8 Handy Household Uses for Coffee

drink
Uber Images / Shutterstock.com

Coffee is something of a miracle. It makes early mornings possible for many folks. It also bestows health benefits that reportedly range from a longer life to a lower risk of dementia.

You also can enlist coffee beans, grounds and even the plant itself in an array of household hacks. Applications range from cooking and cleaning to keeping the kids and grandkids entertained — just to name a few. Following are eight great examples.

1. Home decor

coffee plant
NADKI / Shutterstock.com

What kind of decoration doubles as an uncommon conversation piece? A coffee houseplant.

Yes, you can grow plants like Coffea arabica — the species from which arabica coffee beans come — indoors. You can grow them outdoors as well, although you might want to put them in pots that you can move inside for winter unless you live in a frost-free region.

You can find coffee plants online — they’re even sold on Amazon — and possibly at a local nursery. You’ll find care instructions online, too.

Like most houseplants, a coffee plant also will help cleanse your home’s air, even if it’s not among the plants known for an exceptional ability to remove toxins from indoor air.

2. Air freshener

Estrada Anton / Shutterstock.com

As we detailed in “This Flight Attendant Hack Banishes Nasty Bathroom Smells,” flight crews have been using coffee to spare passengers’ noses for years.

Some freshen the air with the aroma wafting from a pot of coffee. Others have given passengers bags of coffee to hold up to their noses.

A 2012 study even found that caffeinated coffee can wipe out hydrogen sulfide gas — the chemical responsible for the stink of raw sewage.

3. Fertilizer

mubus7 / Shutterstock.com

The internet abounds with anecdotal evidence of the benefits of fertilizing plants with coffee grounds. Money Talks News contributor Angela Colley wrote in “Upcycle Your Beverages: 20 Uses for Coffee, Tea, Soda and Beer“:

“A friend once told me to mix coffee grounds in the soil for tomato plants. I tried it and grew a crop of gorgeous tomatoes.”

Last year, I started fertilizing my houseplants and outdoor plants with water in which I had soaked used coffee grounds for a day or two before diluting with a lot of straight water. I noticed no difference in some plants, while others put on new growth.

Coffee contains nitrogen, an important nutrient for plants. Still, the best way to use coffee in the garden remains up for debate — I researched at length before introducing my plants to coffee.

Perhaps the safest way to use coffee in the garden is to toss your used coffee grounds into your compost pile and let them break down there. Then, use the finished compost in your garden. Grounds must break down before plants can benefit from them anyway, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

4. Cleaning agent

progressman / Shutterstock.com

Instead of reaching for a chemical-laden store-bought cleaner to help you scour stubbornly dirty pots and pans, try using your used coffee grounds as an abrasive cleaning agent. It’s healthier for you and your budget.

Some folks also use grounds to scrub the lingering scent of onions or garlic off their hands after handling such pungent produce.

5. Pest repellent

bug
TeeTee Photo / Shutterstock.com

Do pests such as ants, slugs or snails plague your garden? Used coffee grounds can ride to the rescue! The scent of coffee repels these buggers, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“This Old House” suggests mounding coffee grounds in a circle around plants to form a protective barrier.

6. Recipe ingredient

sweets
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com

What better way to impress friends or family with your cooking skills than by incorporating coffee into a homemade meal?

It’s a more versatile ingredient than you might think. It can be used in multiple forms — from brewed coffee to coffee grounds — and in various types of dishes. The internet abounds with recipes ranging from coffee-ground meat rubs to frozen coffee pops.

7. Paint

art
TOMMYFOTOHOUSE / Shutterstock.com

If you’re feeling artistic or the kids or grandkids have used up all their store-bought paint again, consider dabbling in coffee. EmptyEasel.com offers directions that even work with instant coffee.

A few artists have made headlines in recent years for coffee paintings. Artist Maria A. Aristidou, for example, opened her studio after her paintings made entirely with coffee went viral. She stumbled across the medium after spilling a latte all over a watercolor work, according to an NPR report.

“The accidental spill, the shade of coffee, and how it got absorbed in the paper fascinated me,” she said.

8. “Mud” play putty

NataliaL / Shutterstock.com

The next time the kids or grandkids are itching to play in the dirt outside but you don’t feel like cleaning them up afterward, hand them some “muddy” play putty.

Better yet, let them make it themselves or with your assistance. Kids Activities Blog offers a recipe for gritty play putty that looks downright dirt-like — thanks to the inclusion of coffee grounds and instant coffee — rather than a fluorescent color.

For more everyday items that can be enlisted in various household hacks, check out:

Have you ever used coffee for something besides a caffeine jolt? Let us know below or over on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement
Top 5 Activities That People Dream of Doing in Retirement

No. 1 isn’t visiting grandkids, and No. 4 might surprise you.

33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

A little money goes a long way with these imaginative projects. You can do most of them yourself.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’
5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’

These safety-conscious home upgrades can help retirees stay in their home.

21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On
21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On

Here’s what to look for at that overstuffed thrift store — and how you can make money from it.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.