Every morning use to be the same routine. I’d make a pot of coffee, drink it, and clean out the coffee machine. I’d flip open the lid of the trash can, and throw away the coffee filter full of rich coffee grounds.  One day my husband suggested that I throw it in my compost pile! So I did and saw what a difference it made to my plants. I got to thinking, if coffee grounds can do wonders for my plants, what else could they do wonders on? It turns that there are tons of uses for coffee grounds I had never known about!



1. Kill fridge odor

If your fridge is full of foul odors, place a bowl of fresh, unused coffee grounds inside and leave it for a day or two. The coffee will absorb the odors and leave your fridge smelling fresh. You can save around $4 a month!

2. Reduce cellulite

Pricey cellulite creams have one major ingredient in common: caffeine, which enhances fat metabolism, reducing the appearance of these fatty pockets under the skin. To make your own coffee cellulite treatment at home, mix warm used coffee grounds with coconut oil and rub it onto your skin in circular motions for a few minutes before rinsing. Average cellulite creams from your local drugstore can run as much as $20.00 a jar.

3. Reduce fireplace mess

Wait until the embers are cool, sprinkle damp coffee grounds all over the ashes, let them sit for about 15 minutes, and scoop out the mess into a metal ash can. The coffee grounds cling to the ashes, so they don’t spew as much dust. The monetary savings here vary, but you will be saving yourself time.

4. Repel ants

Sprinkle dry, used coffee grounds in problem areas where you notice ants. To tackle huge ant mounds, pour an entire pot of brewed coffee right on the mound. The cost of ant traps can be around $8.00 a package, plus they are toxic and harmful to pets.

5. Erase smells on your hands

Some things smell delicious when cooking but aren’t so pleasant later when they linger on your hands. Get rid of them by rubbing a handful of used coffee grounds on your hands and rinsing with warm water.

6. Make rich compost

Coffee grounds are rich in phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and copper. Plants thrive off of these ingredients. You can score used grounds for free at your local coffee shop; just ask.

7. Get shiny hair

Coffee is recommended as a natural treatment to make hair glossy. Brew up an extra-strong pot, let it cool and apply it to your dry, clean hair. Leave it on for at least twenty minutes, then rinse. Keep it up once a week or so for best results. A bottle of leave-in hair shiner can run you around $5.00 and contains harmful chemicals. This method not only saves you money but is safer on your hair.

8. Make your own natural dye

The natural pigments in coffee make it a great natural dye for fabric, paper, Easter eggs and even your hair. Just allow a strong brew to cool, then saturate whatever it is you are trying to dye with the mixture. Dyes can run anywhere from $4.00-$10.00 depending on brand.

9. Fertilize plants

Acid-loving plants will thank you for sprinkling your used coffee grounds around their roots. Azaleas, blueberry shrubs and rhododendrons are just a few of the plants that flourish when treated with coffee, thanks to all those nutrients. You can also dilute the leftover coffee in your mug and pour it right into your potted plants.  Fertilizer at your local home store can cost as much as $5.00 per pound.

10. Keep cats out of your garden

Sprinkle used coffee grounds on the soil, and cats will want nothing to do with it. Products that promise the same performance can cost as much as $10.00 at home supply stores!

11. Scrub surfaces

Mildly abrasive, coffee grounds are great for scrubbing surfaces like cooking ranges and refrigerators. Use them alone or mix them with a little dish soap. Even store brand kitchen scrub can cost as much as $3.00 a bottle.

12. Repel fleas

Rub used, damp coffee grounds through your pet’s fur after bathing to repel fleas. Everyone with pets knows how expensive flea repellants can be. Even a simple flea collar can cost upwards of $5.00.

13. Secret recipe ingredient

Just a little hint of coffee can put a unique flavor into foods like chili and chocolate cake. Use a little bit as a marinade for steaks, and not only will it make them tender, it’ll also provide a hint of deep, smoky flavor.

14. Repair furniture scratches

Scratches on wood furniture disappear almost instantly by simply rubbing in a little bit of instant coffee dampened into a paste with hot water. Repeat if necessary until the scratch matches the surrounding wood. Products like this can cost as much as $10.00!


Stop throwing those used coffee grounds away! They are full of practical uses around the home that can save you money and time. Who knew a pot of coffee could do so much more than just wake us up in the morning?

