How to Use Old Coffee Grounds

By LeafTV Contributor

With everyone jumping aboard the "green" wagon, it is imperative to find ways to recycle just about anything and everything that we use. While recycling aluminum, plastic, and paper is simple, other items may not seem so easy to reuse. That is where a bit of innovation and forward thinking comes into play. Almost anything can be recycled, even your used coffee grounds. Follow the steps below to make the most of your breakfast beverage left-overs.

coffee hand scrub with ground coffee (wet)
credit: meesookde/iStock/GettyImages
How To Use Old Coffee Grounds

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How to Use Old Coffee Grounds

Discard those old coffee grounds into your garden compost or just sprinkle them over your garden on their own. Coffee contains important vitamins and nutrients that are required for plants to grow properly. It works equally well for flowers or fruits and vegetables.There is a side benefit to using coffee grounds in your garden. The grounds help keep slugs and snails at bay.

Put used coffee grounds into your worm garden. The little buggers take quite nicely to the caffeine when mixed with other table scraps like apple cores and banana peels. They make a healthy meal for the little critters. In turn, they do their job and propagate to provide you with a virtual unlimited supply of the squirmy little creatures for composting purposes as well as for bait.

Use coffee grounds (or used tea leaves) in crafting to antique paper or fabric. They give paper an authentic parchment look while giving white or ivory fabric a decided vintage flair. Just mix about four tablespoons into three cups of boiling water and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a rectangle casserole dish and add your paper or fabric. Allow it to sit in the mixture until you obtain the color that you want. Remove and lay flat to dry, which will take 24 to 36 hours, depending on the type of fabric or paper used.

Rejuvenate dark fabrics in shades of deep chocolate brown or even black with used coffee grounds. Steep about three-quarters of a cup of grounds in a gallon of water. The stronger the resulting liquid mixture, the better. Pour the liquid, grounds and all into the washer before adding your dark brown or black clothing. Set the machine on the gentle cycle. Once finished, what will be left is rejuvenated fabrics.You can repeat this process as many times as you like over months or even years. However, be certain to remember not to mix other colors of clothing with your naturally dyed fabrics since the residue could destroy or drastically change other colors. Remember to thoroughly rinse out your washer before using it again for other fabric colors or whites.

Use the grounds as a natural skin exfoliant. Just like sugar and salt, coffee grounds can provide a very natural exfoliant for the skin. However, coffee grounds have another side benefit. The caffeine in coffee helps to stimulate the growth of new skin cells. To use the grounds in this manner, allow them to dry out thoroughly. Then mix them with a favorite body wash and apply to the skin with a net ball or loofah sponge. Light haired individuals should be careful, however, not to let the mixture come in contact with their hair as the coffee's natural dye might change light colors.

Use coffee grounds to make a rinse for brunette hair. According to hair stylists a coffee rinse will not only add depth and dimension to dark hair, but will always add shine by removing any excess product build-up. Some claim that coffee acts as a natural dye to infuse brown color back into white or gray hair.Use the same type of mixture recommended in Step 4 above, but allow it to cool before using. Wash the hair normally and condition if you so desire. End the procedure by adding some of the coffee rinse, working it through the hair thoroughly and allowing it to sit between three and five minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and enjoy your new luscious dark locks.

Try an old model's trick, using coffee grounds to disguise the look of cellulite. Mix the grounds with vitamin E oil and massage onto the area where cellulite exists. Repeat the process two or three times each time your bathe or shower. It is believed that the natural diuretic effect of caffeine will help to dehydrate fat cells to reduce the appearance of ugly cellulite. As a side benefit, the coffee grounds also work as a natural exfoliant to freshen the skin wherever it is applied.

Use the natural dye properties of coffee to repair scratches on dark furniture or cabinetry. Mix the grounds with just enough olive oil to make a very heavy paste. Using a small paint brush, paint the coffee paste mixture into the scratch, dent, or broken wooden piece. Let sit for between 15 and 30 minutes and then wipe away. The natural dye in the coffee mixture will help make the scratch or dent disappear. While any broken chunks of wood won't be fixed, the darkness of the coffee will help make it appear as though the furniture or cabinet is still intact.

Rub coffee grounds on your hands to remove pungent odors left behind after cutting garlic or onions.

Rub coffee grounds on your pet before bathing to repel any fleas. The grounds also act as a natural skin exfoliant to help keep your pet's skin smooth and soft.

Use coffee grounds as a natural tenderizer for meat. Not only will it make the meat easier to cut and eat, it will add an excellent flavor as well. Mix about one-half cup of grounds with your other favorite seasonings like pepper, garlic powder, Season-All, or anything else that you generally use in your meat marinade. Dump about one-half of the mixture into about cup of olive oil and mix thoroughly. Put the meat into the marinade mixture. Rub the remaining coffee mixture on top of the meat as it sits, coating each side as it marinades for about 15 minutes per side. Remove from the marinade and cook or grill as you please for a wonderful, flavorful, tender meat dish.

Get rid of bad odors in refrigerators and freezers by placing some old coffee grounds into the appliances. They will absorb unpleasant odors and keep everything smelling fresh.


  • If you don't want to use coffee grounds right away, store them in a coffee can. Dry grounds out by putting them into net fabric or the foot of a pair of old pantyhose and tying the end until you are ready to use them. Leave your body paste exfoliant on the skin for about 10 to 15 minutes to achieve a natural looking tanned effect.