If you’re a regular coffee drinker and you brew your own coffee, you probably go through many pounds of ground coffee annually. After drinking a cup of your favorite brew, you, like most coffee drinkers, probably dump your coffee grounds in a compost bin or in the trash. If you’re interested in reducing food waste and waste in general, the good news is that there are more resourceful ways to make use of old coffee grounds. Here are some things you can do with used coffee grounds that you probably have never thought about.
What to Do with Used Coffee Grounds
Control refrigerator odors
Your refrigerator can be a hodgepodge of odors—from cooked food to cheese and pungent vegetables like bell peppers and onions. When you want to reduce the smell emanating from the fridge, many people often add an open box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb the odors. But instead of spending money on a brand-new box, you can reuse spent coffee grounds. Place a small dish of dried used coffee grounds in the fridge to defuse the odors instead.
Neutralize odors on your hands
Just like coffee can help eliminate the smell in your fridge, it can work just as well to reduce other odors, too. Some perfume counters even have containers with coffee beans to allow customers to sniff them between fragrances. This odor-neutralizing power also works on your hands. If you like to cook, you may have noticed that when you handle onions or garlic, that their strong scent can remain on your hands long after you’re finished even after washing with soap and water. You could invest a few dollars in buying a stainless steel soap hand odor remover or you could simply rub old coffee grounds on your hands to absorb the odors.
Do you have pans or plates with caked-on food on them? You can use store-bought Brillo Pads or stainless steel scouring pads to remove the baked-on grease and gunk from your dishes and pans. However, if you want to save money by putting your old coffee grounds to use. Sprinkle the grounds onto your dishes directly and use a damp towel to scrub. The course texture of the coffee will help remove any tough residue from your pans and dishes. Just note that this method is not recommended best with non-stick pans as the roughness may damage the coating.
Cook with used coffee grounds
Not only do coffee grounds help with cleaning dishes, but they can work wonders with adding a boost of flavor to your favorite meats and tenderizing them. Allow the coffee grounds to dry, then mix them with other seasonings to create a dry rub, coat the meat and let sit for two hours before cooking.
Clean your fireplace
If you’ve ever prepped your fireplace for the winter, you know it’s a very dirty job. As soon as you attempt to sweep the ash that’s settled in the fireplace, it forms a dust cloud that flies through the air, soiling your floors and furniture, not to mention making it hard to breathe. To minimize this problem, you can sprinkle damp, used coffee grounds over the ashes first. This will help you remove the ash without spreading it all around your living space. The grounds weigh down the ash and make it easier to transport. Then you can go about cleaning your fireplace as usual.
Clear ice on sidewalks
Do you live in an area where it snows, creating a slippery mess on your paved areas? In most cases, you may do what most homeowners do and purchase ice melt that dissolves ice but minimizes damage to your pavement. But there’s an eco-friendly option right in your kitchen: Use your spent coffee grounds. The nitrogen in coffee helps to melt the ice, and the gritty texture provides traction on walkways.
Fertilize your soil
Used coffee grounds add organic material to the soil, which helps to keep plants healthy and combat pests. This works equally well for plants in your yard or for your indoor plants. All you have to do is add the coffee grounds to the soil of your plant pots or to the soil directly surrounding plants in the ground. You can also create a compost out of the coffee for later use.
Hide Furniture Scratches
Dip a cotton swab into steeped grounds and dab on scratches in dark wood furniture to minimize them. Just test in an inconspicuous area first.
Give Paper an Antique Look
Dip paper or sheets of stationery in a soupy mix of grounds and water; allow them to sit a minute or two, then let dry and brush off the grounds.
Repel garden pests
Insects and little critters like deer, chipmucks, squirrels and mice can create havoc in your garden. Luckily there’s a natural way to keep them out with used coffee grounds. The grounds work as a deterrent for all sorts of bugs including slugs, snails, mosquitoes, fruit flies, beetles, bees, and hornets. Laying piles or lines of coffee grounds can also small animals.
Word of caution: If you have cats or dogs, avoid this method as the grounds can be toxic to pets if ingested.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter if I use caffeinated coffee or decaf around the home?
Yes. For most things around the house, you can make use of old caffeinated coffee grounds. However, when using the grounds in your garden, it is ideal to use decaf grounds. High levels of caffeine can be harmful to some plants, such as tomatoes and geraniums, by stunting their growth.
So, if you are using spent coffee grounds as fertilizer, it is ideal to use decaf. If you are using coffee grounds around your garden to protect it from small critters, then caffeinated grounds are okay.
Do coffee grounds help keep mosquitoes away?
Citronella candles are one way to get rid of mosquitoes. However, they aren’t recommended for use indoors. If you want a more natural way to shoo away mosquitoes, consider burning used coffee grounds. The insects aren’t fans of coffee’s strong aroma. This trick works well both indoors and outdoors.