The 12 Ways You Can Reuse Coffee Grounds (List)

Last Updated on May 7, 2022 by John Moretti

Given the amount of coffee bean residue left at the end of brewing coffee, it’s understandable that many people opt to find alternative uses for their coffee grounds. Fortunately, there are many ways people can reuse coffee beans.

As can be seen above, there are multiple ways you can reuse coffee grounds (save for simply brewing another, a far weaker cup of coffee). Let’s explore these below now:

1. Fertilizer 

Photo of Used Coffee grounds for plant

As any keen gardener can attest to, fertilizer is essential for those looking to grow large, vibrant plants. This is because most soil lacks the essential nutrients and vitamins to support optimal growing conditions.

Fortunately, used coffee grounds have various vitamins and minerals such as calcium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and chromium, all of which are essential fertilizer components that help to promote plant growth. 

Furthermore, coffee grounds attract worms which promote garden health while also promoting the absorption of heavy metals in soils which may cause harm to plants.

2. Compost 

Photo of compost pile with used coffee grounds

Like fertilizer, compost is a fantastic way of recycling and repurposing organic waste material for later use in gardens; this is because compost adds essential vitamins and minerals to soil that may not have been present before its inclusion.

Compost made with coffee grounds increase nutrient levels to compost piles that may be in a nutrient deficit. At the same time, coffee grounds also emit reduced greenhouse gasses compared to their contemporaries.  

3. Cleaning Scrub

Due to their gradient and coarseness, coffee grounds are abrasive with antibacterial and antiviral properties. Consequently, used coffee grounds can be used as a scrub to remove build-up on surfaces and crockery. 

Therefore, coffee grounds can be used as an alternative to harmful, corrosive cleaning chemicals to scour sinks, cookware, grills, kitchen surfaces, etc. Avoid using coffee grounds on soft or porous surfaces due to scratches/stains.

4. Neutralize Odors

Photo of coffee ground behind an apple inside the refrigieator

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, a key component in neutralizing and eliminating unpleasant odors. 

Therefore, a simple bowl or open container of used coffee grounds in an area where an unpleasant smell may be lingering (such as a bowl of coffee grounds in a fridge with spoiled food) is a quick and easy way of removing bad odors. 

This is ideal for eliminating smells passively over time and without harmful cleaning agents or aerosols.

5. Insect Repellant  

Coffee grounds contain certain compounds, such as diterpenes and caffeine that have been proven to repel insects and/or toxic to certain pests. 

Consequently, a sprinkling of used coffee in the garden or a bowl/open container effectively repels insects and pests such as mosquitos, beetles, fruit flies, snails, slugs, and other destructive pests.

6. Remove Fleas  

Phot of a dog taking a bath

Like repelling pests, coffee grounds as an additive to your pets’ shampoo is a safe and efficient method of repelling fleas. This is cheaper and less harmful than using a toxic flea treatment.

Just make sure to consult a vet before using coffee in your pets’ shampoo, as the abrasiveness of coffee grounds may irritate your pets’ skin and coat. Furthermore, caution must be taken, as consumption of coffee can make certain animals (such as dogs) very sick.

7. Natural Dye  

By adding a bit of water to used coffee grounds, you can create a simple natural dye that allows you to dye cotton, paper, cellophane, and linen to deep earthy colors. 

This natural dye can be further used for the dying of consumables such as Easter Eggs or to deepen the natural color notes of dark hair. 

Using coffee grounds as a natural dye is a safe, efficient method of dying materials, products, and hair without exposing yourself or these products to the harmful chemicals found in commercial dyes.

8. Exfoliate Your Skin  

Due to their coarse texture, used coffee grounds can work as an exfoliating agent to scrub away stubborn dirt and dead skin cells. This is an alternative to other exfoliating agents which may contain harmful chemicals. 

Furthermore, coffee grounds have antioxidant properties which help protect your skin from sun damage and improve blood flow and the skin’s overall health.

9. Reduce Cellulite 

When applied topically and consistently, the caffeine in used coffee grounds can help break down fats, improve blood flow, and subsequently reduce the appearance of cellulite.

This is best achieved by mixing used coffee grounds with other natural products such as water or coconut oil and scrubbing affected areas for approximately 10 minutes twice a week. 

10. Repair Scratched Furniture  

Used coffee grounds can repair mild scratches and scuff marks on wooden furniture.

Simply make a thick paste of coffee grounds mixed with water and then rub the paste into the affected areas of the furniture with a cotton swab. Allow the paste to sit for approximately fifteen minutes before wiping the surface clean with a cotton rag.

11. Tenderize Meat  

Using coffee grounds as a dry rub for tougher meats such as brisket is a popular method of enhancing flavor profiles in meat, while simultaneously tenderizing meat due to the enzymes and acidic properties found in coffee. 

There are numerous recipes you can find and try that allow for dry rubs with coffee at least two hours before cooking and the inclusion of coffee grounds being brewed and added to marinades.  

12. Stimulate Hair Growth  

Caffeine shampoos are an effective method of promoting hair growth. Coffee grounds contain caffeine, which effectively simulates the effects of caffeine shampoo while also adding a level of exfoliation to the scalp.

Simply add coffee grounds to your shampooing ritual at least once or twice a week.


While the above is not a definitive list of the different ways coffee grounds are repurposed and reused, it illustrates the diverse ways coffee grounds can find a new lease on life after brewing!