The Last Thing You Should Do with Used Coffee Grounds

updated Jan 21, 2021
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Someone holding a coffee filter with spent gounds.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Coffee-drinkers generate a good deal of coffee grounds. Although these grounds give us their very best — offer us the essence we crave and need — it still sometimes feels wasteful to dump so many grounds so often. 

There are many uses for spent coffee grounds, ranging from making an invigorating body scrub for the shower to all kinds of garden applications (like sprinkling them around the base of outdoor plants for fertilization and pest control). But some of these uses feel like too much work, aren’t good for your plumbing (don’t let used grounds down any drains, including shower drains!), or don’t apply to you (you don’t garden). 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Use Spent Coffee Grounds to Deodorize Your Fridge

That’s why I’m here to tell you about a low-lift use for coffee grounds that every coffee-drinker will appreciate. And just like this toothpaste hack that keeps the toothpaste in the bathroom, you won’t have to take your grounds to another room. Next time you have coffee grounds, use them to make a couple of pleasant deodorizers.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Coffee contains nitrogen, which neutralizes odors. To put this power to good use, spread your wet coffee grounds out on a baking sheet to dry. Once they’re dry, place them in an open container in your fridge. A small bowl is fine, but I suggest a Mason jar with a lid that has nail holes punched in the top to prevent accidental messy coffee grounds spills. The coffee will help absorb strong smells in your fridge, keeping it smelling fresh. Just replace the grounds every few weeks or whenever you notice new smells.

One more tip: The next time your hands are stinky from cutting fish, onions, or garlic, wet them and then use the coffee grounds to scrub them. To prevent coffee grounds from going down the drain, scrub over the garbage can rather than the sink. 

Do you do anything with your used coffee grounds? Share your tips in the comments below.