Many of us love nothing more than getting a fix of coffee in the mornings to kick-start our days. Yet that same cup of Joe provides much more than just an injection of energy. In fact, many studies suggest that coffee can also reduce the chances of heart failure, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and type two diabetes. And coffee grounds are even more versatile than you might think – wait until you see what happens when you drop them down the drain…
20. Composter and fertilizer
Coffee grounds make an excellent addition to a compost pile. After all, they’re loaded with nitrogen – an essential component in helping waste matter break down. And a sprinkling of coffee granules won’t just aid the decomposing process for your garden and household waste; its powerful aroma will help to hide the stench of the compost heap.
Coffee can also be great for plants that love acidic soil, according to the website Natural Living Ideas. Roses, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, camellias and azaleas all get a boost from a fertilizer loaded with the product. You see, the brown stuff adds both potassium and nitrogen to the soil, and it gives a much-needed injection of magnesium – which all plants require to maintain health.
19. Insect repellent
And it’s not just compost that can benefit from an injection of coffee. The drink can ward pesky bugs away from your garden, too. Many insects have sensitive smell receptors, and they tend to avoid the aroma of coffee. So, if you want to keep pests such as snails, slugs and ants off your turf, sprinkle it with coffee grounds every day.
The smell of coffee grounds also becomes stronger when they are set alight. Smoke can be a sign of danger for many insects, too. So, try getting a bowl of dry, used coffee granules to smolder and then place them around your yard the next time you host a barbecue. Not only should the substance repel mosquitoes, but it is also meant to keep bees and wasps away, too.
18. Hand and foot deodorizer
Anyone who cooks regularly will be familiar with some of the lingering smells afterward. Onions and garlic, for instance, have a way of clinging to your fingers long after mealtime – no matter how many times you wash your hands. However, the website Bustle claims that rubbing your hands with old coffee grounds should remove those pesky smells in no time.
But bad smells aren’t just confined to foods, of course, and coffee offers a solution for these other items, too. Take shoes, for instance. According to the website Morning Chores, you can sprinkle some grounds inside your favorite sneakers when they’re not being worn. This should hopefully freshen them right up.
17. Wood stain
Bustle claims that used coffee grounds can also be an inexpensive and chemical-free alternative to store-bought wood stains. With this crafty alternative, the powerful smells of traditional stains can also be avoided – and it won’t cause anywhere near as much mess.
To make your own wood stain, you can follow a simple recipe using just a few basic household items. According to DIY website Family Handyman, mix a quarter cup of coffee grounds and one or two cups of vinegar in a mason jar. Then put a pad of steel wool in with the mixture and leave it to stand overnight. When the substance is ready, remove the steel wool pad using gloves and then apply the stain to your wood. The stain darkens as it dries, but they say to apply more layers to achieve the color you want.
16. Body scrub
According to Bustle, coffee grounds have the perfect texture for an exfoliator. The sandy feel apparently makes a good addition to soap to remove dead skin cells – as well as scrubbing away stubborn dirt. So painters and gardeners might benefit from grabbing a handful of coffee grounds with their soap to help remove soil or dried-on paint.
There are plenty of beauty products on the market that contain coffee as an active ingredient, too. So why not make use of your leftover grounds and prepare your own? Life-hack website Home Talk suggests mixing coffee grounds with cane sugar, Epsom salt, and coconut and peppermint oil for a luxury homemade beauty treatment.
15. Mason jar centerpiece
Why not spice up a display of decorative foliage? Instead of placing cut flowers in a vase with water, you can enhance the visual appeal by popping them in a mason jar with a mixture of soil and coffee grounds. And it won’t just look pretty: it’ll increase the longevity of the plants.
The crafty uses for coffee don’t stop there, either. If you have a child who loves playdough, for instance, adding the product to a simple homemade recipe will give the appearance of mud. According to the online publication Kids Activities, a simple mixture of flour, coffee grounds, instant coffee, salt, cream of tartar, hot water and oil is like bringing the outdoors in when the weather’s not great.
