How to Dispose of Coffee Grounds

Raise your hand if you love fresh-brewed coffee in the morning. No matter how you brew, you inevitably need to clean up afterward, bringing up a surprisingly common question.

How do you dispose of used coffee grounds? 

Deciding how to dispose of coffee grounds can be a point of contention in some households. Other people desire a creative solution, especially if they want to be eco-friendly.

From trashing them to treasuring them, there are several ways to safely dispose of coffee grounds.

Keep Them Out of Your Septic System 

Dumping coffee grounds down the drain or into a garbage disposal is a recipe for trouble. Even the most powerful disposals can’t overcome the power of coffee grounds. 

What happens when you dump grounds in the sink?

Those coffee grounds attract grease and build up along the pipes. Then, the grounds and grease mix to form disgusting sludge that eventually blocks your pipes. 

It might seem impossible to keep every single bit out of your drains. A few grounds here or there should not pose a problem. 

If you’re concerned, try placing a fine mesh strainer in your sink to capture the remnants. 

Put Them in the Trash

The simplest, easiest way to dispose of coffee grounds is to chuck them into the garbage bin. 

Simply remove the coffee filter and grounds from your coffee pot. Drop the filter and grounds into your kitchen trash can. 

If you don’t use a paper coffee filter, grab a paper towel. Scrape the grounds out with a paper towel and dispose of them.

You may even notice your trash doesn’t smell so bad when you toss your used grounds away. That’s because used coffee grounds absorb and neutralize odors.

Coffee Grounds for Gardening

Coffee grounds retain many minerals after brewing, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. That makes them valuable for gardeners. 

Contribute to Compost Heaps

Think of composting your coffee grounds as recycling them.

Composting is the system of converting organic waste into a nutrient-rich substance with several uses.

  • Improves and balances soil.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Offsets the impact of drought conditions

Many communities created composting heaps as part of a community garden. Some local governments even offer streetside pickup of composting materials. 

Contact schools in your community to see if they operate compost bins or worm farms. They may appreciate regular donations of coffee grounds. 

Even if your community doesn’t have a composting program, you can start a bin. The best part is that you can recycle more than your coffee grounds!

Fertilize Plants

Coffee grounds tend to be acidic, meaning that they can help plants that thrive in acidic soil, like azaleas and blueberries.

Grow Your Own Mushrooms

If you love mushrooms and would like to grow your own, start with coffee grounds. Some varieties, like oyster mushrooms, grow well in coffee grounds. 

Repel Pests

Coffee grounds feed the worms in your garden but repel critters that destroy plants.

Creating a circle of grounds around the base of plants can repel ants, slugs, and snails.

Do you have an ant issue inside?

Sprinkle coffee grounds near the areas ants enter to let them know they aren’t welcome.

Repurpose and Reuse Your Coffee Grounds

Gardening isn’t the only way to put those spent grounds to good use!

From changing up your beauty routine to working magic on your next meal, coffee grounds can change your life.

Make a Natural Cleaner

If you prefer to avoid chemicals but can’t seem to get your cooking supplies clean, try coffee grounds.

Since coffee grounds are slightly acidic, they can act as a cleaning agent.

Not only do they have some antibacterial and antiviral components, but coffee grounds can also be abrasive.

You can use coffee grounds to clean your pots, pans, sink, and your grill. 

Coffee grounds may even make it easier to clean your fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Sprinkling damp grounds over the ashes sends less dust into the air as you clean. 

There are a few things to keep in mind before using coffee grounds as a cleaner: 

  • Don’t use them on light-colored or porous materials as they can leave behind stains
  • If you use coffee grounds in the sink, block the pipes so that you don’t accidentally lose some of them down the drain

Make a Natural Dye

Coffee grounds can make a natural dye for paper and fabric.

You can give paper an antique look or turn a white tee into a rich brown top. 

How to Dye Fabric with Coffee Grounds

Start with clean white fabric or clothing, coffee grounds, white vinegar, hot water, and a bucket or large bowl.

