Show Mobile Navigation
Food |

10 Creative Ways To Enjoy Coffee Besides Drinking It

by M David Scott
fact checked by Jamie Frater

We all love a good cup of coffee to start off the morning, but this beverage can be used in several other ways. Just like coffee is good for our bodies, it has other benefits that can make our lives easier.

Next time you think about throwing those used coffee grounds away, think again. They can be recycled and used throughout your home or garden. Here are 10 creative ways to enjoy coffee besides drinking it.

10 Insect Repellent

Midges and mosquitoes natural repellent

Mosquitoes are pesky and annoying. The little bloodsuckers can ruin a relaxing night outdoors. You will find yourself busy swatting them away instead of enjoying the time with friends and family.

Coffee grounds are an unusual solution to this annoying little problem. According to the EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to repel mosquitoes and other troublesome insects. A study also showed that coffee grounds and caffeine could kill larvae by preventing the development of adult mosquitoes. The insects were not able to build a resistance to coffee.

To burn coffee grounds to use as a repellent, start by grabbing your used grounds and placing them in a bowl covered in foil. Once the grounds have dried, burn them like incense. It is best to choose a spot upwind of your location, and you can add fresh bay leaves to the fire for extra repellent.[1]

This is a cheap and effective way to prevent those bothersome insects from ruining your night.

9 Stain Wood Furniture

Photo credit:

Everyone is always looking for DIY projects around their house. Staining wood furniture is one of the many projects that people attempt to tackle. There are a lot of manufactured wood stain products on the market, but you won’t need to buy any of them if you have coffee at home. The method of staining wood with coffee is natural and chemical-free, and the finish is exceptional. The coat will also get darker as it becomes older.

To stain wood with coffee, simply start by brewing a pot of coffee. Then allow it to cool. The stronger you brew, the darker the stain will be. Use fine sandpaper to sand the surface that you plan to stain. Pour the cool coffee into a plastic container along with alum to help it adhere to the wood.

Use your sponge, rag, or cloth to spread the coffee over the wood surface. Don’t worry about using too much because it will absorb. Let the wood sit for 10–15 minutes, and you can repeat if you would like the wood to be darker.[2]

How satisfying is it to know that you stained your wood furniture with a natural and nonchemical substance found in your home!

8 Create Air Freshener

Photo credit:

We are always coming into contact with unpleasant smells, whether it is from the kitchen, bathroom, living room, or even your vehicle. Sometimes, you have to freshen up those areas with an air freshener.

Don’t have one handy? Make it yourself from coffee found in your home. Most air fresheners only cover up the odor, but an air freshener made from coffee can absorb the odor to keep it away.

Coffee beans act like baking soda does in a fridge. They help to absorb the smell and eliminate it. An air freshener can be easily made from coffee grounds to help any area smell better. All you need is a pair of old socks, your favorite brew, and a tall glass or cup.

Stick the sock down in the glass, and roll the excess over the outside of the glass. Then pour some coffee grounds or beans into the sock, pull the sock out, and tie it in a knot. Stick the air freshener anywhere that needs some help. For those who want to get fancy, you can stick the sock in a decorative bowl to hide it.[3]

7 Dry Rubs For Steak Or Chili

Photo credit:

We all love to consume our favorite coffee in drink form, but did you know that it is also delicious to eat? If you have extra brewed joe or grounds lying around, you can spice up almost any food. Coffee is a spice that brings rich, deep, and earthy flavors to food. You’ll mostly find it on red meats and desserts to add an espresso-like taste.

Coffee can be added to a marinade for roast meat, braising liquid for beef short ribs, barbecue sauce for grilled chicken, a sauce for fried eggs, or a pancake topper. You can even mix it with your favorite spices to create an amazing dry rub for burgers, spice-crusted pork, or lamb.