14. Air freshener
Of course, coffee has an incredibly appealing smell for many of us. And even people who don’t like the taste of the beverage are sometimes still drawn to its aroma. Well, there’s a scientific reason for that. Coffee contains a wide range of scents, from sweet, fruity and floral, to smoky and spicy – so it tickles a lot of smell receptors.
If you’re one of those people who just love the smell of coffee, then, try concocting your own air freshener with old grounds. According to Bustle, by simply filling an old spice jar with the product, your home will soon be filled with the delicious aroma of a freshly brewed cup of the brown stuff. It will eliminate any unpleasant odors that might be emanating from the bathroom, too.
13. Facial treatment
Australian beauty brand Frank Body has used coffee as the main ingredient in its products since the company first launched in 2013. The firm’s website says that as well as being a natural exfoliant, coffee also “wakes skin up from the outside.” And nowhere will that fresh glow be more visible than on the face.
But if the store-bought beauty products are beyond your budget, you can still make your own facial scrub using leftover coffee grounds and basic kitchen ingredients. According to the website Natural Living Ideas, you need to mix it with organic cocoa powder in equal parts and then add some milk or heavy cream. Then top it off with a little honey, and your skin will be glowing in no time. It’s even thought that applying coffee grounds to dark circles and puffy eyes while taking a bath will improve their appearance.
12. Worm food
If you’ve ever wondered what worms eat, the answer is lots of organic matter – dead or alive. They consume a plethora of things, including both living and dead plants, tiny animals and even excrement. And one thing worms love in particular is coffee grounds.
The little critters produce a waste matter called castings – which is considered by many to be the world’s most effective fertilizer, according to the website Worm Farm Guru. So why not leave them a little snack of coffee grounds in your garden? And you could even add worms to your compost pile to help break it down.
11. Hair treatment
Some women like to use an array of products to get their hair looking just right. But residue can build up on our locks with repeated use, and your hair can get weighed down if you use too much. Though fear not: coffee granules can apparently help strip away that build up. And according to the company Deathwish Coffee, the caffeine could encourage growth by stimulating hair follicles – creating thicker hair.
Brunettes may even gain an additional benefit from coffee-ground treatments. For instance, beauty expert Bryce Gruber from style website The Luxury Spot recommends adding a couple of teaspoons of used grounds to conditioning lotions. And as it works into her hair, she finds that the coffee intensifies her chestnut brown color. It’s also free from the harsh chemicals of artificial colorants.
10. Fix scratched wood
Vintage furniture can be a charming addition to any home. But it can end up looking somewhat drab when, say, your favorite old chair becomes a bit chipped around the edges. The good news is that there are some handy hacks that you can make use of to freshen up tired old furniture. You may already know how to seal scratches in wood using walnut oil. But coffee grounds can also help spruce it up.
The website Morning Chores claims that scratches in worn, dark wood can be disguised using a slick of coffee grounds. Simply apply them to the dent or worn area and leave for up to ten minutes. Then buff it out with a dry cloth. It won’t make the mark magically disappear, but it will help disguise it by blending the color into the wood.
9. Eliminate fridge odors
As many of us know, the refrigerator is a place that’s prone to unwanted smells. Some cheeses, for instance, can leave a pretty distinct odor. But whatever the source of the whiff, baking soda has long been used to eliminate pongs that fester in the fridge. What many people don’t know, however, is that coffee can be equally as effective.
According to Science Daily, coffee’s nitrogen-rich caffeine can help remove those bad smells from the refrigerator. Experts have found the grounds to be so effective in fighting unwanted stenches that they’ve developed a material from the substance that’s powerful enough to combat sewage smells. So, if there’s an odious whiff coming from your fridge, why not try and neutralize it with the waste from your next brew?
8. A wicked flavor enhancer
A cup of coffee can be served in many delicious ways, from a latte to an espresso. And while there are common uses for it in cooking, such as in a cake, there are also lesser-known ways to use the beverage on your food. Some of them may even surprise you.
