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10 Eco Friendly Uses for Coffee Grounds

Updated on October 1, 2016

Coffee - More Than Just a Pick Me Up

Using Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer

Leftover coffee grounds are an excellent source of natural, organic matter, rich in nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals and vitamins. This is why coffee grounds serve a much better purpose outside, than in your garbage.

Fertilizers you find at the store can be dangerous to both your children and your pets. Ingredients found in most fertilizers have been linked to an increased risk of leukemia, asthma, allergies, birth defects and decreased fertility.

Coffee grounds on the other hand, are not only safe, they are also excellent fertilizers. Simply sprinkle the coffee grounds around the base of your plants and dig them in to the soil a bit. You can also sprinkle them directly on your lawn.

These eco-carafe pods are excellent ways to save money on coffee while protecting the environment.

Attracting Worms with Coffee Grounds

Whether it is because they are caffeine junkies, or because there is something in the grounds that just naturally attracts them, worms love coffee grounds.

Regardless of why worms are so attracted to coffee grounds, this makes it an even better reason to utilize grounds in your vegetable garden or backyard. Worms benefit the structure of soil by consuming decaying matter than can damage your grass, flowers and plants.

Earthworms also naturally aerate the soil by tunneling below ground, allowing your garden to breath better, which encourages healthy growth.

Coffee Ground Poll

Were you aware of all the uses of coffee grounds?

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Repelling Pests

While earth worms may love coffee grounds, most other "pests" hate them. Coffee grounds make an excellent repellent for snails, slugs and other creatures that are harmful to your lawn and garden.

Like fertilizer, pest repellents contain harmful ingredients than can be toxic for you, your loved ones, and your pets. By nature, pesticides are meant to kill living things. Although they are used to kill pests, the ingredients in pesticides can be just as harmful to you.

Next time you think about using pesticides in your garden, think twice, and then opt for coffee grounds instead.

The Power of the Coffee Bean

Removing Unsightly Odors

Ever spill vinegar on your hands? It can leave a very unappealing smell that can be quite difficult to get rid of - short of scrubbing off several layers of skin. But what if I told you that you could easily remove strong smells from the skin using coffee grounds?

It's true! Just keep a bag of coffee grounds in your fridge, and take them out whenever you are working with vinegar, fish, onions - anything with a strong odor. Scrub your hands with coffee grounds and you will be amazed how quickly the odor goes away.

Staining Wood

Do you have a wood deck that needs to be stained? Or perhaps you always wanted darker cabinets. What if I told you that your used coffee grounds work as an excellent wood stainer?

Not only can coffee grounds stain wood, but they even allow you to determine how light or dark of a stain you would like. Simply soak the grounds in water for about a day, then drain the grounds. Coat the wood with the drained coffee grounds and leave them there for several hours.

The ratio of water to coffee grounds is how you control the lightness or darkness of the stain.

Coffee Grounds Can Improve Your Garden

Exfoliating Your Skin

Do you want younger, healthier looking skin? If so, switch up your regular beauty routine with used coffee grounds. Besides ridding your skin of unpleasant smells, coffee grounds can also work as an excellent skin exfoliant.

While soap and other cleansers strip your skin when you exfoliate, coffee grounds don't.

Simply coat your face with the grounds like you would with a regular clay mask, allowing the grounds to soak up oil. Wash the grounds off after about thirty minutes or so. You can repeat this regimen as often as you would like.

Cleaning Your Drain

Used properly, coffee grounds can work as a great drain cleaner. Because they erode build-up in the pipes, you can pour coffee grounds down the drain in order to clean your kitchen drain.

In order to do this right, make sure that you follow up the grounds with a large pot of boiling water in order to prevent clogs forming in your pipes.

CAUTION: If this is not done properly, you will not benefit from a clean drain, but rather, you will wind up with clogged pipes that may need repair or replacement.

Coffee Grounds Make Eco-Friendly, Eco-Savvy Fertilizer

Ridding Your Fridge of Unpleasant Odors

Do you ever notice foul smells in your fridge or in your freezer? Although baking soda is a popular way to keep smells from breeding inside of your fridge, coffee grounds cost you nothing!

