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coffee smell, coffee odour, coffee scent, specialty coffee

Do Coffee Beans Absorb Smell? | Eliminate Odours

Coffee may be one of your favourite beverages, but have you ever thought about if coffee beans absorb smell?

A bad smell is a nose sting and leaves you looking for a good smelling candle or an incense stick to ward it away. 

So if you are experiencing a bad smell, you no longer need to be upset, as there is a quick, eco-friendly way to mask the smell.

Do coffee beans absorb smell? Yes, coffee beans absorb smell and act as a filter to remove toxic gases from the surrounding air due to the materials within the coffee bean such as nitrogen which has the capability to absorb sulphur.

Be it rotten eggs or cigarette smoke filling your room, coffee beans are very efficient in getting rid of the smell/odour perfectly. 

Because coffee beans have a very strong scent, they neutralise the air and eliminate stringent smells that are emitted from things like a garbage can or rotten food. 

In this article, we’ll offer some simple advice to help you get the most out of your specialty coffee beans, and help you save time and money to eliminate any bad smells or odours you may be experiencing.

How Do Coffee Beans Absorb Smell?

Caffeine is abundant in coffee beans, it also comprises nitrogen. The elements of nitrogen have the capability of carbon that can absorb sulphur. 

This is a smell that is linked to odours and unbreathable smells. Coffee can ward off the worst smells on the globe. How amazing is that?

smell coffee, roasted coffee, coffee beans, specialty coffee

According to recent studies, ground coffee beans are one of the best methods at masking odours, meaning they may not 100% destroy the odours, but simply overpowered the odour. 

That being said, ground coffee beans worked immediately for many items. For instance, garlic, which is one of the worst smelling foods used in cooking. 

“Coffee beans work on each item in its own way. The oils from the coffee beans absorb odours. Coffee beans did have an effect on bananas, and the odour over time was neutralised”.

Researcher, University of Oxford.

Where Can Coffee Beans Absorb Smell?

Leave coffee beans in any corner of the room or kitchen, and the strong coffee scent kicks in the area. 

coffee beans, specialty coffee, coffee smell

Any unpleasant smell that was bothering you will be absorbed. 

You can also place the coffee beans in a cabinet, bathroom shelf, fridge or pet litter box, and let the magic happen. 

The used coffee beans or grounds can also be used as a compost for your garden post using them to absorb smell as they also fertilise your soil.

You can use coffee beans either as a whole bean or in its ground form, as well as used coffee grounds post drying in an open jar. 

Ways Coffee Beans Absorb Smell?

Below we have listed some ways coffee beans absorb smell and how you can make use of both whole bean and ground coffee.

  • Coffee hand scrub
  • Refrigerator odours
  • Drain smells
  • Car deodoriser
  • In store lines
  • Pet stains and deodoriser
  • Carpet deodoriser
  • Burnt food smell
  • Countertops

Use Coffee On Your Hands Post Cooking

It becomes disgusting when you want to eat something good that you have prepared to eat but have an unwanted smell on your hands. 

For example, it could be garlic or an onion smell, so you can eliminate this smell with used grounds of coffee by simply brushing or rubbing them on your hands post-cooking. 

coffee hand scrub, coffee beans, ground coffee

Store the coffee grounds in a jar for these purposes. Since coffee is a natural eliminator of odour, the smell fades away. 

It is also used as an exfoliator and keeps your hands smooth and soft post the brushing. Two benefits for lovely hands.

Eliminate Refrigerator Odours

A refrigerator has dampness, fermented food, food spills, and so on. Eventually, these smells combine to give a weird odour when you use the fridge. 

Even after cleaning, the smell persists at times. Coffee beans in ground form or whole consist of nitrogen, which minimises strong odours. 

coffee smell in fridge, absorb smell in fridge, coffee beans, specialty coffee

Place a bowl of coffee beans or used grounds in any corner of the refrigerator to combat heavy smells. 

Moist coffee grounds will replace the food smells with the coffee smell. For the grounds to dry, you can place them in the freezer, and this can freshen up the entire fridge.

Drain Smells

The drain smells can be eliminated with coffee grounds. It is also a drain deodoriser. 

Take a tablespoon of coffee ground and pour it in the kitchen or bathroom drain. Pour some boiling water, post the process. 

Always remember this is a drain deodoriser and not for unclogging drains. Do not use them in clogged drains as this shall clog them even further. Make use of coffee grounds for one or two times in a month to avoid any clogging in the drains.

Car Deodoriser

Your car may be smelling of fast food, food spills, or pet dander. 

Place coffee grounds in an open jar or a hose on a level. This will give some time to freshen up the car. 

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It will absorb the burger and fries smell and substitute with a neutralised smell. You will also make a pleasant drive for yourself and others.

In Store Lines Besides Perfumes

For the same reasons, coffee beans are placed next to perfumes and colognes. This is not to eliminate bad smells as such, however, it neutralises the air and cleanses your palate. 

The smell is absorbed, and you are able to differentiate different fragrances.

Pet Stain and Deodorisation

Take a coffee filter and place the coffee grounds post drying in the oven. Once the grounds are placed, tie a rubber band to close the top and avoid any spilling. 

Based on the pet stain size, the coffee filter size has to be arranged, either in one or more balloons shaped coffee filters. 

