Uses for Coffee Grounds - Going Green in your Garden and Home

Go green with coffee in your home and garden
Go green with coffee in your home and garden

Efforts to "go green" are usually a result of the desire to save our planet by using earth friendly products and methods in every day tasks. There is also a movement to find uses for items that would normally be part of your garbage headed for a landfill. Such is the case with the common coffee grounds emptied each day from your coffee maker.

Ideas for Reusing Coffee Grounds

Here are just a few ideas for used coffee grounds that will help in your effort to live a green lifestyle:

  • In your garden or flower beds - sprinkle coffee grounds around plants that like acidic soils. Some examples are hostas, roses, rhododendrons, camellias, evergreens, azaleas, blueberries, carrots and radishes. It has been reported that the coffee grounds lose most of their acidity during the coffee brewing process but many gardeners swear by the use of coffee grounds around their plants. It probably is dependent on the type of soil you have.
  • "Perk" up your compost bin - Used coffee grounds make an excellent substitute for manure in your compost bin. It is easy to obtain, smells much better, and alleviates the concerns of many gardeners about using manure, especially in vegetable gardens. You can also add the used coffee filters to the compost pile.
  • A great fertilizer for your lawn - You can't beat the price of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer for your lawn. You will need to collect a lot of grounds which you can keep in a garbage can in your garage until you have enough. Apply as you would fertilizer and water well. During the heat of the day, enjoy the smell of coffee brewing!
  • As a deodorizer - Put some dry coffee grounds in a piece of an old pantyhose and tie it closed. Place it in a closet, in a pair of stinky tennis shoes, or anywhere else that has an unpleasant odor. You can easily dry the coffee grounds by spreading them out on a cookie sheet until they dry.
  • In the refrigerator or freezer - Forget about putting old fashioned baking soda in your refrigerator or freezer. Instead, try using a small cup of coffee grounds with a few drops of vanilla added to it. This will eliminate bad odors and give your refrigerator or freezer a pleasant smell.
  • As a hand scrub - You can remove dry skin on your hands or get rid of odors from cutting onions or garlic by using coffee grounds as a hand scrub. Just put a little liquid hand soap and a spoonful of coffee grounds in the palm of your hand. It feels so good when you rub your hands with the mixture. Smells good too!
  • Use as an ant repellent - Sprinkle your used coffee grounds on ant piles and they will be gone before long. This is a tried and true method for getting rid of ants without using harmful insect repellents.
  • Your house plants will love them - Put 1/2 cup of coffee grounds in an empty gallon milk jug or any other gallon container. Shake it to mix then let it sit overnight. Use it once a week to water any acid loving houseplants such as African violets, dieffenbachia, Norfolk Island pines, or impatiens. The coffee grounds are very rich in nitrogen.
  • Leftover Coffee - If you have a little coffee left in the pot, don't dump it down the drain. Just pour it into one of the houseplants listed above.

Are you a coffee drinker?

  • Yes
  • No
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What if You Don't Drink Coffee?

Most restaurants and coffee shops are more than willing to give you their used coffee grounds. It helps them to reduce waste and enables them to take a step toward "going green". Starbucks started the Grounds for Your Garden program in 1995 which allows them to give interested customers a complimentary 5 pound bag of used grounds. Ask about it next time you are in Starbucks or any other coffee shop.

Whether you are a non-drinker of coffee or a pot a day person, these ideas for using coffee grounds will put you one step closer to living a green lifestyle.

Do You Drink Regular or Decaf?

  • Regular
  • Decaf
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© 2013 Thelma Raker Coffone

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Please Share Your Comments and Ideas on Uses for Coffee Grounds 56 comments

ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Thank you othellos for reading and taking the time to comment. Yes, these are some great ways to use up all of those coffee grounds!


othellos profile image

othellos 2 years ago from Europe

Lots of coffee grounds in my house. At least now I have got some ideas how to use them for my garden. Very comprehensive article:=)


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

mgeorge1050 glad you liked the article and will be able to get some use out of all of those coffee grounds!


mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia

This is a great article Thelma. I am a coffee drinker and an avid gardener. I now have a use for all those old coffee grounds. Some for the blueberries and some for the mulch pile.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Monis Mas glad you liked the article and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such a nice comment.


