Coffee grounds can be used in many areas, whether it’s garden fertilizer, skin scrubs, cleaning products or flea repellents.
Coffee grounds are the residue from the preparation of coffee. It is generally considered waste, but it can be useful. Coffee grounds can be obtained by making coffee at home or in cafes that give them away. Here are the many uses of coffee grounds in this article.
Unexpected uses of coffee grounds
Coffee is a beverage prepared from roasted coffee beans. Coffee beans grow in approximately 30 countries in Central and South America, from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, and people all over the world consume this drink. According to the International Coffee Organization, people consumed more than 166 000 bags of coffee (weighing 60 kilograms everyone) in the world in 2020-2021.
1 Skin exfoliation product
Coffee grounds can be mixed with water, honey or coconut oil to create a skin exfoliation product that can be used all over the body. Exfoliation removes dead cells from the top layer of skin and can unclog pores, clean skin and reduce acne. It can also make skin look brighter and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
A study by 2013 suggests that caffeic acid, an antioxidant found in coffee, may reduce premature aging of cells and boost collagen levels.
2 Natural dye
Coffee has a strong color, and coffee grounds can dye fabrics natural in different shades of tan and brown. A study in 2016 revealed that coffee grounds are a potential natural colorant for use on a commercial scale because the fabrics the researchers dyed as part of the study remained colorfast by industry standards. People can also use coffee grounds to dye their hair, although they may not produce a significant color change or last long. That said, they may be fine for a short-term change.
3 Plant Fertilizer
Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur to grow. Coffee grounds can retain the nitrogen content of the soil, which can benefit plant growth. A study by 2016 found that mixing coffee grounds in the soil improved the nutritional value of lettuce.
4 Insect, mosquito and flea repellent
Coffee contains diterpenes, which are toxic to insects. This can make coffee grounds a suitable insect repellent for someone’s garden. A study by 2016 concluded that although coffee grounds are not toxic to ants, they are a effective repellent against them. Coffee may also be an effective method of mosquito control, as a study by 2015 found that mosquitoes were less likely to hatch if coffee was present in their environment.
Fleas also don’t like coffee grounds. For this reason, one might try rubbing coffee grounds into his pet’s fur if he has fleas. However, before doing so, a veterinarian should be consulted to ensure that this method of flea prevention is suitable for the animal. Caffeine is toxic to cats and dogs, so be careful not to let your pet eat coffee grounds. Caffeine poisoning can cause symptoms in about 30 minutes and be fatal.
5 Cleaning product
The marc of coffee is a coarse powder. This means that it is abrasive and can be used to clean surfaces, utensils or appliances that have embedded or hard-to-remove dirt. That said, coffee grounds may be too rough to use on delicate surfaces or utensils.
6 Odor Relief
The caffeine in charred coffee grounds can eliminate odors by absorbing hydrogen sulfide molecules from the air. Therefore, coffee grounds can be turned into soap to neutralize odors on hands after cooking, for example, or to minimize odors in shoes.
7 Meat Tenderizer
Meat tenderizers use enzymes to break down the fibers in meat to make it more tender and easier to eat. Meat tenderizer powders use acids and enzymes from fruits such as pineapple and papaya. Coffee grounds are acidic and contain enzymes that can also break down fibers in meat. We can therefore try to use the coffee grounds to tenderize the meat before cooking it. One can also marinate the meat in coffee or use the coffee grounds as a meat rub to add flavor.
8 Product Furniture Restoration
The strong coffee color can also be used to restore scratched wooden furniture. After mixing coffee grounds with water, the resulting paste can be rubbed on the scratches of wooden furniture to match the original color.
Cervera-Mata, A., et al. (2019). Spent coffee grounds improve the nutritional value in elements of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and are an ecological alternative to inorganic fertilizers [Abstract].
Franca, AS, et para. (166). Coffee processing solid wastes: Current uses and future perspectives.
Hair dyes. (2020).
Hardgrove, SJ, et al. (2016). Applying spent coffee grounds directly to urban agriculture soils greatly reduces plant growth [Abstract].
Herman, A., et al. (2013). Caffeine’s mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use [Abstract].
Kante, K., et al. (2012). Spent coffee-based activated carbon: Specific surface features and their importance for H2S separation process [Abstract].
Nam, C., et al. (2019). Natural dyeing application of used coffee grounds as a potential resource [Abstract].
Tsou, S.-H., et al. (2019). Potential oral health care agent from coffee against virulence factor of periodontitis.
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