10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

Coffee to Compost is an amazing initiative on campus that was introduced to the University in 2012 and implemented in 2013 by Carolyn Chan. It started small but in the last five years has expanded significantly, and it is always growing! To commemorate the anniversary of this program we give you: 10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds!

  1. Compost it! This is the most straightforward, and easy thing to do. Put it in your municipality bin, your outdoor bin, or even add a little to your vermicompost bin (not too much as worms don’t like coffee’s acidity!). On campus, our coffee grounds mature in piles covered in hay before being used as a soil additive at the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF).
  2. Your acid loving plants – indoor or outdoor! – will love being directly fertilized with grounds. Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and potassium, which plants need. Add grounds by mixing into the soil when planting or the water you use to feed your plants, but be careful not to overdue it as not all plants like the high acidity.
  3. Using coffee grounds on your outdoor plants has the added benefit of repelling small pests, such as slugs and ants. To get the most benefit, sprinkle grounds directly on the ground around your plants.
  4. Coffee grounds can help your vegetable plants grow, but can also help absorb the odour of spoiled food in your fridge or indoor compost pail. Simply keep a container, or a cheese cloth packet of dry grounds in both of these places.
  5. If you cook with garlic as much as we do, you’re probably plagued by permanently garlicy fingers. Fear no more – just rub used coffee grounds in your hands while washing, paying particular attention to your finger tips, and *voila* no smell!
  6. Odour in other places, like your shoes? Coffee grounds can handle that too! Just sprinkle some in, leave overnight, and shake out in the morning.
  7. Coffee grounds can also be used to clean heavily soiled pots and pans, counter tops, and fireplaces. They are naturally abrasive, so sprinkle them on and scrub with a sponge to get stuck on dirt off.
  8. Speaking of cleaning – why not wash your hair with coffee grounds! Massage used grounds onto your wet hair, focusing on the scalp, rinse and then shampoo and condition as normal. Your scalp will be clear of any buildup, leaving your hair visibly shinier! Tip: if left to sit the grounds can actually tint your hair, so either be careful or let them sit to see what results you get.
  9. You can also turn them into a natural exfoliating body or face scrub. Coffee grounds can be used just as they are, or mix with coconut oil (about 2:1 coffee to oil) or honey for a moisturizing scrub. Tip: make sure to be in the shower when scrubbing your body as it can get messy.
  10. Get crafty! Use it as a dye for feathers, Easter eggs, or to make “vintage” parchment. The last one is a great way to spruce up any fourth grade history project 😉


Hope you have gained a new appreciation for used coffee grounds!


The Ladies of Sustainability ❤


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