Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

20 Uses for Coffee You Didn’t Know About Before

Here's how to use coffee after brewing and give new life to coffee grounds, cans, and the java itself.

1 / 21
High Angle View Of Roasted Coffee Beans On TableRachen Buosa / EyeEm/Getty Images

Coffee uses

Every coffee drinker knows that the morning doesn’t start until they’ve had their first cup of coffee. Did you know coffee has a variety of uses beyond starting the day with a bit of caffeine? From halting headaches to fertilizing plants, here are a few unusual uses for coffee you didn’t know before.

2 / 21
surprising use coffee headachepsphotograph/iStock

You can help relieve headaches

It’s great to have a cup of coffee to wake up in the morning, but it may also be good to have when you have a headache. “Caffeine can provide some headache relief. For example, one small controlled study found that caffeine was better than placebo, and as good as acetaminophen, in relieving tension-type headaches,” the American Migraine Foundation notes.

3 / 21
furniture coffee poligonchik/Getty Images

You can fix furniture

Is that small crack, nick, or gouge all you can see each time you look at your dark wood dresser? Reach for the instant coffee. Mix two to three tablespoons with just enough water to make a thick paste; for wood with red tones, add a few drops of iodine. Put the paste on a small putty knife or a disposable plastic knife and use it to fill the crack. Remove any excess around the edges with a barely damp cloth. Let the paste dry completely, then buff with furniture wax. Make sure you know these 10 mistakes you make when rearranging your furniture.

4 / 21
High Angle View Of Ground Coffee In Jar On TableAphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm/Getty Images

You can clean your car

To keep your car smelling fresh and clean, place a small open container filled with freshly ground coffee beans where it won’t get knocked over. The grounds will absorb any strong odors you bring into the car—the smell of fast food, for example. Here are a few more car freshening hacks you probably haven’t thought of.

5 / 21
surprising use coffee compostimagebob/iStock

You can speed up your composting

Coffee grounds are a great material for adding to your compost because the grounds are an excellent nitrogen source, according to Oregon State University. To use, sprinkle on the soil and then mix it in.

6 / 21
Colorful grilled summer seasonal vegetables skewersistetiana/Getty Images

You can grill your food

Here’s a handy tip from Mother Jones. Turn a coffee can into a grill by cutting some holes into the metal bottom and a “moderate size” triangle into the top. Flip the can upside down and throw some kindling—dry pine needles, for example—into that triangular space and light. Once the metal bottom is heated up, add meat and veggies. Here are a few favorite grilling tips from professional chefs.

7 / 21
surprising use coffee pet dog odornensuria/iStock

You can eliminate pet odors

Some pet owners have found they can remove pet odors from a room by heating a cupful of freshly ground coffee beans in a cast-iron skillet over low heat. As soon as the scent is released, remove the pan to the smelly room and set it on a trivet. By the time the ground beans are cool, much of the pet odor should be gone.

8 / 21
Mixed Race woman splashing water on faceJGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

You can clean your face

Chris Barnes notes in this Stylelist feature that you can exfoliate your skin with coffee grounds. Rub the moist grounds in gently to get rid of dead skin, then rinse.

9 / 21
surprising use coffee breadJannHuizenga/iStock

You can bake bread

Caught without cookware? A quick bread will bake just fine in a coffee can. Be sure to spray the interior with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Did you know that the best bread in the world has only two ingredients?

10 / 21
Your hair always looks stunningCharday Penn/Getty Images

You can get glossier hair

Applying “extra-strong” coffee to your hair, while it’s dry and clean, will make it shinier, according to EcoSalon. Keep the coffee in for about 20 minutes, then rinse. Repeat for seven days to get the best results.

11 / 21
Illuminated colored Christmas fairy lightsgmcoop/Getty Images

You can keep cords under control

What are the holidays without strings of lights, and what are fresh-out-of-storage cords of lights if not tangled? Grab an empty coffee can and its lid. First, slice the plastic lid of the can with a sharp knife and insert one end of the cord. Then wrap the cord of lights around the can, taping the end to the can to keep everything in place. Before putting on the lid, fill the can with extra bulbs and an extension cord. No tangles, no misplaced accessories.

12 / 21
Fruity lamb taginemartinturzak/Getty Images

You can perk up your meat

To give lamb stew a beautiful dark color and great flavor, add one cup of black coffee to the stew pot about halfway through the cooking process. You can also lookup great dry rubs with coffee for beef, pork, and other meat dishes. These are the 35 recipes everyone should know by the time they turn 35.

13 / 21
surprising use coffee egg dyeGMVozd/iStock

You can dye Easter eggs

We’ve rounded up 11 ways to dye Easter eggs naturally, and among the colorful ingredients is simple brewed coffee. Make one quart of strong coffee plus water to cover for an easy brown hue.

14 / 21
Cup of cappuccino and still water on the table in a coffee shop, side viewAlexander Spatari/Getty Images

You can make furniture

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and used coffee grounds are no exception. British designer Adam Fairweather is an expert in recycling technologies and came up with the idea to launch Re-Worked, a company that makes furniture by incorporating materials from coffee ground waste.

15 / 21
Young woman with curly hair opening the fridge in kitchenWestend61/Getty Images

You can get rid of refrigerator odors

Can you still smell the produce that has gone bad in your refrigerator? Place fresh coffee grounds in your fridge to help with the smell.

16 / 21
Pouring coffee in ice cube tray on table, closeupbelchonock/Getty Images

You can cook with leftover coffee

All you have to do is take your leftover coffee and pour into ice cube trays and pop the tray into the freezer, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. You can use this for iced drinks or for cooking.

17 / 21
Chocolate Batter In Blue Mixing BowlBabina Wisnevson / EyeEm/Getty Images

You can add brewed coffee to cake mix

According to Taste of Home, a sister site of Reader’s Digest, by replacing water with brewed coffee in boxed chocolate cake mixes, you get a richer cake.

18 / 21
Armchair and fireplace in living roomMint Images/Getty Images

You can use in your fireplace

When cleaning your fireplace, sprinkle wet coffee grounds across the surface to help ash and dust from polluting the air as you clean.

19 / 21
Kitchen sink-Oxford-/Getty Images

You can clean your garbage disposal

You can make frozen coffee ground tables to deodorize your garbage disposal, according to the lifestyle blog One Good Thing By Jilliee. Simply mix coffee grounds, Epsom salt, baking soda, and white vinegar together and make little balls on a baking tray. Place the tray in the freezer and then, once frozen, you can use it in your garbage disposal and then rinse with cold water.

20 / 21
The silhouette fishing man, Once of Thailand tradition,Asia.Cravetiger/Getty Images

You’ll have better bait worms

If you enjoy fishing, then you know this practice well. Worms, like people, enjoy coffee grounds. Bait worms like coffee grounds, too, and the fish are attracted to the scent.

21 / 21
Young Boy Looking at Shirt's Food StainsGravity Images/Getty Images

You can remove stains

“Use a wet coffee filter and a few spent grounds to scrub the stains from ceramic coffee or teacups,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Next, check out the are the best coffee shops in all 50 states.