Interestingly, coffee grounds make an excellent rub for just about any meat that you’re likely to cook up. Its acidity – when combined with savory meat – can create an extra punch of flavor. And when the grounds caramelize, it provides ideal barbecue food, as it adds a crust to the meat and helps maintain moisture. When left to marinade, too, the acids in the coffee work to tenderize the flesh – making coffee and meat the perfect partners.
7. Treat cellulite
Some think cellulite can be unsightly. Yet whether those dimples are caused by unhealthy eating habits or they’re genetically imposed, they are often extremely difficult to shift. But a 2008 study conducted in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has claimed that coffee grounds can noticeably improve the appearance of the fatty tissue.
By applying a coffee scrub to the affected area, you see, it’s believed that the caffeine enlarges blood vessels – according to the website Healthline. And this, in turn, improves the appearance of cellulite. The caffeine may also cause the skin to become tighter by eliminating any extra water and improving blood flow. The Sao Paulo study found that cellulite dimples can be reduced by 17 percent just by using a coffee scrub on the affected area.
6. Clean out your fireplace
Fireplace and woodstove maintenance is important if these items are regularly used during the winter months. Ashes, for instance, should be cleared out periodically to improve ventilation for a more efficient burn. But it can be a messy job – especially when ash dust gets airborne. Yet fear not, because there’s a way to make the task easier using coffee grounds.
Apparently, tossing damp coffee grounds on top of cold ashes can significantly reduce the amount of dust that’s stirred up when you’re cleaning the fireplace. The weight of the coffee prevents clouds of ash becoming airborne, and this stops it from getting stuck to other surfaces, too.
5. Grow carrots and mushrooms
Amazingly, coffee has even more uses around the yard. If you grow your own root vegetables, for instance, they can benefit from an injection of caffeine. And carrots in particular are fond of the dark elixir. The website Natural Living Ideas says that mixing the seeds with dry coffee grounds will help them grow better. Not only that, but pests will also steer well clear of your crops.
Another crop that apparently thrives on coffee grounds is oyster mushrooms. According to tips website Five Gallon Ideas, you can grow them easily at home by using a five-gallon bucket of coffee grounds and the spawn of the vegetable. The mushrooms thrive on the coffee, and, the publication claimed, you could end up with “oysters as big as dinner plates” by using the hack.
4. Household cleaner
Coffee grounds can make for a cheap and simple household cleaner, Morning Chores claims. Okay, so it’s probably not recommended as a stain remover, but it can supposedly be used for shifting dirt around the kitchen. For instance, grounds can work wonders if you want to remove any stubborn dried-on food around the kitchen surfaces.
Coffee grounds are abrasive, meaning that they are very effective at removing grime. But the granules aren’t too harsh, so you won’t damage countertop surfaces. All you have to do put a handful of grounds onto a wet cloth – and voila! Just be careful to avoid any gaps the coffee can get into, otherwise it may create a stain.
3. Fabric dye
Speaking of stains, anyone who has ever spilled coffee on white clothing will know just how difficult the blemish can be to remove. So what if you were to do it intentionally? Well, if you like the golden hue of a coffee splash, or natural tones are your color, it’s possible to dye fabrics using your old grounds.
According to the website Futurity, over two million tons of chemicals are applied to fabrics every year. So as a result, the textile industry is keen to explore more environmentally friendly alternatives. And coffee grounds are precisely what Ph.D. student Changhyun Nam experimented with at Iowa State University. By extracting the dye from the coffee, he achieved different shades of brown using a variety of materials and bonding agents.
2. Make candles
There are further upcycling projects if you particularly love the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of java. For instance, you could make coffee-scented candles. With a few basic ingredients from well-known online retailers, you could have your home smelling like a quaint café in no time.
Luckily, the company Just Coffee argues that the candles are a doddle to make. With the wick glued in place in the center of a heat-proof receptacle, simply pour the melted wax into the container with the wick standing upright. Pause to add layers of coffee grounds as you go – and dust a little on top before the wax sets.
1. Unclog drains
A blocked drain or sink can, of course, be a nuisance. But sometimes cooking oils and food waste particles that run away with dishwater can build up, causing an obstruction. Calling out a plumber to fix it can be expensive, and you might not have the tools or cleaners to shift the blockage yourself. However, some say coffee grounds might help in such a bind.
