To me, coffee is as necessary as air. Since I crave the flavor and the caffeine kick, it breaks my heart to have to throw away the leftover coffee and grounds every day. So, I thought about what I could do with those dregs. Here’s what I came up with.
1. Color your hair
You can boost your natural brunette hair color and make your hair shine by coloring your hair with coffee.
• Cool down a pot of dark roast coffee.
• Shampoo and rinse your hair as usual, then squeeze out excess water with your hands.
• Pour the coffee through your hair.
• Put on a shower cap and let it sit for a half hour.
• Rinse the coffee out of your hair with warm water.
• Dry it with a dark towel.
2. Bake with coffee.
No, wait—I'm not talking tiramisu here. This is much easier! Add leftover coffee to brownie mix instead of the liquid the recipe calls for, and you’ll enjoy the rich, complex flavor it adds to the finished product.
3. Put it in compost.
Add coffee grounds to your compost pile—and include the used coffee filter. Earthworms love coffee grounds, and they will enrich and aerate the compost.
4. Repel pests
While worms like it, slugs hate coffee. Put a ring of coffee grounds on the soil to discourage slugs, or pour a pot of cold coffee around your hostas. The caffeine acts as a neurotoxin for the slithery creatures.
5. Freshen the fridge.
Used as a delicious-smelling alternative to baking soda, a cup of coffee grounds will absorb odors and keep your refrigerator smelling fresh.
6. Neutralize cooking odors on your hands
After you’re finished chopping onions or garlic, rub your hands with leftover coffee grounds to get rid of the smell.
7. Change up your clothes.
If you’ve ever spilled coffee on a white shirt, you know that it stains. Harness this power by intentionally dying a shirt, to give it a vintage look. The color won’t last through multiple washings, but you can re-dye the shirt anytime you want.
• Dip a washed white cotton T-shirt in a bowl of hot coffee.
• Weigh it down and let it steep for 24 hours.
• Rinse the shirt in cold water.
• Let it air dry.
8. Add it to your beauty regimen.
It turns out that you can absorb caffeine through your skin, though you’ll get less of a buzz than you would by drinking the coffee. In this mixture, the grounds act as an exfoliant to scrub off dead skin, and the olive oil is a moisturizer.
• Combine 4 Tbsp. olive oil with 6 Tbsp. finely ground coffee.
• Scoop the scrub into a small jar.
• Very gently, scrub a small amount onto your skin.
• Rinse well.
9. Touch up scratches on dark wood furniture.
If you can’t help noticing that scuff on your table every day, take used coffee grounds and work some magic.
• Rub damp coffee grounds on a scratch with a Q-tip.
• Let the grounds sit for five minutes.
• Buff the surface with a clean cotton rag.
10. Watercolor painting
Seriously, get creative. Get some watercolor paper, dip a paintbrush into a cup of coffee, and have fun. The “paint” will come out a sienna color. You can go over parts of it more than once, to make it darker.