11 Ways to Recycle Old Coffee Grounds

Apr 21, 2020 Most Recent

Whether you use a pour over, a French press, or an automatic coffee maker, chances are you always have used coffee grounds in your home. There's nothing wrong with simply throwing away the old coffee grounds, but did you know there are a lot of ways to recycle coffee grounds? Instead of tossing out the used grounds, you can use them around the home, in the garden, and even on your skin! Take a look at our list to learn how you can recycle used coffee grounds.

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1. Turn it into soap

One fun thing you can do with coffee grounds is turn them into a bar of soap. This can be as simple as mixing coffee grounds with glycerin soap in a muffin container, or buying a soap mold, combing coffee grounds with shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, and creating a genuine looking bar of soap. As mentioned below, coffee grounds are a great exfoliate and odor minimizer. If you're ever cooking with a stinky food, a bar of soap with coffee grounds would help diminish the smell on your hands.

2. Compost your coffee grounds

Composting in general is a really great thing to do because you recycle organic resources while conserving landfill space. Luckily for you, coffee can for sure be composted. If you have a compost pile, simply throw the coffee grounds into that pile. Since coffee grounds are considered a "green" compost material, you'll have to balance them out with "brown" compost materials, such as dry leaves, wood chips, straw, newspaper, and cornstalks. 

3. Use it while cooking

Coffee grounds can actually be used while cooking. One of our favorite ways is to tenderize meat with your old coffee grounds. Since coffee grounds are acidic and acidity helps tenderize meat, your steak should be melt-in-your-mouth good. You can combine coffee grounds, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and any other seasoning you would want. This will create a unique and delicious taste for your meat. You can check out our blog post on 5 Ways to Cook with Coffee to learn more about how to incorporate coffee into your cooking!

4. Eliminate odor

Coffee grounds are great for absorbing and eliminating odors because of the amount of nitrogen they have in them. If your fridge smells, take a bowl of grounds and place it in the back of the fridge. You can fill a sock or pantyhose with coffee grounds to create an air freshener. Basically any place that might smell is a good place to put your coffee grounds.

5. Clean your fireplace

If you have a fireplace, you know how messy it can be to clean it. By scattering used coffee grounds over the ashes, you can weigh them down and prevent smoke clouds from forming. This not only makes the ashes easier to remove, but it also keeps dust from escaping and traveling to other parts of the room.

6. Freshen your face

The coarse particles in coffee grounds work as an exfoliating agent to help remove dirt and dead cells from the skin. Simply mix coffee grounds with a little bit of water or coconut oil and scrub them with your hands directly onto your face and body. Coffee grounds can also be mixed with a small amount of honey and used as an exfoliating lip scrub. Exfoliating your skin once every week or two weeks is great for skin, and by using coffee grounds you might get a slight coffee aroma to your skin too!

7. Repel insects and pests

Certain compounds found in coffee can be highly toxic to insects. Because of this, you can use coffee grounds to repel bugs. They'rere effective at deterring mosquitoes, fruit flies, and beetles. To use coffee grounds as an insect and pest repellent, simply set out bowls of grounds or sprinkle them around outdoor seating areas.

8. Use it as a natural dye

By wetting used coffee grounds, you can create an inexpensive and all-natural dye that can be used to color cotton, rayon, cellophane, linen and paper. This can be a fun activity to do if you have children, such as dyeing paper to make it look ancient, dyeing Easter eggs, or changing up an old shirt.

9. Make fertilizer

Coffee grounds contain the essential nutrient nitrogen as well as small amounts of potassium and phosphorus, all of which are incredibly beneficial for growing a healthy garden. Take your coffee grounds and simply sprinkle them on top of the soil in your garden, or scratch it into your soil one to two inches. Plants love coffee, and you'll see a boast in your garden.

10. Use it to remove scratches on furniture

One of the surprising things coffee grounds can do is remove scratches and scruffs on wooden furniture. First, make a thick paste with used coffee grounds and water. Then rub the paste into the scratch using a cotton swab, allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes and then wipe with a cotton rag. This should help buff out the scratch and conceal it by dying the exposed wood a dark-brown color. Continue to dab coffee into the scratch using a cotton swab until the desired color is achieved, waiting a few hours between applications.

11. Turn it into a candle

If you're a coffee lover, you probably love the smell of coffee. Luckily for you, you can take those used coffee grounds and make that delightful aroma waft all throughout your house. Here's what you'll need:

  • Soy Wax - There are other types of wax you can use as well but soy wax is good for first time candle makers.
  • Candle Wicks - One with a secure bottom is the best way to go
  • Coffee Grounds - If you use a flavored coffee, then it can create a richer smell. Luckily for you, we have over 200 flavors of J.L. Hufford coffee.
  • Craft Sticks
  • Mug or other container of your choosing - Just make sure whichever container you choose can handle the heat of the wax and candle.
  • Double Broiler - If you don’t own a double broiler, take a heat resistant bowl and place it on top of a saucepan filled with water.

Start by filling a heat resistant bowl with soy wax flakes (approximately 1 1/2 containers full). Place the bowl in a saucepan filled with water. Let the water get to a boil and stir the wax with wooden craft sticks. Be careful! The wax and steam are both going to be very hot. You'll want the wax to get to about 185 degrees, and no more than 200 degrees. Remove your wax from the heat, and at this time stir in your coffee grounds. Place the wick in the wax, and then pour the wax into your mug or container. Let it cool, and soon you'll have your own candle!

Do you have any ways of recycling coffee grounds we didn't mention? Let us know!

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