20 Genius Uses for Leftover Coffee and Coffee Grounds

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Before you empty out your leftover coffee or throw out the coffee grounds, we asked our readers to help us compile 20 genius uses to recycle your coffee and coffee grounds.

One of our readers said, “leftover coffee? that’s like leftover money! there is none.”

If you have leftover coffee or coffee grinds, we found 20 uses for leftover coffee. Did you know about all the ways they can be used?



Uses for Leftover Coffee

1.) Stain wood. Dab a cloth in coffee and run it over scratches in your wood furniture or hardwood floor. The coffee will stain the scratch and help blend it in. You can also mix it with a little vinegar and warm water.

2.) Soak a dirty grill – the acid in the coffee will help cut through the grease on your grill and make cleaning easier.

3.) Make iced coffee – Store leftover coffee in a pitcher in your refrigerator and make coffee ice cubes so your drink will not get diluted.

4.) Add a little bit to your oatmeal instead of milk for a stronger flavor

5.) Add a little to your chili for a warm flavor. I make it in the crockpot and add about a quarter cup. You can find recipes that recommend adding even more.

6.) Add it to chocolate cake or brownies recipes to replace some of the liquid in the recipe for a strong delicious flavor.

7.) Add a bit to your frosting or icing recipe to replace some of the liquid or to to thin it out.

8.) Add a little bit to your gravy for a deep color and extra flavor.

9.) Dye paper to make it look antique. I found a tutorial on Pinterest, How to Dye Paper Using Coffee.

10.)  Dye fabric. Soak fabric in a bath of leftover cooled coffee for a lovely aged color. I found a tutorial here: How to Dye Fabric Using Coffee.

Chalkboard Coffee Design

Uses for Leftover Coffee Grounds

Tip – if you want to dry the coffee grounds, you can place them on a baking sheet and put in the oven set to 200º for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir them about half-way through. Your bonus is the wonderful aroma you have wafting through your home. Let them cool and then store them in a glass jar with a lid or a baggie.

11.) Get rid of garlic and onion smell. After cooking with garlic or onions, rub used coffee grounds on your hands and wash with soap. No more smell.

12.) Keep bugs away. Used coffee grounds act as a natural barrier to insects. Line your garden or potted plants to keep the pests out. Readers said it is a great deterrent for snails and slugs around tomato plants.

13.) Keep cats out of the garden. Sprinkle coffee grounds in your garden if you have cats using it as a potty.

14.) Fertilize plants. Mix coffee grounds in the soil for as a nitrogen-infused fertilizer. Plants such as roses, hydrangeas, blueberries and evergreens love the natural acidity that coffee adds to soil, but check to make sure your specific plants need acidic soil. Some readers recommend mixing the coffee grounds with egg shells.

15.) Start a compost pile or add them to your compost pile. Coffee grounds will help suppress any odors too. Worms love coffee grounds and worms help break down ingredients in your compost pile. If you don’t want to add them straight, you can toss them into a brown paper bag first.

16.) Stop refrigerator odors. Coffee grounds act like baking soda in the fridge. Pour a cupful into a bowl, stick it on the top rack, and the grounds will absorb odors. This is great to do before you leave on vacation

17.) Get rid of burnt popcorn smell in the microwave. Add two tablespoons to a half cup of water and heat for a minute in the microwave. You may have to do it a few times, but it will get rid of that awful smell.

18.) Make a body scrub. Once the grounds are dry and cool, you can pick up a handful and scrub it on your rough patches. you can also mix the grounds will some olive oil which will act as a moisturizer. The coffee grounds are probably too rough for the face, so just stick to rough elbows and heels.

19.) Add it to homemade soap as a great exfoliate and fragrance.

20.) Make a marinade for steaks with a dash of soy sauce and seem brown sugar to make a nice crust when seared.

Bonus tips from readers:

Kate: I add leftover coffee to a Popsicle mold and freeze it to have a cold treat later in the day. That sounds so good!

Jim: Put damp coffee grounds on top of your fireplace ashes to keep the dust down before you clean out the ashes.

Miriam: Turn your hydrangeas blue. Mix coffee grounds into the dirt around your hydrangea plants and the acidity will turn the color to blue.

Lee: If you have icy sidewalks, you can dump coffee grounds to help with traction.

Ramon – dip a Q-tip into wet coffee grounds and go over wood scratches.

What other uses to you have to share for leftover coffee and coffee grounds? We welcome your tips and would be glad to add them to our master list of 20 Genius Uses for Your Leftover Coffee and Coffee Grounds.

Have you found any uses for empty Kcups? Can you recycle them?


My mom used to use wet coffee grounds when sweeping the garage. It helps to keep the dust clouds down as you sweep (especially important if a family member has allergies) and it smelled great.


I love this idea! My husband has allergies. I love to pass on tips from our moms and grandmothers.

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