It is thought that Brits drink almost 100 million cups of coffee every single year, which means it still lags behind our love of tea but also shows its popularity has almost doubled in the past decade (1).
But with each cup comes unfortunate waste, especially if you’re using a bean to cup, filter or espresso machine. The grounds left behind usually just end up in the bin, but if you are trying to cut down on what you throw away, you may be pleased to hear that they can actually be put to good use.
From the practical ideas to the creative, here are some ways to reuse those leftover coffee grounds.
One of the best natural fertilisers out there, because of the high level of nutrients. Perfect if you’re after a more eco-friendly alternative.
And not only do coffee grounds apparently go down a treat with worms which keep your flower beds perfect, but on the other hand slugs and snails are meant to hate the stuff. Which is great news for your leaves.
Do you grow your own veg? Carrots and mushrooms apparently love coffee grounds as it gives them an energy boost.
You don’t garden all year round, and sometimes your garden simply just doesn’t need any attention. So rather than it going to waste, add the grounds to a compost bin instead. It adds nitrogen to the compost pile, and as mentioned, worms love it.
Just be aware it is green compost material so you’ll need to throw some brown material in there to balance it out (2).
Coffee grounds are acidic, so reduce the pH level of soil. This could be great if your plants are having a hard time and the soil needs to be more neutral.
It also helps if you own some hydrangeas, as the more acidic the soil, the bluer the flower will be as opposed to pink – great for displays (3).
But, unused coffee grounds will be the best option for this as the acidity is higher.
Want more tips on how to help your garden with coffee grounds? We have a complete guide dedicated to those with green fingers.
Grounds contain nitrogen, which can remove foul smells. So pop the leftovers in the fridge to combat that weird smell you can’t quite find, or even put some in an old sock or bag and keep them in a sweaty gym bag.
You could also keep some by the sink to rub on your hands after you’ve chopped onions, herbs, garlic or other smelly foods.
Coffee body scrubs are popular, but you don’t have to spend the earth in order to bring them into your home. Mix with some coconut oil or water for a natural face and body scrub, or with honey for the lips.
The particles are coarse, so they work to remove dead skin cells and dry patches. This will improve blood flow too, and grounds are also an antioxidant. We have a guide on how to make your own at-home body scrub here.
As it is abrasive, it can also be used with soapy water to keep kitchen tiles, benches and cookware both clean and free of any tougher grime. Just ensure to rinse thoroughly after so there is no staining left behind.
We aren’t suggesting that you use coffee grounds as a replacement for veterinary-approved flea treatments, but it could be a good solution if you want to keep the use of chemicals to a minimum.
After shampooing, rub the grounds through your pets fur and rinse thoroughly. Fleas apparently don’t like it, so will quickly try to get away
The grittiness of the grounds will get rid of shampoos, conditioners, sprays and even general pollution to leave you with squeaky clean locks. Just rub some into wet hair before shampooing.
You will have also seen that caffeine shampoo is a thing – coffee stimulates hair growth and also exfoliates your scalp so your hair should become thicker with frequent use.
There are plenty of guides out there on how to make your own candles, and mixing a bit of grounds into the wax means you can wake up and smell the coffee a lot more frequently. We like this DIY Coffee Candle Guide which you can adapt.
If you don’t want to mess around quite so much, just pop the grounds into a vase or holder and set a candle on top. The heat from the candle will get the smell going too.
Mix coffee grounds and water into a really thick paste and rub onto the furniture, using a cotton bud for any finer areas. Leave for around ten minutes then wipe away with a clean cloth (3).
The paste will fill in any scratches as much as possible, but also dye any bare wood to give the illusion of it blending in. you could even use a thinner paste to dye newer wood and give it an aged look.
Just like salt, coffee grounds can be sprinkled on a freshly scraped driveway after removing snow or ice. It will help to remove the last little areas and add traction underfoot. Just wipe your feet well before walking into the house or car.
You made that really old-looking parchment for a school history project once by soaking paper in coffee, and then years later you remembered the event after you accidentally spilled some down your favourite white shirt.
Coffee makes a really great natural dye, whether intentional or not. Whether you have a sudden urge to make some coffee coloured clothing or you need materials, soak the grounds in water to dissolve them and get crafty.
And the good news is that it is easy to adjust the strength, so you can add a simple yellow hue or really ramp up the brown. It can even work on dark hair…
Probably one more for kids, but if they want to get crafty and paint but you dread the inevitable mess, coffee stains paper as discussed above. Give them a brush and set them loose (as long as you cover the carpet and surfaces of course).
It isn’t recommended that you consume too many coffee grounds as they’re really not good for you, but adding a little bit to brownies, energy bites or even using it as a meat rub is great for adding some flavour and a bit of a twist. Luckily, we have a dedicated Recipe section…