cooking tips & tricks

7 Ways to Use Your Coffee Grounds

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We’re always on the lookout for ways to waste less at home. An easy place to start is with your morning cup of coffee. Did you know that, according to the NRDC, coffee grounds are one of the most commonly thrown-out food items in American households? It’s not that surprising given how much coffee we drink as a country.

While drinking coffee isn’t an issue, used coffee grounds, just like any other food or organic waste, break down in the landfill and produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. The good news is that coffee grounds have a lot more value to give us even after the last drops of coffee are gone.

Want to decrease your coffee waste and benefit the environment? Here are some of our favorite tips on how to reuse coffee grounds:

chewy mocha brownies with almond flour

Make Mocha Brownies

Your coffee grounds have more to offer than you might think. In this recipe, melting your butter with spent coffee grounds will imbue the butter with a delicious and aromatic coffee flavor. The addition of your grounds also magically brings out more of the chocolatey flavors hidden in your cocoa powder.

Use coffee grounds to remove odors from fridge

Keep your fridge smelling fresh

Store dried coffee grounds in an open jar anywhere you want to absorb odors. Our friend Joel Gamoran recommends trying this trick for getting rid of fridge odors!

adding coffee grounds to plants

Fertilize acid-loving plants

Add a spoonful of spent coffee grounds every 4-6 weeks to fertilize your indoor house plants.

NOTE: Coffee is acidic, rich in nitrogen, and your grounds may still contain a fair amount of caffeine. All of this can irritate/harm certain plants. Add them in moderation and, when in doubt, double-check online if the plants in question benefit from acidic soil.

adding coffee grounds to plants

Great for gardening

Use them as a natural fertilizer in your garden to improve drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.

coffee stain

Bye-bye burnt food

Put them to work as an abrasive agent to help scour burnt food off of your pots and pans

coffee beans

Keeps the bugs at bay

Anyone who lives in mosquito country will appreciate this one. Burn your dried grounds outdoors for mosquito repellent.

compost coffee grounds and food scraps

And if you’ve still got grounds

If you are able to compost through your city compost collection, at your community garden drop-off, or at home, be sure to add your grounds to the mix. They’re rich in nitrogen and can help create fertile soil when they break down. Worms especially love spent coffee grounds.

For even more ideas, check out this fun list of  25 Weird Ways to Use Coffee and Coffee Grounds.

Since over 40% of food waste happens in our homes, we all have the power to make a difference by changing how we shop, store, cook, and dispose of food. Climate action starts at home, and we can all work to take a bite out of food waste. We hope these tips on how to reuse coffee grounds helps you in your effort to waste a little less.


  • Julia Goldstein
    April 22, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I always compost coffee grounds but don’t usually think of other uses. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Imperfect
      April 23, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Hey Julia! That’s great to hear. They make for a potent addition to compost for sure. Let us know how some of these other ideas work out for you. We hope you’re doing well. Thanks for reading our blog!

      • Irene Mitchell
        September 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm

        I like flavored coffee. Can I recycle the flavored coffee the same?

        • Imperfect
          September 30, 2020 at 9:14 pm

          Yes you can! 🥰

  • Stepfanie Gentry
    November 4, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Used coffee grounds are an amazing body scrub. Even flavored coffee is great. First thing in the morning shower add this scrub and it wakes you up before u drink your first cup. It’s also great for cellulite as caffeine gets blood flow in those areas moving. Also has anti-aging perks . Plain old grounds and scrub. Be careful on face, it’s safe to use on face just don’t scrub to hard around eyes. Small circular strokes &you’ll be fine. I have also read add ground to a pump of body wash or olive oil for extra moisture. It’s my all time favorite morning treat🥰

    • Imperfect
      November 11, 2020 at 11:14 pm

      We love reusing our coffee grounds this way! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Sarah Pacetti
    November 8, 2020 at 1:54 am

    You could also soak dried once-used grounds in linseed oil to get a colored stain for wood.

    • Imperfect
      November 12, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      So cool!

  • Mary Burk
    January 5, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    I have been using my spent coffee grounds in my garden pots as they keep the squirrels from digging in them!

    • Mary
      January 28, 2021 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks. I hadn’t thought of that.

  • I came across this app by accident, but I'm happy
    March 28, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    I come across your app by accident, but I’m happy
    I did cause I learned a lot. I had no. idea coffee grounds could be used in so many ways. Thankyou

    • Imperfect Foods
      March 28, 2021 at 9:52 pm

      We’re so glad you stumbled across us! 💚

  • diana
    May 7, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    I would not use as a scrub since the grounds will go down the drain. Not good. I think the garden needs them more than my body,

    • Imperfect
      May 18, 2021 at 8:10 pm

      Whatever works best for you 💚

  • christina
    May 11, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Coffee grounds are great for acid loving plants like blueberries and azaleas but that’s where the benefit ends. There is still caffeine remaining in the grounds which can stunt the growth of some plants and kill others. Also, coffee has anti-bacterial properties which can harm or kill helpful insects. I do often throw some grounds into my hydrangeas which can help them to turn more blue or purple.

    I love all the ideas to reuse coffee grounds but I’m wondering if using them in the shower will clog your drain?

    • Imperfect
      May 18, 2021 at 8:10 pm

      Great tip! And minimal amounts of coffee scrubs have never clogged our drain, but we definitely encourage you to check out your own plumbing before trying it yourself 💚

  • Monica Lopez
    August 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Same here. Came across by accident n learning so much.

  • Penny Jo
    October 21, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    I take used coffee grounds and layer them with baking soda in pretty jars………….. looks pretty, and keeps odors down in my training kennel.

    • Imperfect Foods
      October 22, 2021 at 2:11 am

      Such a great tip!


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