Creative Uses for Coffee Grounds

Some titles have a way of screaming out directly to you, the reader!  “Coffee” (above) undoubtedly grabbed your attention.  It’s our absolute favorite drink, next to water, and is consumed by more than 150 million Americans, totaling 400 million cups per day.  The staggering statistic creates an important question: as we know, drinking the caffeinated beverage promotes bodily health, invigorating the circulatory system and the skin, but are the grounds beneficial in other ways?  Absolutely! 

Removes Odors and Dirt

Similar to placing a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to absorb the odors, coffee grounds serve the same purpose.  Use a cookie sheet, spreading out the granules evenly, allowing time to eliminate the moisture until dry; then, place the contents into a ventilated container, refreshing bimonthly.  Additionally, keep a bucket of dried bits underneath your sink.  Coffee is an ideal prurifer of pungent-smelling food items, as well as a sink cleaner! 

Tip:  Handmade soaps or body scrubs made with coffee grounds can also remove dry, dead skin cells, promoting a smooth appearance.  

Enhancing Food 

Beyond the filtration process, coffee grounds contain dietary fiber, antioxidants, and caffeine to help prevent harmful UV rays and avert illnesses.   Of course, using the brewed granules in meals, whether it’s to enhance the flavor of chili, chocolate cake, barbecue sauces or gravy, is an experiment worth trying.  Additionally, the dregs also contain an acidic enzyme similar to that of pineapple and papaya; therefore, apply a few tablespoons to marinade your favorite select cut of meat.   

Improving Skin Care 

Packed with antioxidants that help protect the skin from radical damage, studies prove coffee can prevent wrinkles and exposure to UV rays; therefore, take the spent grounds and incorporate them into handmade scrubs to exfoliate and soften the elbows, feet, and knees.  Warning: Coffee granules can be harsh on sensitive skin; therefore, adjust the coffee proportions to suit your comfort level.  Lightly apply to avoid irritation symptoms like redness or a stinging sensation.   

Exfoliating Body Recipe:  Mix ¼ cup each of coffee dregs, Epsom salt, and olive oil.  Stir well; then, apply to your rough areas.  

Exfoliating Facial Mask:  Combine ¼ teaspoon of finely ground, spent coffee with one Tablespoon of vanilla or plain yogurt.  Stir!  Apply to the face and neck and allow to penetrate through the skin’s tissues for five minutes.  Clean by dabbing the face with a warm washcloth; rinse with warm water.  The reveal offers supple, bright skin.  Use only once weekly! 

Promoting a Shine to Dark Locks 

Light to medium brunettes seeking shine and to accentuate undertones naturally can achieve these with time, patience, and coffee grounds.   While several recipes are available online, consider using the following. 

Recipe:  Steep two cups of dark, brewed grounds in four cups of hot water for 45 minutes; then strain and cool.  Allow the infused water to soak into your locks for 20 minutes.  Rinse.  Repeat until you reach a preferred hue.  

Adding a Natural Fertilizer to the Garden 

Coffee grounds, sprinkled or tilled directly into the soil, improve drainage, aeration, and water retention, promoting plant growth and welcoming earthworms.  Having a neutral pH, the grounds are ideal as mulch, deterring ants, slugs, snails, rabbits, and cats from garden beds.  Most acid-loving plants (azaleas, blueberries, lilies, and hydrangeas) and root crops (carrots, leeks, radishes, and turnips) respond favorably upon use, offering bigger blooms or vegetables.  

Tip:  Add a few teaspoons to your watering can to boost your plants’ nutrients!

Tip:  Excessive coffee dregs require a grand container, such as a composter.  Along with enriching your coffee grounds with phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and copper, toss in crushed eggshells, vegetable peels, shredded newspaper, pet hair, and grass clippings.  The balance of green and brown plus water and sun will boost the nitrogen levels, helping to achieve that goal at the end of the decomposition process.  

The next time you need a place for spent coffee grounds, consider repurposing them to improve the skin or hair follicles, or to benefit your home and garden!  Cheers! 


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