There are very few casual coffee drinkers. Most people who like coffee really like coffee, which means they drink at least a cup a day.
So, what happens to the used coffee grounds that are left over after we’ve all brewed our morning cup of joe? Well, most people just dispose of them––after all, those soggy brown grounds don’t look very appealing!
However, there are myriad ways to reuse coffee grounds.
Whether you are into natural beauty treatments, home maintenance and repair, or gardening and landscaping, these nutrient-rich granules offer a cheap and creative way to engage in self-care and DIY projects.
10 ways to reuse coffee grounds (and 1 way not to!)
1. Reuse coffee grounds to make an exfoliating body scrub
Coffee grounds make a fantastic natural exfoliant. The coarseness of used coffee grounds helps remove dead skin cells and rejuvenates circulation.
As an added bonus, the regular use of exfoliants has been shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite and to tighten skin.
To make your scrub, dry out half a cup of used grounds on a paper towel. Combine this with half a cup of brown sugar. Mix in half a cup of melted coconut oil.
Once you have made your scrub, rub it in all over your body. Leave it on your skin for a few minutes and then gently rinse it off with warm water.
2. Reuse coffee grounds to make a hair mask
Do you ever feel like the products you use to take care of your hair are starting to build up around the base of your follicles?
Well, one solution to this problem is a so-called “caffeine shampoo.” Using old coffee grounds to create a hair mask not only removes product buildup but also exfoliates your scalp. It may even boost hair growth.
After a caffeine treatment, your hair will feel lighter and cleaner.
Also, if you happen to have brunette hair, coffee hair masks will temporarily boost the richness of your color.
To make a coffee-ground hair mask you will first need to dry out half a cup of grounds on a paper towel. Once they are dry, combine them with half a cup of coconut or castor oil. Add in two tablespoons of yogurt and combine.
The grounds will stimulate your hair follicles and clean the area around them of any leftover product buildup. The oil will boost your hair’s shine and stimulate growth. Yogurt, with all its beneficial cultures, will reduce grease and keep dandruff away.
3. Reuse coffee grounds to get rid of undereye circles
Are you tired of looking tired? Well, the thing that makes you look less tired may just be the same thing that makes you feel less tired: coffee!
If you wake up puffy-eyed and with bags under your eyes, take a second to treat yourself to a quick under-eye coffee mask.
Simply smear a dollop of used coffee grounds under your eyes, taking care not to get any in your eyes.
The grounds will dry and solidify. Once they have, wash them off gently with warm water.
Coffee grounds have been shown to help eliminate dark circles and puffiness. It also doesn’t hurt that the act of applying the grounds to your skin and washing them off also feels great.
4. Reuse coffee grounds to make a bath bomb
It may surprise you to learn that caffeine is good for more than just giving you an energy boost. In fact, studies have shown that caffeine can actually help the body repair cellular damage.
Next time you take want to have a soak in the bath, give your skin an extra treat and make yourself a coffee ground bath bomb.
Take a cup of your used grounds and put them into a cheesecloth pouch or a nut-milk bag. Add in half a cup of Epsom salts. Tie the bag securely so that the grounds can’t slip out.
As you begin to run your bath, place the bag into the tub. The caffeine that is released into the water will help repair any cellular damage to your skin.
For best results, make this “coffee bath” a regular part of your self-care routine.
5. Reuse coffee grounds to clean pots and pans
Keeping pots and pans clean is hard. That said, there is no better way to get into every crack and crevice and to scrub any remaining black charr off the bottom of your pans than reusing coarse coffee grounds.
Maybe you have a few pans whose bottoms are always a little black, and whose sides are never fully clean? If so, coffee grounds are your answer.
Simply combine a cup of dry, used grounds with a teaspoon of dish soap. Then, use a scourer to scrub out the bottoms of your pots.
Rinse and enjoy your shiny, good-as-new pots and pans!
6. Reuse coffee grounds to tenderize meat
Have you ever heard of coffee-rubbed steak? If not, you’re in for a treat.
Like a bold red wine, coffee has high tannin content. Tannins help you cleanse your palate and ready your mouth for the fatty flavors of steak.
Use a coffee rub on a red meat to tenderize it, softening it while adding a unique, gourmet flavor.
Coat your steak in a little bit of oil and then rub in a tablespoon of dried, used coffee grounds. Leave it to sit for a few minutes, and then sear your meat in a hot skillet until a crust appears. Then bake it for 10 minutes.
Voila, you’re good to go!
7. Reuse coffee grounds to repair scratched furniture
Coffee grounds can also be used to repair scratched wood furniture.
Fine scratches on a piece of dark wood furniture can detract from the beauty of an antique piece.
The good news is that applying used coffee grounds to a scuff using a Q-tip offers a way to get back your furniture’s smooth finish.
Allow the grounds to sit in the scuffed spot for ten to fifteen minutes. Then buff the spot with a warm, wet cotton rag. It should look good as new!
8. Reuse coffee grounds to make a natural dye
You can use coffee to naturally dye fabric into earthy tones of brown and tan.
For best results, use a white material made of 100 percent wool.
To make your dye, use your used grounds to brew another round of coffee.
Use a large pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Mix in your coffee grounds and turn off the heat. Once you have achieved a rich, dark color, filter out your coffee grounds.
Put your clothing into the pot of coffee. Stir it with a wooden spoon to ensure equal coverage.
Allow it to sit in the coffee until it has reached the desired color. Then, take it out and allow it to dry.
Wash in cold water and a gentle detergent before using.
9. Reuse coffee grounds to get rid of garden pests
Another excellent use for coffee grounds is to keep garden pests out of your vegetable patch.
If you are worried about slugs and snails eating the leaves of your leafy vegetables before they have a chance to flourish, you can create a “coffee-ground moat.”
Simply create a ring of coffee grounds around your vegetables––slugs will not want to crawl over the barrier of dried coffee grounds.
10. Reuse coffee grounds to fertilize plants
Used coffee grounds also make a great plant food! Simply mix used coffee grounds into your soil before planting your seeds to give your garden an extra nutritional boost.
While unused coffee grounds are acidic, used coffee grounds are neutral, with a pH balance of around 6.5. This means they will not affect the acidity of the soil and will pair well with all vegetables.
DO NOT Reuse coffee grounds to brew another batch of coffee!
Despite all the many wonderful uses for old, used coffee grounds, there is one thing you should absolutely avoid doing with them. That is trying to use them to brew another batch of coffee.
Second-use coffee is bitter and lacking in flavor and “double-brewing” should be avoided at all costs.