Are you filling up your garbage with coffee grounds, sending them to the landfill? Well don’t. There are so many uses for used coffee grounds it’s ridiculous. I’m going to talk about just 10 of these useful ideas here, but do a google search and you’ll find many more. Some of my tips will actually be a couple of very similar individual tips combined into one tip. A supertip, if you will.
There are multiple ways to use coffee grounds to help your garden grow. The easiest thing to do is just make sure you put the spent grounds in your compost bin and not the garbage. The grounds will add nitrogen to your compost which feed the bacteria that breaks down the material into compost. You can also just add some coffee grounds into the soil directly around your plants. Don’t use too much as the acidity might affect the growth, but some grounds directly in the soil around the plants will add nutrients. Also, coffee grounds attract worms who break down the soil and make it better for plant growth.
If you are an avid coffee drinker, chances are you love the smell of coffee. Instead of tossing your used coffee grounds away, pat them dry and put them in a little sack made out of an old pair of nylons. Fill it up, tie the end closed and you’ll have a nice little bag of coffee scented goodness. You can set it anywhere in your house to give the room a little kick of coffee. Some people place it in the back of their refrigerator to cover up the musty fridge smell. Keep in mind that this doesn’t absorb bad smells, just covers them with coffee. Also, in the warm seasons, if you have a problem with fruit flies, they seem to be attracted to the smell of coffee. Another great way to get your house to smell like a café is to add some of your saved coffee grounds to some melted wax to make a coffee scented candle.
As a former building contractor, I know the frustration of getting things like tar or caulk on my tools. The great thing about used coffee grounds is that they are abrasive and contain just enough oil to break down the sticky substance. The same goes for other household items like scissors, garden tools or cast iron skillets. Anything that needs a little extra grit and some oil to work out the gunk can be tackled with some used coffee grounds.
Coloring for Arts and Repairs
Coffee color has worked its way into paints and stains for all sorts of products. You can get furniture, clothing and even cars in caffeinated colors like java, mocha or espresso. This makes old coffee grounds perfect for all sorts of arts and crafts projects. You can soak paper in coffee grounds and water to give it an old antique look. You can soak materials in some water and grounds to dye clothing. You can stain woods with it for carpentry projects. On top of that, you can rub some wet coffee grounds into scratches on your wooden furniture to hide them.
Used coffee grounds are great for getting rid of puffy eyes. Most skin creams intended for that purpose have caffeine in them which is ultimately what tightens skin and relieves puffiness. Why not remove the expense of the cream and use coffee grounds. You can also use the grounds as an abrasive exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling silky smooth.
The acidity in used coffee grounds works as a natural repellent against many garden pests. The acid breaks down the exoskeleton of ants and slugs and snails don’t like it either. This will keep those slimy little buggers away from your lettuce and other vegetables. You can use some coffee grounds as a flea bath for your dogs. Just rub some coffee grounds on your dog after shampooing and rinse them out. Make sure your dog doesn’t ingest any of them though as caffeine is toxic to dogs. On the flip side, cockroaches love coffee. You can put some strong double-sided tape around the inside of the opening to a mason jar. Then put some used grounds in the jar. The cockroaches will go into the jar to get the coffee, but will get stuck on the tape and you can dispose of them.
Use In Cooking
One of the great things about drinking coffee, is that it generally means that you like the taste of coffee. You can use the used coffee grounds as a dry rub for meats. The acidity will break the meat down and make it more tender and it will also add a delicious flavor. You can make sauces, marinades, deserts, you name it.
Salt Your Walk
Instead of wasting money on a big bag of salt that you’re just going to throw on the ground, use the coffee grounds you saved from your coffeemaker. The grounds are gritty enough to add traction and the acidity will make the ice melt faster.
Coffee grounds remain full of nutrients even after being brewed. This makes them a perfect base to grow your own mushrooms in. Now, mushrooms aren’t the easiest things to grow at home because they require a specific temperature and climate. The easiest way to grow them is to mix your spores in a container with some moist coffee grounds. You need to put a few holes in the container to vent the carbon dioxide that will build up as the fungus grows. Then put a lid or some plastic wrap over the top and put a few holes in that as well. Keep the container in a warm, dark area and check on it every once in a while. In a few weeks you will have mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are said to be the easiest to work with.
If you are an avid coffee drinker and an avid fireplace user, you can combine your two loves into one. You can use old coffee grounds to make a fire log that should burn for a few hours and smell great. Just put some molasses and candle wax in a bread pan and melt it in the oven. Then, once it’s fully melted, you can stir in the used coffee grounds. Wait for it to cool and then place a piece of tin foil over it and press it into a solid block. Give it a day to dry and you have yourself a fire block. Unfortunately, you have to buy molasses for this recipe but you can use the leftovers from used candles for the wax.
Do you know any tips that we missed here? Leave them in the comments!