Best Uses For Used Coffee Grounds

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What are coffee grounds good for? The benefits of coffee aren’t just limited to a higher level of focus, attention and energy. Even after you have made your coffee, don’t just toss the grounds out in to the garbage. They can still be recycled and used for other things.

The Following is a list of the top 10 kitchen and garden uses for your left over coffee grounds that you can easily do at home!

Top Uses For Used Coffee Grounds​

1) Meat Tenderizer

Fresh coffee grounds can be used as a natural meat tenderizer. The acidic nature of coffee is perfect for breaking down tough cuts of meat.

  • Simply place a piece of meat in a seal-able plastic bag and mix with fresh coffee grounds that have been moistened with water.
  • Place the entire thing in a bowl just in case the plastic bag leaks or breaks open.
  • Let it rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  • When you remove the piece of meat, you can wash it off to remove the excess coffee or leave it on to enhance the cooking flavor.

We don’t recommend using coffee grounds on fish or seafood for two reasons.

  1. The coffee flavor can be overpowering and ruin the natural taste.
  2. They are very delicate in the first place, so they don’t need to be tenderized.​

2) Cleaning With Coffee

coffee soap recipe

Another interesting property of coffee grounds is that it can remove and absorb odors. Check out PopSugars coffee soap recipe.

To remove odors from your hands, such as onion or garlic, simply wash your hands with coffee grounds before you use your regular soap. Dry the coffee grounds prior to using to add a more abrasive scrub.​

To use it as an effective refrigerator deodorizer, place a cup or small bowl filled with used grounds that have been dried in the back of your fridge or freezer.

Change it on a weekly basis and put those extremely used grounds in your compost or garden.

3) Alternative Abrasive Cleaner​

Another unique property of coffee grounds is that it is also categorized as an abrasive, or in other words, a substance that can be used to polish or clean a hard surface via grinding or rubbing.

Try using the used grounds to remove tough spots to clean your kitchen sink, counter tops and dishes. You may want to soak heavily soiled pots and pans with coffee grounds with a little bit of water before using a lot of elbow grease.

SEE ALSO: How To Clean Baking Sheets​

Note: Coffee will stain some surfaces. It’s important to check if the surface you want to clean is stain resistant or not.​

4) Use In Recipes

coffee recipe

There are many recipes that use coffee to enhance the flavor. Everything from ice cream to cakes and brownies can be accented with a bit of coffee flavor.

While the coffee flavor won’t be as intense as using straight brewed, it can definitely take a plain recipe and kick it up a notch. Besides, not everyone likes the bold taste of coffee.

Try soaking the used coffee grounds in hot water and using the remaining juice to add to your favorite recipe. To separate the grounds from the juice, filter through some cheese cloth or a coffee filter.

We recommend using cheese cloth because you can really squeeze the grounds thoroughly and get the remaining coffee flavor out. If the resulting juice is too weak, try boiling off some of the water to concentrate the flavor.​

5) Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer

The best way to use used coffee grounds for carrots and radishes is when they are first planted. The nutrients that the grounds contain will help the seeds sprout and flourish faster and healthier. It’s like giving them steroids, but in a natural and friendly way.

When the coffee grounds break down they release nitrogen. So they act as a time released source of nitrogen for the growing plants. Potassium and Magnesium are immediately ready for the plants consumption. And there is a small amount of phosphorus and other nutrients available.

The pH of used coffee grounds is on the acidic side which many vegetables thrive in.

If you currently use a store bought fertilizer you will notice 3 sets of numbers on the bag. These numbers are represented as N-P-P (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) to learn more about these numbers check out Understanding Fertilizer Numbers.​

6) Attract & Grow Worms For The Garden

Earth worms are very good for all gardens. When the worms are present they help aerate the soil and their castings (aka poop) is a very good fertilizer.

It just so happens that worms love to eat used coffee grounds. Therefore, by having used coffee grounds in the garden, you will attract more worms to live and thrive. Add a little manure to your soil and they will be in heaven.​

7) Compost Coffee Grounds For Plants

coffee grounds compost

Used coffee grounds can help make your compost better and keep the landfills that much smaller.

Is your compost pile more of a sight for sore eyes than a great source of nutrition for your garden? Don’t forget to turn your compost pile to keep it processing and then deposit that rich earth with coffee grounds in the garden.

See more on Why Coffee Is Good For Compost.​

8) Grow Oyster Mushrooms

See the rest of the series here.

While there is a bit of an art to growing mushrooms, coffee grounds can be used in the substrate for growing them.

Oyster mushrooms are very easy to grow, but many types will also thrive being grown in used coffee grounds. They also start growing their own type of coffee mold which can combat other harmful mushroom molds.

9) Get Rid Of Pests


Ants dislike coffee and will avoid traveling over it or near it. You can use that knowledge to help curb them from getting to your humming bird feeder, sidewalks, gardens, or even coming in to the house.

SEE ALSO: How To Get Rid Of Ants​


You can create an effective roach trap by:​

  • Place used coffee grounds in an open top glass jar.
  • Add enough water to be about 2 inches deep from the bottom and mix the water and coffee grounds.
  • Stick a strip of tape up the side of the jar so that a cockroach can climb up it and fall in to the jar.
  • Leave the jar overnight where you think they congregate the most (behind a major appliance, in the bathroom, etc…). Cockroaches can’t resist the smell of used coffee grounds. They will climb into the jar and drown in the water.
  • Dispose of the dead roaches in morning and repeat for as long as possible. Usually if there is one cockroach, there are many!

SEE ALSO: How To Get Rid Of Roaches

Snails and Slugs

The acidity of the coffee grounds damages and irritates their sensitive mucus layers. If it doesn’t kill them, it will definitely deter them from sticking around. You could even try mixing the grounds with water and spraying your garden to help deter them.

Mealy Bugs & Aphids

They start their life near the roots of plants where nutrients are absorbed by the plants. Coffee grounds to the rescue with its acidic and unpalatable properties.

Place a good ring of used grounds around the base of the plant and water as you normally would.

This should deter the bugs from growing and propagating themselves under the soil.​ Spraying the entire area with a coffee based water mixture will also deter them from living there.

If you have a pH sensitive plant you should not spray coffee or coffee grounds on or near them.

10) Coffee Grounds In Soil

coffee grounds for roses

Most plants in the rose family enjoy a slightly acidic soil. This includes strawberry, raspberry, cherry, peach and almond trees.

Your roses will bloom bigger, faster, and better thanks to used coffee grounds. The nitrogen released will help your flowers convert sunlight in to energy much better than normal over it’s growing period.​

Don’t Drink Coffee? No problem!

You can request used coffee grounds from your local coffee shop. Best part is that they are free! Most are more than happy to set some aside instead of tossing them in the trash.

Safety Warnings:

  • We don’t recommend using these grounds for baking as you never know how long they’ve been sitting or what they’ve come in contact with.
  • Coffee is not good for pets if ingested. In fact, it’s toxic to most pets. Spreading them in pet prone areas is not recommended.
  • Coffee grounds will clog your sink, shower, toilet, and garbage disposal.

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