5 uses for Coffee Grounds



Coffee is one of the simple pleasures in life.  I love it so much I don’t even know how to explain it without making myself sound like someone you’d warn your children about.  I will talk about coffee, drink coffee, go to bed early just so I can wake up and drink coffee.

Sometimes I even have a little shot of coffee before I go to bed to tide me over before I can have more coffee.  I am suspicious of people who do not love coffee as much as I do.  I’m REALLY suspicious of tea drinkers.  Why stop at tea?  Why not be one of those weirdos who drinks hot water with lemon?

So it comes as no surprise that this house produces a lot of coffee grounds.  I usually throw them in the compost bin, occasionally I actually (gasp) throw them in the garbage like a regular person and other times I just roll around in them. A few months ago I realized people react weirdly if you smell of pure coffee so I thought I’d try to figure out a few other things I could do with my spent grounds.

From me to you …. 5 uses for coffee grounds.


1. Make a pincushion! (I’m getting the stupid/weird/least useful tip out of the way first)


Apparently dried, used coffee grounds make the perfect pincushion filling because they prevent the pins from getting rusty. I’ve never had a problem with rusty pins, but if you have then I’ve just saved the day for you.  And that is why I chose to include this weird little tip.

2.  Use it in the fridge to absorb smells instead of using baking soda.

This really and truly works. I’ve tried it and was amazed. Just fill a bowl with old coffee grounds and set it in the refrigerator like you would a box or bowl of baking soda.  The other added bonus is when need baking soda it’ll be in the cupboard not sitting in the fridge absorbing 2 years worth of smells.  This in turn means you won’t have to stare at the smell filled bowl of baking soda and contemplate whether you could get away with using it in your cookies.



3.  Turn pink hydrangeas blue.

Boost the blue in your hydrangeas by amending the soil with coffee grounds. A lot of sites throw this tip around. What they don’t tell you is you need to add a LOT of coffee grounds to turn the soil acidic enough to grow blue hydrangeas. So if that’s what you want, every time you make coffee, put your grounds on the hydrangea.  Crushed egg shells will help too. But if you really want to change the colour of your hydrangeas use aluminum sulphate like I show you here. 


4.  Clean your pots and pans.

Out of abrasive scrubbing pads? Coffee grounds in the pan will scrub off most messes.



5.  Exfoliate your skin.


This is easily my favourite coffee grounds use and I use it all the time. Mix up some coffee grounds with olive oil until it’s like a paste. Keep it near the sink to clean up after gardening, painting or anything else that gets your hands a mess. It’s also reportedly a great face mask. I’ve never tried it but I don’t doubt it for a second. The coffee grounds exfoliate your skin while the olive oil leaves your hands feeling soft and moisturized. I’ve always thought salt scrubs were pointless because salt extracts moisture which is the exact opposite of what you want to do for your skin. Coffee grounds also have the added bonus of making your hands smell like coffee.

But not your whole body.  That’s just weird.  Apparently.



  1. CJ Charles says:

    OK, I love all the suggestions and discussions and the hilarious comments; HOWEVER, how do you dry the coffee grounds – spread it all over your counter? Dry it at low heat in the oven? Where I live, a bucket collecting coffee grounds will mold almost instantly. At present I daily throw the diluted used grounds from my french press into my nearest garden. But I’d love to save enough to try some of these suggestions.

  2. Lisa K says:

    My eyes really are not that bad but when I read that line “someone you would warn your…about” I swear it said Chicken not Children. At this point I spat my tea on the screen. And I not only learned how to use coffee grounds but I also learned that green tea is a really nice screen cleaner.

  3. tk says:

    Gather a week’s worth of used coffee grounds in the fridge then add 2 cups water and simmer for about 30 minutes. Once cooled, use as a rinse on dark hair to dim gray areas. From great grandmother….

  4. Chris says:

    Great post! Not only are the grounds great for the fridge, they can work miracles in a freezer too! I bought a freezer that due to some silly circumstance I didn’t check the inside of stunk like something had putrefied in there :( cleaned it out several times, still stunk, found a hint of using coffee grounds in a dish, crumpled slightly damp newspaper on the bottom of the freezer, let it sit for some days change the paper a few times and yay! My cheap freezer turned out to be a pretty good value! (I did try the paper by itself, and I just had a stinky freezer and stinky paper)

  5. Shirley says:

    I use my coffee grounds for fertilizing my rose bushes. I let a couple of cups of grounds sit in a bucket of water until the water starts to turn color, stirring one in a while. I then pour around all of my roses and within a few days they are blooming like crazy!

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi Karen….i had that same bore on my zucchini plants last year…this year I put the coffee grounds around them as apparently nasties don’t like climbing across the grounds…i am hoping what goes into the ground also causes the bore to dislike it as well. So far so good…5 nice zucchini and healthy plants. Keep writing…it’s my morning go to as I wake up!