Simply fill a bowl with damp, used coffee grounds, and add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the bowl. Don't wrap up the bowl. Just place it in your fridge and/or freezer and you now have a cost-effective, eco-friendly freshener that lasts for weeks!

Conditioning Your Hair

Unfortunately, this use for coffee grounds only works for those with dark or gray hair. However, if you happen to have dark hair, either natural or colored, coffee grounds can be a great accessory in your shower.

Coffee is full of anti-oxidants that promote healthy, glistening hair. Just steep one quarter cup of coffee grounds in three cups of hot water. Once the water cools, pour the grounds over clean hair and let set for 3 minutes and rinse with warm water. The natural properties found in the grounds work to condition the locks, giving your hair body and shine.

Repelling Fleas

Do you have dogs or cats? If so, you may be surprised to find out that coffee grounds work as a natural flea repellent.

After giving your pets a bath, coat them with coffee grounds while their fur is still damp. Allow the grounds to sit as long as your pet allows them to, and then dry off your pet with a towel, removing the grounds.

Have You Been Underestimating Your Coffee?

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal


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    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 

      6 years ago from zone 6a, Southeast Missouri, USA

      Hello fellow coffee drinker. Voted Up, I,U, tweet

    • othellos profile image

      Mario Psomas 

      7 years ago from Europe

      We drink a lot of coffee in my house. At least know I discover some extra uses for the coffee grounds. Very detailed article:=)

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      I use them to keep away ants and it works like a charm! So glad to see so many people reusing coffee grounds! I love finding ways to repurpose items!

    • d.william profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great article. My family and friends always tell me i am nuts for saving the old coffee grounds. I use them for fertilizing my plants.

      I learned a few new uses for them as well from your informative article. Thanks for sharing with us. I also like the idea of using them to ward off fleas from my dogs.

      Also, according to Dr. Oz, 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of gallstones.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      Thanks Elizabeth! I learned a lot while writing this piece!

    • Elizabeth Bowers profile image

      Elizabeth Wilson 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      Great Hub! Super interesting! Never knew coffee grounds could be so useful! Thanks! :)

    • Mason Zager profile image

      Mason Zager 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I never realized all the other uses for coffee grounds! Nice hub. Very intriguing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      This is a great hub, Kathleen. I don't drink coffee (too many other bad habits) but now I know to ask for my mother's old coffee grinds. She's gonna think I'm off my rocker. I had no idea about these. Voted up and more, plus pinning.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      Im not a coffee drinker either, I steal my husbands as I currently hunt for uses for my left over tea bags! :)

    • Meisjunk profile image

      Jennifer Kessner 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      GREAT ideas! I'll be giving this to my mother. While I'm not a coffee drinker myself, I'm sure that she'll benefit from these ideas. =) Love the hub! Voted up and awesome.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is a really neat hub! I have used coffee grounds to keep the drain clear, but most of these other ideas I didn't know. I will definitely try coffee grounds for fertilizer and fleas. Thanks!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh I have been underestimating my coffee grounds. As I was throwing out my grounds the other day, I was trying to remember what usefulness I could get out of them instead. I knew there would be a hub somewhere to tell me and here it is. Your timing is great! Thanks for writing. Definitely voted up and useful.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, very interesting & informative hub. I'm not a coffee drinker personally, but my significant other can't function without it. I had no idea there were so many other uses for the grounds. I'm definitely going to try it out only dogs. Thumbs up on your hub Kathleen.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Thanks for sharing some good tips for using coffee grounds. I, too add them to my compost pile...that is up until a brand new Keurig coffee Maker made it's way to my kitchen. Enjoyed your hub and will share with others.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      7 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub about coffee ground uses, useful tips on how to use them. Composting is very eco-friendly and great for saving our planet. Voted up.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I knew that coffee grounds were good for the soil, but for hair and skin? No, I had no idea!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      *grounds, not *ground, rather. My "s" keeps sticking!!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I do compost my ground, and I know my animals wouldn't tolerate them, but I want to try them on my hair! Thanks for the great tips!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful advice Kathleen! I did not know any of that. I can do several of those items which were mentioned in your Hub - except for one thing - I use instant instead of a coffee maker. I will have to find grounds from somewhere.

