May 19th, 2020 / 5 min read

8 Ways to Recycle Your Used Coffee Grounds

There’s nothing like waking up to a perfect cup. The aroma. The first sip. The delicate act of not burning your tongue. It is a ritual that has existed for over 1,000 years and continues to grow throughout the world. What would life be without coffee? And would there be coffee without life?

These are the existential questions we all think about on our morning drives/walks to work… until we spill coffee on ourselves, shout loudly into the distance, and pretend we’re okay. Funny enough, this same beverage that we love, and sometimes hate, can be used to help us in a number of ways.

Well, not the coffee specifically, but the grounds used in the brewing process. These wonderful little grounds have a variety of uses, including predicting the future and removing that hideous smell from your fridge. So rather than throwing away your used coffee grounds, read on to find out the many things you can do with them. And not to fear, most are pretty easy.

1. Want to exfoliate? Use coffee.

Tired of buying expensive body scrubs that claim to have natural ingredients? Coffee grounds make an excellent exfoliating body scrub, and don’t include the high price tag! Combine grounds with warm water and then add your favorite all-natural oil. Scrub your body from head to toe to remove all the dead skin cells.

2. Tired of burning your mouth? Absorb caffeine in your skin.

That’s right. Your skin can actually absorb caffeine and it gives you a similar effect to drinking a cup of coffee. You’ll want to hang onto your used coffee grounds for this! First, melt a bar of glycerin soap and add ⅓ cup of the coffee grounds. Reshape the mold into a bar, let it dry, and you have an all-natural homemade soap. Now instead of waiting for your coffee to cool down, you can absorb that morning kick directly into your skin.

3. Lights out? No problem, use coffee.

Are you afraid of the dark? Don’t worry coffee is here to help. You can turn your old coffee grounds into all-natural homemade candles. This fun DIY project will require a small paper cup, a paper towel, about a cup full of candle wax ends, a wick, scissors, a small saucepan (to melt the wax), a small mixing bowl, and of course some coffee grounds. Check out the full how-to here.

4. Is the fridge scaring your friends? Coffee can absorb the smell.

We’ve all been there. A roommate leaves food in the fridge and forgets about it. The smell of the raw fish permeates to the rest of the apartment causing you, the responsible one, to nearly faint. That’s where used coffee grounds come in. Used coffee grounds can be used much like baking soda for absorbing food odors in the fridge and freezer.

Just load up a small container with your old grounds, place it back in the fridge, and leave it open. Leave it for up to a couple of weeks, and repeat with newer grounds. After you take out the old grounds you can toss them into your garden, or use them to create a compost pile.

5. Do you have a green thumb? Use grounds for fertilization.

Coffee grounds are highly acidic, so spreading them generously over acid-loving plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas, or rhododendrons can help them blossom fast. If you want to neutralize some of the acidity you can mix your old grounds with dead grass, brown leaves, or dry straw and spread them around your plants. Used coffee grounds add nitrogen and potassium to the soil as well as a solid amount of magnesium which all plants need to stay healthy and strong. Not only can they stimulate plant growth, but the grounds will also serve to repel bugs and insects, leaving your garden happy and healthy.

6. Spilled coffee on your shirt? Brown tie-dye is here.

Coffee stains, the bane of shirts everywhere. We all know that “Golden Color” when we see it; immediately we freak out and scrub like crazy hoping to get the stain out. But what if I told you that you don’t have to get the stain out, you can actually leave it in!

Simply rewet some old coffee grounds to create an easy-to-use dye for t-shirts, clothes, and more. Now that pesky stained shirt can turn into a beautiful new piece of clothing. Who needs malls or Amazon, am I right?

7. Dog fleas meet coffee.

Dogs are wonderful. The unconditional love, the belly rubs, the laughs, they really are man’s best friend. That’s why when little pesky critters like fleas make their way to our good ole pals, it’s best we look out for them. An easy way to kill these annoying fleas is by rubbing 1 to 2 cups of coffee grounds into their fur and rinsing well. After baths, for example, are a great time to do this. The best part? Not only do the grounds kill the fleas, but they make your dog’s skin silky smooth. A win-win-win.

8. Impress your spouse, or mom, with better food — made with coffee.

Did you know that some of your favorite foods can taste even better by adding coffee? Using grounds in chocolate cakes and chilis will add a richer and bolder flavor. All you have to do is substitute a slight amount of the water from the recipe and replace with your used coffee grounds. Alternately, adding a tablespoon of coffee grounds to meat marinades will tenderize the meat and give it a mild smoky flavor. Use this tip to be the star of your next family outing.

Well, there you have it. Eight creative ways to recycle your used coffee grounds and reduce needless waste. From ridding your dog of fleas to impressing your mom with cake, you now have the know-how to create a new set of fun and sustainable habits.

Cheers! And remember to hang onto those used coffee grounds.

Terra Kaffe Team


At Terra Kaffe we are committed to furthering the growth of conscious consumption by reducing waste from coffee pods and brewing from fresh whole beans. Learn more about our bean-to-cup espresso machine here.


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