10 Creative Ways To Reuse Old Coffee Grounds

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Estimates show that American consumers drink approximately 400 million cups of coffee every day. That’s a whole lot of coffee. Unfortunately, high coffee consumption generates a lot of old coffee grounds, and usually, these go straight to the trash can.

While coffee farming has been notorious for its contribution to the destruction of South American rainforests, coffee grounds are a useful organic substance. You can reuse and recycle them in different ways to benefit from their unique qualities. They’re suitable for your yard, your skin, and may even come in handy in the kitchen or while cleaning the house.

Reusing old coffee grounds is a small but helpful step towards improving the sustainability of your lifestyle. Check out these great uses of your old coffee grounds.


Creative ways to reuse old coffee grounds

Organic fertilizer

reuse old coffee grounds - garden

Consider sprinkling some of your old coffee grounds outside on your flower beds if you have a garden. Your plants will be able to benefit from the nutrients in the grounds. You can also add grounds to your compost heap and use them later as part of the compost.

Your plants benefit from the nutrients in the grounds. Add grounds to your compost heap and use them later as part of the compost.

Coffee grounds contain essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, calcium, iron, phosphorus, chromium, and magnesium.

Furthermore, coffee grounds attract worms to your garden, which help in aerating and improving the soil.


Organic pest control

Coffee grounds contain chemical compounds that repel or kill insects. These compounds, such as caffeine and diterpenes, are useful in repelling mosquitoes, fruit flies and may keep other harmful insects away.

So how do you reuse old coffee grounds as a repellent? Sprinkle some around outdoor lounging areas or keep bowls of grounds around your garden.

Additionally, using grounds on your plant garden creates a barrier that keeps slugs and snails away. Cats will avoid the grounds as well if you’re trying to keep ol’ Mitsy from nibbling away at your garden.


Household deodorizer

Coffee grounds make an excellent deodorizer for your home or fridge. They contain nitrogen, which binds to the foul-smelling sulfur gas when combined with carbon.

Simply put, coffee grounds absorb and dispel odors from your spaces.

To effectively tackle odors using coffee grounds, place the grounds in a bowl or container, and put it in your refrigerator to counter odors from spoiled foods.

You can also fill an old sock with the grounds and place them in odor-prone areas such as closets, shoes, gym bags, etc.

What’s more, you can use the waste grounds to clean odors from your hands after handling fragrant foods such as onions.


Abrasive cleaner

Are you struggling with getting tough spots and stains off your pots? Try some coffee grounds. They are abrasive and help remove build ups from hard-to-clean surfaces. Interestingly, grounds make an alternative sanitizer owing to their antibacterial and antiviral properties.

If you are looking for an alternative to cleaning chemicals, give coffee grounds a try. Use them to scour and polish sink, grill, cookware, etc.

However, avoid using coffee grounds on porous materials to prevent staining.


A flavor enhancer in baking

reuse old coffee grounds in baking

Reuse old coffee grounds to add flavor to baked desserts like cakes or brownies (can also use fresh grounds). Use small amounts of coffee grounds to add flavor to chocolate-baked goods.

Check out these delicious recipes that use coffee grounds for that extra taste kick:


Cellulite treatment

If you check the ingredients on expensive cellulite treatments, you may notice coffee listed pretty often.

To do this treatment on yourself, mix one tablespoon of olive oil with a fourth cup of used coffee grounds. Spread this mixture out on the areas where you have cellulite and then wrap it using plastic wrap. After a few minutes, take off the wrap and then shower to clean off the treatment. Try doing this a couple of times a week.


Hair rinse

Try rubbing coffee grounds into your hair after you wash it. Then rinse them back out again. You’ll probably find that your hair is shinier and softer after you finish. Coffee grounds can help to bring out the color in brown hair, but it may darken blonde hair (without adding color to it).

Furthermore, several studies indicate that caffeine stimulates hair growth in humans. Massage some of your old coffee grounds on your scalp for a few minutes before rinsing off.


Dog flea repellent

If you rub some coffee grounds into your dog’s hair after washing it, the coffee grounds can help to repel fleas.

Unlike many flea-removal products on the market that contain harsh chemicals for your pet, coffee grounds provide a safer alternative. Fleas don’t like coffee, which makes it perfect to use on your pet’s fur.

However, coffee grounds must only be used externally. They can be extremely toxic to dogs if ingested.



Another creative way to reuse old coffee grounds – steep in hot water to create a dye that you can use on fabric or paper, making it useful for arts and crafts. The dye will not be strong enough to dye your hair, but it may enhance its color or darken it.

Using coffee grounds as a hair rinse, as discussed above, can help you do this as well. Multiple applications are needed for success.


Traction on icy pavement

The salts which are used to melt ice on the pavement are not good for the environment. Coffee grounds can help provide traction on slippery pavement and may help melt the ice faster, most likely due to their color (which absorbs light and heat).

You’ll need to gauge whether this is the right solution or not; always go with the safest.



Old coffee grounds are some of the most all-around useful byproducts out there, and you don’t need to throw them in the trash. There are plenty of ways you can use them to replace substances that are not friendly to the environment, like fertilizer, pest repellant, and driveway salts. 

They can also replace some of your chemical-loaded cosmetic products, which can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

If you aren’t sure what to do with yours, you can always reuse old coffee grounds by adding to your compost heap. They improve the quality of your compost, contributing to a healthier garden and a healthier planet.

This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

2 thoughts on “10 Creative Ways To Reuse Old Coffee Grounds”

  1. These tips are great because coffee is already one of the most “eco-unfriendly” crops there are so any time you can reuse coffee’s waste materials (i.e. coffee grounds) to improve the environment, it makes a difference, albeit slightly.


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