02/14/2012 01:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 New Uses For Coffee

According to the International Coffee Organization approximately 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide. That leaves a lot of coffee grinds that can be used for a variety of household uses. Here are some of my favorite.

Photo courtesy Cheryl Somers

Garden Helper. When you have to get rid of the grinds from your coffee maker, don't think of it as garbage. Instead think of it as fertilizer. The coffee grounds are chock full of nutrients that will help your plants grow. If you work in a busy office, the staff room coffee maker is a great source, so ask your coworkers to save the grinds for you. Bonus tip: If you're growing hydrangeas this summer and they come out pink, sprinkle some coffee grounds around the plant. In about a day, the blooms will turn blue.

Ant Repellant. As much as ants love sweet things, they hate coffee. Its scent is too strong and repels them. If there is a place in your kitchen where you have an ant problem, try sprinkling some coffee grounds to deal with your pest problem.

Flea Repellant. Add fleas to the list of pests that hate coffee grounds. At bath time, rub down your pet's coat (avoiding the eyes and mouth) with coffee grounds. Then, rinse. Fleas will stay away...but your cat Roscoe might smell like a mocha for a little while.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Some commenters have questioned the safety of this tip for their animals. As always, you should check with your own vet. But we know family members that have used this on their animals for years with no ill effect to their pets.)

Skin Care. Skip the spa or dermatologist. Instead get your skin exfoliate from the coffee machine! It turns out that coffee grinds do an excellent job as a mild face scrub. Rub the moist grinds on your skin to rub off dead cells, leaving you with healthy and shiny skin, then rinse.

Deodorizer. Whether that Craigslist find was owned by a smoker, or your gym bag left a lasting impression before it went to the washing machine, we all find ourselves with a stinky situation sooner or later. In those cases, reach for coffee grounds. Place the spent grounds in a bowl near the odor source. This has proven so effective, coffee grounds are even being used to take the stench out of sewage.

What are your favorite uses for coffee grounds? Share them in the comments!