After you enjoy your morning caffeine jolt, don’t dump the grounds in the garbage because there are many beneficial uses for coffee grounds on your homestead.
Use them to save money on other products and improve your garden. Use them to clean your pots – and your body. You can even use them to feed your worms and keep away slugs.
Simply sit your grounds aside after your morning cup of joe. Then, take advantage of this list of 13 ways to use coffee grounds to repurpose them.
NOTE – You don’t have to be a coffee drinker. You can often get some for free from coffee shops since they produce large quantities daily.
1. Compost Coffee Grounds
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to use coffee grounds is to add them to your compost pile. They work similarly to green waste, such as grass cuttings or weeds. And they add much-needed nutrients.
Healthline reports, “One study found that compost made with coffee grounds and kitchen waste was richer in nutrients than compost made with waste alone. Another study compared four batches of compost containing 0, 10, 20 and 40% coffee grounds. The batch containing 40% coffee grounds produced the fewest greenhouse gas emissions and best quality compost.”
2. Aid for Soil
You can greatly improve your soil by adding coffee grounds to it. The acidity work to lower the pH of the soil.
Simply spread them in your garden and rake them into the soil. This is especially important if you’re growing different colored hydrangeas or roses.
They are a great fertilizer for roses because they work to make the soil acidic. In addition to roses, many other plants, such as blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons, love them.
Farmers’ Almanac adds, “Tomatoes also love acidic soil! Sprinkle a thin layer on top.”
3. Worm Farming
If you are keeping a worm farm, coffee grounds will make your worm friends very, very happy – and help increase their population when regularly fed.
Another one of the ways to use coffee grounds with worms is for fishing. Fish, such as trout and bass, are attracted to coffee-scented worms.
[Related Read: How to Start a Worm Farm]
4. Protect Against Fungi and Pathogens
They also work against soil pathogens, including fungi. They are anti-microbial, which means they can stop fungal diseases from taking hold.
For example, vegetables that are prone to mildew diseases, such as spinach, beans, and tomatoes, will benefit from coffee grounds.
According to Natural Living Ideas, “Compost containing just 5% coffee grounds can provide this protective effect.”
5. Fertilize Plants
Use them as a fertilizer for plants. They are nutritionally balanced, which allows the grounds to work as a slow-release fertilizer. Simply add a few scoops to plants every few weeks to save money on fertilizer.
6. Repel Pests, Slugs, and Snails
While worms and fish like the scent of coffee, other critters do not.
The texture of the grounds works to dissuade soft-bellied pests (aka slugs and snails) from the garden.
In addition, some of the ingredients in coffee grounds, such as caffeine, are toxic to insects and can repel bugs.
Scatter grounds in the gardens to keep pests away and place them in bowls near sitting areas to repel mosquitos.
The scent of coffee will also keep cats out of your garden.
7. Neutralize Odors
One of the most useful ways to use grounds is to neutralize odors.
It’s not simply the coffee scent – it’s also the nitrogen within the coffee grounds. Nitrogen combined with carbon eliminates foul smells.
Therefore, you can use them to neutralize odors in a variety of spaces in and around your homestead.
For example, you can place a bowl of coffee grounds in your refrigerator to neutralize odors.
You can also keep grounds by your sink and use them to wash your hands after handling smelly foods, such as fish, garlic, or onions. Scrubbing your hands with these coffee grounds will remove the smell.
8. Exfoliate Skin
The texture of coffee grounds works well as an exfoliant for the skin. Mix with water or coconut oil, then scrub them on areas of your skin with dead skin.
9. Clean Pots and Pans
The texture of coffee grounds also makes them work well for scrubbing pots and pans. Simply sprinkle coffee grounds directly into the pots and pans and scrub like usual. Wash, and then rinse.
10. Tenderize Meat
In addition to using coffee grounds as a rub for meats like ribs, steak, and brisket, they also work to tenderize meat.
Healthline explains, “Salt, enzymes and acids are three natural types of meat tenderizers. Coffee contains natural acids and enzymes, making it especially effective at tenderizing meat.”
11. Treat Pets for Fleas
Like other pests, fleas are not fans of coffee grounds. Therefore, you can use them as a flea treatment for your pet. Rub them through your pet’s fur after shampooing and rinse.
NOTE – Coffee is toxic to dogs if consumed, so make sure the coffee grounds are only used externally.
12. De-ice Surfaces
Like salt, coffee grounds are a natural and environmentally friendly way to de-ice. They will help melt the ice and add more traction.
13. DIY Candles
Many homesteaders make candles and sell them. You can use coffee grounds to make scented candles.
Here are directions for making candles from PopSugar.
- Small paper coffee cup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of used coffee grounds
- Paper towel
- 1 cup wax candle remnants
- Small saucepan
- Small metal or glass mixing bowl
- To create the base of the candle, add 1 cup of wax candle remnants to a small metal or heat-safe glass bowl, and place over the top of a small saucepan filled halfway with water, creating a double boiler. Bring the water to a simmer and watch closely until the wax has melted (approximately 5 minutes).
- Give the paper coffee cup a good cleaning, and wipe to make sure it’s dry. Place the coffee grounds in a paper towel, and squeeze to release any extra liquid. Position the wick in the center of the cup and sprinkle a layer at the base.
- Carefully pour half of the melted wax over the coffee grounds, reserving the rest of the wax for the top of the candle. Let the wax harden for 20 minutes.
- To create the second layer of the candle, sprinkle the cooled wax with another spoonful of coffee grounds. Rewarm the wax in the double boiler, and top off the candle.
- Let the candle cool for at least an hour, and then cut away the coffee cup to reveal the finished candle. If needed, smooth the edges with a paper towel, and trim the end of the wick to fit the candle.
Reuse and Repurpose Reminder
As with most things on the homestead, coffee grounds are yet another item you can reuse for a variety of purposes. Remember, you don’t have to be a caffeine drinker either – simply ask neighbors or local cafes if you can have their used grounds.
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