From Your Garden to Your Thighs: What Coffee Grounds Can do for You

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Many of us rely on our morning cup of coffee to get the day started. The delicious aroma of a warm cup of coffee just sets the tone for the day ahead. What you might not know is that coffee itself, as well as the grounds, are good for so much more. 

Before tossing those grounds in the trash, consider some of these great ways to recycle them.


Flowers such as azaleas, roses, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and camellias do very well with some coffee grounds added to their soil, as the acidity and nutrients that the grounds provide helps them flourish. When planting carrots, mix carrot seeds with dried coffee grounds before you plant to amplify your harvest.

Keeping unwelcome critters away

Making a ring of coffee grounds around your plants helps keep pests such as ants, snails, and slugs out of your garden. To discourage cats from eating and trampling your flowers, mix dried coffee grounds with orange peels and make a border around your plants.

If you have an ant infestation within your home, sprinkle coffee grounds in the areas where they lurk to help clear up the problem. They can easily be vacuumed up later.

Deodorizing your fridge

A bowl of dried coffee grounds placed in the back of your refrigerator or freezer can neutralize nasty odors.

Scrubbing stuck-on foods

Add a couple of teaspoons of grounds to a cleaning cloth to scour away any residue sticking to your cookware or silverware and to soak up any grease. Coffee grounds can even remove lingering food odors from your hands, such as garlic. Simply rub them into your hands and wash as normal.

Dyeing eggs and fabrics

Coffee grounds soaked in hot water are great for dying Easter eggs, fabrics, and even paper. Using them as a dye results in a warm, sepia hue. If you soak just the edges of the paper briefly in the dye and lay it flat to dry, it results in a beautiful, antique look.

Coffee scrub for cellulite

Caffeine found in coffee helps dilate blood vessels and reduce the appearance of skin dimples, AKA, cellulite. The stimulating effects of caffeine improve blood flow, tightening the skin and eliminating extra water.  Antioxidants in coffee gobble up skin, destroying free radicals and promoting healthy skin overall. Coffee also has natural exfoliating properties that remove dead skin cells and encourage smoother, more even-looking skin. Although exfoliation cant get rid of cellulite, it can reduce its appearance. Massaging an exfoliating coffee scrub into the skin helps assist lymphatic drainage and stretches skin tissue, also reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Here’s how to make a skin-tightening coffee scrub that is good for the whole body.

  • Mix coffee grounds, organic coconut oil, and a teaspoon of coconut crystals together to create a magnificent body scrub. 
  • Massage all over face and body, and rinse in the shower.

More ways to put coffee to work

Here are a few more great ways to use coffee to look your best.

Natural hair treatment

When you look at the ingredients in most hair treatments, there are many questionable ingredients — both for you and the environment. If you’d like to renew your hair and make it shiny as can be, all you need is a touch of coffee and some water. If you want to incorporate sugar, you can make more of a scalp exfoliator before applying the recipe below.

To make: In order to help your hair shine (while supporting healthier hair follicles), simply combine strong brewed coffee with a touch of water. Once the mixture has cooled, it’s time to apply. You can either pour it over your hair while leaning over the tub, or you can put it into a spray bottle and spritz it on. Apply a shower cap, wait 20 minutes and rinse.

Our poor feet do a whole lot of walking, so they need a little love. Plus, exfoliating the bottom of your feet is a treat in itself. As you scrub away dead skin, your feet will become smooth and summer-ready! This scrub is more abrasive than your face scrub, so be sure to only apply this combo to your hands and feet.

To make: Combine a ½ cup of dry coffee grounds with one cup of raw sugar. Then add ½ a cup of almond oil plus five to six drops of essential oil (tea tree offers great anti-fungal properties while lavender promotes healing). Simply apply the mixture to your feet, working in a circular motion before rinsing and patting dry.

So, the next time you’re drinking your morning cup of Joe, take a look inside your mug. That rich, black liquid we all love can be applied to your skin and hair. As you actively practice more and more chemical-free DIY remedies, you’ll wonder why you were spending a fortune on products that often do more harm than good.

With all of the possible uses for coffee grounds, can you believe you ever threw them away?

Happy growing,

Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener

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