10 Ways to Reuse Old Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds

Each week I throw at least a half-pound of coffee grounds into the garbage bin. Of course those grinds have taken a turn through my pot, but still, at $10 a pound (and that’s on the cheap end) it seems like a waste. So I went in search of ways to re-purpose my coffee grounds and was amazed. Those little grounds are said to do a lot!

From beauty regimes to cleaning products to a steak rub, I tried out a few of these thrifty coffee ground solutions and am sharing which are keepers … and which ones you probably want to skip.

1. In the Fridge

Place a small bowl of coffee grounds in the back of the refrigerator to absorb odors.

Winner! A couple of chopped onions had left my fridge sticking to high heaven. In went the coffee grounds; out went the odor in no time flat.

2. At the Kitchen Sink

Keep your stainless steel pans spotless with this natural pan scrub.

Loser. Maybe a coarse grind would work, but mine sure didn’t. Caution: don’t try this on ceramic or anything that could stain.

3. For Your Personal Hygiene

Can’t get that garlic or fish smell off of your hands? Rub them with coffee grounds.

Winner! Worked better than salt. You can use the grounds to deodorize your cutting board also.

4. In the Shower

Make a body scrub with leftover coffee grounds to exfoliate dry skin. Mix coffee grounds with a natural base oil such as coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter; use as much or as little as you like to create a grainy consistency that works well for your skin.

Winner! I absolutely loved this, and it’s so economical, too. I didn’t mess with the base oil and instead mixed a little right in with my liquid body wash.

As Part of Your Beauty Routine

Once a week, mix coffee grounds with your conditioner to remove styling product build-up and make hair super shiny. Caution: Coffee grounds can stain; light blonds may want to avoid this.

Loser! Ugh, what a mess, I thought I’d never get those little crunchies out of my hair.

Under Your Eyes

Give under eye bags and dark circles a wake up call with this coffee ground eye mask.

Winner! It’s temporary and a little messy, but OMG did it work. Caffeine restricts the blood vessels and draws excess moisture from the skin; after 10 minutes the puffiness was gone and my eyes looked brighter.

On Your Steak

Add some zip to your KC Strip with this coffee ground and peppercorn steak rub.

Winner! Even my coffee-hating husband loved this peppery rub. It was easy to make and not at all bitter. You can also make a marinade with leftover brew; works with chicken, too.

In the Garden

Minimize personal waste and compost your coffee grounds.

Winner! This oldie, but goodie makes cheap fertilizer. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, an important nutrient for your garden. Plus, worms love them and we love worms (in the garden at least).

In Your Snacks

Make coffee ground no bake energy bites.

Winner! Ok, I cheated. This recipe uses fresh coffee, not grounds, but hey, they were so dang tasty and easy to make I had to include it in the list.

On the Sidewalk

Keep icy walks slip free with coffee grounds.

Winner! The acid in coffee helps to melt the ice and the grounds won’t damage your concrete.

One last note: Before you start re-purposing for most of these ideas (aside from the composter), the coffee grounds need to be dried; spread them out on a cookie sheet and let them dry naturally (24 to 48 hours) or toss them in a 350 degree for ten minutes. Store in a sealed container.

Don’t be left out if you are not a coffee drinker. Many commercial coffee houses, like Starbucks, re-purpose their grounds. Just ask your local barista if you can have a bag. They’re free! —Karen

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