      Still I enjoyed reading and learning all that I did today which I can use when I do find those grounds. I voted it up, pinned it and shared it because I am sure that many others will also appreciate this.


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Interesting info, Kathleen. I add used coffee grounds and the filters to my compost pile. However, I was unaware that they provide more heat than manure. That's good to know. I also didn't know they repel fleas. I know my cats would freak if I tried to coat them with coffee grounds, so I'll never know first hand the effects.

      You've provided some wonderful uses for coffee grounds. Thank you!

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      I was amazed when I was researching the topic, I knew many of these, but definitely didn't know that it works as an exfoliator! I am amazed by the power of the coffee ground!

    • twoseven profile image


      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      This is great! Very timely for me because we just started adding coffee grounds to our compost. And in response to the previous comments, I know that Starbucks sometimes gives away coffee grounds. At one store they just had some bagged up in a bin by the door for the taking!

      And I did not know of some of the other uses, like using it for a wood stain. Thanks so much!

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Wonder if Starbucks and Bigsby and other places give away coffee grounds if you ask them?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your output of articles is impressive young lady. You obviously are here at HP with a battle plan. Keep at it and you'll see success and some decent money.

      As for coffee grounds, we have our favorite coffee shop collect their grounds for us in five gallon tubs, and we use it all over our garden. They really do work.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      Great job! Very practical. Coffee certainly stains the teeth, so I can see how the grounds would serve as a wood stain. The flea repellent idea sounds great, but I have no idea how my daughter's three dogs would stay still long enough to do the job--and how to clean up afterwards, that's another scenario altogether!

      I usually avoid drinking coffee, but my daughter and her husband use it, so I do drink a little occasionally and knew that earthworms like the grounds, but, for some reason, I've been throwing them out lately. Now that I know about the nitrogen-calcium-potassium content, I definitely will go back to including it in the compost.

      Voted up and useful. Thank you.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 years ago from Chicago Area

      Great earth-friendly tips! Though I drink tea, love the smell of coffee and coffee grounds. Love it that some Starbucks in our area bag up the grounds for people to take and use on their gardens. Voted up, interesting and sharing!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Kathleen, I have to share article with family members who drink coffee. Had no idea of its many uses. Thank you very much.

    • Becky Puetz profile image


      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting. I knew of some of these uses for coffee grounds but never considered coffee grounds as a way to reduce odors or as a beauty treatment especially since coffee has such a strong odor itself. I was amazed to learn that it also works as a flea repellent, which is a technique that I plan on trying out if the need arises. Thank you for such an interesting and useful Hub. Voted up!

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      7 years ago

      Useful and interesting hub. I throw coffee grounds away everyday. Now I will be saving them for good use. I especially like the wood stain idea. Voted up.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      7 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

      Henceforth I won't throw away my coffee grounds. This year my wife is getting seriously into container vegetable gardening outside of our apartment, and she has the landlady's permission to create a compost pile. It's good to know that we should include coffee grounds in the mix.

      I only drink coffee occasionally at home. Maybe if I get ambitious I will ask for coffee grounds at the nearby Burger King, McDonald's, and Dunkin' Donuts.

      For cleaning drains and for absorbing refrigerator odors, would it make sense to use both, or a mixture of, coffee grounds and baking soda?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are great tips, some of which I was not aware of until reading your hub. I learned of coffee ground's ability to remove foul smells from an ER nurse who was trying to help a relative who was sick. (I don't know how they do their jobs, btw.) Also, I have been using coffee grounds to turn some of my old fashioned hydrangeas from blue to pink, not knowing that I was helping them to be pest free in the process. Thanks for the info!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We add our coffee grounds to our compost pile but may consider other uses after reading this. Thanks!


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