Leftover Coffee Grounds

Do you save your old coffee grounds? I always knew there had to be something to do with them, so I started saving them a few months ago. Not only did I discover I might drink too much coffee, but there are so many great uses for leftover coffee grounds.
First, you need to dry them so they won’t mold. Just place on a baking sheet (no more than an inch deep) and place in your oven which has been set at 200 for about 20 – 30 minutes, stirring about half way through. You will also create a wonderful aroma in your home while these are drying.
Let cool completely, then store in a closed container such as jars, glass containers, and even zip type bags, anything air tight.
If you don’t drink coffee, check with any of your local coffee shops. They usually are helpful in saving these for you, and even old coffee beans. Also, use an old coffee container and leave at work. Your coworkers will be glad to collect the grounds for you.
In your garden: I have two beautiful azalea bushes in my back yard that are pretty much in full bloom at the time. These, along with roses, rhododendrons, evergreens, hydrangeas and camellias love coffee grounds for the natural acidity and nutrients they add to the soil. Beware though, not all plants are acid loving so check out your plants before mixing in the soil around them.
They are also great for your carrots. To boost a carrot harvest, mix seeds with dried coffee grounds before sowing. The extra bulk makes the seeds easier to manage, while the coffee aroma can nourish the soil and help repel pests.

For pesky animals and bugs: I hate ants. Sprinkle old grounds around places you don’t want ants, or on the ant piles themselves. They will either try to find a new place, or hopefully stay away completely. Used grounds can also repel snails and slugs.

Do cats seem to bother your plants or garden? Mix some of your old coffee grounds with orange peels then shake it around your plants and this will keep the cats away. I mixed the peeling from one orange to approximately 32 ounces of used grounds and let it set for about 2 – 3 days before using. Now if I could figure out how to keep this on my car hood so neighborhood cats would stay off my car.
In your home: About once a month, place a small bowl of grounds in your refrigerator and freezer to use as deodorizer.

To remove smells on your hands such as onion and garlic, while prepping food, rub a small amount on your hands then rinse off. Always use caution to not let too many grounds go down your drain.
Since they are slightly abrasive, they are great to use for removing stains and stuck on food on your smooth top stove.

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Rosemary Palmer

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

11 questions
    on Dec 3, 2015

    hoe to use coffee grounds

  • Anna Samet
    on Feb 8, 2016

    I was wondering if the peel from halo's or cuties would work as a substitute for orange peel?

  • J Bowden
    on Feb 21, 2016

    Have you used them in homemade coffee sugar scrub yet? I tried it and now can't make it fast enough for my girls and girlfriends.

    • Rosemary Palmer
      on Jul 2, 2016

      I have. They just make the aroma in the shower so good. Some do have to be careful about staining their skin.

  • Jsm5179467
    on Apr 2, 2016

    are coffee grounds harmful to plumbing and septic tanks? I use reusable plastic K cups and dump the used grounds down the drain....

    • Mary
      on Apr 18, 2016

      Our sink at work was clogged up and the plumber said it was from people putting coffee grounds down it.

    • Rosemary Palmer
      on Jul 2, 2016

      I've always been told to never put coffee grounds down a sink.

    • Marilyn Zaruba
      on Aug 15, 2016

      My daughter-in-law does this, too, and it is just a matter of time before she needs the plumber. I told her not to put baby wipes down the toilet, too. Before long she not only had a plumbing bill, but the leak they caused ruined the ceiling over her kitchen. $$$$

    • Rosanne
      on Oct 6, 2016

      I keep a jar under the sink for coffee grounds that eventually feed the azaleas and blueberries. They love acid soils.

  • Loretta
    on Jul 1, 2016

    How can I prevent the local deer from eating my plants and flowers?

    • Rosemary Palmer
      on Jul 2, 2016

      I know there are some plants that tend to be deer resistant. I don't have that problem so not real sure. Your local garden center should be able to help you.

    • Tom7771566
      on Jul 28, 2016

      Human hair will deter Deer. Ask your barber to save some for you!

    • Vonda
      on Aug 10, 2016

      Any walk in hair salon that does hair, Super Cuts, Hair Cuttery take a couple of garbage bags, they will give you all they have. I try to go around 1st of month. I put around roses, any bush that deer or other creatures seem to like.

    • HelenI
      on Sep 3, 2016

      We have a major deer problem here and I tried a few things and what has worked really good for me is a product called liquid fence. Yes it smells when you first put it on but fades after a few hours unless you get right on top of the plant. You have to re-apply it after a rain but after a while just every few weeks or so works because I think the deer learn that this particular bed is not very appetizing.

    • Midnight
      on Oct 10, 2016

      I used to use coffee grinds, and had beautiful plants and flowers......but had a lot of trouble with hthe coons digging everything up. Coons love coffee grinds and egg shells...both are witch are great I the garden of u can keep the wildlife out

  • Jsm5179467
    on Jul 2, 2016

    Can I dry them in the sun?

    • OhSally
      on Jul 2, 2016

      Depending on the laws where you live. If it's not illegal then why not???

    • OhSally
      on Jul 2, 2016

      As an army family we always put a sock with dry coffee grounds in our fridge and freezer before the movers took the appliances. Absorbed moisture to prevent mildew and always smelled fresh upon arrival at our new home.

  • UpState
    on Jan 29, 2017

    Any plants that coffee grounds should stay away from ?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Feb 1, 2017

      It's actually a shorter list of plants that like coffee than those that don't

    • UpState
      on Feb 1, 2017

      So the grounds are bad for all other plants besides those shown - or neutral ?

    • Rhapsodyblue
      on Feb 10, 2017

      I put my grounds in the compost bin-the soil that comes out of it is fabulous! Just needs time...the paper filters can also go in the compost!

  • Sha6592762
    on Jan 30, 2017

    Omg. Can't put coffee grounds down the drain......I put mine down the garburator..... wrong?

  • Connie Drummond
    on Feb 11, 2017

    Which plants not to use coffee grounds on?

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Feb 14, 2017

      Only use on acid loving plants. Not on any others

    • Myr20374311
      on Mar 17, 2017

      Duh, how do you find out if they are acid loving plants? I have never paid attention to that maybe I should, right?

    • Ronnie
      on Mar 20, 2017

      Look it up on the internet.

  • Roger Gates
    on Mar 17, 2017

    We have a Keurig that is almost always used with flavored coffee. Can these grs be used?

  • Anny Palanzi
    on Jul 14, 2017

    can the grounds be used on indoor plants?
    • Rosemary Palmer
      on Jul 15, 2017

      I would have to check on that more. My first thought is I'm not sure how long it would take to break down. Moisture can cause mold.
    • Kat
      on May 16, 2020

      Get rid of mold by putting ground cinnamon on.

      I put coffee and grounds and tea grounds everything. I even pour a tiny bit of Dr Pepper in mine. I’ve never killed any of my plants, and I’m old.

Join the conversation

2 of 279 comments
  • Nancy Wilson
    on Jul 15, 2017

    Each night we used to dump the tea leaves from the pot out onto the garden (veggies and flower). The garden was lush and green and flowers and fruit abundant.
  • Barbara Zuviceh
    on Jul 27, 2017

    I had a compost bin when I lived in a rural area and I always took care to let the coffee grounds dry out before adding to my composting bin along with my used egg shells.
    I used to have some really good compost with all.of the other things that ended up in there.
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