How To: 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Throw Out Used Coffee Grounds

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Throw Out Used Coffee Grounds

Coffee beans are one of my favorite things in the entire world. They smell intoxicatingly perfect. And when ground up and steeped in hot (or cold) water, they somehow taste even better than they smell.

Yet when the filter has cooled and the coffee has been imbibed, the coffee grounds are still useful. Yep, used coffee grounds can serve numerous different purposes; I utilize them after nearly every cup of coffee (and I drink a lot of coffee). So before you throw your grounds in the compost, trash, or garbage disposal, try using them for one of these tricks.

1. Scrub Your Pots & Pans

Coffee grounds serve a dual purpose when it comes to cleaning pots and pans. Grounds attract and absorb grease and oil, making them an ideal candidate (especially when paired with a little dish soap) for removing excess grease from a pan.

Coffee grounds also have a perfect texture—strong and gritty, but not overly abrasive—for scrubbing and removing grime and leftovers from pots and pans. Just add some used grounds to a dish rag and you'll have a scouring pad that absorbs grease. What's not to like?!

2. Make Another Cup... & Bake with It

When I was in college I was broke and desperate enough that I tried to make a second cup of coffee from one serving of grounds. Needless to say, I only tried this once; it is not good. A second pour of coffee grounds produces a warm cup of water, with a slight hint of coffee. You don't want to drink this, but it's great for baking with.

I'm a big fan of substituting coffee for water in recipes, but sometimes it's not worth wasting a few tablespoons of precious beans. Brew a second cup with the same grounds and you'll get a baking treat with a subtle flavor of coffee, and you'll still have as many coffee beans as before.

3. Feed Your Plants

If there's anything on this earth that loves coffee as much as I do, it's a plant. Plants can't get enough coffee. For starters, coffee attracts worms. Whatever your personal feelings may be about worms, this much is incontrovertible: their presence means a healthy garden. Furthermore, the acidity in the grounds keeps snails and slugs away, while the odor will keep your cat from digging and pooping in the garden. And just to top it off, the grounds will alter the pH level of your soil, which can result in new colors for your flowers.

4. Clean Your Hands

You know how you have to wash your hands at least ten times to remove the stench of garlic or fish from them? Not if you use coffee grounds! After rinsing your hands, scrub them with your used grounds, and then wash your hands. The grounds exfoliate your skin and remove the dead tissue, which is where much of the stink resides.

5. Deodorize Your Fridge

My fridge and freezer always smell funny. It doesn't matter what's in my fridge, or how recently I've cleaned; there's always a slightly odd aroma. Coffee grounds can help change that. Unlike store-bought deodorizers, there are no funky artificial ingredients in coffee grounds, and they won't make your fridge smell like a bottle of Sprite. And all you have to do is put a bowl of them in in the back of your fridge, and another in your freezer.

Some people argue that raw grounds work as the best deodorizer, while others claim used grounds are best. My solution? A half-and-half mixture.

Do you have any awesome uses for used coffee grounds that we should know about?

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Photos by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks


I go to my local starbucks and get the used espresso grinds and sprinkle over my lawn front and back my grass loves it. I have greener grass and no ants or slugs

Brilliant! When I worked at a coffee shop we gave all our grounds to a local farmer.

I was told to mix your coffee grounds with your unused prescriptions instead of throwing them into the trash.

I had never thought of that, but that makes a ton of sense!

As a child, we gathered night crawlers to sell to fishermen. We sold them for 25 cents a bakers-dozen. On a good rainy night we'd get well over 600. To keep them alive, we feed them coffee grounds. Worked wonders.

put them on ant hills they will move the nest out of your way

It also makes a great face scrub, tightening the skin

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