This has been a guest post by Katie from South Bend, IN
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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17 thoughts on “14 Uses for Coffee Grounds”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I learned of another use for coffee grounds in the Tightwad Gazette books published back in he 1990′s.  Don’t know if they are still in print but worth searching for them as each book ( 3 in total- I-III) has some great frugal ideas for home, garden, kitchen, kids, etc.

    So here’a the coffee ground idea: Save the grounds from today’s pot of coffee and use to brew a second pot.  When brewing the second pot, simply add half as much fresh grounds as you used for the first pot- ie If you used 6 tablespoons simply add an additional 3 tablespoons to the first pot grounds.

    I have used this idea many times with no ill effects.  Leaving the grounds in the filter bucket overnight has not posed a problem for me.  But if that bothers you, you could take the filter and used grounds out and store in the refrigerator overnight.

    What I have never tried is experimenting to determine how many times you could reuse the grounds.

  2. Imona Budget says:

    Wait. Wait. Wait. You can put used coffee grounds into a cake and chili? And it will blend right in? Wow…..

    I’m definitely using them around my flowers and plants! Thanks! 

    • Anonymous says:

      A little strong brewed coffee is a nice addition to some recipes, especially chocolate cake and brownies (not the grounds themselves).

      • Imona Budget says:

        Whew…! That makes sense….(I guess it threw me off because the article was about the grounds…)! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    What I do when we make a pot of coffee is to take the grounds and go to the flower bed and apply directly to the plants themselves, sprinkle a little on each one and they will be very happy.

  4. I REALLY don’t like the idea to put coffee grounds on pet fur! The other ideas are good and I am excited to try them (I have dark hair so am good on that) but definitely won’t be doing the pet fur one. 

  5. Becky Otts says:

    I us my coffee grounds, banana peels and egg shells everyday and give them to my roses.  The roses thrive on them!

    • Anonymous says:

       I also throw my coffee grounds and filter out every morning on my roses and pick up the filter for trash when I get home from work, it is dryer and I shake and toss. my roses are beautiful and thrive from the coffee grounds. I can even clip to fill a vase every week .It is so nice to have fresh flowers for free.

  6. Amanda says:

    probably need to note that anyone with gray, blonde or lighter colored hair should not use a coffee rinse on their hair, it will stain and you will end up with a yellowish tint.

     However most importantly you probably should not rub coffee grounds into your pets fur, caffeine is dangerous to animals, to be lethal it takes about 150 mg per lb of body weight, so while rubbing coffee ground into their skin may not be lethal smaller doses can still lead to nausea and vomiting as well as affecting the nervous system.

    • Dawn E. says:

      I foster a lot of homeless pets, and never heard of coffee grounds for fleas (though I dose them with flea/tick spray). My original thought was the same as yours about the caffeine. However, I thought it would good one on one time with the fosters to brush the coffee grounds out after I rub it in.
      Maybe will work, maybe not. BUT I’m glad you posted that reference about pets & caffeine. I meet a lot of pet owners, who have no idea how toxic caffeine (ie: chocolate) can be to dogs/cats…Thanks!

  7. Tanesha says:

     I think it depends if your compost pile is in the shade or if it gets
    sunshine.  You may want to work them into the dirt and let the sun dry
    them.  I also suggest if your dumping them in one spot you may want to
    consider dumping them in a different area of your compost pile. 
    Rotation is excellent when composting. 

  8. Guest says:

     I think it depends if your compost pile is in the shade or if it gets sunshine.  You may want to work them into the dirt and let the sun dry them.  I also suggest if your dumping them in one spot you may want to consider dumping them in a different area of your compost pile.  Rotation is excellent when composting.

  9. Tanesha says:

    You can compost just about anything.  I use tea bags in my compost pile, egg shells, potato peelings, lettuce, tomatoes, anything that’s a vegetable.  I do not use chemicals in my compost pile.  Some people would dump mop water in their compost pile.  I don’t because I use clorox  when I mop and I really do NOT want any chemicals in my garden.  Anything that’s aged like animal manure is excellent for a compost pile.  :-)

  10. Everytime I try to save my coffee grounds for something like this, they end up getting moldy…Any suggestions?

  11. Sounds like good ideas! But, how should I store the used grounds??