7 Clever Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

by | Updated: April 20th, 2021 | Read time: 4 minutes

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly-brewed coffee in the morning (or afternoon, or evening – really any time of the day!). Curiously enough, even people who don’t enjoy the taste of coffee often still like the smell of it. This is probably due to the chemical makeup of coffee beans, as they contain many olfactory-pleasing scents (such as spicy, fruity, malty, floral notes and more).

So, even if you dislike the product (coffee itself) you may enjoy the byproduct (i.e., the smell). But it might interest you to know that coffee has even more beneficial byproducts to enjoy, and they’re hiding in used coffee grounds!

Overhead View of Coffee Pot with Filter to Demonstrate Uses for Used Coffee Grounds | Vitacost.com/blog

The joy of repurposing your caffeine cravings

It’s estimated that Americans drink a whopping 400 million cups of coffee per day – wow! Just think about the massive amount of coffee grounds being tossed into the trash every day, without a second thought.

But, even though the grounds are used, they aren’t used up! There’s still plenty left in them to enhance your ‘DIY-life.’

We’ll leave it to the coffee shops to decide what they want to do with their spent grounds, but for those of us at home – it’s the perfect opportunity to repurpose old coffee grounds around the house in a host of new ways.

Plus, by building an extra step into your coffee ritual, you’re becoming a little bit more green – which is always something to celebrate!

7 creative ways to reuse used coffee grounds at home

1. Neutralize offensive odors

As wonderful as a fresh cup of coffee smells, coffee grounds continue to pay it forward, even after they’re spent. Because coffee grounds contain nitrogen, an odor-absorbing chemical that reacts with carbon in the air to neutralize foul smells, they are a great natural deodorizer.


Using those spent, dried-out coffee grounds, you can eliminate odors from:

  • The refrigerator (place them in a bowl and stash in your fridge)
  • The garbage disposal
  • Your hands (after chopping garlic and onions)
  • Your sneakers, gym bag, sock drawers – even the family vehicle (just pack some grounds inside tied up old socks or pantyhose)

2. Natural cleaning scrub

Skip chemical cleaners and try a handful of used coffee grounds to remove gunk from pots and pans. Since coffee grounds are naturally abrasive, they make an excellent scrubbing solution for hard-to-clean surfaces. And, because they also carry antiviral and antibacterial properties, coffee grounds also pack a sanitizing punch!


Use old coffee grounds to scrub surfaces like:

  • Sinks
  • Grills
  • Cookware such as pots and pans

*Avoid using coffee grounds on porous surfaces as they can cause staining.

3. Supercharge soil and repel pests

Not only can the nitrogen in used coffee grounds help boost fruit and veggie growth, but because of coffee’s high acidity, it acts as a great natural bug repellent – especially against fruit flies, beetles, mosquitos, slugs and even fleas.


Sprinkle spent coffee grounds onto the soil around your plants to boost growth and protect them from pests. And, if your pet is willing, you can give them a coffee bean scrub-down to help repel fleas!

4. Treat dark undereye circles

Did you know that coffee grounds still contain plenty of caffeine, even after they’re spent? That caffeine, along with the high concentration of antioxidants in coffee grounds, helps to stimulate blood circulation to reduce puffiness and brighten the skin beneath the eyes.


Mix together coconut oil and coffee grounds to form a paste. Apply gently beneath your eyes and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Gently rinse and pat skin dry. You can repeat this process daily.

5. Natural skin exfoliant

The abrasive texture of used coffee beans works wonders as a natural skin exfoliant, while the leftover caffeine and antioxidants help to stimulate blood flow wherever you’re scrubbing. This, along with the lovely temporary coffee scent that will linger on your skin, will make every bath feel like a spa-ahhh worthy experience!


Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla for a dual-acting exfoliation/hydration treatment. Scrub mixture over your body and rinse thoroughly. You can repeat this treatment one to two times a week.

*Use a drain catch to avoid clogging your pipes with coffee grounds.

6. Stimulate hair growth (and strip away buildup)

With daily use of hair products, along with sebum and dead skin cell buildup, hair can benefit from a good deep cleaning every now and then. Used coffee grounds’ chunky texture helps to physically strip away buildup, giving your hair room to ‘grow healthier,’ while the caffeine can help to stimulate hair growth.


Store used coffee grounds in a jar in the bathroom. Once per week, massage a handful into your scalp to help rejuvenate your hair – plus, scalp massages always feel heavenly.

*Use a drain catch to avoid clogging your pipes with coffee grounds.

7. Reduce the appearance of cellulite

Caffeine is often used in topical skin products as it stimulates blood flow and can penetrate the skin barrier. And, because it helps to prevent excessive accumulation of fat in cells, it’s showing promise as an anti-cellulite compound and believed to help decrease the appearance of cellulite.


Combine used coffee grounds with coconut oil and scrub cellulite areas one to two times per week during your bath or shower.

*Use a drain catch to avoid clogging your pipes with coffee grounds.