Millions of pounds of coffee run through drip machines, French presses, and Keurig coffee makers each day. As such, there are just as many grounds going to waste following the completion of each batch. Many often throw out these leftover particles, contributing to landfills. However, there are things you can do instead to get more use out of the grounds while protecting your local landscape. Read on to discover some noteworthy things you can do with your expired coffee grounds.

Homemade Body Scrub

Indulge in a DIY spa day by crafting a luxurious body scrub from your leftover coffee grounds. While this might seem unorthodox, the scrub’s natural exfoliants will leave you soft and glowing. There’s also the added bonus of smelling like a coffee shop! It’s a win-win for your skin and the planet.

Here’s a basic recipe that you can customize to suit your skincare needs:


  • 1 cup of coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup of sugar or sea salt (for exfoliation)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil (for moisture)
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil (if desired)


  • Combine the coffee grounds and sugar or salt in a bowl.
  • Add the oil gradually, mixing until you achieve a wet sand consistency.
  • Mix in the essential oil, if desired.
  • Store your scrub in an airtight container and use for silky-smooth skin!

Natural Deodorizer

No one likes lingering odors, whether it’s from your fridge, a musty closet, or even after cooking. Coffee grounds are a natural deodorizer that can help neutralize unwanted smells. Simply place the dried-out grounds in a container and poke a few holes in the lid. Now, your grounds are ready to absorb odors.

If you’re aiming for a more refreshing scent profile, adding some dried lavender or citrus peels to the mix can infuse the space with a delightful aroma. This homemade, sustainable solution keeps your home smelling fresh without the need for chemical-laden air fresheners.

Gardening Aid

Coffee grounds are a gardener’s best-kept secret. They can enhance the soil, serving as a source of nutrition for your plants. Coffee grounds are slightly acidic, making them especially beneficial for plants that need a high environmental pH, including tomatoes, blueberries, and roses.

Simply sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the soil and work them in with a trowel or hand rake. Over time, as the grounds break down, they’ll release nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are vital for plant growth.

Pest Repellent

Caffeine can be a horror for slugs and snails. Sprinkle a ring of coffee grounds around vulnerable plants to create a barrier that keeps these pests at bay. The grounds also add nutrients to the soil as they deter pests, acting as a double-duty garden warrior.

This eco-friendly method is particularly useful for those looking to avoid chemical pesticides. It’s a mild yet effective strategy that doesn’t harm the environment.

Compost Addition

If you’d rather create a more versatile gardening mixture before treating your yard, coffee grounds can significantly enhance a compost pile. As mentioned, they’re a fantastic source of nitrogen, which is an essential accelerator for the decomposition process. They also introduce worm-friendly bacteria, making the environment more hospitable for these soil companions.

In your compost, it’s best to balance coffee grounds with greens and browns to create rich, fertile soil. For example, every time you add one part of coffee grounds (a green), be sure to add two to three parts of dried leaves or paper (browns). This balance helps maintain the proper carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in your pile.

Cleaning Scrub

Another noteworthy thing you can do with your expired coffee grounds is create an effective cleaning agent for use around the home. Their abrasiveness makes them perfect for scrubbing hard-to-clean surfaces, helping you tackle any grime in your kitchen and bathroom. The added benefit is that their natural oils break down dirt and grease, making coffee grounds a natural stain remover.

To make a coffee-scented cleaner, mix your grounds with warm water and a little bit of soap to create a paste. Apply it to surfaces and scrub away those pesky stains. This eco-conscious cleaning solution will leave your home sparkling.

Flea Repellent for Pets

If you’re a pet owner, keeping your furry friends free of fleas without resorting to harsh chemicals is essential. Coffee grounds are a natural flea repellent that you can incorporate into your pet care routine.

After giving your pet a bath, gently rub damp coffee grounds through their fur. You can also add a teaspoon of grounds to their shampoo to ensure a more thorough flea-fighting treatment.

Pro Tip

Never use coffee grounds directly on your pet’s skin without consulting with your veterinarian first, especially if your pet has sensitive skin or allergies.

Natural Dye

Add a touch of earthy color to your life by using coffee grounds as a natural dye. It works especially well on fabrics and paper.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Simmer coffee grounds with water for around an hour. The longer you simmer, the darker the dye.
  • Strain the liquid to remove the grounds.
  • Immerse your material into the dye.
  • Let it soak until you achieve your desired color.
  • Rinse the material under cold water and hang it to dry.

The result is a beautiful, antique-looking brown hue. It’s a fun and eco-friendly way to add a new look to your crafts and goods while reducing waste.

Flavored Recipes

Believe it or not, expired coffee grounds can still infuse your recipes with bold flavors and aromas. When baking or cooking, mix your grounds into dry ingredients such as flour or sugar for a rich, coffee-flavored twist. It’s an excellent addition to brownie and chocolate cake recipes that enhances their cocoa undertones with a subtle coffee flavor.

You can also create savory rubs for meats or add a spoonful of grounds to your marinade for that extra depth of flavor. The key is to experiment in small amounts and taste as you go to achieve the perfect balance.

The bottom line is that coffee grounds have an afterlife that doesn’t involve a scheduled trip to your waste bin. Their utility ranges from the every day to the extraordinary, making them a versatile and sustainable powerhouse. So, when you shop our collection of flavored coffee pods, you’re making an investment that will work for you much longer than anticipated. Browse 11th Street Coffee’s inventory of cinnamon, coconut, and pumpkin spice coffee—we guarantee there’s something for everyone.

What To Do With Your Expired Coffee Grounds
March 12, 2024 — Brooke Tumlin