7 things you can do with coffee (other than drink it)

A “cup of joe” delivers a host of health perks, but there are other ways to get a kick out of coffee besides drinking it. And they’re worth a shot!

Coffee has a well-deserved reputation as being a potent pick-me-up and research suggests drinking it regularly may also lower your risk of developing everything from dementia to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Nurturing a coffee-drinking habit might even help you maintain a healthy weight.

But coffee’s perks aren’t confined to that rich, deep-brown liquid you put in a cup to drink.

With a bit of know-how, spent coffee grounds can be repurposed in a variety of ways. And that’s good news, because according to Planet Ark, when sent to landfill these grounds produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Here are a few ways to put your leftover coffee grounds to work:

Fertilise your garden

Used coffee grounds are a great addition to your backyard compost bin because they’re rich in nitrogen, a chemical that provides bacteria with the energy they need to turn organic matter into nutrient-rich compost.

Experts suggest that if you layer leaves, grass clippings and coffee grounds and turn once a week, the compost will be ready for use in as little as three months.

Remove baked-on food residue

Coffee grounds are naturally abrasive, which makes them an effective, chemical-free cleaning product.

Sprinkle a generous amount of used coffee grounds on to a damp dish cloth and get scrubbing.


Feed the worms

If you’ve got a worm farm at your place (and there are plenty of reasons why that’s a good idea, including reducing your household food waste), coffee grounds are a ready-made meal for your wriggly friends.

Feed them alongside fruit and vegie scraps, teabags, crushed eggshells and small amounts of bread, pasta and rice.

Exfoliate your skin

Coffee grounds don’t dissolve in water, so they make the ideal base for a skin scrub.

Plus, they’re a rich source of antioxidants, some of which are particularly beneficial for promoting healthy skin.

To make an all-natural, no-nasties coffee scrub, mix equal amounts of fresh fine coffee grounds, brown sugar and melted coconut oil.

DIY natural dye

If you’ve ever tried to get a coffee stain out of a white shirt, you’ll know that the struggle is real – which makes it an excellent alternative to chemical-laden dyes.

Add water to turn used coffee grounds into a paste or concentrated solution, and use it to colour cotton, linen or paper, or even to intensify your hair colour if you’re a brunette.


Awaken your senses

A 2018 study proved that you don’t have to consume coffee to enjoy its “wake-up” qualities – simply sniffing its scent can do the trick.

When people did that before embarking on a task that required analytical skills, they not only felt more confident in their problem-solving abilities, they genuinely performed better, too. 

Neutralise smells

Caffeine has odour-fighting properties, so to keep your fridge or pantry smelling fresh, put a bowl or open container of coffee grounds on one of the shelves. Replace regularly for best results.

You can also wrap some ground coffee up in muslin or stocking material, to create an “odour eliminating sachet’ to put in your drawers, wardrobe or linen closet.

Written by Karen Fittall.