What to do with Leftover Coffee Grounds

Written by Alex Nguyen

If you grind your own beans at home and aren’t sure what to do with your leftovers, we have some suggestions! Leftover coffee grounds have a plethora of uses despite their ostensibly obsolete nature. While you can search and find a myriad of ways to use them, we’ve summarized a few of our favorite ways to use and reuse leftover coffee grounds. Here’s to being more sustainable and crafty! 

Compost and fertilizer:

Why throw your grounds in the trash when you could actually do something with your grounds? Coffee contains antioxidants and elements that benefit plant growth such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and more. Like egg shells, you can just put coffee grounds onto the soil surrounding your plants in your home gardens– we reckon this is even easier as the grounds are already evenly minute in size. If you don’t want to use them as fertilizer, coffee grounds are compostable and completely biodegradable.

Air freshener and odor neutralizer:

Everyone loves the smell of coffee. You can make your house smell like a lovely coffee shop without the need of an expensive candle– just put your leftover coffee grounds in a jar with open top or into any porous container that lets the smell out.

You can even place coffee grounds into a bowl in the fridge to neutralize any unwanted odors from other foods (thank nitrogen once again for staving off foul odors from sulfur and other compounds). 

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Scrubs and beauty:

Coffee grounds are abrasive, which proves beneficial for a variety of surfaces. Whether you have a counter with gunk or a pan with caked-on food, coarse coffee grounds can be used to scrub and scour away any unwanted debris. Instead of chemicals, steel wool, or coarse salt, you can use organic coffee grounds already destined for the trash. 

Better yet, you can also use coffee to exfoliate your skin and lips. Mix your grounds with some coconut oil (or oil of choice) and scrub your heels, your calluses, your lips, or any other area you desire for smooth and silky skin. We would not recommend scrubbing your face with coffee, though, as the abrasive edges of the grounds can actually cut and damage your skin.

If you’re feeling luxurious, you can use your coffee and coconut oil mixture as an under eye mask for puffiness and dark circles. Caffeine is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and to be good for stimulating blood circulation. Leave the paste under your eyes for ten minutes, rinse gently, and wake up to the day.

Don't have leftover grounds? Get started on that today.

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Learn more about caffeine and coffee here.

Read about the different coffee processing styles here.