Used Coffee Grounds: Unlocking Versatility

Whats appLinkedInXPininterestFacebook
ways to repurpose coffee grounds

A cup of coffee gets you your daily caffeine boost and also generates a valuable boost for your garden and even your beauty routine. Used coffee grinds have various uses, making them a versatile and eco-friendly option. Here are a few creative ways to reuse your coffee grinds.

  1. Gardening Benefits:

    1. Used coffee grinds are a rich source of nitrogen and also contain potassium and phosphorus all of which plants can use for growth. Mix well with a carbon source and spread evenly in the soil for plant growth.
    2. Coffee is slightly acidic so acid-loving plants such as hydrangeas will enjoy it as well as nutrient-hungry plants like roses.
    3. Add 2 cups of used coffee grounds to 5-gallons of water and let it steep overnight. Use this concoction as a liquid fertiliser
    4. However, caffeine restrict growth in certain plants noticeably tomatoes
  2. Insect and pest repellent:

    1. Coffee contains caffeine and other compounds that are toxic to insects. Scatter coffee grounds around your plants and the outdoor settings to keep pest, slugs and snails away. Compounds present in coffee like caffeine, chlorogenic acid, diterpenes, and trigonelline provide antiproliferative, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects.
    2. There are studies that show that coffee grounds inhibit the growth of mosquito embryos.
    3. Slugs dislike caffeine and the gritty texture of the grounds
    4. Ants, cats and foxes may also dislike areas spread with coffee grounds to varying degree
  3. Composting:

    Add to your compost, ensure there is a balanced mix of ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ materials to achieve good compost. Mix coffee grounds with dry leaves, grass clippings, tree bark, eggshells, stale baked goods, and fruit and vegetable peels.

  4. Personal care:

    1. Note: It is always advised to do a patch test before trying out any DIYs.
    2. Use as a natural exfoliant : Mix coffee grinds with a tbsp of coconut oil or any light weight oil like sweet almond oil to form a paste-like consistency.
    3. Alternatively add lemon juice. Scrub the mixture on the skin and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
    4. Get rid of puffy eyes: caffeine stimulates blood flow and widens or dilates blood vessels which can naturally help tightening of the skin. This may reduce the build of fluid under the eyes (puffy eyes). Make a paste of the ground coffee and liquid from the coffee and apply it around the eyes.
    5. Contains polyphenols that may protect against UV rays and some signs of ageing due to sun exposure.
    6. Scrubbing your face with coffee grounds can clear away all the dead skin cells and unclog the pores.
    7. Coffee is acidic and so applying coffee to hair is a great way to rebalance the pH levels of the hair and scalp. Its also great to remove buildup.
    8. Foot scrub: coffee grounds can help scrape away dead skin cells and increase blood flow. For the foot scrub, mix:
      1. 2 tbsp ground coffee
      2. 2 tbsp brown sugar
      3. 1 tbsp olive oil
      4. Apply the paste on your foot, soles of the feet.
      5. Let it rest for a while.
      6. Rinse and dry and then apply a creamy moisturising lotion.
    9. Body polish: use the following mixture on your body to help the skin hydrate, reduce excess oil, reduce cellulite and stretch marks
      1. ¼ cup almond oil
      2. 2 tbsp of milk
      3. Finely ground coffee
      4. Mix it into a paste, apply on your body and let it sit for a while.
      5. Rinse and dry and then apply a creamy moisturising lotion.
  5. Odour neutralizer:

    1. Place a bowl of coffee grounds in the fridge to remove any odour in the fridge. Nitrogen in the grounds reacts with carbon neutralising and eliminating odour.
    2. Used as a hand scrub to remove any lingering smell on your hands.
    3. Coffee grounds can be filled in a cloth bag or an old sock and used as a portable and natural freshener in cars, bedroom drawers, gym bags, shoes etc.
  6. Scour your pots and pans:

    Coffee grounds are mildly abrasive similar to baking soda and have natural degreasing properties to help cut through oily build ups. It is safe to scour your pots and pans including delicate non-stick cooking surfaces. They also work on cleaning the oven and grill grates.

  7. As a natural dye:

    Used coffee grounds are a good alternative as non-toxic, traditional dye. It can be used to dye hair along with henna/ mehendi.

    1. Brew dark coffee using double the strength to a regular dark coffee.
    2. Once cooled, mix the coffee properly with conditioner
    3. Apply to your hair like you would with a normal dye
    4. Let it sit for an hour. Rinse and dry.

Coffee can also be used as natural dye for fabric and clothing. Read on how to.

  1. Meat tenderizer Coffee grounds contain natural acids and enzymes that are capable of tenderising meat and giving it a caramelised sweet and savoury flavour.

    1. Add coffee ground to your meat rub mix and apply to the meat at least 2 hours before cooking
    2. Alternatively, rebrew coffee grounds into coffee, cool it and use it to marinade the meat and refrigerate for up to 24hrs before cooking.
    3. For slow cooking, spent coffee grounds will bring intense flavour to short ribs, briskets, pork ribs. For short cooking, use spend coffee grounds on chicken thighs and even vegetables and tofu steaks
  2. Growth substrate for mushroom cultivation

    Used coffee grounds are rich nutrients required for mushroom growth.


    1. Take around 2.5kg of coffee grounds and moisten them using a spray bottle.
    2. Add 500g of mushroom spore and sawdust mixture. Mix well.
    3. Place the mixture in a large filter bag, freezer bag or a bucket. Fill upto two-third of the container.
    4. Ensure that there are openings of about 5mm in size for proper aeration.
    5. Spray water as required to keep the grounds moist.
    6. In about two to four weeks, mycelial growth starts to appear. Move the container to an area with lighter and fresher air.
    7. You can harvest the mushrooms in about 4 weeks.

Next time you brew a cup of coffee, consider repurposing the grounds using one of the ideas in this article.


This post may contain affiliate links which means we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.

Note: please check the ingredients list of any products that you may wish to try and check for allergies or consult a medical professional for any existing conditions being impacted by switching to new products.

ShareWhats appLinkedInXPininterestFacebook