My relationship with coffee began just after the birth of my first child. Like most first time parents, I completely underestimated how exhausted I would be. After the first few weeks, the days and nights blended together and my concept of time completely disappeared. It was especially difficult after I returned to work full-time. Coffee was like a comforting friend that also helped me to function throughout the day. While I admit that an excessive coffee habit probably isn’t going to make your dentist happy, I have come to learn over the past several years that coffee actually has many uses ranging from beauty to household helpers. Check out the top 15 ways to use coffee that don’t involve drinking it!
Fertilize your garden
Some flowering plants, like hydrangeas, change color depending on the pH level of the soil. Adding coffee grounds will change the acidity in the plant and reduce the pH level giving you bright blue flowers. If you grow azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, camellias, roses, or other acid-loving plants, then used coffee is the best fertilizer for you! Mix your old grounds with dead grass clippings, brown leaves, or dry straw to neutralize some of the acidity, the spread around your plant beds. Used coffee grounds also add nitrogen and potassium to the soil as well as a boost of magnesium which all plants need to stay healthy.
Keep Bugs Away
Unlike worms, slugs, snails, and other bugs do not like the acidity of coffee and will not cross the ground if it’s sprinkled with coffee grounds. Sprinkle used grounds around your plants to protect them against destructive garden pests like ants, snails, and slugs. I have even heard that old grounds mixed with dried orange peels will keep away some small mammals like cats although I have never tried this method.
Increase Harvest of Some Vegetables
Mixing coffee grounds with the seeds before you plant carrots and radishes will keep pests and bugs away and potentially increase your harvest. If you love carrots like you love coffee, then this tip is for you! Your carrots will love you back if you share your old grounds with them at planting time. Before you sow carrot seeds, mix them with some old dried coffee grounds to give them an energy boost right from the start. You will get better produce with the added bonus of deterring pests that want to eat your carrots before you do.
On the flip side, there are some pests that you may want to attract to your garden. Worms might not be the best pets, but they are great for your garden. They turn the soil and fertilize it with their own body processes (which is why they are also used in composting). Worms are attracted to coffee grounds, so adding it to your garden beds will attract more of these helpful little wigglers.
Enhance your Compost
Coffee grounds will add much-needed nitrogen to your compost bin. Just pour them in your compost container. Coffee grounds make excellent “green” matter as they are rich in nitrogen. Also, beneficial worms may be attracted to your compost with the addition of old coffee. Just be sure to limit the amount of grounds that you add to your pile so that you don’t throw off the ratio of “green” to “brown” material.
Scour Your pans
A few coffee grounds on a rag can help remove caked-on dirt. Just make sure not to use it on ceramic or other surfaces that stain easily. Sprinkle old coffee grounds onto a cleaning cloth and use them to scrub away stuck-on food from counters or dishes. While used grounds are abrasive, they aren’t so harsh that they will damage the surfaces in your kitchen or on your dishes.
Make Garbage Disposal Cleaners
With this recipe, you can make cleaners that will keep your garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh.
Instead of baking soda, use a box of used coffee grounds to absorb smells in your fridge. Used coffee grounds can be used much like baking soda for absorbing food odors in the refrigerator and freezer. Fill a small open container with your old grounds, place it in the back of the fridge, then forget about it for a couple of weeks while you collect more. As an added bonus, after you remove smelly old grounds from the refrigerator or freezer, you can then toss them on the compost pile or use them for fertilizer!
Strip Buildup from Hair
The abrasive texture of coffee grounds will help strip oils and buildup from your hair. This tip is best for brunettes since coffee can also darken hair. In fact, brunettes and dark redheads can benefit from rinsing their hair in coffee to rejuvenate their color. Just steep your used grounds in two cups of hot water and then rinse this through your hair. If you use a lot of hair products, your hair is probably weighed down by residue. Remove that build-up using old coffee grounds to give your hair a lift and restore its natural healthy shine. Before you shampoo, simply grab a handful of used grounds and massage them into your hair. The coarse texture is enough to break apart product residue, but also gentle enough that it won’t damage your locks.
Create an Exfoliating Scrub
Exfoliating with coffee grounds can help stimulate blood flow, promoting healthier and tighter skin. Just add mineral oil or vitamin E oil to old coffee grounds and apply it to your skin with a loofah. Or try our recipe for coffee scrub here.
Poor diet, frequent or extended periods of sitting, smoking, or genetic predisposition – cellulite has many causes and for every cause there are at least a dozen “cures” which may or may not actually work. Well, here’s one that does: used coffee grounds. Try our recipe for Firming Coffee Scrub Bars. Use the bars twice per week on any areas affected by cellulite. Results should start to become apparent within four weeks of steady treatment.