Don’t discard used coffee grounds, they can be used to make DIY scrubs

Don’t discard used coffee grounds, they can be used to make DIY scrubs

PUTRAJAYA: Every time Dr. Janira Kumari prepares her coffee drink, the used coffee grounds will be collected to make body scrubs. She also doesn’t hesitate to ask for used coffee grounds at cafes or restaurants and to avoid them being thrown into the trash.

“Many people don’t know or realize that used coffee grounds can be reused to make our own body scrubs or exfoliants. Moreover, this can help to protect the environment while also saving money,” shared Dr. Janira Kumari, co-founder of the Zero Waste Earth Store, during a lecture on ‘Green Lifestyle’, organized by the Malaysian Green Foundation recently.

She was one of the speakers at the event held at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRES) on March 29, aimed at educating Malaysians about various ways to reduce waste and adopt a green lifestyle to preserve the environment.

According to data from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Malaysians are drinking more coffee, making the country ranked third among 58 countries in the region in terms of the highest growth in coffee consumption in 2021.

Based on the data, coffee consumption in Malaysia increased by 73 percent, from 344,783 bags of coffee beans in 2020 to 597,064 bags in 2021. This means Malaysia used an additional 252,281 bags of coffee, each weighing 60kg.

Dr. Janira stated that used coffee grounds usually end up in the trash, and this action has several negative effects on the environment, especially the production of methane gas, the most potent greenhouse gas (GHG).

“Reducing methane emissions is important for addressing climate change and limiting the impact of global warming. However, it is just one of the many complex climate issues. Effective strategies to address methane are needed in addition to efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions,” she said.


Expanding further on the use of used coffee grounds to make body scrubs, Dr. Janira also shared several potential benefits of the resulting scrub.
“Coffee grounds are coarse and excellent for exfoliating the body, helping to remove dead skin cells and leaving our skin smooth and bright. It also contains caffeine as a natural vasoconstrictor that temporarily can reduce the appearance of cellulite by tightening the skin, as well as potentially reducing skin swelling, making it a popular choice for under-eye scrubs.

“Since coffee is also rich in antioxidants, it can help counter the effects of skin damage caused by free radicals, making the skin look younger and healthier,” she said.
She added that the scent of coffee is also refreshing, as if you are in a beauty salon when performing your skincare routine.

“Every morning after waking up, you can smell the fragrance of your coffee scrub to refresh your body before you drink coffee as part of your daily routine,” she said.


During her 30-minute lecture, Dr. Janira shared easy steps to reuse used coffee grounds to make body scrubs.
“You can start by collecting used coffee grounds, either from your own use or from nearby coffee shops. Make sure these coffee grounds are completely cool and dry. Collect them over a few days, and use fresh coffee grounds each time you make coffee.

“Dry coffee grounds are good for making scrubs because they are easy to handle and less messy compared to wet or damp coffee grounds. It’s also better to dry these used coffee grounds (roast without oil) or dry them in the oven before putting them in a bowl or bottle.

“Wet coffee grounds can be used immediately, but they should not be stored for long periods as they may become moldy, especially after being mixed with other ingredients,” she said.
To make a coffee scrub, Dr. Janira said, two parts of dry coffee grounds need to be separated before mixing with three other ingredients, namely carrier oil, emollient or moisturizer, and essential oil.

“Some carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil, which provide moisture and can be evenly applied to the body, contributing to overall skincare benefits.
“When choosing a carrier oil for your body scrub, it’s important to know your skin type and possibly your other preferences. As a medical doctor, I highly recommend coconut oil because it contains antibacterial properties and helps moisturize the skin, making it beneficial for dry and sensitive skin,” she said.

She added that emollients are a valuable addition to coffee scrubs, especially if you want to add moisturizing properties to the coffee scrub, making it more suitable for dry or sensitive skin.
“Emollients are ingredients that help soften and hydrate the skin by forming a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss. When added to a coffee scrub, it can help address potential dry skin when it peels off after scrubbing. The skin will become smoother and softer,” she said.

According to her, essential oils are also a good addition to coffee scrubs not only because of their pleasant smell but also because of the potential skincare benefits.

“It is best to add no more than two types of essential oils to the coffee scrub mixture because if more than three, it may produce a reaction and become toxic to the skin. Typically, the recommended essential oils are lavender oil – known to contain soothing ingredients; tea tree oil contains good antimicrobial properties for problematic and oily skin as well as lemon oil containing alpha hydroxy acid, which can exfoliate and brighten the skin.

“However, it will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so use it with caution and also use sunscreen,” she said.


Dr. Janira advised that when making coffee scrubs, ensure the smell because some essential oils have a stronger smell than others, therefore only a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil should be added to the scrub.

“Essential oils are indeed concentrated and can irritate the skin if mixed like that. Mix the essential oils into the carrier oil before adding it to the coffee scrub.
“Usually, a few drops of essential oils mixed with carrier oil are the appropriate ratio. Mix the essential oils with the carrier oil to ensure uniformity in the scrub,” she added.

Dr. Janira said she often advises her patients to perform a patch test by applying a small amount of scrub to a small area of the skin to ensure it does not cause irritation or allergies before using the scrub on the skin or face.

“Massage your face or body gently after applying a little coffee scrub. Don’t rub too hard as it may cause irritation. Coffee grounds are natural peels that can exfoliate the skin. You can add other exfoliating agents if you want to enhance the exfoliating properties of your coffee scrub.

“Three other common exfoliants used in coffee scrubs are oatmeal, sugar, and baking soda,” said Dr. Janira, who is experienced in skincare.


To ensure the coffee scrub you produce is fresh and lasts long, Dr. Janira said, check for signs of spoilage because after a while, the scrub may become odorous, change color, and mold can be seen.

“If you add essential oils, some essential oils have natural preservative properties, for example, tea tree oil and rosemary oil, which can help the scrub last


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