16 Creative Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

Do you love your real coffee? It’s not surprising, more and more of us are ditching the jars of instant for the real thing. But this is creating an ever growing problem of what to do with all the spent coffee grounds?

Whether you have a filter coffee machine, a French press or fancy bean-to-cup coffee machine, you will be quickly growing your stash of used fresh coffee grounds.

Rather than just throwing them in the bin, there are many surprisingly practical uses for used coffee grounds.

Discover the 18 most popular uses below, it’s time to put your old coffee grounds to good use.

If you not a huge coffee drinker and find you need more, don’t be shy and ask about. Your neighbours, friends and family all probably have some lying around. But for an almost unlimited source, you local coffee house will have tons of it (almost literally)

Fresh grounds from coffee shops

1 – Composting Coffee Grounds For Later

If you’re a keen gardener then one best uses for used coffee grounds is composting with food scraps to use later during the gardening season.

You can add both the coffee grounds and paper coffee filters to your compost bins.

Composting coffee grounds is the natural process of turning this organic waste into a nutrient rich substance for your soil.

Coffee grounds are extremely rich in nitrogen (1), so when they are included in your compost they will produce a soil that worms love.

This compost or humus (as it is sometimes called) is a great way to help your soil retain more of the nutrients and water it needs to nurture your plants.

Compost is a great way to improve the nutrient levels of your soil, something your plants will thank you for. Adding coffee grounds to your compost greatly increases its nutrients.
Compost heap

2 – Fertiliser

Fertilising your soil is essential if you want to give your plants the best possible chance of flourishing.

Most garden soil is lacking in the essential nutrients required for optimal plant growth, then add in the fact that as your plants grow they consume the little nutrients already there.

The solution, you need to fertilise your garden regularly with organic material.

Using coffee grounds in the garden is a great way to replenish your soil. Ground coffee contains several key minerals including, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, iron and zinc(2).

Worms love coffee grounds, and soil loves worms.

Simply sprinkle coffee grounds directly onto the soil around your plants and they will love you!

3 – Mushroom Farm

One of the most surprising ways of using coffee grounds is growing mushrooms. Used coffee grounds mixed with a little moisture makes the ideal environment in which to grow delicious mushrooms.

Tip: The brewing process means your brewed coffee grounds are already sterile. Avoid using unbrewed coffee grounds

How to use spent coffee grounds to grow mushrooms

  1. Add approx 1kg of coffee grounds to a sealable plastic bag, or growing container and moisten lightly. Only fill 2/3 full.
  2. Mix in 200grams of mushroom spores and straw.
  3. Seal the plastic bag or if using a container add cling film across the top
  4. Make a few small air holes in your bag or cling film. Making sure to only make them above the mixture line
  5. Keep the mixture in a dark place for the first few weeks, and remember to keep it moist by spraying with water daily.
  6. Harvest when ready.
Mushrooms growing in coffee grounds

What mushrooms grow best on coffee grounds?

Shitake and Oyster mushrooms seem to grow best on used coffee grounds. But you can feasibly grow any type you fancy.

4 – Inspect and Pest Repellent

Used coffee grounds contain compounds that are toxic to many insects and pests such as caffeine and diterpenes.

This makes used coffee grounds great at repelling mosquitos, beetles and flies. Simply place a few small containers full around your garden seating area to keep these pests away.

Also add some around your flower beds to stop slugs and snails getting at your prized flowers.

5 – Stop Cats From Using Your Garden As A Litter Box

Any aspiring master gardener will want a way to naturally deter cats from using the garden as a litter box. A problem in most gardens.

Well cats don’t care too much for the smell of coffee. Making it a great, chemical free way of keeping them off your soil.

Simply add used or fresh coffee grounds to the garden to stop cats using it as a litter tray.

6 – Make Your Hair Thicker

Caffeine shampoos are one of the fastest growing hair products today.

The reason behind this success is several recent studies have found that caffeine can be effective in stimulating hair growth(3).

Coffee grinds also make a great exfoliant which can help remove build up from all the products you use.

To get the best results rub a small amount of coffee grounds into your scalp before you shampoo.

7 – Pet Flea Removal

Just like other insects and pests, fleas do not like coffee. This makes it a great chemical free way to stop your pet getting fleas.

Simply rub some used coffee grounds into their fur after bath time and then rinse off.

It is important to note, coffee can be toxic to dogs and should only be used externally.

If your beloved pet has a serious flea problem, then you need to consult a professional vet for advice.

8 – Homemade Under Eye Treatment

One of the first places to show signs of ageing is the eyes, hence we spend a fortune each year treating under eye circles.

