How To Reuse Coffee Grounds: 20 Best Uses & Crazy Ideas

Tips for Reusing Grounded Coffee.

Good to the last drop, and then some — you want the most out of your coffee, so we’ve put together this guide on how to make your used coffee grounds go the distance.

From the kitchen to the garden and even in the bath, we’ve got an answer for what you should do after each fresh brew from your coffee maker.

Check our FAQ at the end to see which roasts and grinds work best for reusing grounded coffee, and how to prepare your grounds for storage.

Reusing Coffee Grounds in the Kitchen

The better your coffee is, the more loathe you are to just throw once-extracted grounds into the garbage.

Even though you’re unlikely to get that same great flavor in a second traditional brew, there are ways to capture what’s left and make it last.

Cold Brew Coffee

Reusing coffee grounds for cold brew may not produce the same depth of flavor as a freshly ground batch will, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a satisfying cold brew result with a second pass [1].

This is especially true if you like a lot of milk or syrupy flavors added to a cold brew drink.

Flavorful coffee syrup

syrup made from old grounds

Homemade simple syrups are a great way to extend the life of your favorite ground coffee.

Use your favorite recipe for a simple syrup base, add the coffee grounds and pour it through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.

Then, add it to your baked goods or smoothies for a coffee-flavored kick.

Magic dish scrub 

The abrasive quality of medium or coarsely ground coffee can help you get the funk and gunk off of hard-to-clean pots and pans.

While you should avoid using it on non-stick or enamel surfaces, used coffee grounds mixed with a bit of soap and water can help cut through build-up on stainless steel and aluminum surfaces.

And that’s not the only magic trick these used grounds can pull off — keep reading to find out how you can restore furniture with them, too!

“Coffee is certainly a very complex beverage.” – Dr. Frank Hu, Professor and Researcher

Reusing Coffee Grounds Around the House

Think outside of the food box and let used coffee grounds help you out around the house as an aromatic tool with multi-faceted uses.

Dry or wet, they’re a secret weapon for domestic do-it-yourselfers who need to tackle these tedious homestead issues.

Deodorizing sachets

Much like baking soda, dried coffee grounds can soak up odors and leave your house and closets smelling fresher than before [2].

Tie them up in an unused filter for a quick and apt way to make a sachet, or use little silk or linen bags from the craft store for a more elegant look.

Stash them everywhere you want to kill some unpleasant odors.

Flea and pest repellent

Speaking of unpleasant things, the potent chemicals used to get rid of fleas and insects in the home can be just as annoying as the invasion itself.

Since coffee is known to repel many different kinds of pests, sprinkling dried and used grounds around areas that bugs traffic can help send them packing.

Coffee grounds have been known to repel ants as well.

See our next section about how this same trick works a treat in the garden, too.

Repair furniture scratches

Ready for more magic? Try rubbing wet coffee grounds over scratches on dark wood furniture and let it sit for a few minutes [3].

The tannins that remain in the used coffee grounds should stain the exposed wood and help your furniture regain some of its former glory.

It’s not a miracle solution for large areas or all types of wood, but it can certainly help with small marks when the colors match.

Reusing Coffee Grounds in the Garden

These tricks of every green thumb’s trade are well-known ways to reuse your coffee grounds.

They give you a no-fuss way to bring your love of coffee full circle to nourish your plants and protect them from pests.

Enhance compost

Nitrogen-rich coffee grounds are a perfect addition to your compost pile — or a great reason to get one started.

They give your homemade fertilizer an organic boost that works wonders for your garden, especially if you’re growing vegetables to use in the kitchen.

If you’re just composting small batches, you can toss them onto the heap even while wet. Bulk quantities should be dried, which we cover later on.

Attract garden-friendly worms

Unlike many other types of creeping and crawling visitors in the garden, worms are a welcome site.

Their presence means the soil is fertile and healthy, and bound to get healthier as the worms churn through it and help oxygenate and hydrate the ground beneath your plants [4].

You can add coffee grounds right into your garden bed where worms are active, or wait for it to compost before fertilizing.

Defend your plants

For as much as worms love used coffee grounds, slugs, snails and other pests are believed to hate them [5].

Coarse grinds may be an unpleasant texture for them to crawl over, so some gardeners think they’ll avoid soil sprinkled liberally with coffee grounds.

Other gardeners believe it’s the remnant caffeine in the grounds that turn them away. Check our FAQ for more about how caffeine is found in used coffee grounds.

Reusing Coffee Grounds for Health and Beauty

Why throw used coffee grounds away when you can include them in your skincare routine or a relaxing hot bath?

Try these tips for some fun DIY projects that will perk you up as much as the first fresh cup of the day does [6].

soap made from coffee

Scrubs and soaps

Putting used coffee grounds in handmade scrubs and soaps is a great way to add a little extra exfoliating power to your routine.

