9 Money-Saving Uses for Coffee Grounds

by Miranda Jackson

Money-Saving Uses for Coffee Grounds photo

Coffee grounds are good for much more than enriching your compost pile. See if any of these ideas can help you reuse your coffee grounds to save some money.

Perhaps you’ve read the article here on The Dollar Stretcher about the many ways to use leftover coffee.

What about those coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds, the seemingly insignificant remnants of our cherished daily beverage, have proven to be a surprisingly versatile and eco-friendly resource. With various uses ranging from gardening to beauty treatments, these granules help frugal folks save money daily.

Read on to explore the many ways you can repurpose your coffee grounds that may save you enough money to cover the cost of your morning coffee.

Money-Saving Uses Coffee Grounds

Perhaps you already use your coffee grounds for your compost pile. Here are nine other money-saving ways to repurpose coffee grounds.

1. Fertilizer Your Plants

Coffee grounds are a rich source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, essential nutrients for plant growth. Sprinkle them around your plants in addition to adding them to your compost pile, and they may help reduce fertilizer costs.

2. Repel Garden Pests

Coffee grounds can help your plants in other ways, too. Scatter the grounds around the base of the plants to deter pests, such as ants, slugs and snails.

Here are eight more easy ways to combat garden pests.

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3. Fight Fleas

According to HouseCalls4Pet.com, a pet-sitting service, fleas hate coffee. After shampooing your pup, rub coffee grounds through their fur and then rinse.

This shouldn’t replace any flea medications your pet requires, but it may help save you money on other flea prevention costs.

Note: Protect your pup from eating the grounds, as they can be toxic to dogs.

4. Neutralize Odors

The absorbent nature of coffee grounds makes them effective at neutralizing unpleasant odors. Place a small dish of dry grounds in your refrigerator, freezer or near trash cans to absorb bad smells

Place dry coffee grounds in a small, breathable fabric bag and hang it in your car, closet, or other spaces to act as a natural air freshener rather than paying for the chemical store-bought stuff.

Try these additional frugal ways to combat odors.

5. Exfoliate Your Skin

There is no need to pay for those expensive store-bought skin scrubs. Use coffee grounds as a natural exfoliating scrub for your skin.

Mix the grounds with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil and gently rub it on your skin to remove dead cells. If you have cellulite, using a coffee-ground exfoliant can make it less noticeable. Use plain coffee grounds to exfoliate your scalp. 

6. Make Homemade Candles

Decorative candles are not cheap. Why not make your own for less? Melt some wax and add coffee grounds to create a unique, coffee-scented candle. Throw in some coffee beans for a decorative touch.

7. Clean Things

Coffee grounds can be a gentle, non-toxic abrasive cleaner for scrubbing pots, pans and other surfaces. Be cautious when using them on light-colored surfaces, such as countertops, as they may stain.

Sprinkle damp coffee grounds over ashes in your fireplace to help reduce dust and make cleanup easier.

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8. Use as a Natural Dye

Soak used coffee grounds in hot water to create a natural dye for craft fabrics, paper or even Easter eggs.

9. Stain Wood

Mix coffee grounds with hot water and allow the mixture to steep. Once cooled, use the liquid as a natural wood stain.

Let Used Coffee Grounds Dry

Remember to let used coffee grounds dry before using them in any of these applications, as damp grounds can develop mold if stored for too long.

Ways Our Frugal Readers Save Money With Coffee Grounds

See how a few of our readers have put some of the tips above to the test:

Ants Hate Coffee

A great way to get rid of ants is to put used coffee grounds at their point of entry into your house. If you’re lucky enough to find the ant colony, dumping one filter full of used coffee grounds will eradicate the whole colony.

Natural Pest Control In Your Garden

You can put coffee grounds out around plants to stop slugs from eating your plants.

Good Grounds for Roses

I use coffee grounds to fertilize my roses, and in the spring, I put a cup of cheap Epsom salts around each rose bush and rake it into the soil. This encourages longer-lasting blooms.

Coffee Grounds are a Powerful Plant Additive

I remember my father emptying his coffee grounds into a planter right next to our back door. He mixed them into the dirt. We had the largest papayas in the neighborhood as well as the fattest earthworms. Everything we planted in the planter grew incredibly large and fast.

Acquiring that much coffee grounds takes time unless you drink a lot of coffee. I found out our local Starbucks has started a “go green” program where they will give away their coffee grounds if you ask. I have now received about 20 pounds of grounds.

You can also try your local bakery for eggshells. We leave an empty container with a lid and pick it up about once a week. They add nutrients to the soil, and best of all, they are free.
Ken T. in Kailua, HI

Reviewed February 2024

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