The average American consumes three cups of coffee per day. If you have two adults at home, and you’re coffee enthusiasts, let’s assume you drink about a coffee pot between you every two days. That’s a lot of coffee grounds you’ve got left over at the end of each week.
For many, and for us specifically (it’s in our mission statement), reducing waste and being green wherever and whenever possible is a top priority. After your coffee grounds finish their primary job of caffeinating you, put them to work doing a few other odds and ends around the house.
What to Do with Your Used Coffee Grounds
Many plants thrive under acid-rich soils, and seedlings crave nitrogen as they sprout and grow. Spreading coffee grounds around these plants will up the acidity of the soil as well as the nitrogen amounts, as used grounds release nitrogen as they break down over time. Your flowers will grow happy and healthy with this infusion of nutrient-rich soil. It’s great for compost too—worms love that nitrogen, and you want them sticking around your compost.
Additionally, coffee grounds can serve as a defensive tool to protect your garden from snails, slugs, and cats, who are averse to the smell. Sprinkle grounds around the tastiest plants to keep these pests at bay.
Kitchen Cleaning and De-Odorizing
Similar to baking soda, used coffee grounds neutralize the refrigerator odors that build up over time. Just keep an eye out to make sure mold doesn’t start growing on wet grounds—unlike baking soda, you can’t pop it in the fridge and forget about it for a month, so switch it out regularly.
Hate the smell of onions lingering on your hands for hours after cooking? Keep some grounds near the sink to rub on your hands and it will mask the scent.
Coffee grounds are also great for cleaning out garbage disposals. Just pour the grounds in, run the cold water, and turn the disposal on for a few moments. This isn’t recommended as a daily practice, but as another place odors can accumulate, your garbage disposal will thank you for the occasional coffee ground scrub down.
Speaking of scrubbing, you can use those grounds to help scour pots and pans. Especially if you’re not a fan of cleaning products with harsher chemicals, mixing used grounds with baking soda creates an abrasive cleaner that often works just as well around the kitchen and yes, removing caked-on food from pots and pans—just keep in mind that it can stain certain surfaces, so use with a little caution.
Want more vibrant, healthier skin? Who doesn’t? But this isn’t a promoted Facebook ad—it’s us telling you that coffee grounds actually make a terrific exfoliating scrub and can make your skin look fabulous. Coffee’s natural antioxidants help out in this regard, and the natural astringent in the grounds makes it a good face cleanser and toner. The caffeine stimulates your skin cells, too. Simply add some grounds to a product like coconut oil that you massage on during a shower and enjoy.
Your skin isn’t the only thing you can touch up with coffee grounds. You can even use them to disguise scratches in wood furniture. You know, the scratches that look almost like a streak of tan paint messing up your otherwise perfect dark wood furniture? Mixing a tablespoon of coffee grounds with a teaspoon of olive oil, and applying the mixture to the scratch carefully with a cotton swab/Q-tip should mask that scratch once it dries. Just be sure to test it on a small area of the furniture before trying the whole thing.