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Place these coffee balloons over the stain and let it work overnight. Once done, you can throw these balloons in the trash.

Carpet Deodoriser

Regular vacuuming on its own may not void all smells of the carpet, this is where you can go a step further and add coffee beans to absorb the smell. 

You will need to dry the coffee grounds by placing them in the freezer or by drying them in an oven. This is essential as wet coffee grounds can create a mess and stain the carpet. 

Dried coffee grounds can be sprinkled on the carpet and more essentially smelly regions. Leave the grounds overnight or for a couple of hours. 

Post this, deep vacuum the carpet to remove the coffee grounds. Your carpet becomes fresh and odour-free. 

Something to remember, however, is to avoid using dark coffee grounds when it comes to light shades of carpet. It can stain. So, try using coffee filters shaped like a balloon, or any other method to be safe on lighter carpets.

Burnt Food Smell

Since coffee grounds texture is rough and abrasive, they can be used as a pot scrubber. Place the grounds on the pan and gently rub on the burnt portion. 

coffee beans cleaning frying pans

This will remove the burnt food and also absorb the burnt odour of the pan. The same can be done on cups and plates trapped with food. Do not overdo the scrubbing as it can impact the paint on the plate and non-stick layer of the pans.

A pad can be made with coffee grounds wrapped in cheesecloth. Tie a knot and use it on the pans and plates to avoid scratching off its external layers.


The kitchen and bathroom countertops can be cleaned with the above-mentioned home made scrubber made from coffee grounds and cheesecloth. 

coffee, ground coffee

You can clean and freshen up the countertops by eliminating the foul smell of the area. However, it is advisable not to use this method on porous items and light-coloured tops.

How to Dry Out Wet Coffee Grounds to Absorb Smell? 

Take a baking sheet and spread the wet grounds on this sheet in a very thin layer. 

Turn on your oven to 250 degrees and place the grounds in the oven. Once they dry, store them in a jar. 

Place the jar open in any area of unpleasant smells like a toilet, kitchen cabinet, litter box, fridge, and so on. 

You can also hang them in a hose. You will be amazed at how fresh the area becomes, clearly signifying their odour absorbing capacities.

Can You Use Whole Bean Coffee to Absorb Smell?

coffee beans being ground in grinder

Coffee beans or grounds are placed on dryer sheets to enhance the dosage and curb the odour faster with added fragrance. 

This is suggested by many as absorbing smell is much improved by doing so. The odour fades away the next morning, and your house will be fragrant too.

Just like ground coffee, whole coffee beans are also very efficient as carbonising coffee. They fight the elevated bad smells such as raw sewage. 

The coffee acts as a filter to remove toxic gases from the surrounding air. This filter is eco-friendly and easily available at home. Studies have shown that a coffee ground made material could absorb hydrogen sulphide or H2S gas, a stinking gas released from the sewage.

Using perfect coffee beans – is that wasting?

People may think, why waste perfectly awesome coffee beans and rather go ahead and buy an air freshener instead?

This may look like a suitable option for many, however, if we compared coffee with a cleaning product, it is a comparatively cheaper option. 

Coffee has two purposes – one is to obviously make an amazing tasting coffee, and two, ward off a bad smell. 

caffeine, coffee bean, specialty coffee

This is incredibly helpful if you are a regular coffee drinker and a coffee lover. Save some money and make use of this eco-friendly air freshener in minor quantities to fight off odours efficiently.

You can use coffee beans in the form of coffee grounds or whole form. Even one round of filtered coffee grounds help remove odours, however, the strength varies. 

Plus even if you are just using small amounts, it will not hurt the budget.

Coffee beans can be used even in a refrigerator or a microwave to combat foul smell due to food remains, rotten food or food leaks.

Do Coffee Beans Absorb Smell F.A.Q’s

frequently asked questions
Q: Can you use coffee beans as air freshener?

A: If you don’t want to go through the effort of making a candle, you can simply place a cup full of whole coffee beans in your bathroom or on a side table.

Q: How long do coffee beans keep their smell?

A: If you manage to get your hands on a fresh bag of coffee beans, it will be good for up to 2-3 months after roasting. The aroma will start to degrade much faster after those weeks. 

Q: Do coffee beans absorb moisture?

A: Green coffee beans (before the roasting process) are porous and hygroscopic. This means they readily absorb and retain moisture.

For example, if you store your fresh green coffee beans near garlic – the beans will take on the aroma and flavour of garlic.

Q: What is the best smelling coffee?

A: The best smelling/tasting coffee is the freshest roasted and freshly ground 100% Arabica coffee.

It does not much matter as to the origin of the coffee because each origin will have its own unique aromas and flavours.

Conclusion: Do Coffee Beans Absorb Smell

americano vs filter coffee

Overall, yes, coffee beans absorb smell and remove odours off the area of use. 

They act as an air freshener, deodoriser, and odour/strong smell remover. Also by making your DIY homemade scrubber with coffee beans wrapped in cheesecloth and closed with a knot, you can clean the countertops or any other area.

Coffee beans and coffee grounds can neutralise an odour by replacing the air with its unique coffee scent.

So, grab this eco-friendly, cost-efficient deodoriser and odour eliminator to make your space free of foul smells.

If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides.

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