffee grounds is just as effective.

36 SANDRA CHAPMAN { 05.19.15 at 11:56 am }

I use coffee grains for a ant bait. It stop ants from getting in your flower garden or flower pots and around my rose bushes and also it keep ants off my patio deck.

37 Sarah E { 05.19.15 at 10:47 am }

I use my leftover grounds to put out when it’s icy in the winter! It’s safer for my dogs paws.

38 Mary { 05.19.15 at 8:37 am }

My MIL didn’t have a fan in her kitchen and as she fried fish, she boiled used grounds to absorb the smell. It works!

39 EdieJane Snow { 05.19.15 at 8:13 am }

I am delighted for additional ideas using steeped coffee grounds. I agree that they work well on getting rid of ants. I collect them for a few days then go sprinkle along our patio and in the garden/house plants. Now that I know, I will give those carrots extra caffeine.

40 Leith Prior { 05.19.15 at 7:12 am }

I have been putting coffee grounds in my newly planted rose garden for quite a while now as I was told it would improve the soil and I have seen improvement. My son ‘who knows all?’ said it wouldn’t do the soil any good at all, well there you go, I followed my instincts and continued. Thankyou.

41 Pat Shadoin-ford { 05.19.15 at 3:54 am }

Wood ash is the sorce of Lie used in soap and other cleaning liquids. My Grandmother and I would make lie every summer when I came to the farm for 6 weeks. You would need a Large crock jar. She had a special wooden stand that had two flat boards between to long legs. The legs were bolted together to form an X on each side and one board was lower than the other. This thing was about 2-3ft wide and the was the boards came together there was a very small space to allow the slowly pored water through the ash. What was collected was pure lie.This chemical reaction is very hot so be very careful, you can be burned by a splash. Grandma would take her rings off and apply a heavy layer of vasoline on her hands to protect herself and an old blouse over her dress to protect her arms. We always ware a bandana over our faces to protect our lungs. Fumes.

She also used some of the ash in her garden for plants that needs more acid in the soil.

42 Mary C Moore { 05.19.15 at 1:59 am }

My pharmacist said to use coffee grounds to dispose of unused prescription drugs. simply soak the pills in water until soft or dissolved, then add coffee grounds until a thick mixture is made. Then, just dispose of in the trash. Next time, I will soak the pills in a zip-lock bag, add the coffee grounds, zip and throw!

43 RIMA MAMI SALEM { 05.19.15 at 1:53 am }

Per favore tradurere in italiano

44 Betty Brown { 05.19.15 at 12:25 am }

Greetings Betty,
Here are a few coffee ground ideas for your garden and around the house.
I will get a good letter off to you soon. Thanks for all email.
Love, Eileen

45 Edith Glascock { 05.18.15 at 11:39 pm }

We use them around our blueberries. Blueberry bushes love acidic soil. The bushes are loaded with berries.

46 Em { 05.18.15 at 10:38 pm }

Good for cellulite and stretch marks

47 Allen { 05.18.15 at 9:45 pm }

I use them to feed my compost worms and chickens.

48 Gail Wilde { 05.18.15 at 9:06 pm }

When my garbage disposal jammed, the maintenance man discovered it was jammed with coffee grounds. He said NEVER to put coffee grounds into the disposal, to clean it, or just along with other foods.

49 Cheryl W. { 05.18.15 at 8:52 pm }

I use my coffee grounds around my African Violet in a Styrofoam tray (like the ones used for meat). I’ve had my plant for 10 years and it blooms 3 times a year. It is called Cosmo and the flowers have sparkly glitter on them. The Magenta color comes out dark or lighter every time and still has the sparkles on them. Very pretty!!!

50 jill { 05.18.15 at 8:14 pm }

Used to repel ants

51 Gharlie Davis { 05.18.15 at 7:20 pm }

What can wood ashes be good for. I have a lot of Wood Ashes from my Wood Burning Stove every year. Thanks Charlie

52 Ginger Robbins { 09.29.16 at 11:24 am }

This is later than your post. Here in Ohio we don’t have fire ants but nasty ones nevertheless. I sprinkled Paprika and Cayenne powders in the flower beds 6 years ago…they are still gone!

53 Jerline jackson { 05.18.15 at 7:15 pm }

I use them for fire ants and they do scatter but they dont necessarily go away. There are so many mounds this year.

54 Vicki Rose { 05.18.15 at 7:12 pm }

Where there are smokers and a “ashtray” outside, use coffee grounds to absorb smoke odors.

55 Russ R { 05.18.15 at 7:03 pm }

In Florida the sago palms get white fungus spots. Save about a half of a coffee can. Add water the rest of the way. Let set for a day. Just before dark spray the fronds. Soak them good. Fungus spots gone in a couple days.

56 Judy { 05.18.15 at 4:53 pm }

I use spent coffee grounds around the base of all my outside flowers. I never use fertilizer. The earth worms like coffee grounds and keep the dirt worked up around all the plants. Roses, Lilies, Hosta, Stargazer, Hydrenga, tomato plants.

57 Bruce { 05.18.15 at 4:22 pm }

We used to use them for night crawler food while keeping them for fishing.

58 Marilyn Tucker { 05.18.15 at 4:14 pm }

I use coffee grounds for roses. It will bring them out full force. Just take your used coffee grounds, sprinkle them around the plants base, and work them into the ground. You should see a change in about 3 weeks.

59 Melissa { 05.18.15 at 3:32 pm }

i use them in flower pots to discourage squirrels from digging and hiding seeds.

60 SB { 05.18.15 at 3:21 pm }

Cat repellent? I have a visiting cat in my carport. I would really like him to move on down tho the neighbors house. Anyone heard this works?

61 Nic { 05.18.15 at 3:07 pm }

don’t put coffee grinds in your disposal they can clog your drains. use citrus rinds and rosemary to freshen your disposal

62 Elizabeth { 05.18.15 at 3:03 pm }

Just do not use coffee grounds to clean your garbage disposal if you are on a septic tank. Coffee grounds and egg shells will ruin your septic system faster than anything else.

63 Michele H { 05.18.15 at 2:53 pm }

roses love coffee grounds!

64 Nancy { 05.18.15 at 2:52 pm }

I use them to get rid of fire ants or any kind of ants.I put it on the fire ant mound with in minuts they are going crazy running away.a few days they will be gone.

65 Annamarie { 05.18.15 at 2:46 pm }

My father swears by coffee grounds for his roses.

66 Travis Cole { 05.18.15 at 2:25 pm }

Worm Food. Sprinkle them where you dig for worms that you use for fish bait.

67 SUE FIELDS { 05.18.15 at 2:17 pm }

I USE THE COFFEE GROUNDS AROUND ALL OF MY ACID LOVING PLANTS AS WELL AS EGG SHELLS.

68 Bev M { 05.18.15 at 2:11 pm }

yes…. I also use coffee grounds to help make my pink hydrangea blue…. sometimes I end up with purple, but hey that’s ok too

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