10 Fun Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Bet you didn't know coffee had all these uses!
Unusual Uses for Left Over Coffee and Grounds
Coffee has a wide variety of purposes besides just a morning pick me up. Coffee is excellent for the garden, for hair and skin, in recipes, is a natural order absorber, and it can even be used in crafty DIY projects. What follows are ten fun and unusual ways to recycle your coffee grounds.
Get Crafty With Coffee!
Coffee is a great additive for soap, not only is it a natural deodorizer, it also helps skin look brighter and younger when used as a gentle exfoliant. Grounds can be used as an additive to any soap recipe from old-fashioned hot process soap to easy melt and pour recipes. The end result will be a lovely caramel brown colored soap that is gently exfoliating. Use it in the kitchen to pull strong cooking odors like fish, onions, and garlic out of your hands. Use it a couple of times a week on the face to gently exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.
Natural Dye or Stain
Coffee makes a great natural dye. Soak grounds overnight in leftover coffee and add paper or white cloth to create an interesting “aged” effect for your craft project. I have even soaked unfinished wood in coffee for a few minutes to get a natural light stain and antiqued effect to the wood. Do not overdo this technique with wood! Wood can be ruined if completely saturated for long periods of time. Soaked coffee grounds give your projects a nice sepia toned appearance. The longer you soak your paper or fabric, the darker the color. With fabrics, it will fade with washing, so best to use on items like pillows, wall hangings, sachets or other items that won't be washed often.
Nourish your skin and create lovely moisturizing, exfoliating soaps with goat milk soap base and your used coffee grounds. Super simple. Or, if you're feeling more adventurous, let me teach you how to make soap from scratch :).
Around the House
Polish Wood Work and Dark Wood Furniture
Soak used coffee grounds in leftover morning coffee grounds for a couple of hours to get a deep rich color. Strain the coffee through a filter into a glass. Add a tablespoon or two of the strained mixture to ¼ cup of olive oil or linseed oil, stir well and use this to polish wood furniture. We use this technique to revive our antique Walnut dining room set and staircase a couple of times per year.
Repair Wood Scratches
Make a paste with coffee grounds and a bit of light olive oil and rub gently into the scratch going with the grain of the wood. Allow to sit briefly before wiping off with a clean, lint free soft cloth. This works well for minor scratches and dings, is safe for the wood, and will save a great deal of money over commercial products.
A Natural Insect Repellent
Mix coffee grounds into garden soil before planting. Once plants are established mix more in around the plants to repel garden pests like slugs and snails while also giving nutrients to your plants. Coffee grounds also repel ants, so place them around the perimeter of the home and around the bases of cabinets to help prevent ants from coming in. If you're interested in natural insect repellants in general also see the hub “DIY Natural Insect Repellant Spray”
Coffee will absorb odors in small rooms and is especially useful in closets and other small spaces. Place coffee grounds into a sachet made from old nylons or cheesecloth. Tie it off with a ribbon and hang it or simply place in drawers as a sachet.
Deodorize Pantries and the Refrigerator
Use coffee grounds in place of baking soda to deodorize the refrigerator, pantry, or other kitchen areas. Coffee absorbs odors very effectively and also repels some pests so it's great to keep on hand. In addition, you can also rub coffee grounds on your hands or on cutting boards after chopping stinky foods like fish or onions.
Restore Your Sense of Smell
Carry whole coffee beans in a small container in your purse while perfume shopping or take a quick sniff of coffee grounds at home to clear the air literally. This is very useful when the sinuses get tired while smelling many things at once. It instantly clears out the nasal passage and allows you to get a true scent. You can use this trick for cooking, perfume shopping, and picking the right candle fragrance.
The small business highlighted in this video uses coffee grounds from cafe's to produce mushroom growing kits. Apparently 3 pounds of used grounds grows 1 & 1/5 pounds of oyster mushrooms. Who knew? :)
Coffee as a Beauty Treatment
The one common ingredient most expensive anti-cellulite creams and treatments contain is caffeine. The caffeine works by plumping skin cells and reducing the cottage cheese like appearance of the skin. You can make your own very effective treatment inexpensively by adding coffee grounds to some melted coconut oil. Rub the mixture onto the skin in a circular motion for several minutes and then rinse it off. The skin will be moisturized and smoother in appearance. Coconut oil is also loaded with nutrients that are amazing for the skin so you get a double treatment with this recipe.
Hair and Scalp Treatment for Brunettes
This trick is for brunettes only as coffee will often stain the hair and scalp a bit. Rub coffee grounds into the scalp for a normalizing scalp treatment that will remove and prevent dandruff while improving circulation. This technique can help promote hair growth. Rinse the hair with coffee periodically to intensify color and enhance shine on dark brown or black hair. For more great ideas, see the hub “Homemade Natural Hair Conditioner for All Hair Types”
What Fun Ways do You Reuse Coffee?
Do you have a fun use for coffee I haven't shared here? I'd love to know about it. I am always looking for clever ways to reuse and re-purpose things from our daily lives. Share your ideas below in the comments!
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© 2012 Christin Sander
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