Fill the bucket or bowl with hot water and the coffee grounds. 

Let the grounds steep in hot water until you get the color you desire. Note that it will take longer since you already used the coffee grounds once.

Put the fabric in the bucket and let it sit for at least twenty-four hours. Rinse thoroughly.

Refill your bucket with water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Soak the fabric for about ten minutes, then rinse it thoroughly.

Let the fabric dry completely and iron it to set the color.

Disguise Scratches in Wood Furniture

Do you have an unsightly spot on a dresser or headboard? Carefully apply coffee grounds to the scratch with a cotton swab to make them less obvious.

Alternatively, you can create a solution by steeping coffee grounds in ¼ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup warm water. Shake and let sit for at least an hour. Apply to scratches with a  clean rag.

Note that the coffee only darkens the spot, but it can mask the imperfections.

Naturally Deodorize Your Home or Car

Dried coffee grounds make an excellent deodorizer. You can place them in your refrigerator, car, or closet to absorb and neutralize odors.

To make a coffee ground deodorizer, start by drying the grounds.

How to Sun Dry Coffee Grounds

Line a baking sheet with newspaper or parchment paper.

Spread the grounds over the paper in a thin layer.

Set them in a warm, sunny location for up to four days.

How to Oven Dry Coffee Grounds

The oven-drying method takes less time, and it makes your house smell wonderful. 

Spread coffee grounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set the oven at 180° to prevent burning.

Bake the grounds for thirty minutes, then flip them and bake for thirty more minutes. Continue flipping the grounds every thirty minutes until they are completely dry.

Storing and Using Dry Coffee Grounds

Dried coffee grounds keep for a few years when stored in an airtight container. Try to keep them in a dark place. 

To use the dried grounds as a deodorizer, put them in a dish for the refrigerator or freezer. 

Fill a sock, pantyhose, or small cotton bag with the grounds to create a small satchel for cars, closets, and other spaces.

Develop a New Skin Care Routine

Coffee grounds can work magic on your skin, and you can use them in many ways. 

Use coffee grounds as a scrub to remove dead skin cells. If you struggle with dry skin, try blending the grounds with coconut or olive oil.

You can also reduce puffiness around your eyes with coffee grounds in a damp paper towel. Apply the paper towel to your eyes for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Improve Your Hair Care Game

Coffee grounds aren’t just magic for your skin. Adding spent grounds to your hair care routine could be a gamechanger.

A deep clean every few weeks with coffee grounds can make your hair shinier and even stimulate hair growth.

It strips buildup and exfoliates your scalp to leave your hair healthier. 

Brunettes can enhance their hair color without chemicals. Add some coffee grounds to your conditioner and leave it in clean hair for a few minutes. Rinse with cool water.

A Natural Flea Treatment for Pets

Is it surprising that coffee grounds can help your pets? Aside from giving them shinier coats, bathing pets with coffee grounds can get rid of fleas and even repel them.

When you bathe your furry friend, give them a rubdown with coffee grounds and rinse thoroughly. Be careful to avoid getting any grounds in their eyes and mouth!

Upgrade Your Meals

Coffee grounds can get a second life in the kitchen.

From meat tenderizer to spice enhancer, those spent grounds can make you feel like a world-class chef.

Make a Meat Tenderizer

Even the toughest meats can’t withstand the awesome power of coffee grounds.

Add it to a marinade, braising liquid, or barbecue sauce to get tender meat and a unique flavor.

Ramp Up Your Spice Rubs

Spice rubs add a little crispness to any meal, and coffee grounds add a special kick.

It adds a slight mocha undertone to the meal and rounds out the other spices.

Dress Up Simple Recipes

Coffee grounds work well as an adornment for breakfast dishes and desserts. Add some coffee grounds to syrup or butter. You can also sprinkle dry, spent grounds as a garnish. 

Knowing how to dispose of coffee grounds safely can prevent major plumbing issues. Which method will you choose?

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