Recipes of vinegar, baking soda, hot water and soap have been known to shift sink blockages. And now you can add coffee grounds to the list, Baltimore’s WJZTV claims – but you may still want to dial a plumber to double-check. It says that a mixture of coffee grounds and hot water can not only shift the blockage, but it can also remove nasty odors. Others, however, think coffee grounds will only cling to the pipework and create a hard-to-shift blockage – so approach with caution.
However, another household staple also has a bevy of benefits that you may not have known about. Yes, Epsom salt – while not suitable for seasoning at the dinner table – also has a myriad of uses that may just make your life easier. And there’s a good reason why it’s worth putting Epsom salt in the corner of a room, too.
20. It helps to remove splinters
Splinters can be a pain. Yes, while they may be tiny little things – sometimes barely visible to the naked eye – they’ll certainly let you know once they’ve got under your skin. And, sometimes, a splinter can be so far embedded into the flesh that tweezers can’t quite reach it. On such an occasion, though, Epsom salt can come to the rescue.
After immersing the afflicted part of the body in an Epsom salt bath, you see, the splinter will work its way to the surface. If the fragment has lodged itself deep into the skin, by contrast, simply apply some of the mineral to a bandage and then cover the affected area. And after you’ve left the dressing in place for 24 hours, the splinter should then be eased out far enough to enable you to get at it.
19. It’s a hair-care marvel
Each hair follicle on the body contains a sebaceous gland. And as the name suggests, the role of these glands is to generate a substance known as sebum – something that helps keeps hair looking glossy. There may be a problem, though, if you produce too much sebum, as this can lead to greasy locks and oily skin.
Fortunately, Epsom salt can draw oil out of the hair if a little is combined with regular shampoo, which should then be applied as normal. And if it’s combined with conditioner and left for 20 minutes before rinsing, the compound can even help tame frizz. As a bonus, Epsom salt can add volume to flat hair by stripping away any product buildup.
18. It’s a great relaxant
A long, hot bath can be the perfect way to unwind. But if you throw a couple of cups of Epsom salt into the tub, you can crank that soak up to a whole new level. You see, the human body contains minerals such as sodium, potassium, sulfur and chlorine. The fourth most prevalent of these, however, is magnesium, which is plentiful in Epsom salt.
So, when you lie in water that has been sprinkled with Epsom salt, its key ingredient, magnesium sulfate, will infiltrate the skin. And this substance not only has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, but it can also help loosen up tense muscles.
17. It can cure a hangover
If you’ve over-indulged on a night out, Epsom salt could provide the hangover cure you need. You see, the chemicals produced by the body when processing alcohol are what causes the pain of the morning after – including those feelings of exhaustion and nausea.
Happily, lying in an Epsom salt bath can help to ease some of the ailments associated with a hangover. Even consuming a teaspoon of the stuff in a little liquid could stimulate the body’s water production and flush the toxins away. Exercise caution, though, when it comes to how much you take.
16. It promotes sleep
Getting plenty of rest is super-important for your health – even more so than you know. You see, prolonged sleep deprivation can mean running the risk of such potentially life-changing conditions as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. So, if you’re struggling to get those recommended eight hours a night in, you should turn once again to Epsom salt.
For one, the magnesium abundant in Epsom salt may encourage the production of melatonin – the hormone responsible for keeping sleep patterns consistent. By taking a bath in the stuff before bed, then, the magnesium content of the water could aid relaxation and so help to achieve a decent amount of shut-eye.
15. It can help produce a soothing foot spa
Feet are the workhorses of our bodies, and so we owe it to our tootsies to give them some tender loving care once in a while. All too often, though, our feet are neglected. And, sometimes, we can be unkind to them without even realizing it.
Treat your feet, then, by giving them a half-hour to an hour’s soak biweekly in a bath or spa containing Epsom salt. The magnesium in the salt will improve muscle performance, boost energy and help decrease any swelling; it may even help ease the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and athlete’s foot.
