Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

In The Garden

Garden Pest Repellent: Sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, snails and slugs. They will move on or stay away. To tackle huge ant mounds, pour an entire pot of brewed coffee right on the mound. Put grounds around the base of your house and you won’t have ants getting inside.

Boost carrot harvest. To increase your carrot harvest, mix the seeds with fresh-ground coffee before sowing. Not only does the extra bulk make the tiny seeds easier to sow, but the coffee aroma may repel root maggots and other pests. As an added bonus, the grounds will help add nutrients to the soil as they decompose around the plants. You might also like to add a few radish seeds to the mix before sowing. The radishes will be up in a few days to mark the rows, and when you cultivate the radishes, you will be thinning the carrot seedlings and cultivating the soil at the same time.

Grow mushrooms: Used coffee grounds are an ideal medium to grow many kinds of mushrooms, including oyster mushrooms. (You can actually purchase mushroom-growing kits which includes reclaimed coffee grounds, mushroom roots and a mini spray bottle! The kit can produce up to 1.5 pounds of oyster mushrooms within 10 days.)

Add Acidity to soil: If you have plants that like high acidity add some coffee grounds to the soil. Coffee grounds will add acidity and nitrogen to the soil and your plants will thrive. Roses and azaleas especially enjoy an occasional dose of coffee grounds. Replace the grounds after heavy rains.

Plant food: Plants such as rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreen and camellias that prefer acidic soils will appreciate the leftovers from your morning cup. Also, grounds can add nutrients to your compost bin.

Make rich compost: Coffee grounds are rich in phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and copper, they release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade and they’re a little bit acidic, which is great for certain soils. Just throw them into your compost bin, filter and all.

Plant fertiliser: Mix with soil as a natural fertiliser for plants. Coffee Grounds are chock-full of nutrients that your acidic-loving plants crave. Save them to fertilise rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and camellias.

Keep worms alive. A cup of used coffee grounds will keep your bait worms alive and wiggling all day long. Just mix the grounds into the soil in your bait box before you dump in the worms. They like coffee almost as much as we do, and the nutrients in the grounds will help them live longer.

Mulch: Coffee grounds make great mulch for your garden. Just cover the soil with coffee grounds and the moisture will stay in the soil and the weeds won’t sprout.

Start vermicomposting Red wriggler worms, the sort used in vermicomposting systems, love coffee almost as much as we do. It’s not really clear why, but if you want a thriving community of worms to devour all of your kitchen waste (and those nasty little things really are amazingly efficient), be sure to add used coffee grounds to their bedding on a regular basis.


Cleaning: Use coffee grounds as a safe and natural abrasive for scrubbing any surface. You can clean greasy pans by scrubbing them with some wet coffee grounds and a cloth. Great on any stain-resistant surfaces like bench tops, stoves, pots, pans and refrigerators. Use them alone or mix them with a little dish soap. Finish with a thorough rinsing. The grounds will get rid of any greasy odour too.

Wood Furniture and Floors: Scratch cover-up: Steep grounds and apply a bit of the liquid to furniture scratches with a Cotton Bud. Repeat if necessary until the scratch matches the surrounding wood.

Reduce fireplace mess: Before you clean out the fireplace, wait until the embers are cool, toss wet coffee grounds over the ashes, let them sit for about 15 minutes and then scoop out the whole lot. The coffee grounds cling to the ashes and keep dust to a minimum.


Auto air freshener / Deodoriser: Fill an old pair of pantyhose with dried coffee grounds tie up with string, hang in your wardrobe or fridge to repel odours. Or just in a bowl your fridge or freezer. Even in gym shoes!

For a flavoured-coffee scent, add a couple of drops of vanilla to the grounds.

Erase Garlic and other smells on your hands: Rub a handful of used coffee grounds on your hands and rinsing with warm water.


Face pack: Mix 1/4 cup grounds with one egg white and massage onto face like a mud pack.

Get shiny hair: Mix Used Coffee grounds with water and apply to your dry, clean hair. Leave it on for at least twenty minutes, then rinse. Repeat weekly for best results.

Art and Craft

Dye fabric and paper. Put used coffee grounds into a bin of warm water. Add as many coffee grounds as you like for your preferred shade of brown. Soak your fabric in the water until it has absorbed the dye to your desired shade. Wash the fabric by itself in cold water. The results won’t be colour-fast, and may bleed out onto other items, so it’s best to use this on items that won’t be washed very often if at all.

Make fun play dough: Just mix a couple of cups of dried coffee grounds with a half a cup of salt and 1 to 2 cups of corn meal. Add in enough warm water to get the dough to the consistency you like. Kids will like the different texture and they can model it just like clay.


Rid your pets of fleas: Shampoo your dog or cat as usual and when they are wet rub their fur down thoroughly with coffee grounds. Massage the coffee grounds all the way to their skin and work them in. Rinse the coffee grounds away and your pet’s fur will be soft and clean and the fleas will disappear.

Keep cats out of the garden: Sprinkle used coffee grounds on the soil or spread a pungent mixture of orange peels and used coffee grounds around your plants. Either way is as great fertiliser too.


Secret recipe ingredient: Just a little hint of coffee can be the ingredient that becomes your undisclosed “magic touch” in foods like chilli, ice cream and chocolate cake. Use a little bit as a marinade it’ll provide a hint of deep, smoky flavour.