A grind is a terrible thing to waste.
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 motivate all of humanity the world over. What would life be without coffee?
This question and more are the existential questions we all ask ourselves during our morning commutes. One question we found ourselves asking recently — what are some ways we can reuse our spent coffee grounds?
Post brew, these wonderful little granules have a variety of uses, including predicting the future and removing that odious 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.
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! Not to mention, many store-bought scrubs include harmful microplastics. 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. Want to combine 2 morning rituals? Bathe with coffee.
So you’ve already exfoliated with grounds, now apply coffee soap. First, melt a bar of natural glycerin soap and add ⅓ cup of 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. No kidding — caffeine actually gets absorbed through the skin.
3. Lights out? No problem, use coffee.
Are you afraid of the dark? You can turn your old coffee grounds into all-natural homemade candles with this fun DIY project that requires only a small paper cup, a paper towel, about a cup full of candle wax ends, a wick, scissors, a small saucepan, a small mixing bowl, and—last but not least—some coffee grounds. Check out the full how-to here.
4. Is your fridge running afoul? Coffee can absorb the smell.
We’ve all been there. A roommate leaves food in the fridge and forgets about it. The stench of raw fish permeates to the rest of the home 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 for a couple of weeks, swapping with new 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.
Speaking of gardening, 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 any of 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. As soon as coffee hits cotton, we frantically dab and scrub like crazy hoping to get it out. But if the stain is big enough, you might feel like giving up. “At this rate, it would make more sense to stain it more than try to remove it,” you say. Eureka!
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 Tide to Go?
7. Send fleas packin’.
Dogs are wonderful. The unconditional love and the way they’re just silly little dudes truly make them man’s best friend. That’s why pesky fleas can really mellow the vibe, because who hates seeing our pets in duress? An easy way to ward off these annoying pests is by rubbing 1 to 2 cups of coffee grounds into Fido’s fur and rinsing well. During baths, for example, before shampooing. The best part? Not only do the grounds kill the fleas, but they make your dog’s skin silky smooth. A win-win-woof.
8. Make better food with coffee.
Coffee makes for a fantastic meal tenderizer. Add ground coffee to your go-to rub for pork, brisket, or whatever else you slap on the grill. Enjoy the addition of complexity for a mild, smoky flavor. Use this tip to be the star of your next family outing. You can also add dark roasted ground coffee to your next batch of cookies for a decidedly decadent crunch.
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 cookies, you now have the know-how to create a new set of fun and sustainable habits.