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While most coffee drinkers discard coffee grounds after a fresh brew, you’ll be surprised to learn that these grounds can actually be repurposed for the greater good. From composting to cleaning, several resourceful ways exist to repurpose your old coffee grounds and reduce waste in your home. 

So whether you relish in do-it-yourself projects or seek creative ways to be more sustainable, these clever ideas will inspire you.

Get ready to turn your morning rituals into sustainable practices and discover how coffee grounds can be valuable in your daily life. 

ground coffee and beans

Uses for Old Coffee Grounds

1. Cleaning Product

Coffee grounds can also be used as a natural cleaning agent around the house. Using coffee grounds to clean is a natural, nontoxic alternative to harsh chemicals. The abrasive texture of coffee grounds makes them effective for scrubbing surfaces without causing damage.

You can use the coffee grounds to scrub stubborn stains on pots and pans. Mix three teaspoons of ground coffee with dish soap and water and scrub the pots until clean. The grounds are a natural degreaser that helps to remove grease, leaving your pots shiny and spotless.

coffee beans and ground coffee

2. Natural Odor Neutralizer

You can also use coffee grounds as a natural deodorizer. The grounds will remove and eliminate any unpleasant odor and lingering smell from your home. This includes smells found in the refrigerator, trash can, or pantry.

Place the coffee grounds in a cup and position it in the fridge, the pantry, or the bottom of the trash can. The cup of coffee grounds will neutralize any strong smells and absorb foul odors.

So, instead of opting for baking soda, you can use coffee grounds to help keep odors down in the fridge.

coffee grounds in spoon

3. Garden Fertilizer

Coffee grounds can act as a natural fertilizer for your plants. When you blend coffee grounds with your soil, their unique properties enhance fertility and improve the overall health of your plants.  

Coffee grounds boast a wealth of essential nutrients, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients can be the key element for plant growth and development.

To use it, sprinkle coffee grounds around the base of your plants or mix them into the soil when planting. Since the coffee grounds contain some acidity, mixing them with other organic matter to balance the pH levels or using them in plants’ soil that can manage natural acids is best. Acid-loving plants like cucumbers, hydrangeas, blueberries, onions, and azaleas are great for this. 

gardening soil

4. Compost it

Composting is a natural process that transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. Coffee grounds are an excellent addition to compost piles due to their high nitrogen content that helps create nutrient-rich soil. Adding coffee grounds to your compost bin can help create a well-balanced compost, providing a good mix of carbon and nitrogen. 

Additionally, coffee grounds increase the moisture retention capacity of compost, preventing it from drying out too quickly. This is especially beneficial in areas where water conservation is essential.

Mix the coffee grounds with the existing compost pile, like fruit and vegetable scraps. Over time, the coffee grounds will break down and contribute to the overall fertility of your compost. You can then use this compost to enrich your garden soil or potted plants.

compost with coffee

5. Pest and Insect Repellent

Used coffee grounds work well as a natural pest repellent. The strong aroma of coffee can deter garden pests like slugs, snails, and ants.

It can even deter neighborhood cats from using your garden as their personal litter box. By sprinkling coffee grounds around your plants, you can protect them from these annoying pests. 

It can also act as a Mosquito repellent when burned. Mosquitoes are repulsed by coffee and do not want to come near it.

So the next time you are enjoying your backyard and mosquitoes are present, you can burn coffee grounds in a fire-safe container like a fire pit to create a natural mosquito repellent. The smoky smell of coffee produced by burning coffee grounds can help keep mosquitoes at bay.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to burn coffee grounds to keep mosquitoes away.

6. Make Homemade Coffee Body Scrub

You can use coffee grounds to enhance your skincare routine. Old grounds have exfoliating properties, making them the perfect ingredient for a homemade body scrub.

The texture of coffee grounds helps to remove dead skin cells, remove the appearance of cellulite, and stimulate blood circulation, leaving your skin feeling softer, smoother, and more rejuvenated. 

Here’s a quick DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub you might like. This homemade recipe will result in smoother, softer skin. So, instead of spending a fortune on expensive body scrubs, why not repurpose your coffee grounds and pamper yourself with this spa-like experience?

This DIY coffee scrub combines ingredients like old grounds, sugar, and coconut oil to create a healthy, rejuvenating remedy that gently exfoliates and softens your skin. 

coffee scrub
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

7. Eye Care

Use old coffee grounds to diminish the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness around the eyes.

Here’s a DIY Wake-Me-Up Coffee Mask for Puffy Eyes that will leave your eyes looking refreshed and revitalized. This ingredient uses egg white and coffee grounds to make the perfect eye mask that you will love. 

8. Coffee Ground Candle

You can repurpose coffee grounds to create a beautiful, aromatic, scented candle. All you have to do is mix the coffee grounds with melted wax to make scented candles. This is an excellent way to give old coffee grounds new life and purpose. 

coffee candle
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

9. Creating Natural Dye with Coffee Grounds

If you are crafty and are looking for a natural and eco-friendly way to dye and add color to your fabrics, coffee grounds can be your solution. Brewed coffee grounds offer a sustainable alternative to clothing dye. Coffee grounds can be used to create beautiful earthy tones in shades of brown on fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and polyester. 

It’s as simple as soaking your fabric in the coffee dye for several hours or overnight, depending on the desired intensity of the color. After the fabric has absorbed the dye, rinse it thoroughly with water to remove any excess coffee. Finally, let the fabric air dry, leaving you with a unique, naturally dyed piece.

used ground coffee

10. Fix a Scratch in Dark Wood

wood furniture with dining room table
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

If you’ve got a thrifted piece of wood furniture or a piece of furniture with a rich, dark wood finish that’s been impaired by an unsightly scratch, there’s a trick you can try. Massage some spent coffee grounds into the scratch; it will conceal the scratch and give your furniture a bit of a makeover.

