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Fresh coffee grounds in a coffee filter.

What to Do With Coffee Grounds – 17 Brilliant Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

Do you toss your coffee grounds out with the trash? 

When you brew coffee, about 99% of the beans don’t end up in your cup, but instead get trapped in your filter. And though many nutrients and antioxidants in the beans dissolve into your favorite brew, there’s still a lot of good stuff left in those grounds. 

Still, most of us just throw them away. 

Seems a shame on all those beans, doesn’t it? Not to mention, completely unnecessary! There’s an abundance of ways to put used coffee grounds to use around your home, and save money in the process. 

So today, we’re sharing 17 of our favorite ways to reuse used coffee grounds around your home. Ready to learn some tricks? Let’s dive in.

How to Dispose of Coffee Grounds: 

Before we dive into ways to reuse your coffee grounds – how do you dispose of used coffee grounds properly?


Compost bin outdoors with old plants on top.

Can Coffee Grounds Be Composted?

Firstly and most importantly – you can and should absolutely add your coffee grounds to your compost. In fact, coffee grounds are one of the easiest and most beneficial foods to put in your compost because of how much they help the soil.

See, your compost needs a balance between nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials to thrive. Coffee grounds, which are rich in nitrogen, help to break down eggshells and other carbon-rich matter and keep your compost turning. Your plants will thrive.

If you don’t have your own compost, there may be an allotment in your local area that will take your grounds, or even a friend who needs some food for their compost. Composting your grounds is always better than putting it in the waste bin!


Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Sink?

While composting your grounds is great, your coffee grounds should not be going down your sink. 

Coffee grounds may look like a fine powder that dissolves in water, but that’s not the case. In difference to most things, used coffee grounds actually clump up when whetted, rather than dissolving. 

And over time, the sticky paste builds up to blocked drains and an expensive plumbing bill.

So, as tempting as it is, save yourself the trouble and put your grounds to better use – either in your compost, or by reusing them elsewhere in the household!

Can Coffee Grounds Go Down The Garbage Disposal?

The same thing goes for coffee grounds in the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal itself has no issue dealing with the grounds, but the pipes underneath it can get clogged up and blocked. 

So as tempting as it is, avoid dumping your used coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. Instead, feed them to your grateful compost or find other creative ways to put them to use – stay tuned for all our best tips!

Can Coffee Grounds Go in Food Waste?

Fresh coffee grounds in a barista-style measure-spoon.

Technically, your coffee grounds can go into the food waste, but they are better off in the compost. While they’re biodegradable, the landfill doesn’t provide the right environment for coffee grounds to break down. This leads to lots of methane gas being produced – one of the most potent greenhouse gases out there. 

So, if you don’t have a compost, check with a friend or a local allotment to see if they want some coffee grounds to feed theirs – you’ll be doing the environment (and them) a favor! But if you don’t have that option, then putting your used coffee grounds in the food waste is fine – unless you want to reuse them, of course!

How to Reuse Your Coffee Grounds: 

There are surprisingly many handy and practical uses for used coffee grounds, in many areas of your home. But if you’re planning to reuse your coffee grounds, it’s important to know how to keep them fresh. 


How Long Do Coffee Grounds Last?

Fresh coffee dripping through a coffee filter.

How long coffee grounds last depends on how you store them. The first rule of thumb is that coffee grounds respond to oxygen, so if you want to keep them fresh for longer, aim to keep them in a sealed, air-tight bag or container.

Next, keep your coffee grounds dry. Moisture and tight spaces are a recipe for one thing only — mold. In other words, make sure your used coffee grounds are dry before you store them in a sealed container. 

When you do eventually use them, you probably want to switch them out every week or so, if they are in left in an unsealed jar or in some way exposed to air. Some sources claim that if sealed, you can store your used grounds for over a month, but always check to make sure no mold has formed. If the coffee grounds smell acidic or rancid, it’s also a sign that they’ve gone bad, and it’s time to toss them out.


Are Coffee Grounds Bad for Dogs?

The short answer is yes — coffee grounds are not pet-safe. 

The high doses of caffeine in used coffee grounds can be harmful to dogs and other pets, so unless you can ensure that your furry friend isn’t going to consume the coffee grounds, you should be careful about where you leave them around your house and garden. 

Can Coffee Grounds Be Used in the Garden?

If you want to reuse your coffee grounds, your garden is a great place to start! Here are a few of our favorite ways to reuse your grounds to feed your plants and green spaces.


