You and coffee already know each other well; perhaps you spend each morning or more with a cup or two. Coffee is mostly used as a drink to help get you going, but did you know there is a lot more to it? Read our 25 weird ways to use coffee.
When using coffee grounds outdoors for gardening, composting and pest control, keep in mind they do not go bad. You can collect and store the coffee grounds in a large trashcan, so you’ll have them as you need them.
25 Weird Uses For Coffee and Coffee Grounds:
1. Grow mushrooms.
Why buy store bought when you can grow your own mushrooms? All you need is a bucket, a lot of coffee grounds, and Oyster mushroom spores. Check it out here: mushroom farm. It does take a lot of coffee grounds to grow them; one good source is to ask for leftovers at a coffee shop. They’ll be more than happy to supply you with them.
2. Grow blue hydrangeas.
Add coffee grounds (from any coffee brand) to the soil and it will help your hydrangeas grow a vibrant blue. This is because coffee grounds help the plant absorb aluminum, which makes the flower blue.
3. Exfoliate face.
Add coffee grounds to your favorite oil, then gently rub on your face. Keep a safe distance from your eyes. Leave on for added anti-inflammatory benefit. See the YouTube video below for more information on how to reduce inflammation under the eyes.
4. Curb headaches.
Since caffeine reduces the swelling of blood vessels, migraine sufferers are told to drink coffee to curb headaches. Not only can it reduce intensity, but it can also reduce frequency. Just make sure it is not decaf. Here’s a medical study on caffeine and migraines.
5. Keep pests out of your garden.
You may enjoy waking up to the smell of coffee, but pets (especially cats) don’t find the odor so great. Simply sprinkle some coffee grounds around where you don’t want pets to tread. If slugs and snails are your garden pests, sprinkle coffee grounds as a barrier. As the grounds dry it will create a barrier that slugs will not crawl over.
6. Reset your nose.
If you’ve smelled a bunch of scents, after a while it can be hard to distinguish anymore. Smell a bowl of coffee beans to reset your nose and begin smelling specific scents again. You’ll often notice a jar of coffee beans in department stores near the perfumes for this very reason. Try making a coffee air freshener for the car or home.
7. Meat rub and marinade.
The acidic nature of coffee pairs well with meat. Coffee is often an ingredient in meat sauces. Mix coffee grounds with cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic for a meat rub. Or, try adding coffee to a marinade. Here’s a recipe for Coffee Rubbed Ribeye. Grinding the coffee grounds to a powder will make it easier to use.
8. Clean pots and pans.
Coffee grounds are perfect as a gentle scouring element. Simply sprinkle some on stubborn spots on your pots and pans and scrub as usual. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards.
9. Speed up compost.
When making compost, don’t forget to add coffee grounds. Some people actually use coffee grounds in compost piles in place of manure. Especially with high-carbon items like leaves and straw, coffee grounds actually speed up the composting process. Coffee is a good source of nitrogen for compost and the pH of grounds is pretty close to neutral.
How to layer coffee grounds in compost: 1/3 leaves, 1/3 fresh grass clippings and 1/3 coffee grounds. That easy! For more information on check out this file from Oregon State University: Coffee Grounds and Composting.
10. Repel bugs and mosquitoes.
While you’re outside enjoying the summer evening, set out bowls of coffee grounds to keep bugs away. You can even sprinkle coffee grounds around your sitting areas to keep mosquitoes away. They will even repel your neighbor’s cat, too. Read more here: Best Natural Mosquito Repellents for Your Home.
11. Dye Easter eggs.
Why buy an egg dying kit when you can use what you already have? Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of coffee and dye eggs light to dark brown. Here’s a guide to Natural Easter Egg Dyes.
12. Deodorize your fridge.
Don’t throw those grounds away! Coffee grounds are good at sucking up smells. First, take any old food out of your fridge, then place a bowl of grounds inside. It’ll help ward off any lingering stinkiness.