If you plan to use a scrub on your face, you may want to use a finer grind. A body scrub or soaps that are used for hands and feet can be made with a coarser grit. 

Aromatic foot soak

A long, hot soak for your feet feels great after a long day, but even better when you add coffee to the water.

To avoid uncomfortable clumping and a gritty feeling between your toes, wrap your used coffee grounds in a bit of cheesecloth or the same silk or linen bags we mentioned earlier for sachets.

Energizing bath bomb

Some days, you need more than a foot soak — you need a whole-body rejuvenating bath to wash away the stress of the day.

Bath bombs, the fizzy cousin of the childhood favorite bubble bath, can be made with used coffee grounds that will give your bath an extra zing.

Use your favorite recipe for bath bombs and experiment with adding coffee-friendly scents like almond or vanilla.

Reusing Coffee Grounds for Arts and Crafts

Have you been bitten by the creative coffee bug?

Used coffee grounds can help you make unique and interesting wearable items to add to your closet, decorative works to feature in your home or presents for your friends and family.

Dyeing fabric and staining paper

Using organic materials to dye fabric and paper is a time-honored tradition and a great way to reuse coffee grounds [7].

The rich beige mixed with deep sienna undertones that coffee imparts to textiles creates a gorgeous antique look that’s as versatile for modern applications as it is for giving a piece of clothing or paper an old-world feel.

This is an especially good way to use up a lot of grounds since the more grounds you use, the deeper the dye job is likely to be.

Painting with coffee grounds

Artists who enjoy making their own paints can use coffee grounds for its reddish-brown hues.

They may boil or soak the grounds in water or a similar base, or they may take use it more like a thick paste for color and texture.

Watercolorists may sprinkle dry, used coffee grounds onto their paintings to add special effects to the work and then brush it away when the paint dries.

Using coffee grounds as filler

Dried, used coffee grounds can work as a filler for projects that would otherwise use sand or rice, instead.

Shallow dishes and mason jars meant to hold votive candles are the perfect project for swapping sand for coffee or mixing layers for a dynamic look.

“Coffee is such a strange thing. All the things you have to make it—people find what they love and make their own systems.” – David Lynch, Musician and Filmmaker

Frequently Asked Questions about Reusing Grounded Coffee

Does reusing coffee grounds reduce caffeine?

Yes. The act of brewing coffee is called extraction — all the oils and water-soluble compounds in coffee are drawn out of the rounds and into the cup [8]. Extracting from the same grounds again may yield a fraction more of those oils and compounds, but not as much or more than what was there originally.

Can you reuse coffee grounds in a French press?

Yes. You can reuse coffee grounds from a French press and you can reuse coffee grounds in a French press. For the former, the coarse grind is great for scrubs. The latter method is common for cold brewing.

Does the grind size matter when reusing coffee grounds?

It depends. Grind size matters when you’re using coffee grounds for an abrasive material in the kitchen or an exfoliant in the bathroom. If you’re using a French press to make cold brew with used grounds, it’s easier to use coarser rather than finer ones.

Can you reuse coffee grounds in a Keurig?

Reusing a disposable pod may pose a risk of damaging the machine’s brewing components or clogging the brewing needle.

A reusable pod, however, is designed for multiple brews. The only thing that would change is the strength and quality of flavor in the resulting cup.

How do you dry out coffee grounds for reuse?

Depending on what sort of equipment you have access to, you can dry grounds in a number of ways.

A small amount can be spread out over parchment paper on a baking sheet for air-drying.

Larger amounts may need gentle dehydration in an oven set to its lowest temperature.


1. (n.d.). Standards of the Cold-Brew Process. Retrieved from
2. Campos-Vega, R., Loarca-Pina, G., Hayde, A., Vergara-Castaneda, B., Oomah, D. (2015). Spent coffee grounds: A review on current research and future prospects. Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp. 24-363. Galloway, D. (2012).
4. Lavoipierre, F. (2009). Garden Allies: Earthworms.
5. Satho, T., Dieng, H., Ahmad, M. H., Ellias, S. B., Hassan, A. A., Abang, F., … Nolasco-Hipolito, C. (2015). Coffee and its waste repel gravid Aedes albopictus females and inhibit the development of their embryos. Parasites & vectors, 8, 272. doi:10.1186/s13071-015-0874-6
6. Herman A, Herman A, P. (2013). Caffeine’s Mechanisms of Action and Its Cosmetic Use. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 26:8-14. doi: 10.1159/000343174
7. Poskin, A. (2016). How to Dye Textiles With Coffee & Tea.
8. Nuhu A. A. (2014). Bioactive micronutrients in coffee: recent analytical approaches for characterization and quantification. ISRN nutrition, 2014, 384230. doi:10.1155/2014/384230

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