Simply use a Q-tip or cotton swab and apply the leftover coffee grounds to the affected areas. Let the grounds sit for a few minutes, and then wipe them away with a soft cloth and watch as those surface imperfections vanish.

11. De-Ice the Front of the House

oversized planters
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

If you live in an area where it snows, you can scatter coffee grounds on your sidewalk or driveway to help de-ice. Similar to sand, the coffee grounds will soak up the sunlight to make the ice melt quickly and add some traction. The acidity in coffee grounds aids the ice-melting process and helps the ice melt faster.

This natural and eco-friendly de-icer combines the best qualities of salt and sand and provides a reliable grip underfoot. 

12. Donate to a Community Garden 

Many local community gardens would be delighted to receive coffee grounds from their neighbors. Many gardeners and farmers appreciate coffee grounds’ nutrient content and pest-repellent properties. 

Contact your local community garden to inquire about their coffee ground donation programs. By donating your coffee grounds, you’ll not only reduce waste but also support local, sustainable agriculture initiatives.

coffee grounds

13. Upgrade Your Recipes 

Coffee grounds are not just for drinking; they can also add a rich flavor and unique twist to your culinary creations. From savory dishes to sweet treats, coffee grounds can be used in various recipes to enhance the taste and aroma of your favorite foods.

From dry rubs for meats to baking cakes and cookies, incorporating ground coffee effectively gives your food a bold, rich taste.

14. Hair Care

If you want shiny, healthy hair, consider coffee grounds for hair care. Coffee grounds can also be used to promote healthy hair. The caffeine in coffee stimulates hair follicles and promotes hair growth, while the exfoliating action helps remove product buildup and dead skin cells from the scalp. 

15. Get Rid of the Onion Scent

Despite diligent hand washing, that lingering onion scent tends to persist, especially on your fingers. To help get rid of the onion smell from your hands, you only need to rub some used coffee grounds on them. The coffee fragrance will overpower the onion scent.

16. Deter Ants

ants on floor at home. Pest control
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

If you find that ants are present in certain areas of your home, you can use coffee grounds to deter them. Simply place coffee grounds around your home where ants are most likely to be.

17. Rid Your Dog of Fleas

dog on couch
Image Credit: New Africa / Shutterstock

You can use coffee grounds to rid your dog of fleas. All you have to do is rub some coffee grounds on the dog during their regular wash session and rinse. Coffee grounds are a flea deterrent that is chemical-free. 

Coffee Brands We Love

Can you use expired coffee grounds?

You can absolutely continue to use expired coffee grounds. There is no harm in doing so. The expiration date on the coffee grounds is simply an indication of its freshness, flavor, and quality.

Unfortunately, the shelf life of ground coffee is shortened once it is opened, and it typically loses its bold flavor and freshness over time. 

Can you put coffee grounds down a garbage disposal?

While it may be tempting to dispose of coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, it’s actually one of the items that you should avoid placing down the garbage disposal. Coffee grounds don’t break down easily and can gather in the garbage disposal, leading to clogged drain pipes.

So, for all the coffee lovers who have been disposing of their leftover coffee grounds in the sink, it’s time to quit. Instead, you can dispose of coffee grounds in the trash, place it in a compost pile, or repurpose it.

How do you dispose of coffee grounds?

There are several ways that you can dispose of and repurpose coffee grounds. You can put it in the trash, donate it to the local community garden.

You can also repurpose it by composting, creating a garden fertilizer, or using it for cleaning. These are just a few ways to dispose of or repurpose coffee grounds. 

Can you compost coffee grounds?

Yes, composting coffee grounds is a great way to reuse and repurpose them. You can help to enrich your compost pile or bin using coffee grounds. The best way to do this is simply by adding old coffee grounds to your regular compost bin.

Coffee grounds serve as an excellent natural fertilizer, contributing valuable nitrogen to nourish your plants and enhance the quality of your soil.

For those seeking an organic solution to improve soil aeration, moisture retention, and the attraction of beneficial earthworms, your morning coffee leftovers are the perfect answer.

Is 2 year old ground coffee still good?

Unlike wine, Ground coffee does not necessarily get better with time.  2-year-old ground coffee is likely to lose its bold flavor and sweet aroma. For best results, coffee grounds are best consumed within a few weeks to a few months after being roasted. Fresh is always best when it comes to consuming ground coffee. 

Overexposure to air, light, and moisture causes the coffee to be stale, resulting in an undesirable coffee taste and flavor.

That said, if you have 2-year-old coffee, you can still use it, but it is likely that the taste and quality may be altered. Stale coffee tastes flat, dull, or even rancid. It’s best to repurpose using one of the above creative techniques. 

coffee beans next to cup


Whether you choose to incorporate them into your garden, skincare routine, or DIY projects, coffee grounds provide a sustainable and resourceful solution. 

So, for all the coffee drinkers, the next time you contemplate discarding your used coffee grounds into the trash, pause and consider the remarkable alternatives that embrace sustainability.

Give those coffee grounds a second life. Join the trend towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Don’t let your coffee grounds go to waste – let them work their magic in your compost or garden – one coffee ground at a time.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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  1. I like your organization of the coffee bar. Each section is well thought out. Keep writing your ideas.

  2. Thank you for new ideas for the coffee grounds that I have been using for my plants for quite some time.

  3. Tamara, you are brillant and so informative. I have long used coffee grounds but you have given them many new deminsios for me. Thank you!

  4. Absolutely love this! Some of these ‘tricks’ I never thought of and certainly never heard of. Thank you!

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