1. Natural Fertilizer

Coffee grounds can easily be used as a fertilizer. The grounds contain nitrogen, chromium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium, which are all essential minerals for plants to grow – making used coffee grounds an ideal natural fertilizer.

Hands holding soil with earthworms.

Even more, coffee grounds absorb toxins and heavy metals in the soil, that contaminate and affect the plants. And in turn, they attract and feed earthworms that help the plants and soil along. 

If you want to use coffee grounds as fertilizer, simply sprinkle them in a thin layer over the soil. The grainy texture helps boost drainage, water retention, and aeration. 


2. Eco-Friendly & Natural Pesticide

But coffee grounds can do more than add nutrients to your soil. 

Caffeine and diterpenes – compounds naturally found in coffee grounds – are highly toxic to many insects. Which makes them a perfect natural pesticide for your garden. 

Besides, slugs and snails struggle to move across the coarse texture of coffee grounds. By sprinkling a small barrier of coffee grounds around your plants, you can easily keep them away, too. 

In fact, coffee grounds can even keep cats from entering and spraying your garden, since they dislike the strong smell of the ground coffee. 


3. Grow Mushrooms

White mushrooms growing on a slope.

If you’re a fan of shiitake or oyster mushrooms, then don’t throw away those coffee grounds. They are packed with nutrients these mushrooms love, and you can easily grow them at home!

Growcycle has a full, easy-to-follow guide on growing mushrooms from coffee grounds, so check it out if you’re interested. There are a couple of steps involved, but overall it’s a pretty easy and fun process – that yields mushrooms within a couple of months, at any time of the year! 

And the coffee grounds themselves actually help to cut out a step in the process, namely pasteurizing the straw or sawdust (depending on which you use), since coffee grounds have already been pasteurized while brewing coffee. Easy peasy! 

Psst… did you know that shiitake is a functional mushroom? Read out all about their health benefits here!


Can Coffee Grounds Harm Plants? 

There are varying claims out there as to how good and effective coffee grounds are for your plants. While many praise it, others warn to proceed with caution.  

Hands planting seeds in an outdoor garden.

Plants that generally love coffee grounds are roses, blueberries, carrots, hydrangeas, cabbage, lillies, hollies, radishes, azaelas, and rhodondrenas. These plants love acids and thrive with a sprinkling of coffee grounds! 

But not all plants are equally acid-loving – tomatoes and clovers, for example, don’t take well to coffee grounds. And good advice in general is not to use it too much. 

See, with coffee grounds in the garden, there actually is such a thing as too much of the good stuff. Soil and plants need a good balance, and both caffeine and nitrogen should be used in moderation, since they can restrict growth if overused.

Exactly what too much and too often means depends on your soil, plants, and many other factors. So begin carefully to find the ultimate balance for your plants. 

And remember to spread the grounds in a thin layer if you use it straight on the soil, so it doesn’t stop water from reaching the roots!

Uses for Coffee Grounds Around Your Home:

Coffee grounds have many handy and practical uses inside your house, too. Here are some of our favorite ones!


4. Clean Your Fireplace

If you’ve ever cleaned a fireplace, then you know the struggle of smoke clouds poofing up and covering your hands, clothes, the walls you just cleaned… basically, going everywhere.

Fireplace burning in a dark room.

But coffee grounds weigh the ashes down, and bind the tiny particles so they stay where they are. Simply sprinkle a layer on top of the ashes before you begin, and voila! The easiest fireplace cleaning you’ve ever done.


5. Make a Coffee Firelog 

Speaking of fireplaces, this clever trick is one you never saw coming! But once you try it, you’ll never want to stop. Making a firelog out of your used coffee grounds is not just environmentally friendly, since it limits the felling of trees and doesn’t let out as much C02. It's also easy to make with stuff you have in your pantry, and makes your home smell amazing! Not to mention, they often burn for longer than wooden firelogs. Convinced yet? 

To make a firelog out of used coffee grounds, you’ll need: 

  • 9 x 4 inch baking pan
  • 7.5 ounces of candle wax (old stumps works fine!)
  • 6-20 tablespoons of dried coffee grounds
  • 1-2 cup sof molasses
  • A whisk or stirrer (even disposable chopsticks will do)
Fire burning in a dark room.

Preheat your oven to 260F, and then pull out your baking pan. Begin by combining the molasses and candle wax straight in your container. The molasses bind the log together, so make sure you have a generous layer covering the bottom. 

