Earth Tip #1: 10 Uses for Leftover Coffee Grounds

Earth Tip #1: 10 Uses for Leftover Coffee Grounds

5th Apr 2016

Whether flat white, skinny latte or straight black, a cup of coffee is the morning drink of choice for millions needing a power-up at the start of the day. Researchers have now found that the huge amounts of leftover coffee grounds, which usually go into waste bins, could be used to to make a positive environmental impact.

What can you do with your leftover coffee grounds each morning? Using leftover coffee grounds effectively has much to do with how you brew your daily coffee and for minimal waste, a French press is your best bet, as you're only left with the coffee grounds and nothing else.

So what do you do if you have opted for a brew method that leaves you with just grounds, or grounds and a filter? There are a variety of uses for leftover coffee grounds, but here are ten of our favorite ideas on how to put them to good use right within your own home!

1. Compost, Of Course!

The great thing about sticking to simple brew methods like a French press or a coffee-maker that uses only a paper filter and coffee grounds is that everything is compostable. Used coffee grounds happen to be extremely rich in nitrogen, which makes them great for composting! (Worms love coffee almost as much as you do!) In a compost pile, aim for a ratio of one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds. Keep in mind that freshly brewed coffee grounds won't have the same effect on your garden; you need to be sure that they have broken down and composted first.

For an excellent tutorial on creating compost with coffee grounds, visit:

2. Coffee Scented Body Scrubs

Coffee is one of nature’s antioxidant bonanzas! Coffee's complex flavors spring from small amounts of several dozens of organic acids that are powerful antioxidants, properties of which have changed the medical perception of coffee from a health threat to a health drink.

Spent coffee grounds retain some of those acids plus are gently abrasive and mildly acidy; those qualities make them a great exfoliant. Instead of paying big money for expensive creams, mix the grounds into cold cream or skin conditioner and give your skin a treatment that tightens, tones and exfoliates in one step. The same chemistry also makes spent grounds a great hair conditioner!

For a great coffee scrub recipe, please visit:

3. Coffee Ground Pest Control

As much as you may love your Italian roast, critters and pests do not! Try using recycled coffee grounds in your home to keep unwanted bugs away. Alternately, you can always utilize recycled coffee grounds in the garden to keep slugs and snails off of plants.

Coffee grounds are great for pest control. Ants especially don’t like them – both grounds and the acids damage their exoskeletons. Use spent grounds to keep ants out of the house by laying down a 2 inch wide line around the foundation and entrances. It also works for many kinds of worms, snails, slugs and other insects.

Put the same kind of line around plants, or mix grounds with hot water, and pour over anthills. This also happens to get rid of fleas, too – though your dog or cat might be offended if you pour coffee all over him! (See #8)

4. Coffee Food Flavoring

In the kitchen, use coffee grounds as a dry rub or add to your usual barbecue mix, to create tasty smoked flavor in foods. Used coffee grounds work just as well as fresh grounds in food recipes. You can also add a small amount of grounds to chocolate baked goods for some added flavor.

Test out the Café Milagro Espresso BBQ Sauce with our signature recipe.

5. Coffee Air Freshener

Coffee grounds have been used for over a century to mask food odors in homes and stores. If you have smells in your kitchen, living room, even in the refrigerator or freezer, put out some fresh or even dried coffee grounds to make your home smell much nicer.

To learn how to make your own coffee ground air freshener, visit:

6. Unclog Drains with Coffee

If your pipes are draining slowly, just pour some used coffee grounds down there, followed by some dish soap and a pot of boiling water. You can also try making these useful pods to easily clean out your garbage disposal. Be careful though, throwing coffee down your pipes too often will create build up and cause it to clog.

Simply pour used coffee grounds down the sink or bathtub drain, followed by 3 drops of dish soap and a pot of boiling water. This will clean and clear the drain of clogs and built up grease. The gritty texture of the grounds and the strong scent helps unclog and deodorize your kitchen sink.

7. Wood Stain

Most store-bought wood stains contain harsh chemicals and produce terrible fumes, causing hazards for both the environment and the health of those using them. But coffee - while it does have some limitations in terms of coloration - is an incredibly effective, safe, organic, and ecologically responsible alternative.

Even the tiniest amounts of chemical residue can have health and ecological repercussions, and it is important we strive to limit the footprint created by the large-scale manufacture and distribution of products that can easily be replaced with common household items.

Learn how to make coffee ground wood stain here:

8. Natural Flea Repellant for Dogs

If you had coffee this morning (espresso, cappuccino, latte, American or any other kind), then you have what you need in order to relieve your dog of his itchy woes.

That’s right, your morning wake-up ritual has a dual purpose! Well, actually, the coffee grounds get rid of the fleas, which is okay, because that means you don’t have to give up a single drop of your coffee!

For a great step-by-step tutorial, visit:

9. Melt Ice with Coffee Grounds

We sure don't have the problem in Costa Rica, but a good many of our Café Milagro lover live in colder climates and proclaim that coffee grounds make great gravel to help keep roads and sidewalks from being slippery, and the acid helps melt the ice quicker.

Dry out your grounds and store them for winter. They are an amazing way to melt icy driveways. Simply sprinkle as you would salt, and watch it go. Instead of chemically melting the snow, they will absorb the sunlight, even on cloudy days, and melt the snow and ice. Plus, it won’t leave the edges of your driveway barren of plant life in the spring.

10. Garlic Hands Coffee Cleanser

After chopping fresh garlic, rub your hands with used coffee grounds to get the garlicky smell off your fingers. Make a dip bowl and keep it by your sink to rid your hands of odors after chopping onions or garlic. Add coffee grounds to a small bowl and mix in a small amount of liquid soap. After chopping onions or garlic, scoop out a small amount of the mixture and rub it into your hands. Rinse well.