CocoaJava,  Living Simply

Things To Do With Your Old Coffee Grounds

If you love coffee, most likely you are generating used coffee grounds, and lots of them. Are you tossing them in the trash? Don’t! There’s plenty of uses for them! Read on.

Skin and Hair Care

Used grounds make a good skin facial pack – sort of like a mud pack.

They can be used carefully for skin dermabrasion.

Fans of homemade tattoos sometimes mix coffee and henna to create a dye for permanent tattoos. (Henna and coffee can also be used safely to create temporary tattoos, a method we at CocoaJava feel more comfortable recommending).

Pest Control

Build a ring of coffee grounds around the areas you would like to protect from ants. It’s said they will not cross the ring.

Or, ring the actual anthills with grounds and see if they abandon them and move on.

Earl Proulx’s “Yankee Home Hints” recommends sprinkling coffee grounds around your garden to eliminate cutworms and ants. He also says that “to get rid of ants in the lawn, mix about 1 pound of coffee grounds in 1 quart of hot water and pour this on anthills. Red ants, which make big hills, will require a big dousing.”

Indoor Plants

Use grounds to ‘top off’ the soil in houseplant pots, or mix it with potting soil before planting. Most plants love coffee, and will appreciate the last of your cup of coffee as well (no cream or sugar, though!)

Outdoor Gardens

Dump them on the ground in your garden and flower beds, and let them help enrich the soil.

Want to start a worm farm? Mix horse manure and coffee grounds for your ‘soil’, just like the professionals.

Crafts and Hobbies

Children can make ‘fossils’ from coffee grounds.

Steep coffee grounds in water to make a ‘bath’ for sheets of paper. Dip them, then lay them out to dry to make imitation parchment, or to cut up for collages and other crafts.

Steep coffee grounds in water and dip Easter eggs in it for a different look.


Steep grounds in hot water to make a brown dye for linens. Warning – wash coffee-dyed clothing separately – it can stain other items. Make sure you make enough to dye a full garment – you may need a lot.

Tie-dye a shirt – Rub petroleum jelly on the areas you don’t want dyed. Dip in coffee bath, let dry, then wash gently until the color has set. Wash again and line dry.

Home Care

Use steeped grounds and a cotton swab to touch up furniture scratches.

Flush them down your drains and let the abrasive action clean your pipes. (Not recommend for septic systems.)

Spread them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and dry them thoroughly. Fill old nylons with the dry grounds, and tie off the ends. Hang in closets to absorb odors. Works in the refrigerator as well.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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