  7. cash says:

    the extra coffee grounds from my french press, after they cool straight to my Rose bushes. Rose bushes like acidic soil been doing this for years

  8. Erin says:

    So clever and interesting!! I love articles like these. Thank you so much for sharing. Cant wait to try a couple of these ideas at home.

  9. Shundra says:

    Just found your blog..love it..love your straight from the hip dialogue! Im NOT a coffee drinker…lol..but I love how it smells. Id like to add another few great tips for coffee..coffee beans to be exact. Fill a votive cup with coffee beans and add a tealight, the warmth from the tealight candle creates this fresh brewed coffee aroma! The coffee addicts will love how the tealight burns itself out..so you can enjoy while you sleep. I once had water damage in my car..coffee beans under the seat..helped a lot! Great article!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Shundra! I’m still slightly suspicious of you, but not quite as much as the others because you at least like the smell of coffee. So you get a reprieve for now. Love the candle tip. My sister does that all the time but with a HUGE pillar candle in a big vase. There’s so much coffee in there her house smells like you’re walking into roastery. ~ karen!

  10. SusanR says:

    Heather, thanks. I have looked at the Aeropress. But I don’t trust plastic for anything hot or acidic.

  11. Vanessa says:

    I worked as a barista for years. My daughter gives me a hard time about me being difficult in coffee shops. But I like good coffee! Starbucks makes so much coffee the give the used grounds away for free! I used to use them for my flowers and bald spots in my lawn. Also I mix used grounds with coconut oil as a scrub, I don’t know about the cellulite but I have really soft skin!!

  12. Mindy says:

    I like my coffee like I like my coffee. Strong and black. Clearly a key word was edited to say coffee. Did I mention coffee? Our grounds go in the compost pile. The first photo made me cringe. It’s super cute, but I immediately imagined having to clean it up. That is the single bad thing about coffee. Spilled grounds.

    • Karen says:

      And THAT is the beauty of cutting a hole in the middle of your countertop. Just wipe everything straight into it. Now I’m going to your webpage to see if your husband is black. ~ karen!

  13. Jess says:

    This is great! I’m always like “yay!” when I meet someone new and they are in fact coffee lovers♥My husband thinks that tea is for the sick and dying……I put coffee grounds on my roses, my pelargonies and some of the houseplants and they love it. Once I got myself smeared in with motor oil but with coffee and a squirt of washing up liquid it all came out! Dreamjob; working in a tea and coffee shop where one buys by the half pound♥

  14. Mike says:

    Ok, I’ve read enough of these whiners that are upset about tea. Hey, you want to drink tea, go ahead, but don’t expect me to think it’s better than coffee. It’s like drinking real, fresh squeezed orange juice or Orange Koolaid. There just ain’t no comparison. I know there is coffee and then there is just brown water, but, come on! Get off this tea is better delusion. I drink tea occasionally. OCCASIONALLY!! But it will NEVER replace coffee as my preferred drink. EVERYTHING tastes better with a good cup of Joe. The reason that some people don’t like coffee is that they have never had a good cup of coffee. They’re drinking stuff that should never even be called coffee. They have probably tried to buy the least expensive brand they could find (and SANKA is NOT coffee!) or they buy decaf instead and that is just some horrid substitute for people who want to look like they are drinking coffee. You fakers!! Grow up and drink the real stuff!! Or just go back to water. Sorry if I came on a little strong, but I had enough of the tea moaners. Besides, wasn’t this originally about want to do with coffee grounds? Who cares what to do with tea bags? I’m probably banned from the comments page now. ( hope not LOL)

  15. Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

    Coffee grounds apparently deter carrot fly which are attracted by the smell of carrots. After you seed your carrots you should sprinkle the row with coffee grounds. Coffee masks the carrot smell.
    I’ve never had carrot fly in my garden. Is it because the coffee works? Or are there no carrot flies in my neighbourhood?

  16. Catherine says:

    I believe your local Starbucks still gives away bags of used grounds for just these kinds of purposes. So even if you aren’t a coffee drinker you can still help recycle grounds. I’m an omni-drinker so I drink coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I wonder if we can do the same things with tea leaves.

  17. Shauna says:

    So, I’m a tea drinker, but only because I’m the A-number 1 most snobby coffee drinker. Basically, unless I’m in Italy or France, the coffee is crap. There have been exceptions to this rule – like when coffee is made by honest to goodness Italians or French people with the fancy shmancy coffee maker and the good beans that have been roasted correctly.

    As for coffee grounds, I take the grounds from husband’s coffee and made a body scrub using olive and/or almond oil and a few essential oils. Rumor has it that the caffeine in them can reduce the appearance of cellulite for a short period of time, so whether that true or not, I always smell like coffee when I’m wearing a bathing suit.

  18. Karol says:

    I grew up in a household that had a percolator going all day everyday. You’d think I would drink coffee myself, but truthfully, the smell of coffee brewing or even the beans themselves is repulsive to me. I even have to hold my nose going past a Starbucks. Yeah, I know. I’m in the minority, but that’s what makes the world go ’round.
    I love tea though, but the Southern version which is iced and sweet.

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