The Many Uses of Ground Coffee

People can use coffee grounds for many different things, from garden fertilizers and skin scrubs to cleaning products and flea repellants.

Coffee grounds are left after a person brews coffee. These are generally considered a throwaway product, but they can be helpful.

A person can get coffee grounds from home coffee making, or from coffee shops that give them away.

In this article you will find more uses for coffee grounds.

Uses of coffee beans

Coffee is a drink made from roasted coffee beans. Coffee beans grow in around 80 countries in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, and people around the world consume the drink.

According to the International Coffee Organization, people consumed more than 166,000 bags of coffee (weighing 60 kilograms each) worldwide in 2020-2021. The United States represented more than 30,000 of these bags.

Coffee grounds can be helpful in a number of ways. In the following sections we analyze some of them.

Skin exfoliation product

People can mix coffee grounds with water, honey, or coconut oil to create a skin scrub that they can use all over the body.

Exfoliation removes dead cells from the top layer of the skin, and it can unclog pores, cleanse the skin, and reduce acne . It can also make skin look brighter and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

A 2013 study suggests that caffeic acid, an antioxidant found in coffee, can reduce premature aging of cells and increase collagen levels.

Natural dye

Coffee has a strong color, and coffee grounds can dye natural fabrics to different shades of tan and brown.

A 2019 study found that coffee grounds are a potential natural dye for use on a commercial scale, as the fabrics the researchers dyed in the study were colorfast, consistent with industry standards.

People can also use coffee grounds to color their hair, although it cannot produce a significant color change or last for a long time. That said, they can be helpful for a short-term color change.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), research has not been able to confirm whether commercial hair dyes cause cancer or not. However, some chemicals in some hair dyes can have the potential to cause cancer.


Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur to grow. Coffee grounds can conserve the nitrogen content of the soil, which can benefit plant growth.

A 2019 study found that mixing coffee grounds in the ground improved the nutritional value of lettuce.

However, a 2016 study found that coffee grounds slowed plant growth, but kept moisture in the soil and reduced weeds. This study also suggested that more research is needed to confirm the benefits of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer.

Insect repellent

Coffee contains diterpenes, which are toxic to insects. This can make coffee grounds a suitable insect repellent for use in the garden.

A 2018 study concluded that while coffee grounds were not toxic to ants, it was an effective repellent against them.

Coffee can also be an effective mosquito control method, as a 2015 study found that mosquitoes were less likely to hatch if coffee was present in their environment.

Flea repellent

Fleas don’t like coffee grounds either. Because of this, you could try rubbing coffee grounds into your pet’s fur if he has fleas.

However, before doing so, you should check with your vet to make sure this flea prevention method is suitable for your pet.

Caffeine is toxic to cats and dogs, so it is necessary that you do not let your pet eat coffee grounds. Caffeine poisoning can cause symptoms in about 30 minutes, and it can be life-threatening for your pet.

Cleaning product

Coffee grounds are a coarse powder. This means that they are abrasive and can be used to scrub surfaces, utensils, or appliances that have sticky or hard-to-remove dirt.

That said, coffee grounds can be too harsh to use on delicate surfaces or utensils.

Odor remover

The caffeine in charred coffee grounds can eliminate odors by absorbing hydrogen sulfide molecules from the air.

As a result, people can turn coffee grounds into soaps to neutralize odors on their hands after cooking, for example, or to minimize the smell of shoes.

Meat tenderizer

Meat tenderizers use enzymes that break down the fibers in meat to make it softer and easier to eat. Meat tenderizer powders use acids and enzymes from fruits like pineapple and papaya.

Coffee grounds are acidic, and contain enzymes that can also break down fibers in meat, so you could try using them to tenderize meat before cooking.

You could also marinate the meat in coffee, or use coffee grounds to rub the meat and add flavor.

Furniture restoration product

You could also take advantage of the strong color of the coffee to restore scratched wooden furniture.

Using a mixture of coffee grounds and water, you can rub the resulting paste into cracks in wooden furniture to match the original color.

Are there any risks?

According to the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, the diterpenes in coffee beans, such as cafestol and kahweol, can raise a person’s cholesterol.

However, the amount of diterpenes in coffee will depend on how it is prepared. Filtered coffee does not contain as many diterpenes as unfiltered coffee, for example coffee made in a French press.

Drinking excessive amounts of coffee can cause or worsen:

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • fast heartbeat
  • sickness
  • headache
  • Stomach problems

Additionally, a 2018 study found that consuming three or more cups of coffee a day significantly increased the risk of heart attack in men.