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9 Ways to Repurpose Used Coffee Grounds

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Scenario: You’ve brewed the perfect cup of coffee, and have drunk every ounce of it with gusto.  You’re raring to start the day, and you start to open the coffee maker and reach for the filter.  You toss the filter in the trash just like every other day you make a cup of coffee.

What’s wrong with this scenario?  Nothing, really.  It happens all the time, and it is a much better scenario, honestly, than say, forgetting to empty a filter for days at a time.  However, we at 1st in Coffee believe that a number of alternatives exist for use of the coffee grinds that you’ve decided to toss.  In an era that extols the benefits of living sustainably, we’d also like to add our own simple way to live a little greener.

Have you considered ways in which you can reuse coffee grounds after you’ve used them to make coffee?  Check out this list of random ways that coffee grounds can be reused.  None of them involve making another cup of coffee, which would be less potent, anyway, and who wants that?

  1. Deodorize the fridge. Baking soda is what people generally use to deodorize a refrigerator, but you can also place leftover coffee grounds in cheesecloth, and these will do the trick, too.  To do this, let the coffee grounds dry, and then place them in the cheesecloth.  Place the cloth someplace innocuous where it doesn’t get in the way, and it will absorb strong odors.
  1. Use them to clean. Wet or dry grounds can be used to clean pots, pans, and dirty countertops.  Place the grounds on the surface space and scrub.  Before cleaning, make sure to test the area by placing a few grounds on it to make sure that it maintains its color and won’t be stained.
  1. Bake with them. Add a hint of coffee flavoring to a recipe or a chocolate dish by adding a few grounds of coffee; just a few, though, so you don’t taste the grains.  Coffee grounds can also be used to add to the smoked flavor of barbequed foods.
  1. See the wonders that coffee grounds can work on your skin instead of your normal face wash.  The grains serve as a natural exfoliator and will be even more gentle since they’ve already been used once via the original cup of coffee.  Use the grounds to wash your face in the shower, and then wash off the “face scrub” using cool water to close your pores.
  1. Neutralize the odor of your hands after chopping garlic or onions. Coffee grounds can be especially useful after you’ve cooked with garlic or onions, which are vegetables known for their strong, distinctive scents.  Coffee grounds will help to remove some of the lingering smell of garlic and onions.  To remove the smell, grab a handful of wet coffee grounds and rub them on your hands, and then wash your hands off with hand soap or dish detergent.  Rub on lotion.
  1. Use them in crafts projects. Coffee grounds add a nice touch for art projects in need of realistic-looking dirt or tree limbs.  They are also great for adding a rustic touch to stationery by placing coffee grounds in water and dipping the paper in the lightly dyed water.  Used coffee grounds works just as well as fresh grounds in food recipes. You can also add a small amount of grounds to chocolate baked goods for some added flavor.
  1. Use the grounds as fertilizer. Mix the coffee grounds in with the soil and leaves to add some acidity to the soil.  Plants such as roses, azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias, and rhododendrons thrive in more acidic environments.
  1. Fortify plants with nitrogen. In addition to creating a more acidic growing environment, coffee grounds are also a good source of nitrogen and potassium for plants.
  1. Keep pests away. Sprinkle coffee grounds around plants to keep away ants, worms, snails, and slugs.  Ants, in particular, don’t like them because the acidity of the grounds and the grounds themselves harm their exoskeletons.  To keep ants away, sprinkle a two-inch wide line around a home, work space, or building.  It can also be added to hot water and poured over anthills.

So, next time you’re on the verge of dumping out your coffee filter filled with coffee grounds, consider the many uses of it for yourself and your home.

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