14. Use it as a facial cleanser
Epsom salt can be great for cleaning the face and flushing out dirt in pores. Just add a half-teaspoon into your regular cleanser and gently massage the concoction into the skin. This blend will handily improve hydration as well as scrubbing away any dead cells. Then simply remove the mix with cold water.
For a deeper treatment, however, apply Epsom salt as part of a facial mask. First, dampen your face. Then apply a recipe of cognac, powdered milk, egg, lemon juice and Epsom salt to oily skin. If your skin is normal to dry, however, the mineral compound should be mixed with mayonnaise and shredded carrot.
13. It’s a great exfoliator
Thanks to Epsom salt’s texture, it’s an excellent ingredient in a scrub. And by blending the salt with coconut oil, you’ll have a comparatively cheap and surprisingly effective body exfoliator. Grab a handful of the mixture and gently work into wet skin after a shower, then rinse it off and apply lotion.
It’s even said that Epsom salt can alleviate the effects of certain skin ailments. Some believe, for instance, that the substance can reduce the effects of acne as well as soothe sunburn. But while Epsom salt is not claimed to be a miracle cure for such afflictions, its anti-inflammatory benefits can nevertheless help ease some symptoms.
12. It can help make an effective lip scrub
Many people are prone to dry lips – not least because the skin there is thinner and more fragile than elsewhere on the body. The sun and wind, in particular, can have an impact by parching our lips and so leading them to peel and crack.
However, the body scrub recipe mentioned above can also double as a lip exfoliator. And don’t worry if you accidentally eat some during the polishing process, as Epsom salt is perfectly safe to consume in small quantities – although you should hold off on adding it to your dinner.
11. It relieves stress
The health benefits of Epsom salt aren’t merely cosmetic, however. It can also help balance moods, for instance, as well as calm anxiety, reduce stress and alleviate depression. Many specialists believe that magnesium encourages the brain’s production of serotonin – the chemical that promotes mental well-being. Doctors may encourage its use, then, even though there’s no conclusive proof of its medical properties.
How did Epsom salt get its name? Well, it’s taken from a town in southern England, which boasts a spring known for its salinity. The compound is comprised of sulfate and magnesium, though, rather than chlorine and sodium – hence why it’s not recommended to consume it in large amounts.
10. It can aid recovery from exercise
Many exercise enthusiasts believe that Epsom salt baths can help in their recovery from workouts. In May 2019 New York-based physical therapist Corinne Croce elaborated on this point to Runner’s World, saying, “Magnesium is known to increase relaxation, reduce inflammation and aid in muscle and nerve function. And the sulfate in Epsom salt is said to help with recovery and detoxification.”
Georgia Southern University’s Greg Grosicki has also acknowledged the link between muscle pain and a lack of magnesium in the body. He explained to Runner’s World, “By taking an Epsom salt bath or by exposing the skin to Epsom salts in a cream, we hope to increase our magnesium levels and reduce muscle soreness.”
9. It eases sprains and bruising
Yes, it’s thought that Epsom salt can not only be used to calm swelling in bruises, but also to ease the discomfort of a sprained ankle. And while it’s important not to treat a painful ankle with salt baths too soon after injury – as this can do more harm than good – such therapy can ultimately relieve tension in damaged tissue and muscles.
That said, the medical benefits of Epsom salt for sprains and bruises or exercise recovery is entirely subjective. Indeed, while some people may feel better after soaking their limbs in the stuff, there is little scientific evidence to definitively say why. But as there’s nothing much to prove that Epsom salt doesn’t work in such instances, either, there’s no harm in giving it a try.
8. It helps with constipation
If a bowel blockage occurs, Epsom salt can help to shift it. Simply mix a couple of teaspoons of the substance into a large glass of water, then drink the liquid. This should go on to loosen the contents of the intestine by encouraging the production of more water. It should be noted, though, that oral consumption of Epsom salt comes with a warning.