Monis Mas profile image

Monis Mas 3 years ago

Awesome article. My house plants do love the coffee grinds :-)


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

Excellent ideas! My father-in-law first told me about using coffee grounds around blueberry bushes. Since then I've been putting my used coffee grounds in the compost pile every day too. I hadn't thought of using coffee grounds as a hand scrub! I like it!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

I agree 100% with you jpcmc. Why waste the coffee grounds? Glad you think it makes sense! Thanks for reading.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I love coffee and gardening. This hub really makes sense. Why waste the coffee grounds when you can use it?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Looking forward to reading more of your hubs.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Twilight Lawns thanks for sharing your experience with coffee grounds and ginseng plants. The key is only using it on plants that like acidic soil. Glad you nursed your plants back to good health. Thanks for the follow and the fan mail you left me. Really appreciate it!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I am the worst gardener in the world, but a couple of years ago I went to IKEA and bought four very sad little Microcarpus "Ginseng" that were almost dehydrated to death. I brought them home and watered and took care of them and they responded well and grew and did all the things that plants do well. They looked wonderful.

Then a couple of months ago I though I would use my used coffee grounds to give them a good time. I repotted them into slightly larger pots and added the grounds. Within only two weeks they started to lose their leaves rapidly and were on the verge of giving up the ghost.

I removed all off the coffee grounds that I could, said a prayer or two and watered them carefully. They have now completely recovered (I hope).

Hallelujah!

That's the last time I add coffee grounds to anything apart from my ericaceous plants outside in the garden.

Note well... plants and I don't really go well together.

Good hub. I wish I'd read it earlier.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Tonette you are a sweetheart! Like you, I also love old-fashioned things. I enjoy my nostalgic hubs more than any others. I look forward to following you and reading more of your hubs.

It's funny about me looking like your best friend in California!


Tonipet profile image

Tonipet 3 years ago from The City of Generals

Oh Thelma, I love this! So that's how useful coffee grounds are. Truly a green article. A must read... must-share... and must use. Very helpful to me really, thank you. I love you more, you looked like my bestfriend... but she's in California, so a bit far from you, lol.

My votes up up and sharing! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, Thelma. -:=)Tonette


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Two days ago I put coffee grounds on a huge ant bed with really big ants. Checked it today and they are all gone!! Don't know if they are dead or just left town!!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by Victoria. Hope you are happy with the results of using the grounds on your plants!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Great hub! I drink coffee daily. I've been putting my grounds in my compost bin but may try those rose and azalea bushes! Hosta, too. Great tips!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

mperrottet glad to hear it works on roses. Going to try that out. Thanks for your comments!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

ChitrangadaSharan glad you found my hub useful. Thanks for your comments!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

sgbrown I use them on my azaleas too!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Faceless39 I had wondered about using the grounds also. I got real excited when I started researching and found so many uses for them. Thanks for your comments.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

These are excellent suggestions, to reuse coffee grounds. Thanks for sharing an interesting and useful hub!


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

My daughter-in-law uses coffee grounds in her rose garden, and her roses are amazing. Good tips here, voted up and useful.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Great uses for coffee grounds. I used to have a compost pile, but it just got to be too much for me to deal with along with everything else. I always have coffee in the mornings, so I am going to save my coffee grounds and put around my hostas. I also like many other of your ideas for their use. Great hub, voted up, useful, interesting, sharing and pinning! :)


Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 3 years ago from The North Woods, USA

I've always kind of wondered about this. Great ideas!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

I put coffee grounds around my hostas in March (about 2 months ago). They loved it! They are so lush and full looking. If you are a fan of hostas in your flower bed, try putting the grounds around them.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Peg thanks for stopping by and for leaving your comment. Please let us all know if it works on the ants. Believe it or not, I don't have any ant beds yet. When they show up, I will be ready for them with my coffee grounds!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Oh, I'm definitely going to try the used coffee grounds on the ant piles. Can't wait to see it work. I've been battling them by trying to garden in containers but they have worked their way up through the cracks of my patio stones and overtaken my roses. This sounds like just the right solution! Thank you.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Petra thanks for the comments. I have been using it on some of my acid loving plants for a couple of months and they seem to be much greener and healthier. Time will tell! Thanks for reading my hubs.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 3 years ago from Los Angeles

