Coffee is such a special thing that it feels wrong to throw away used grounds. It turns out that there are a variety of things to do with this waste product that are both good for the earth and for you!
Use the best possible ground coffee for your morning cup. Once brewed, this ground coffee can’t really be used for drinking again: the resulting beverage will be too weak in flavour to be worth it. Thankfully, there are lots of things to do with the wet coffee grounds. They are fantastic mixed with coconut oil and essential oils and used as facial and body exfoliants.
This mixed scrub should be applied gently in a circular motion, then rinsed off with warm water. It will keep for two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, and is a great alternative to expensive, ingredient-laden shop-bought exfoliants.
Of course, if used ground coffee can clean you, it can clean your pots too. For those difficult stains and fried-on foods using coffee grounds can help lift the muck. It gives just that little extra oomph to elbow grease.
Applied carefully it can also be used to clean the hob and the oven. Just be sure to rinse extra well to make sure to remove any leftover debris. An added bonus is that using ground coffee to clean your kitchen will leave it smelling delicious.
Actually, using coffee grounds to catch pungent smells is an established use. Instead of buying expensive charcoal bags from the internet, make your own smell catchers.
Fill old stockings or tights with dried used coffee grounds. This is important as wet grounds will just seep through the tights, staining whatever is around them. Once you have tied them up well, put one each in smelly shoes or slippers and leave overnight. It’s amazing how cheesy smells are drawn in and neutralised. Another use is a bowl of dried used ground coffee in the fridge, especially helpful for soaking up the scent of stilton around Christmas.
For those who are lucky enough to have a compost heap, even a small one, ground coffee is a miracle. Though you can put most kitchen scraps into home composting, it can often be more trouble than it’s worth to cut peelings up extra small. There are also other benefits to adding ground coffee to your compost: a high percentage of coffee grounds results in up to 40% fewer harmful gases making their way into the environment!
We recommend keeping egg shells aside also, and adding ground coffee into your compost alongside a good proportion of cardboard, fallen leaves and grass cuttings. Careful: it’s easy for compost maintenance to turn into a hobby, as many an amateur horticulturalist will attest to!
Another garden use is as a barrier to slugs and snails. Ground coffee has a texture that we find pleasing, but which snails and slugs definitely do not. Simply pouring used ground coffee out onto the ground around your tomato plants and other delicate flora is a great way to deter these pests.
Another use is as a deterrent to squirrels and cats. For the former, dried used ground coffee stops them munching beautiful flowers; for the latter, it is a useful, cruelty-free way to stop them using your vegetable patch as a litter box.
Improve wooden furniture
Mixing used coffee grounds with water results in a thick paste. Applied gently with cotton to a wooden table or other furniture, it’s just the right colour to hide scuffs and scratches without damaging your treasured pieces. Simply reapply the paste every few hours until the colour matches the wood.
Mix used coffee grounds with water and use as a medium for your cut flowers. The extra vitamins and nutrients in the ground coffee go a long way to keeping your bouquet looking fresh and smelling incredible – and the coffee adds an extra bonus note to your room.
Love cooking with garlic but hate the lingering smell? There are a number of ways which promise to remove the scent from your hands, some of which involve purchasing steel implements or special soaps. But the simplest thing to do is to keep a container of used ground coffee next to the sink and wash your hands with it after you’ve finished your food prep. The grounds will make your hands supple and soft, too.
If you have a lot of used ground coffee, save it for the winter. Sprinkling grounds on pavements and pathways is a kind way to take care of your neighbours and any pets. Acting as a grip on the slippery surface, the ground coffee also helps melt the ice. This is because of the acidity!
There is a world of possibilities when it comes to used ground coffee. There are so many things that this magic substance can be used for, you’ll regret ever throwing it away. Using it for cleaning, getting rid of smells, as a natural exfoliant or grit, to lengthen the lifespan of cut flowers or even to grow a beautiful garden: with so much to do, there’s absolutely no reason not to brew up a cup right now!