Also ensure that your candle wax doesn’t come in too big clumps – try for shaving-sized bits and spread evenly. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

While that’s baking, place a separate tray with your coffee grounds in the oven, to ensure that any excess moisture is gone before it’s time to combine the two! 

Once the candle wax is all melted and your grounds are desert-dry, pull both out of the oven and add the grounds to your baking pan. Depending on how much wax and molasses you used, you may have to adjust the amount of coffee grounds you add. You’re going for a sludgy, glossy, chocolate-cake batter kind of texture, so adjust and mix until you get there.

Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, use a sheet of metal foil to cover the pan, and press down to shape it into an even log. Let is rest in your freezer for at least one hour. After that, use a knife to cut around the edges and remove your log from the pan – it’s now ready to burn!

Flip over so that the glossy side is up, and use kindling or a firestarter to get the flames going – and enjoy the minimal-smoke and amazing smell of your coffee firelog!


6. Natural Cleaning Scrub

The coarse nature of the grounds makes them a perfect, natural scrub for hard-to-clean surfaces, where buildup gathers over time. Even better, their antibacterial and antiviral properties may even help to sanitize those surfaces

To make the scrub, you can either apply your grounds straight onto your surfaces and scrub with a damp cloth or sponge, or mix them with water into a paste. Both work like a charm – just make sure whatever you clean can take an exfoliant scrub!

And the best part? It works on pots and pans, too.


7. Touch-up Furniture Scratches

Speaking of mixing coffee grounds into pastes to clean up messes… coffee grounds are great at softening the appearance of any furniture scratches.

Hand pouring out coffee beans on a dark wooden surface.

Because of the natural dye in coffee grounds, and the mildly abrasive texture, coffee grounds can help to cover up any light scratches in wooden furniture – without the chemicals and expensive toxins you find at the store. 

Just mix coffee grounds and water into a thick paste, and rub it into the scratch with a cloth or a q-tip. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping it clean. Repeat if necessary!


8. Natural Dye

The natural dye in coffee can be used for more than scratches in furniture, though. 

Tabletop with flower vase and easter eggs in a bowl.

It also works on linen, cotton, rayon, paper, cellophane, and more – by simply re-wetting your grounds, you can easily make your own non-toxic, all-around dye

This makes coffee grounds a brilliant way to get creative and crafty, without having to buy expensive tools or materials. Why not use your coffee grounds to dye eggs for Easter, or make homemade paint? The sky is the limit.


Man holding up uncooked meat covered in marinade.

9. Tenderize Meat

This one is a little controversial – but could be well worth a try, if you’re craving something new for your summer barbeque! 

Cause if you’ve ever tried a good meat rub, you know it makes all the difference. Both enzymes, salts, and acids are great at tenderizing meat, since they break down proteins and fibers. 

Coffee happens to contain both enzymes and acids, which makes it especially effective. Not to mention, it can add a smoky flavor and a crispy crust when cooked, and the acids help to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. Sounds pretty good, right?

So, add coffee grounds to your favorite dry-rub recipe, and let it sit for two hours before cooking. Alternatively, you can rebrew the grounds into a coffee, let it cool off, and use it as a marinade for 24 hours before cooking.


10. Insect Repellent

But it’s not all fun and barbeques in summer. If mosquitoes, beetles or fruit flies frequent your home in the hotter months, then coffee grounds can come to your aid

Like pests in your garden, these insects don’t like coffee. By putting out little bowls of coffee grounds or sprinkling them around an outdoor seating area you’d like to keep insect and pest-free, they’ll be deterred in no time. Non-toxic, free insect-repellant! 


11. De-frost and De-ice

If you live in an area that drops below freezing point in winter, then you’re no stranger to seeing the roads salted once the snow settles. 

This is because salt lowers the freezing point of water, and the coarse texture gives friction for your shoes when walking down a slippery road. But as effective as salt is, it’s also toxic to aquatic species and can even kill plants

Red wooden cabins covered in snow.

Luckily, the nitrogen in coffee lowers the freezing point of water in a similar way, but without the toxic side effects. 

In other words, no need to feel guilty if you warm yourself with an extra cup or two of java in wintertime. Those grounds will come in handy.  


12. Absorb and Neutralize Strong Odors

This is perhaps the most versatile and effective use of your coffee grounds around the home. 

The nitrogen in coffee can neutralize strong odors when coming into contact with air, which makes it a brilliant natural deodorizer. 

