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Everyday Cheapskate: Clever Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

Mary Hunt on

If you drink morning coffee, then it's likely you throw away used coffee grounds every day. If you don't, chances are there's a coffee shop nearby where you can get some; just stop by and see if they give them away. Here are some ideas for reusing them.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, coffee grounds are an effective way to keep insects away. The smoke from burned used coffee grounds is especially effective at sending mosquitoes away because they're repelled by the scent, which to us is quite subtle. Keep this tip in mind when planning your next backyard barbecue.

Start with completely dry used coffee grounds. Place the grounds on a fire-safe surface and light them with a lighter around the edges. Put a few fresh basil leaves into each container (optional). Set the containers upwind to get the scent flowing.


Coffee grounds contain caffeine and diterpenes that can be quite harmful to some types of bugs, making them an excellent way to keep pests away from your plants. Sprinkle them around your yard to discourage crawling creatures.


They're helpful for protecting your garden in other ways, too. Cats naturally seek out bare soil to use as their toilet space, making gardens their favorite outdoor litter box. This causes damage to plants, gives off a seriously unpleasant odor and is unsanitary. Because they don't like the smell, if you regularly sprinkle used grounds in and around your garden, cats will eventually decide to find a new bathroom spot.

If you want a natural fertilizer, try spent espresso beans. They contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, along with various micronutrients. Mixing these into the soil allows them to release their nutrients slowly into the ground. It's great for plants such as azaleas, begonia, gardenias, holly and roses.


There are lots of websites touting the benefits of homemade coffee bean scrubs, but according to, "caffeine can help diminish the appearance of cellulite, and the coconut oils will hydrate and smooth your skin to perfection." Sounds good to me!


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