Using coffee while cooking can really add the extra flavor to make many dishes pop. There are several recipes available if you are looking to experiment with cooking with coffee.[4]

6 Exfoliate Your Skin

Coffee Cellulite Srub

Not only does coffee have some great benefits for the inside of your body, but it is also valuable for your skin. The grounds can help balance the pH of the skin. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants that battle free radicals and is a great product to exfoliate the skin. It helps you to shed dead and dry skin to reveal a glow, and it adds extra shine to your hair.[5]

Many of the ingredients you need to make a face mask or exfoliating face scrub are found in your home. Making a scrub with natural properties will be beneficial to your skin as it eliminates lines and dry skin. Coffee can also be mixed to create body scrubs, hair masks, and foot scrubs.

Try making a homemade mask or scrub one day, and you will be amazed at how well it treats your skin.

5 Compost And Fertilizer

Photo credit:

Instead of letting your old coffee grounds end up in a landfill, use them in your garden and compost pile. Using coffee grounds in your garden helps to add nitrogen to your compost pile.

You can simply throw the grounds into your compost pile, or they can be used as a fertilizer. Using grounds as a fertilizer adds an organic material to your soil, which improves drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil.

Coffee grounds can even repel slugs and snails in the garden. If you want to add coffee grounds to your compost or fertilizer, stop by your local Starbucks. Participating stores give out free bags of used coffee grounds as part of their Grounds For Your Garden program.[6]

The company does this to recycle and help reduce waste. Use this organic resource in your garden to help reduce the amount of products going to a landfill.

4 Clean Out Garbage Disposal

Since coffee is a great deodorizer like baking soda, it can be used to freshen up garbage disposals. They often start to release an unpleasant smell, and coffee grounds are an excellent solution to this problem. You don’t have to waste good coffee for this little DIY trick. Used grounds are just fine.

To make a garbage disposal cleaning pad, you will need coffee grounds, Epsom salts, baking soda, and vinegar.[7] Once you properly mix the ingredients, you will use a measuring spoon to create the small cleaners and allow them to dry overnight. Then you can drop one in your garbage disposal when needed. Turn on the disposal and water to enjoy a wonderful new smell coming from your kitchen sink.

3 Coat Sidewalks During Winter

Photo credit:

If you live in areas that experience a lot of snow during the winter, then you probably know all about using salt on your sidewalks. Salt is effective in melting the ice to prevent slipping, but it can be destructive to the environment. Salt can also restrict plants from absorbing the proper amount of water and nutrition. If you are looking for a safer alternative to salt, try using coffee.[8]

You probably had a hot cup of brew to help keep you warm on those winter days. Save the coffee grounds, and generously sprinkle them across the snowy sidewalk as you would salt. The grounds work just as sand or salt would and give you the opportunity to walk across the sidewalk. The acid of the coffee even helps to melt away the snow more quickly.

Save those coffee grounds to stay environmentally friendly during those snowy days!

2 Wash Your Hair

Photo credit:

Instead of drinking coffee, try throwing it on your hair during a shower. There are many advantages to washing your hair with coffee because it has a lower pH than water. The rough grounds exfoliate the scalp and stimulate hair follicles to help growth. Coffee is found in many shampoos now because of the benefits it provides.

The caffeine in the coffee is great for your hair, too. It helps stimulate the hair roots and may deter baldness and hair loss. The caffeine will block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and enables hair shafts to grow faster.

It also has a way of making your hair shine more. You can use coffee to make a hair rinse to enhance hair color and texture, a hair mask to make it softer and shinier, and a hair oil to stimulate the roots of the hair.[9]

1 Protect Dog From Fleas

Everybody loves a good cup of coffee, except fleas. They hate coffee, but they do love your dog. If you notice that your dog is itching from those pesky fleas, then save your coffee grounds from that cup of joe you had this morning. The grounds can help to get rid of the fleas when mixed with the dog’s shampoo.

Start by giving your dog a bath as usual. After you have shampooed Spot, generously rub the coffee grounds through the dog’s hair. Then rinse the grounds from the animal’s hair and be sure to look for those loose grounds that haven’t shaken off. The coffee will act as a natural repellent and help remove the fleas that were annoying your dog.[10]

I’m just another bearded guy trying to write my way through life. Visit me at


Read more awesome facts about coffee on 10 Incredible Things Coffee Does To Your Body and 10 Awesome Facts About Coffee.

fact checked by Jamie Frater