10 New Uses for Coffee!

Uses for coffee grounds and leftover coffee

February 14, 2020
Coffee Cup

I’ll admit to a lifelong coffee addiction. Fortunately, coffee grounds and leftover coffee has so many household uses—and may offer health and beauty benefits, too! From pest control to garden fertilizer to a natural cleaning scrub and exfoliator, discover all the creative uses for coffee!

I love my coffee strong and black. The beans come from our local food co-op—fair-trade, organic French Roast—and we grind it fresh for every pot. That leaves a lot of coffee ground.

Sometimes I feel coffee contradicts many of my values. I stay far away from other addictive substances. I certainly don’t grow it myself and my consumption doesn’t support local agriculture.

And yet, drinking lots of coffee—as much as 3 to 5 or more cups per day—has been associated with numerous health benefits: a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke; less depression, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; Parkinson’s disease, some forms of breast cancer, and liver cancer.

But [sigh], it’s important to note that the medical research supporting these health benefits consists largely of “observational” studies, which can’t declare a definite cause-and-effect relationship between coffee drinking and lowered risk of these chronic diseases.

So, from a health perspective, good science says the jury’s still out on coffee drinking. But strong coffee and the spent grounds have a lot of other uses. 


10 New Uses for Coffee

  1. Cook with leftover coffee. You can use some of that leftover morning coffee to add depth and complexity to almost any marinade, gravy, sauce, frosting, or as part of the liquid in a soup, stew, fruit smoothie, or dessert.
  2. Use coffee in the garden.
    Coffee grounds are most valuable as a nitrogen-rich kick-starter for the compost pile. Add to your compost pile; once your compost has decomposed, add to your soil to help plants grow!
  3. Exfoliate and tone skin with coffee.  Give yourself a full body exfoliation! Simply rub a handful of spent coffee grounds over your body or your face. Add a bit of olive oil to the grounds for a smoother finish. You can also add a handful of coffee grounds to improve the results from a facial scrub or hair conditioner.
  4. Give hair shine. For an instant shine, rub coffee grounds through damp hair after shampooing, or add a few grounds to your hair conditioner, then rinse. The coffee grounds will darken light hair.
  5. Darken hair or cover gray temporarily. Dip freshly washed hair into a bowl of strong, dark coffee; squeeze out, use a cup to pour coffee through hair repeatedly. Pin it up under a large plastic bag for half an hour. Then rinse hair and dry as usual. For a more dramatic coloring, make a thick paste of instant coffee or finely ground beans with hot water and apply the paste to sections of hair. Pin up under a large plastic bag for half an hour, then rinse.
  6. Give fabrics an antique look. “Age” white or off-white natural fabrics. The longer you leave the article in the dye bath, the deeper the shade will be, but coffee always gives a soft, tan shade, never a deep brown.
  7. Control wood-ash dust. Sprinkle the morning’s coffee grounds on ashes before scraping them from your stove or when you prepare to empty the ash pan.
  8. Deodorize closets, car interiors, fridge, and microwave. To remove stale or musty odors fill an empty butter tub with coffee grounds, punch holes in the cover and set the tub in your closet, car, or fridge. Alternatively, tie up a cup of spent or fresh coffee grounds in a pantyhose leg and hang on a hook in a closet or pantry.
  9. Hide scratches in dark wooden furniture. Use a Q-Tip dipped in strong black coffee to swab small scratches in dark-stained wood. For larger areas, make a paste of finely-ground fresh beans or instant coffee and a little hot brewed coffee, brush paste over area, let dry, brush off excess.
  10. Remove stubborn stains. Use a wet coffee filter and a few spent grounds to scrub the stains from ceramic coffee or tea cups. Sometimes a few coffee grounds and a stiff scrub brush will clean up burned-on food or grease from pots and pans.

So now that you know about creative uses for coffee. How about tea? Learn more about the benefits and other uses for tea and tea bags.


About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.