5 unexpected ways to use coffee to clean your kitchen

Here's why you shouldn't throw used grounds straight in the bin

SMEG coffee machine
(Image credit: SMEG)

We couldn't survive without our morning cup of coffee, but - as with many things we consume at home - we sometimes wonder about how to make it less wasteful. If you're wondering how to use coffee grounds for cleaning the kitchen, you're in the right place.

It turns out our leftover coffee grounds can be used for cleaning various spots, from pans to kitchen worktops. So next time you're cleaning out your cafetière or best coffee machine, avoid throwing them straight in the compost bin...

coffee machine

(Image credit: Alamy)

'We’ve all heard about lemon juice and vinegar acting as great natural cleaning products for the home,' says Polly Shearer, interiors expert at Tap Warehouse. 'But coffee also has multiple benefits to keep your kitchen spick and span.'

Reusing coffee grounds, or just some instant coffee - will leave you with a clean kitchen that smells great.

1. Scrubbing Pans

Burnt-on food stuck to pots and pans can be a nightmare to remove. And you don't want to damage the non-stick finish by using anything too harsh.

Mix some leftover coffee grounds (around 2 or 3 teaspoons) with warm, soapy water and scrub the pan with a sofa sponge or brush. Coffee will cut through grease because it's acidic.

SMEG coffee machine

(Image credit: SMEG)

2. Keep your fridge and bin smelling fresh

If your fridge sometimes gets a bit whiffy, coffee could be the answer. Pop a small container of coffee grounds, or a few beans, in your fridge to neutralize odors.

Likewise, you can pop a couple of teaspoons of coffee at the bottom of your bin before putting in a bin bag to stop the bin from smelling.

3. Cleaning surfaces

When it comes to how to clean the kitchen, the surfaces are one of the first things we tackle. If you've got any tough stains on your worktops, kitchen floor tiles or even your splashback, coffee might just get rid of them once and for all. 

Mix a few teaspoons of instant coffee or used grounds with soapy water to make your own eco-friendly, purse-friendly surface cleaner. You can also reduce the appearance of scratches and stains on wooden surfaces with coffee. Just soak a spoonful of coffee with warm water and gently rub on the surface.

cafetiere filled with coffee

(Image credit: Quince & Cook)

4. Cleaning the grill

Cleaning an oven and grill is a particularly daunting task - but don't be daunted. The longer you put it off, the worse it'll be. 

Try soaking your grill grates in the sink for about 45 minutes in a solution of warm water and a few spoonfuls of coffee to soften stains before scrubbing.

5. Unblocking the sink

That's not it when it comes to how to use coffee grounds for cleaning. Grounds can also defeat blocked drains removing the need for harsh chemicals. Simply pour coffee grounds into the sink - followed by liquid soap and boiling water.

With a bit of luck, this will clear the blockage and leave your sink free of odors.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.