15 Useful Things You Can Do With Coffee Besides Drink It

Everyone with taste buds and a brain loves the hair-raising caffeine fix and mouthwatering flavor of a hot cup of joe—it's biologically really hard not to. But there’s more you can do with it besides just pouring it down your face-hole.

From helping you be less of a slob to adding a secret kick to your cooking, coffee is so much more than merely your morning addiction. Check out these 17 alternate uses and prepare to bow down to the almighty bean.

1. Spice up your steaks

Give your meals a smokey flavor by using coffee grounds as an ingredient in dry rubs, like in this recipe here.

2. Go green with coffee compost and fertilizer

Coffee grounds grow bacteria that worms enjoy, making it a key ingredient in compost. And since coffee grounds contain a lot of calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen, you can add a small layer on your topsoil for a chemical-free fertilizer. Bonus: it won’t smell like sh*t.

3. Create a natural insect repellant

Coffee has a smell that deters lots of bugs, like ants, mosquitos, and more. Sprinkle some grounds on areas of your house you’re trying to keep bug-free (around doors, cracks in walls), or—if you're out of bug spray and don’t mind looking like you just rolled around in dirt—rub a light coating on yourself.

4. Make your own air freshener

Storing coffee grounds in a breathable fabric container can absorb odors in the air, or even in your refrigerator. Perfect for masking the three-week-old Chinese food leftovers that have been marinating in the back.

5. Coat your sidewalks in the winter

Instead of paying for street salt, you can use coffee grounds to get more traction on icy walkways. 

6. Get handy around the house with DIY wood stain

Since coffee stains your clothes when you inevitably spill it all over yourself, it stands to reason you can use it as furniture stain too. Brew a pot, but instead of tossing the grounds, put them back into the coffee. Coat untreated wood with the mixture for a light, amber stain.

7. Clear drain clogs

A concoction of dish soap, coffee grounds, and boiling water can easily tackle grease buildup in your sink.

8. Give pots and pans a tougher clean

Coffee grounds have sharp edges which act as an abrasive when you’re scrubbing, while its absorbent properties naturally soak up grease, just like in the drain.

9. Buff out furniture scratches

Create a paste of instant coffee and hot water to cover up small scratches on dark wood furniture, and it’ll be like you never threw that party.

10. Exfoliate like a boss

A lot of face washes use plastic beads to open up pores, but rubbing chemically-produced materials into your face may or may not be that good for you in the long run. Use coffee grounds as an exfoliant instead to deep clean and smell like Italian espresso all day.

11. Rid your pad of roaches

While many bugs are deterred by the smell of coffee, for whatever reason cockroaches are strangely attracted to it, proving once again that they will be our post-apocalyptic overlords. You can make your own trap with damp coffee grounds in a jar. Line it with sticky double-sided tape to trap those suckers when they come crawling.

12. Amp up your chili

Coffee is a secret ingredient in many award-winning chilis, enhancing savory notes and adding a richer flavor. Get a recipe here.

13. Clean out your garbage disposal

Pouring used coffee grounds with a teaspoon of water into your running disposal will sharpen up the blades so it’ll work better and faster.

14. Freshen your breath

Weirdly, sucking on a whole coffee bean can eliminate bad breath. It won’t leave it minty fresh like gum might, but it won’t take seven years to break down in your stomach, either.

15. Protect your pets from fleas

If you don’t like the thought of using chemical treatments on your pup, put damp coffee grounds in their fur after a bath to help repel fleas naturally.

Ali Drucker is a staff writer for Supercompressor and no longer owns any properly matched socks. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.