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Coffee grounds can do way more than wake you up. 

Gillie Houston
Updated April 01, 2019

In the average coffee-loving household, it’s hard to name a more ubiquitous form of waste than used coffee grounds. After all, these damp remnants of the coffee-making process are produced daily and appear to have little use beyond creating your morning cup of joe. And while it’s easy to toss these black grounds right in the garbage without a thought, your used coffee grounds actually hold far more potential beyond waking you up. These simple and unexpected tips for recycling your grounds will put your coffee to miraculous use around your home, garden, and even your body.

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Absorbing Odors

Much like a trusty carton of baking soda, a container of used coffee grounds placed in the fridge or freezer can help to absorb and neutralize any funky food fragrances lingering in your space. One container of coffee grounds can be used for this purpose for a couple of weeks before it should be replaced with a fresh batch.

Scrubbing Hard-to-Clean Pots and Pans

The naturally abrasive texture of coffee grounds make them a great tool for scrubbing away at dishes, pots, and pans that have caked on food, tarnished surfaces, and other stubborn stains. Just add some coffee grounds to a damp washcloth or sponge and get to work scrubbing. Before you know it the surface of your pans will look like new.

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Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

To help deodorize your garbage disposal, or to just give it a quick clean, pour your coffee grounds into the disposal, run some cold water, and turn the disposal on for 10 to 20 seconds. While this shouldn’t be done every day, performing this task once in a while will help keep your disposal from taking on other unpleasant scents.

Exfoliating Your Skin

Coffee grounds combined with water or a natural oil makes for an amazing skin exfoliant that will help to scrub away dead skin and leave you glowing. These simple recipes, which can be used for your body, face, and even hair, are made with affordable ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.

Fighting Acne

The inherent antioxidants in coffee can be extremely beneficial to the overall clarity and cleanliness of your skin. For a quick face mask, mix your coffee grounds with milk until it’s reached a paste-like consistency, and rub it into skin. Rinse after 20 minutes and enjoy a freshly cleaned and exfoliated feeling.

Fertilizing Your Garden or House Plants

A sprinkle of coffee grounds can make a world of difference to your garden, and will boost the potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium in the soil, resulting in happier, healthier plants. For the best result, combine the coffee grounds with some dried leaves or grass clippings, which will help decrease the grounds’ acidity, before adding it to your existing soil.

Repelling Pests

Ants, slugs, cats, and other plant-loving creatures are naturally turned off by the scent and taste of coffee grounds, and will avoid your plants if you sprinkle your used grounds in the soil surrounding your crops. This technique can also be put to use inside your home in areas where bug invasions are a problem. Sprinkle a thin layer of grounds in the area where you think ants or other insects are entering your space, and soon you’ll see a sharp decrease in the quantity of critters.

Repairing Furniture Scratches

Rather than investing in a costly, chemical-filled scratch repair solution, use your used coffee grounds to touch up any small scuffs or scratches on your furniture. Dip a q-tip into a combination of coffee grounds and a tablespoon of olive oil, and lightly rub the mixture against the scratch you’re attempting to fix. After 5 to 10 minutes, wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth, and repeat the process once more if the scratch is still visible.

De-Icing Your Walkway

When winter storms strike, coffee grounds can be used to help melt ice on snowy driveways and walkways more quickly. Simply sprinkle your used grounds over the snow or ice, which will not only speed up the thawing process, but also give you some extra grip when walking across the slippery surface.

Scrubbing Away Cellulite

While there are countless recipes on Pinterest for coffee ground scrubs that promise to decrease your cellulite, the simplest way to try out this method for yourself is to combine your leftover grounds with some warm water or natural oil and to scrub away at your problem areas. While we certainly can’t promise miracle results, at the very least you’ll be giving your skin a nice exfoliation.

Making Homemade Dye

Whether dying paper, cloth, or Easter eggs, coffee grounds can produce a unique vintage-looking dye effect when scrubbed into fabric or combined with water to create a staining bath.

Caffeinating Your Soap

That’s right, coffee grounds can even be used to make soap that will caffeinate you from the outside in. This easy-to-follow technique will produce a homemade soap that exfoliates and wakes up your skin with every wash.

Cleaning Your Pup

The next time your giving your dog a bath, finish the cleaning process by scrubbing some coffee grounds into the fur and rinsing. This will make your four-legged fried’s fur extra shiny and smooth, and kill off any fleas that might be lingering.

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