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15 Household Uses for Coffee Grounds

Don’t let used coffee grounds go to waste. Use them around the house, in your garden or in homemade body-care products.

| March/April 2015

  • Add used coffee grounds to compost, natural cleaning and beauty products.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Finely ground coffee can be used to make flavorful meat rubs.
    Photo by Fotolia

The average American drinks three cups of coffee a day—that’s about 400 million cups of coffee consumed each day in the United States alone. For many, the morning ritual of brewing a hot cup of coffee is a necessity as well as a treat. But instead of creating landfill-bound waste by tossing out used coffee grounds, put these caffeinated soldiers to work. Coffee grounds are surprisingly versatile and can be reused nearly everywhere, from your home to your garden.

Break Ground

1. Odor Eater: Just like baking soda, used coffee grounds can absorb unpleasant odors. Combine a week’s worth of used coffee grounds in an open jar, then place it in the back of your refrigerator or freezer to naturally deodorize the space.

2. Hearth Helper: Before cleaning out your fireplace, sprinkle used coffee grounds over the ashes to dampen the dust and keep it from flying everywhere.

3. Scratch Remover: Reinvigorate scratched wood surfaces: Mix 1⁄4 cup coffee grounds with 1⁄4 cup warm water and 1⁄4 cup vinegar, let steep for an hour, then apply mixture to scratched wood surfaces using a washcloth. (For smaller scratches, use a cotton swab.) Let the stain sit for about five minutes for light-colored surfaces, or up to an hour for dark-colored surfaces, before wiping away. Note: If you are worried about the stain getting too dark, apply in small increments until you achieve the color you want.



4. Hand Savior: Rub coffee grounds into your palms after handling smelly foods such as garlic, onion or even fish. The grounds will absorb the smell, as well as any oil that may have hitched a ride on your hands.

5. Disposal Cleaner: For a better-smelling garbage disposal, pour a tablespoon each of coffee grounds and baking soda down the drain to clean the blades. Note: This works best with newer disposal units. If you are unsure about your drain efficiency, consult your owners’ manual for tips.



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