Some people may in fact find that eating or drinking Epsom salt causes diarrhea – which in turn may lead to both dehydration and considerable distress. Try just small doses of magnesium sulfate, then, if you want to get rid of constipation quickly.
7. It can alleviate headaches
Epsom salt can be useful for soothing headaches and even easing migraines. How? Well, as mentioned earlier, the mineral compound can encourage the production of melatonin. And imbalances in the pineal gland – which is responsible for the hormone’s secretion – have been found in those who suffer from migraines. These individuals have typically shown low levels of magnesium, too.
Plus, as we’ve previously explained, an Epsom salt bath can also help ameliorate tensions that may have built up in muscles. In particular, tightness in the neck, the shoulders and the back can all be eased after a good soak. And removing the strain in those areas could go some way to alleviating migraines and headaches.
6. It improves heart health
Doctors often warn of the dangers of consuming too much salt. And that’s for good reason, as high levels of sodium in the diet can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure. The burden this places on the heart can, moreover, lead to an increased risk of a stroke or even the failure of the organ itself.
However, Epsom salt can help boost our health – not least because it’s sodium-free in its purest form. It’s thought, for instance, that its effects can relax the arteries and so help blood to flow more easily – thereby reducing the chances of clots and sudden heart attacks. Some even claim that the magnesium and sulfate of Epsom salt improve the benefits of insulin, thus reducing any other side effects of diabetes.
5. It’s a handy plant fertilizer
But it’s not only humans who can feel the benefits of Epsom salt, as the mineral compound can also be used around the home and garden to improve the look and health of plants. In fact, it’s believed that when Epsom salt is added to soil or water, flora will flourish – growing bigger and stronger.
What’s more, giving your lawn a sprinkling of Epsom salt may just boost its color. That’s because the magnesium contained in the substance hinders the yellowing of leaves and grass. Epsom salt can even act as a form of pesticide by keeping insects away.
4. It can repel slugs
On a related note, Epsom salt can also be used as a slug deterrent. Simply encircle your plants with the compound; that way, you’ll have created a blockade of sorts that the slimy critters won’t cross. The salt can also be applied to patios and porches to stop slugs from getting into the house.
Also, Epsom salt can help should any bugs get too close. If you suffer an insect bite or sting, just add the salt to water and apply this mix as a paste or lotion to the affected area. The concoction will then be absorbed through the pores in your skin, and the magnesium will ease the irritation.
3. It’s a tip-top bathroom cleaner
Epsom salt makes cleaning the bathroom a breeze – even when it comes to those tough-to-tackle hard water stains. Simply create a solution of a quarter-cup of liquid dish detergent, half a cup of baking soda and one cup of Epsom salt, and use this to scrub away on surfaces for a glistening finish.
Epsom salt can even be used to tackle dirt and debris that are difficult to remove. The salt grain can help lift mold from tiles and grout, for instance, while a mixture of the substance along with vinegar and dish soap can make a good scrub for the toilet bowl.
2. Use it to clean the washer
Epsom salt is a useful helper in the kitchen, too. After using a solution of hot water, Epsom salt and white vinegar in your washing machine, the device should be rid of any nasty odors. Stop the cycle halfway through and leave it for 60 minutes to allow the mixture to work, then run a second, clear cycle to rinse.
You can even add a quarter-cup of Epsom salt to your laundry as an alternative to fabric softener. And not only will this help soften your clothes and linen, but it’s also kinder to the environment than using a store-bought product. Mixing the salt with a few drops of essential oil will help your garments smell great, too.
1. Salt the corners of your house
Plenty of people are familiar with the idea of throwing spilled salt over the shoulder for luck. And for centuries, the condiment has been a symbol of good versus evil in religion. Famously, too, good and honest people are often described as being “salt of the earth” types.
But there’s yet another use for salt that you may just want to try out for yourself. Some believe, you see, that sprinkling the substance in the corners of your home will bring wealth, good fortune and peace. Standing in the center of the room and dusting handfuls of salt around you in a clockwise motion, meanwhile, is thought to rid the area of negative energy. And whether it works or not – and as with all the other benefits of Epsom salt – it’s worth a try.