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Undeniably, coffee’s marquee attraction is its flavor and supercharging caffeine elements. But its uses don’t stop there — hardly so. Find out how used coffee grounds can be a versatile tool for projects ranging from the garden to your bathroom.

Coffee Grinds in the Garden

Can you reuse coffee grounds for the garden? Most certainly, and it’s far more common than you’d think. It’s one of the best and most common uses for used coffee grounds, where it can serve as a DIY fertilizer. 

Press the coffee grounds into the first few inches of the soil. In addition to simply adding water-holding capacity in the soil, this will enhance existing fertilizer, so make sure you’re still using other fertilizers and are not dependent on the byproduct of your daily cup of Joe. The grounds can also be turned into a liquid fertilizer by adding two cups of used grounds to five gallons of water, steeped overnight. This is a great option for plants in pots and for spraying on leaves. 

Another perk of adding used coffee grounds to your garden is that they’re a natural pest repellent. So, coffee grounds, for plants, are a great boon. Snails, slugs, and even cats find the smell particularly foul, and the compounds in coffee are toxic to certain insects. They also attract worms, which are beneficial to your plants. 

Coffee grinds in the garden aren’t exactly necessary for a flourishing garden space, but they certainly help move the development process along and provide an extra layer of plant protection.

You can — and should — also put coffee grounds in your compost bin for an especially rich mixture. It’s considered green material because of its nitrogen content, so mix it with enough brown compost material—i.e., dry leaves—to reduce any undesirable odors. 


What to Do With Used Coffee Grounds

Composting and gardening might be the simple and sound way to reuse your coffee grounds, but uses get even more imaginative from there.

  • Exfoliating. Yes, as you might imagine, coffee grounds can make a great exfoliant in your daily skincare or haircare routine. You can work a quarter-cup of grounds through your hair once a month for a natural cleaning, mixing it with a shampoo for a lather that will help rinse them out. Condition after. (And make sure those grounds are clear of the drain.) Used coffee grounds can also make for a surprisingly gentle exfoliant for skin on their own. 
  • Odor Removal. For a short time, used coffee grounds an absorb odors in a refrigerator. Leave them for a couple of weeks to let them work their magic on stinky vegetables or cheeses hanging out on the shelves. They can also be used to “wash” hands of particularly difficult-to-remove odors like onion and fish.
  • Crafting. Feel free to get creative with how you apply used coffee grounds for paper crafts, but at a minimum it can be used as an impressive stain for white paper. Mix a half-cup of the grounds to a cup of boiled water, letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Then “paint” the paper with a brush. It can also be used as a stain solution for home projects.
  • Cleaning. While it’s a great exfoliant for skin, it’s also a great cleaner for pots and pans when mixed with baking soda. Just make sure it’s a dark material, considering coffee’s staining power. They also work well for finicky kitchen utensils. Naturally, you’ll want to rinse after and still use antibacterial soap. Also, the coarseness of the grounds is ideal for sharpening garbage disposal blades—just be sure to not add more than a tablespoon to the drain. 


What are coffee grounds good for? It turns out, a lot more than just starting our day. Coffee, as we know, is a gift that keeps on giving. So, after your done enjoying your favorite beverage, feel free to use your grounds as compost or as a greener alternative to cleaning products and toiletries around the house! 


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