Why You Should Leave Some Coffee Grounds In Your Freshly Painted Room

Anyone who has painted an interior space is familiar with the smell that follows this home project. Beyond just being stinky, however, the fumes given off by paint can actually be harmful to human health and overall air quality. If you need to quickly deodorize your home, look no further than your coffee grounds, which have the unique ability to remove foul odors. Coffee as a deodorizer is an excellent option on rainy days, which may make you think twice before opening a window to air out your home.

Coffee beans are remarkable for many reasons, but most people think of their energetic potential rather than their odor-neutralizing properties. Interestingly enough, it is the caffeine component of coffee that also makes it a great odor reducer. Additionally, since coffee beans have a strong smell of their own, leaving them out will lend their aroma to the space — an attractive option for anyone who loves lattes — thus replacing the undesired scent of paint.

How to deodorize paint fumes with coffee

What exactly is the best way to use your coffee beans to deodorize a room with fresh paint? Firstly, do not bust out the small-batch, organic coffee beans from your last vacation to Guatemala: since the goal is to get rid of paint smells, whatever coffee you use will be saturated with those fumes and will not be fit to use afterward. Secondly, while whole coffee beans can be used for this trick, coffee grounds are a fine choice as well (noting that whole beans may be a less messy ordeal than ground coffee if spilled).

Take a few shallow dishes, such as glass containers or metal cookie sheets (avoid using plastic, as it can be tainted by fumes), and add a thin layer of coffee grounds or beans to the bottom of each. Place the containers throughout the room and leave them overnight. By morning, you should be left with a fume-free space that instead smells of coffee. Dispose of your coffee beans or grounds and enjoy your freshly painted and fume-free room.

The inner workings of coffee

The buzz people turn to coffee for is thanks to the chemical makeup of caffeine, which contains four nitrogen molecules. Mysterious though it may seem, the nitrogen found within caffeine has been proven effective in absorbing certain unpleasant and harmful odors, such as hydrogen sulfide, found in sewers and swamps. It works by increasing the efficacy of carbon — a common element in air filters responsible for capturing unpleasant odors — through the chemical process of adsorption. During this chemical procedure, undesirable odors are absorbed so effectively that the human nose can no longer detect their presence. 

While all the chemistry may make your head spin, the simple takeaway is this. Coffee serves as a highly effective deodorizer and air freshener, even for persistent smells like paint odors. Whether you are painting your home or even just spray painting a piece of furniture, coffee beans can easily be used to neutralize smells in any room and deliver peace of mind about the purity of your home's air.