There have been numerous studies that have shown the use of products containing both antioxidants and caffeine can help to reduce dark circles from the eye area.

The great news is coffee grounds contain both antioxidants and caffeine. Caffeine is also a great anti-inflammatory agent to help with puffy eyes.

Mix coffee grounds with coconut oil to form the perfect homemade eye cream. Simply apply to the area around your eyes and wash off after 10 minutes.

9 – Anti-Cellulite

9 out of every 10 women will suffer with cellulite at some point.

Applying caffeine cream to the affected area is a great way to break down the fat deposits under the skin, that cause cellulite. It will also increase blood flow to the area and this will reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Mix used or fresh coffee grounds with water or oil, apply to the required area, and leave for a few minutes before washing off.

10 – Eliminate Odours

Another wonderful use for used coffee grounds is to eliminate foul smelling odours wherever they may linger.

The nitrogen contained in coffee grounds reacts to neutralise the sulphur that causes many bad odours in the home.

Place a cup of coffee grounds in areas that bad smells can be found.

For an expert level tip, try bagging a handful of coffee grounds in some muslin and placing inside your gym bag or shoes to keep them smelling fresh. A homemade air freshener.

11 – Used Coffee Grounds Make a Great Exfoliator

If you want to save a little money on your weekly shop, you might want to give coffee grounds a go as your new exfoliating scrub.

They make a great exfoliator to remove dead skin and stubborn muck from the skin.

Add grounds to a little water or fragrant oil to make a great natural treatment. For best results scrub directly on the skin before washing or showering.

12 – Scouring Stubborn Pots And Pans

As well as being a great exfoliator for your skin, you can also use coffee grounds to clean those stubborn pans.

The coarse texture makes them ideal and a much better alternative to wire scourers at removing caked on food, it will protect your pots and pans.

All you need to do is sprinkle a handful into your pan before cleaning as usual with a sponge.

Tip : Remember to rinse well after to stop your next meal tasting of coffee.

13 – Vintage Dye

Dyed clothes with coffee

We all know how hard it is to remove a spilled coffee stain. This in a controlled manner makes it a great natural and chemical free dye.

Make a dye bag by adding a handful of coffee grounds to a muslin bag or used pantyhose. Place the garment and dye bag in cold water together for a few hours. This will result in giving your clothes and aged or antique look.

14 – Antiquing paper

Similar to adding a vintage look to clothes, you can use coffee grounds to age paper and other things. This is a fun project to do with the kids, some ideas are treasure maps, antique books and spells.

15 – Tenderise Your Meat

If your a meat eater then you will crave the most tender cut you can get. Unfortunately not all meat cuts are as tender as we would like.

You see meat is made up of muscle fibre and protein, and these can be tough to chew at times. Slow cooking for a long time is the preferred method of breaking these down.

But there are other ways (4), one of which you may not think of is using your used coffee grounds.

And it couldn’t be easier, all you need to do add a handful to your favourite dry rub and apply it to your meat for a few hours before you wish to cook.

The natural acids and enzymes in the coffee grounds will help break down those tough fibres.

16 – Repair Wood Furniture Scratches

There is nothing worse than a scratched wood. But there is no need to go and buy some expensive wood polish.

You can easily buff out scratches using coffee grounds!

All you need to do, is mix some up a few tablespoons with a little water to form a thick paste, and apply to the scratched area for roughly 15 minutes. Then wipe away with damp cloth.

You may need to do a couple more times for really dark wood.

The Final Word

In todays world we are all looking for more ways to reuse things, and minimise waste.

There really is no need for your caffeine habit to create and excess waste, as you have learnt there are lots of different ways to put your coffee grounds to good use.


What Are Fresh Coffee Grounds?

Fresh coffee grounds are made from fresh beans, and have either never or only just brewed

What Plants Like Fresh Grounds?

All acid loving plants love coffee grounds. Think roses, hydrangeas, cabbage. But avoid on tomato plants.

How Often Should I Put Coffee Grounds Around My Plants?

Rather than putting loads on at once which may be too acidic, you are best adding a small amount once every few weeks. Or better still use them to make a rich compost or add to fertiliser first.

Are Old Coffee Grounds Good For Grass?

Simply put yes, coffee grounds are good for grass. The nutrients in them will help produce a stronger, thicker lawn. Plus the worms love them, and they are great for healthy soil.

About Jacques Carner

Jacques is the man behind behind We Spill The Beans. He as a lover of all things coffee, and has previously worked as a buyer for one of the biggest coffee companies in the world. You can find more about him here.