Great ideas and much appreciated. I will try it as a fertilizer since I don't like anything that is chemical. Thank you


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Thanks vocalcoach. I have learned from your hubs also!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

These are tremendous ideas for the use of coffee grounds. I really like this. Learned something new! Thanks.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Nell Rose thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Glad you liked the hub!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi, my mum used to use coffee on the compost heap! lol! I always wanted to know why she did it! really interesting, thanks!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

KoffeeKlatch Gals thanks for your comment. Let us know how you make out with your ants!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

I had no idea that ants don't like coffee grounds. I will definitely have to try it. Thanks for sharing. Up, useful and interesting.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Thank you my fellow Thelma! Hope you have a great garden this year and that the used coffee grounds help. Sure is better than throwing them away!!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Awesome! I did not know that there are many uses of ground coffee for my garden. I have to try them all. I´m sure my father will shake his head again because for him, I always have weird ideas in my garden. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and pinned.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

ytsenoh my azaleas are outside my backdoor. I just open the door and toss the egg shells out. The first time my husband saw me, he asked when we started throwing our garbage out in the yard!!


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 3 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Thelma, thanks much! I'll try the egg shells too. Glad you figured the name. I like to make people think, or at least check out their awareness! Best.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Faythe thanks so much for your kind comments and for sharing my hub. I look forward to following you and reading your hubs. Thanks!!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

ytsenoh I have 3 azaleas in my yard also. Going to put the grounds around them as soon as I collect some more. I also put egg shells on the ground around my azaleas. An old gardener told me they love the calcium from the shells. I just started it this winter so can't tell anything about it yet.

I just figured out what your name spells backwards!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Lemonkerdz we don't have many coffee grounds at our house since I don't drink it and my husband only has a cup in the morning. I plan on asking for some grounds at Starbucks. Even though we have just a few grounds, I hate to think of how many I have thrown away in 43 years of marriage!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Dirt Farmer thanks for telling me about the coffee beans in the perfume stores. Hadn't seen that.

By the way, I wanted to take this chance to tell you how much I enjoy your hubs! You are such a talented writer!!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

drbj you might need some of that ant repellent down in south Florida! I haven't tried the grounds on ants yet as we don't have ant beds this time of year. But we will have them soon and I will be ready for them. Thanks for your comments.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Green Art I think you are going to love the hand scrub. I just put a little squirt of liquid hand soap in my palm and add just a small amount of the grounds. I love the feeling when I rub my hands together and it works just as good as some hand scrub that I paid $10.00 for a small jar. If you think of it, let me know how you like it.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Lipnancy I didn't know there were so many uses for coffee grounds either. I haven't tried them all but I sure plan on it. Thanks for your comments.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Torrilynn I agree with you about keeping the environment green. Such a shame to throw those coffee grounds away. Thanks for your comments.


faythef profile image

faythef 3 years ago from USA

Great Hub..I always use coffee grounds in the garden..voting up , useful and sharing.


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 3 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Thelma, I have three large azaleas in the front yard, so thanks very much for this tip. Love tips for reuses. Thank you. I have to wait to do this practice, however, since we just got over a foot of snow here!


lemonkerdz profile image

lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

Thanks for the tips on what to do with my coffee grinds. We drink a lot of coffee and now i have a few other uses for them instead of just throwing them on the garden.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States

I've never heard of using coffee as a deodorizer, but it makes sense. I've been in perfume stores where glasses of coffee beans were available so you could "clear your nose palate," so to speak, between sniffings. Enjoyed your hub and will share it!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Great ideas for reusing coffee grounds, Thelma. Interesting that they can act as an ant repellant. Hmmmmmm. And we drink the stuff! Do the ants know something we don't know?


Green Art profile image

Green Art 3 years ago

So many great ideas here to try out! I drink coffee primarily in the morning and love the idea of using the grounds instead of tossing them. I've only used them on house plants in the past but plan on trying them outside after reading this. I look forward to trying the hand scrub idea too. Thanks for a very useful hub! Voted up and useful!


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

I never know that there were so many uses of coffee grounds.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

hi thelma,

really nice ideas on what you can use coffee grounds for.

im up for anything that has to do with keeping the environment as green

as possible. thanks.

voted up

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