5 Survival Uses for Coffee Grounds

We all know the value of coffee during a crisis situation.

If you drink it, coffee can help keep you awake and alert when you need to stand guard.

If you don’t drink it, it can be used as a very valuable bartering item. There’s no doubt that people will be desperately seeking coffee when stores are stripped bare.

But what about coffee grounds? Is there anything worth doing with them once your coffee is brewed? Or should they just be discarded with other trash?

Compost pile

Today I want to give you five things you can do with your coffee grounds during a survival situation.

Do you have a compost pile? If you have a garden, you certainly should. And coffee grounds are a perfect regular addition to this pile.

Coffee grounds add acidity to a compost pile. They also keep pests like ants, slugs and snails at bay but attract worms that will improve the quality of the pile. You might also want to use some of those worms as bait when you fish.

If you have a compost pile, you probably know that it’s important to keep the ratio of brown matter and green matter roughly equal. Coffee grounds count as green matter. The nitrogen in coffee grounds will help your compost pile cure properly.

Odor remover

You can live with some odors, but why not get rid of them if you can?

Put coffee grounds into a couple of empty containers and set them in your refrigerator and freezer if you notice any odors.

It doesn’t work overnight, but it will if you leave them in there for a couple of weeks.

A survival situation could result in you spending more time outdoors. Which means your hands might start to smell after a while. Rub coffee grounds in your hands like you would sand. Then keep rubbing them under running water.


One thing we all noticed after the pandemic reached our shores was a shortage of cleaning supplies.

This could happen again at any time. If you find yourself without dishwashing liquid and scouring pads, coffee grounds can come to the rescue.

Coffee grounds are abrasive but not scratchy. That means they can be effective in scrubbing grease and grime off your dishes, pots, pans and utensils.

You might want to try this even if you do have dishwashing liquid on hand. It’s a great way to repurpose and avoid using a product with chemicals in it.

Ice melter

You may find yourself in a position someday where it’s crucial to melt ice on your steps and walkway but there’s no salt available.

Coffee grounds can come in handy in this situation as well. Just sprinkle them on the cement and wait for them to work.

The acidity in coffee grounds will make the ice melt faster, while the grounds themselves will provide some traction.

Safe passageway over icy surfaces can be extremely helpful. The last thing you want in a survival situation is an injury that will cause pain and slow you down.


Earlier I mentioned having a garden. Planting and maintaining a garden is as important now as at any time during our lives.

We’ve gotten a major wake-up call over the past year. Many of us have seen empty store shelves for the first time.

Growing our own food is assurance that no matter how bad the pandemic gets, we’ll be able to feed ourselves and our families. Coffee grounds will enhance the acidity level in the soil, which is great for plants.

The nitrogen and potassium in coffee grounds will help your plants thrive. They will also provide some magnesium. And the results will be obvious in a short amount of time.

Your first inclination after brewing coffee might be to throw out the grounds. But hopefully you’ll find productive uses for them.


  • Hilton Fritsch - December 04, 2020

    I put them in my mushroom bed. In the spring I’ll plant a garden around the mushrooms.

  • Diana Trott - December 04, 2020

    I loved reading about all the ways coffee grounds can be useful in our lives in the 4 Patriots blog I read today.

    I also love the quality life-saving products this awesome organization offers. I unexpectedly had to use my 4 Patriots Power Cell recently when my phone went dead in an out-of-the-way place. I was extremely grateful I had my Power Cell with me.

  • terry m king - December 04, 2020

    thank you for all of the tips on survival and everyday situations /// however the use of coffee grounds to clean pots and pans may be ok if you are washing outside or on a sewer system , but the WORST thing one can do is let any coffee grounds go into a ceptic system /// they will not break down and can
    cause major problems ( ask any ceptic co. ) i would guess that a large percentage of your readers are on ceotic systems that may not know this. thanks Terry M. King

  • MIkhael L MOrgan - December 04, 2020

    I use adaptogenic instant coffees, but with ur input, will (if n when) it’s called fir use some of the Tubman to make “ useful grounds”! Thx! Blessings! M

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