Amity Junction, The Markets’ on-site coffee shop proudly roasts Lancaster County Coffee. Not only can you order specialty drinks, but you can also purchase ground coffee by the bag.
But, did you know that the benefits of a fresh cup of morning coffee go way beyond getting your caffeine fix? Keep reading to learn what are coffee grounds good for, both inside and outside your home, and how to embrace coffee ground recycling for a minimum-waste lifestyle.
Uses for Coffee Grounds in the Garden
These days, people are getting more and more creative in tending to their gardens. Composting methods have certainly expanded, as people are turning their leftover food scraps, grass trimmings, and animal waste/manure into garden fuel.
Composting is certainly one of the best ways to use fresh-ground coffee beans, as they are nitrogen-rich “green” materials that aid in protein production. But, there is so much more that you can do. If you have a green thumb, here are ways that you can apply used coffee grounds for plants or to keep pests out of your garden.
Fertilize Your Soil — If your garden consists of the healthiest soil, you’re in the minority. Most gardeners have to deal with less-than-ideal soil and need additives to improve it.
Coffee grounds are fresh organic materials that are high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. For a coffee grounds fertilizer, sprinkle them throughout your garden to help improve your soil’s drainage, water retention, and aeration.
Adding Acid to Plants — Adding coffee grounds to your soil also lowers the soil pH, which means you’re raising the acid level in your soil. This is a great way to boost the growth of acid-loving plants, including azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and blueberries.
- Coffee Grounds on Hydrangeas
Due to their acidic nature, coffee grounds can alter the color of plants, the most well-known being hydrangeas plants.Typically either pink, blue, or white, hydrangeas will bloom bluer if the pH levels they are planted in is below a 6 or 7. This process does take time, so plan on either sprinkling your coffee grounds onto the soil surface or (if you wish to avoid a strong smell) working them into the ground a few months before they are set to bloom.
- Coffee Grounds for Roses
Roses are another type of plant that thrive due to the high nutrient content of coffee grounds, and do best when there is a pH level of around 6-6.5 within the soil. However, it is best to use them in moderation with these sorts of plants.Don’t spread your coffee grounds too close to the roses, and avoid using them as a replacement for fertilizers. When plants are exposed to too much nitrogen, it can be bad for the plant’s roots, which is especially true here.
- Coffee Grounds Good for Tomato Plants?
Root crops, like carrots and radishes, also benefit from acidic soil, but with tomatoes, not so much. Yes, they can thrive from the added nutrients at times, but coffee grounds have been known to hinder growth due to issues related to water retention or too much acidity.If you are interested in seeing if adding coffee grounds will benefit your plants, create a compost mix with them. This will allow for a balance in organic matter and pH, giving your tomato plants the proper sustenance to grow healthy.
One thing to remember is that fresh coffee grounds are acidic while used coffee grounds are neutralized. So as long as you pay attention to which plants can benefit from this innovative type of fertilizer, including coffee grounds in the vegetable garden is a great idea.
Weed and Insect/Critter-Repellent — Unwanted coffee grounds can kill weeds just as effectively as other store-brand killers due to their nitrogen/pH levels.
Used coffee grounds in the garden are also beneficial for keeping slugs, snails, and beetles away from plants. It’s as easy as sprinkling used grounds around the perimeter and throughout your plant beds.
Used coffee grounds also do wonders for keeping away furry critters, like cats and rabbits, which means your garden will no longer serve as a litter box or dinner buffet.
Make Your Sidewalks Safe — If Winter weather catches you unprepared, another surprising use for used coffee grounds is to help melt ice or snow on your sidewalks.
The gritty texture creates traction and reduces slipping, while the dark color attracts heat which speeds up the melting process.
Household Uses for Coffee Grounds
Coffee is not just beneficial outdoors! There are also a number of household uses for coffee grounds. They can help get rid of bad smells, scrub up dirty messes, or protect your pets.
Neutralizes Odors — The nitrogen found in coffee is not only beneficial in the garden, but it also helps inside your home as well. Most importantly, it can help absorb and eliminate odors in the air.
Instead of using baking soda, you can place a small bowl of used coffee grounds in your fridge or freezer to keep pungent food smells in check. So you should definitely consider using coffee grounds for odor removal.
Freshen Your Garbage Disposal — Cleaning your garbage disposal with coffee grounds is another way to eliminate smells in your kitchen. Here’s a quick recipe for creating coffee ground cleaning tablets.
- Start by drying out 1 cup of used grounds and then mixing them 3/4 cup Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 3 Tbsp white vinegar.
- Use the mixture to create small balls, lay them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and place them in the freezer.
- To clean your garbage disposal, drop one or two balls into the running disposal and rinse with cold water.
Although coffee grounds can be used every once in a while as a cleaning method, it is not suggested that you dump your morning coffee grounds down your disposal on a daily basis. They can build up in drains and pipes and cause clogs.
Flea Removal — Used coffee grounds can also be used as a natural way to protect your pet from fleas. After you shampoo your pet, rub coffee grounds throughout their fur and then rinse. But be sure your pet does not consume the coffee grounds.
Even if natural remedies are your preference, prescription treatments may be necessary if the problem persists.
Cleaning Pots and Pans — If you’re battling pots and pans with caked-on food and don’t have a steel-wool scrubber handy, you can use used coffee grounds in a pinch. Their texture makes them a good abrasive cleaner that’s ideal for scrubbing. Beyond pots and pans, they can also be used to scrub kitchen sinks or grill grates. Coffee grounds also have antibacterial properties which help them sanitize as well as clean.
Coffee Ground for Personal Uses
There are lots of other methods and uses available when looking at what coffee grounds are good for. They can even be used in our everyday routines and self-care.
Skin Care — Coffee grounds for skin care may not be commonly heard of, but many reviewers have supported its use. They have been known for being able to soften and exfoliate the skin, leaving the surface clean and healthy.
Although it’s not a treatment for acne, coffee body scrubs can also be fun projects to put together yourself and can leave skin looking and feeling great.
Cooking — You may be familiar with different types of coffee drinks such as espressos and mochas, but cooking with coffee grounds is not completely out of the ordinary.
Add your unused coffee grounds to marinades for meats, or use them in dry rubs during the cooking process. Take some time to experiment with different herb and spice combinations to see what will pair best with your new coffee flavors, and you may discover some new favorites.
Even consider putting them in your baking, such as cookies or brownies. They can provide an earthy, slightly bitter taste that can balance out whatever sweetness within the goodies. Just be sure not to use too much, to not overwhelm the flavor you are trying to create.
Dyeing Clothes and Hair — If you’re looking for a way to liven up your wardrobe, consider trying coffee-dyed clothes! Though you may need to be careful with how permanent coffee stains can be, their unique color and style are fun to play around with.
Take some time to experiment with some clothing you wouldn’t mind staining before pursuing a style revamp with your desired items. The types of coffee, the amount used, and the fabric being dyed can all play a role in affecting the color and patterns you create.
If you want to go bold in style, consider coffee grounds hair dye to darken your hair color. Again, use caution and practice before attempting anything so you are aware of how it will look.
This blog was originally published on February 25, 2019, and was updated on November 6, 2023.