We all knew that when it comes to best liquids you can put in your mouth, coffee is second only to pure water. But did you know your favorite morning drink is Mother Earth's favorite, too? Along with replenishing micronutrients that nourish the soil biome (see #1 below), coffee grounds offer a wealth of eco-friendly superpowers that support our daily routine while also protecting our natural resources.
Celebrate Earth Month with us by sharing a cup of coffee with nature! Here are five easy ways to recycle your coffee grounds for the health of people and planet:
#1: Dig Up!
Used coffee grounds are packed with nutrients that gardens love! If your soil could use a little more nitrogen, or you're raising plants that love extra acidity (such as azaleas, hydrangeas, blueberries, or carrots), sprinkle a scoop of coffee grounds over the base of your plants and mix by hand into the topsoil.
You can also create a coffee grounds fertilizer "tea" by adding 2 cups of used coffee grounds to a 5-gallon bucket of water and letting the mixture steep overnight. Add to outdoor gardens, house plant containeres, or even spray directly on plant leaves and stems for a nutrient boost.
#2: Clean Up!
Naturally abrasive coffee grounds are an eco-friendly, always-plentiful alternative to chemical cleaners like Borax or Comet. (Bonus: no scary under-sink substances that little people and pets can swallow.) Add a few pinches of coffee grounds to your sponge before attacking the dishes in the sink. Along with getting your pots and pans squeaky clean, you can feel better about sending those grounds down the drain--unlike chemical cleaners, coffee grounds don't leach harmful toxins into our soil and groundwater.
...Did we mention you can use coffee grounds to clean your body, too? Finer grounds are a great addition to a shower scrub, bath soak, or facial mask. (Want to make your own? Add a couple tablespoons of coffee grounds to a bowl or jar, and moisten with just enough coconut oil to make it spreadable.) Along with offering a gentle exfoliant, the residual caffeine in coffee grounds helps tighten your pores, leaving your skin extra radiant.
#3: Cook Up!
Some of our favorite recipes involve a spoonful or more of ground coffee. But did you know that used coffee grounds work just as well as fresh? Spread a cup or so of coffee grounds out in a single layer over paper towels to dry overnight, then keep in an airtight jar or add directly to your recipe.
While we'll never turn down a coffee-scented cookie or slice of cake, we definitely recommend getting more creative with your coffee ground cookery--try adding coffee grounds to chili, barbecue sauce, gravy, roast, and literally anything that goes into your CrockPot. Fun fact: coffee grounds are also an effective meat tenderizer, so go ahead and add "meat marinade" to that list, as well.
#4: Freshen Up!
Say "buh-bye" to the baking soda and use what you've already got on hand. Coffee is a natural deodorizer that works everywhere from the refrigerator to kitchen cabinets to car interiors. Just fill a small bowl or even a sachet with dry coffee grounds and stash wherever the smell is getting funky.
Coffee's odor-busting powers even work on smelly hands and feet! Whether you've been spending the day gutting fish, training for a marathon, or cleaning out your bong, just moisten a handful of coffee grounds with water and rub all over the offending appendages until the stink is gone.
#5: Dust Up!
Freshening up the fireplace has to be one of the worst spring cleaning jobs of all time...until you add coffee grounds to the picture. Don't believe us? Just sprinkle some moist coffee grounds over the loose ashes in and around your hearth, then use a broom (or shovel, depending on your situation) to gently scoop the mess into a disposal bin. So easy, you'll have time for another cup of coffee afterward.