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10 Ways to Recycle Your Old Coffee Grinds

Coffee is good for more than just waking you up in the morning! Have you tried recycling your coffee grinds? Take a look at this list and find the perfect recycling tips and tricks so you can enjoy your coffee again – even after you’ve finished enjoying your morning cup!

In the Garden:

1. Pest Repellent

Sprinkle used coffee grounds around your plants to protect them against destructive garden pests like ants, snails, and slugs. It has even been said that old grounds mixed with dried orange peel will keep away some small mammals like cats. If coffee and orange peel doesn’t work, try rosemary oil instead!

2. Fertilize Your Garden

If you grow roses, or other acid-loving plants, then used coffee is the fertilizer for you! Mix your old grounds with dead grass clippings, brown leaves, or dry straw to neutralize some of the acidity, then spread them around your plants. Used coffee grounds add nitrogen and potassium to the soil (the first and third numbers in the fertilizer formula: N – P – K) as well as a boost of magnesium which all plants need to stay healthy.

Just remember that this fertilizer lacks phosphorus and calcium so it isn’t ideal for encouraging blooms and fruiting. You’ll need to add lime or wood ash to the mix if you want to create a complete fertilizer using old coffee grounds.

3. Compost It for Later

If you don’t have a use for coffee ground fertilizer right away, go ahead and throw it on the compost heap. 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” matter. Check out this great guide for keeping your compost balanced.

Around the House:

4. Absorb Food Odors

Used coffee grounds can be used much like baking soda for absorbing food odors in the refrigerator and freezer. Just put an 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 grounds. 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!

5. Natural Abrasive

Sprinkle old coffee grounds onto an old 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. (Just be sure not to accidentally scrub grounds into cracks where they might leave behind stains!)

6. Beautiful Golden Dye

If you’ve ever spilled coffee on a white shirt, you know the “Beautiful Golden” color to which I am referring. Turn that pesky coffee stain around and use it to your advantage. Re-wet old coffee grounds and use it to dye everything from feathers and cloth to Easter eggs. Used coffee grounds soaked in a bit of water can also be used to turn boring white paper into ‘antique’ parchment. (Here’s the How-To.) This faux parchment can then be used for all kinds of arts and crafts including some very interesting and beautiful gifts!

Absorbing Food Odors with Coffee Grinds

For Health & Beauty:

7. Exfoliate Skin

Coffee grounds make an excellent exfoliating body scrub! Just add used grounds to a bit of warm water or your favorite all-natural oil (coconut oil works great!) Then scrub your skin from head to foot to remove all of those icky dead skin cells.

8. Rejuvenating Facial

Just as it works as a body scrub, coffee makes an excellent facial. Mix two tablespoons of used coffee grounds with an equal amount of organic cocoa powder. Add three tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream and top it off with a heaping tablespoon of honey for the perfect all-natural alpha-hydroxy and antioxidant facial.

9. Coffee for Your Hair

If you use a lot of hair styling products, or if you’ve recently switched to a natural shampoo and conditioner, your hair is probably weighted 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 the product residue, but it’s also gentle enough that it won’t damage your locks.

10. Cellulite Treatment

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.

There are probably hundreds of recipes on Pinterest alone for cellulite-reducing coffee scrubs. However, a simple mix of used coffee grounds and warm water will also do the trick. Use this scrub for ten minutes twice per week on any areas affected by cellulite. Results should start to become apparent within four weeks of steady treatment.


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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.

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