13. Trap cockroaches.
Have cockroach problems? One of the best ways to get rid of them is to grab a glass jar and put some wet coffee grounds inside. Set the jar at an angle and arrange paper towels around it so the bug can get in, but because the jar is glass, it won’t be able to climb out. Here’s more information on the cockroach coffee grounds trap.
14. Homemade paint.
A coffee painting can be beautiful. Simply brew up coffee as light or dark as desired, then pull out paper and a brush and be creative. Here’s a great tutorial on coffee painting. This tutorial does a great job at teaching how to get different shades with coffee.
15. Exfoliate skin.
Make your regular lotion able to exfoliate by adding coffee grounds. It’ll help slough off dead skin and make you glow. You can also use coffee grounds to exfoliate your body. Coffee grounds are a common additive in natural soap and salt scrubs. But, if you want to save money, just keep some grounds near the shower and add to your soapsuds.
16. Antique paper.
For a fun craft project, try making new paper look aged by soaking paper in coffee. The stronger the brew and the longer it soaks will control the shade of paper. Remove the paper when it is about two shades lighter than your desired result. It will darken as it dries. You can hang the paper out to dry or bake it. Here’s a tutorial on staining paper with coffee and drying in the oven.
17. Feed the worms.
Worms love coffee grounds! Scientists think it is because they need something gritty in them in order to aid digestion. Either way, it’s a good gardening tip. Whether you already have worms or want to attract more of them, get out the coffee grounds and feed the worms.
18. Fortify plants.
This article on How to Use Recycled Coffee Grounds offers details on how using coffee on plants can help them grow better. Using compost made from coffee works wonders, as it contains nitrogen and all plants need this important nutrient, especially lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
You can also add coffee grounds to the soil for a better soil structure. Be aware that stronger coffee can be more acidic. But, when you use recycled or used coffee grounds most of the acid has left the grounds and is in the coffee. Try using additional nitrogen fertilizer with coffee grounds. Coffee grounds boost microorganisms in the soil to break down the coffee. This process will also use nitrogen in the soil, so it’s a good idea to add a little nitrogen.
19. Make play dirt.
You’ll definitely want to make this for your kids, but chances are you’ll want to play in it, too. With some coffee grounds and a few other ingredients, mix until you get the consistency of Play Dough. Then have fun! Create your own garden and add some fake worms. Check out the instructions and picture for mud coffee playdough.
20. Make your own fossils.
Use coffee grounds to make fossils! Add to cold coffee, flour, and salt. Mix well and press onto a cookie sheet. Make fossil impressions and then bake. Here’s more information: How to Make Dinosaur Fossils.
21. Make your own flea bath.
As you bathe your dog as usual, simply add coffee grounds to the dog shampoo. It will keep fleas away. You can also rub some coffee grounds into the dogs fur to repel fleas.
22. Shiny hair.
Brew up some coffee and let it cool. Use it as a rinse to make hair extra soft and silky. You can even use coffee grounds and massage into your hair and scalp. Read more about that here: coffee hair treatments.
23. Scratch cover.
You can use coffee grounds and coffee to stain deep scratches in hardwood floors and furniture. Coffee grounds work best to hide scratches on dark furniture. Use a weak coffee stain for light floors and furniture. Read more here: Use Coffee Grounds To Cover Furniture Scratches
24. Plant carrot seeds.
Carrot seeds are so small they can easily be washed out with rain and clump together. As the carrots grow, this can lead to overcrowding and crooked roots. An easy fix is to mix the seeds with dried coffee grounds, sand or fine vermiculite. The seed to coffee grounds mixture should be in equal ratios. Read more from Cornell University: growing carrots.
25. Reduce inflammation under eyes.
Check out this video. Be careful with coffee grounds near your eyes.
Still need more information about using coffee grounds in the garden?
Check out this resource: Coffee Grounds and Composting from Oregon State University