ColumnistsEntertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Clever Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

If you drink morning coffee, then it’s likely you throw away used coffee grounds every day. If you don’t, chances are there’s a coffee shop nearby where you can get some; just stop by and see if they give them away. Here are some ideas for reusing them.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, coffee grounds are an effective way to keep insects away. The smoke from burned used coffee grounds is especially effective at sending mosquitoes away because they’re repelled by the scent, which to us is quite subtle. Keep this tip in mind when planning your next backyard barbecue.

Start with completely dry used coffee grounds. Place the grounds on a fire-safe surface and light them with a lighter around the edges. Put a few fresh basil leaves into each container (optional). Set the containers upwind to get the scent flowing.


Coffee grounds contain caffeine and diterpenes that can be quite harmful to some types of bugs, making them an excellent way to keep pests away from your plants. Sprinkle them around your yard to discourage crawling creatures.

They’re helpful for protecting your garden in other ways, too. Cats naturally seek out bare soil to use as their toilet space, making gardens their favorite outdoor litter box. This causes damage to plants, gives off a seriously unpleasant odor and is unsanitary. Because they don’t like the smell, if you regularly sprinkle used grounds in and around your garden, cats will eventually decide to find a new bathroom spot.

If you want a natural fertilizer, try spent espresso beans. They contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, along with various micronutrients. Mixing these into the soil allows them to release their nutrients slowly into the ground. It’s great for plants such as azaleas, begonia, gardenias, holly and roses.


There are lots of websites touting the benefits of homemade coffee bean scrubs, but according to, “caffeine can help diminish the appearance of cellulite, and the coconut oils will hydrate and smooth your skin to perfection.” Sounds good to me!

To make a coffee bean body scrub, thoroughly mix together 2 cups used (or fresh) beans, 1 cup white or brown rice syrup and 1 cup coconut milk. To apply, massage the mixture into dry, damp or freshly washed body parts. Rinse with warm or cool water. Your body will feel soft and moisturized.


Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and improves circulation, so it can help speed up hair growth. To get started, put 2 tablespoons ground espresso beans in a bowl and add enough hot water to cover. Let sit overnight, then strain out the beans. Add 1 tablespoon honey and mix thoroughly. Apply to clean hair and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing. Do this once per week.


According to a study in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, dried coffee grounds help remove odors from the air. Bake the wet used coffee grounds at 250 F for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before placing grounds in an open container to collect any lingering smells.


Ever suffered an ugly coffee stain on a white shirt? Bingo! Coffee grounds offer an inexpensive and all-natural way to color cotton, rayon, linen and paper. Simply rewet dry coffee grounds and use them to dye paper or fabric — or even darken brunette hair.


Make a thick paste out of spent coffee grounds and water. Apply liberally to any surface you wish to hide. Let dry completely before wiping off. The scratches will fade into oblivion. Need it darker? Reapply until you’re happy with the results.


Coffee contains natural acids and enzymes which are especially effective at tenderizing meat. Add the grounds to your favorite dry rub. Apply the rub to the meat at least 2 hours before cooking. The grounds along with the dry rub will get cooked into the meat, creating a dark, crispy crust or bark!

Another option: Rebrew the spent coffee grounds to make coffee. Allow to cool, then use it to marinate meat in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Agree/Disagree with the author(s)? Let them know in the comments below and be heard by 10’s of thousands of CDN readers each day!

Support Conservative Daily News with a small donation via Paypal or credit card that will go towards supporting the news and commentary you've come to appreciate.

Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Related Articles

Back to top button