Tabletop with open jars of ground coffee.

Smelly refrigerator? Check. Stinky car? Check. Anywhere that smells, coffee grounds can absorb and eliminate any icky odors. It even works to eliminate the smell of garlic from your hands after a cooking session – just scrub it in while washing your hands.

To deodorize a room, simply place an open jar of coffee grounds as needed, and watch it do its work. Change it out once a week, or sooner if preferred.


13. Remove Fleas From Your Pets

Fleas are no fun to deal with, and the products found in pet shops are often expensive and full of chemicals. But much like other pests and insects, fleas don’t like coffee. While it isn’t always as effective as store-bought products (it depends on how far along the flea infestation is), it’s well worth a try.

Small, wet dog looking up from being shampooed in the bath.

To use coffee grounds as a flea remover, just rub the grounds into your pet’s fur after shampooing, and rinse carefully. Just be careful not to let them eat any of the grounds, since high doses of caffeine can be toxic for pets!

Are Coffee Grounds Good for Your Skin?

Coffee is a known miracle in the beauty world, used both for its properties and its gently exfoliating texture.

But oftentimes, there’s no need to buy products from a shop – with a few simple recipes, you can get the same effect from the grounds in your own press! Here are a few of the top ways to use coffee grounds in your beauty and skincare routine:


14. Exfoliate Your Skin

This is probably the most common and obvious one – but very effective. Coffee grounds have antioxidant properties that protect the skin from sun damage. But the grainy texture can also help remove dead skin cells and dirt and increase blood flow, which aids overall skin health. 

Not bad, huh? 

Woman scrubbing her face with a coffee scrub in front of mirror.

To use coffee grounds as a scrub, mix them with water and coconut oil, and apply directly to your skin. Scrub for a minute or so and wipe off with a cloth – try not to let it go down the drains! And that’s it – easy peasy.


15. Treat Under-Eye Circles

The area around the eyes is notoriously delicate, and due to its lack of fat, it’s usually one of the first places to show signs of aging. 

But both caffeine and various antioxidants can boost circulation and reduce inflammation, which helps to minimize dark circles, puffiness, and signs of aging around the eyes. Since coffee is rich in both antioxidants and caffeine, it’s great for this! 

Similar to your exfoliant scrub, mix water or coconut with your grounds, apply it to the eye area, and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so – but don’t scrub this sensitive area! After the time has passed, just wipe the paste off and dry. Repeat daily or when you need a boost.


16. Stimulate Hair Growth & Strip Buildup

Multiple studies have found that caffeine helps to stimulate hair growth. In fact, in many products for hair loss, caffeine is a key ingredient.

Woman being shampooed at a hair salon.

But you can easily put your used coffee grounds to use at home, too. Before you shampoo, just take some of your coffee grounds and massage them into your scalp. After a few minutes, rinse and wash your hair as normal! 

This isn’t just good to stimulate hair growth – it also helps to cleanse your hair and scalp of toxins. Commercial shampoos and hair products contain chemicals that often leave buildup on our scalp and hair. This coffee scrub can help remove it, along with dead skin cells. Win-win!

Careful not to do this too much, though – you don’t want to clog up your drains.


17. Reduce Appearance of Cellulite

Cellulite is a condition that affects 80-90% of women. Due to fat deposits pushing through the connective tissue, the skin around the thighs appears dimpled. While there is no danger to it, many women seek ways to reduce cellulite’s visibility.

Studies have shown that caffeine, when applied topically to the affected area, can help to break down these fat deposits and increase the blood flow. This, in turn, helps to minimize the visibility of cellulite. 

And, as we’ve already established, coffee grounds are rich in caffeine. So, using the scrub recipe above, apply to the cellulite area and scrub for about ten minutes weekly. After a month or so, you should start to see some results.

Peak State Is Whole-Bean, Sustainable Coffee With Benefits

At Peak State, we care about the planet, your health, and making great, high-quality coffee. And we love our beans so much, that we want to make sure you are getting the most of them, even the second time around. We are a 1% for the Planet company, and all our beans are organic, Fair-Trade certified, and infused with functional mushrooms for powerful daily health boosts. 

If you want to try one of our blends, just click home one of our free 2oz samples and have it delivered right to your doorstep! Or sign up for our newsletter, to be the first to hear about the exciting things we have on the horizon.

Psst… Trouble sleeping at night? Check out this post all about how to get your shut-eye at night – without giving up your favorite brew!

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