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10 Brilliant Uses for Leftover Coffee Grounds

Get more out of your morning cup of joe.


Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee in the morning. However, you’d be surprised to learn that the leftover coffee grounds can actually come in handy around the house. Whether you need to clean a fireplace or keep Whiskers from chewing on houseplants, this item can be repurposed in so many ways. Here are 10 brilliant leftover coffee grounds that come in handy once that cup of joe is finished brewing.

1. Make fireplace cleaning a breeze.

You love curling up by the fire on colder nights, but could do without the hassle of cleanup afterward. What can help: After the fire cools, sprinkle damp coffee grounds on the ashes and let sit for five minutes before sweeping up. The grounds will help weigh down the ashes, eliminating the dust that would otherwise make the chore such a mess.

2. Deodorize a stinky fridge fast.

The Sunday night dinner you cooked for your family was delicious, but a few days later, the leftovers have left behind a strong smell in your fridge. The easy solution: Place a bowl of dry coffee grounds inside. The granules will absorb odors so they won’t escape every time you open the fridge door.

3. Help faded dark clothing look new.

If your favorite black jeans have faded, give them new life with a DIY “dye.” To do: Steep ¾ cup of coffee grounds in one gallon of water for 10 minutes, then pour in the washer. Add jeans and run on the gentle cycle without soap. The grounds’ tannins will infuse the fabric’s fibers with compounds to deepen color. (To nix any residue, run the rinse cycle once with one cup of white vinegar.)

4. Repair a furniture scratch.

While giving your end table a quick polish, you notice a small scratch on its surface. To erase it, dip a cotton swab in damp coffee grounds and use it to lightly dab at the mark. The coffee’s tannins will help stain the scratch, concealing it from view. Just allow it to dry for a few hours so the coloring can set before you remove any stray grounds.

5. Tenderize a tough cut of meat.

To ensure the skirt or flank steak you’re cooking turns out tender, try this: Coat the meat with olive oil, then rub on a mix of ¼ cup of fresh coffee grounds, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, one tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of black pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes, then cook. Coffee grounds’ tannic acid breaks down tough muscle fibers.

6. Protect plants from your cat.

Lately, Whiskers has been getting into all kinds of mischief, which includes snacking on your indoor greenery. The fix: Sprinkle a large handful of used coffee grounds on the soil. Cats dislike the strong scent of coffee, so your sweetie will leave your plants alone.

7. Easily sop up cooking oil.

Yikes! While whipping up dinner, you accidentally knocked over a bottle of olive oil. Instead of using paper towels to clean up the liquid (which just spreads it around), cover the spill with used coffee grounds, then let sit for five minutes. The grounds will soak up the oil, so all you have to do is sweep them up and wipe down the counter with a damp paper towel. Problem solved!

8. Create traction on icy surfaces.

Oh no! You’ve finished shoveling the snow off your front steps, but you don’t have any rock salt to sprinkle on the slippery ice. The in-a-pinch swap that works just as well? Coffee grounds! Simply sprinkle handfuls of used grounds on icy spots covering the hard surfaces around your house. The coffee grounds will provide traction, and their strong acid content will help melt the ice faster so you — and anyone stopping by — can walk around without worrying about slipping.

9. De-puff tired eyes in a blink.

The secret to looking bright-eyed after a late night: coffee grounds! Mix used grounds with enough water to form a paste, then use your finger or a cotton swab to apply to the skin under eyes. Rinse after 10 minutes. The caffeine content will restrict blood vessels to reduce swelling in no time.

10. Lift stubborn food odors from skin.

Nothing enhances pasta night like your homemade garlic bread — if only the garlic didn’t leave your hands smelling a bit pungent! To eliminated the odor, scrub your skin with used coffee grounds before washing as usual with soap and water. The granules will absorb the strong odors and will remove dead skin cells to soften hands.

This article was updated on Thursday, January 12. It was originally published on January 18, 2022.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.

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