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If you’ve been drinking coffee as long as I have, you probably think that you know all there is to know about the glorious coffee bean. You just may be surprised at all the ways that coffee can help you around the house and garden.
Our forebears were experts at making everything in their lives do double and triple duty, and coffee was no exception. We could learn a lot from stepping back in time to see how colonial and prairie homemakers used coffee – from the bean all the way to the dregs and the spent grounds. Here are seven surprising ways that you can use coffee around your house.
– Coffee grounds make wonderful soil dressing for any plant that thrives in acidic soil.
Take a cue from great-grandmother and empty your used coffee filter into a plastic bag. Add crushed egg shells and mix well, then dig into the soil around the roots of rose bushes, azaleas or rhododendrons. Your flowering bushes will reward you with bigger, more plentiful and more brightly colored blossoms all summer long.
– Ground coffee absorbs musty and stale odors like a charm.
Pour about a cup full of unused coffee grounds into an open can or a box with a perforated lid, then tuck the box into the corner of your musty basement or garage. You won’t smell the coffee – or those stale odors that seem to proliferate in those seldom-used spaces.
– Coffee is good for your skin, too.
Mix a tablespoon or so of coffee grounds – used or not – into a squirt of liquid soap for a deliciously invigorating coffee scrub and exfoliating agents. The rough texture will rub away the dead skin cells that dull your complexion. In addition, there’s some evidence that the caffeine and antioxidants stimulate your skin cells to produce more collagen and reproduce more quickly, which can make your skin look younger and fresher.
– Coffee scrub is also great for your hands.
Toss the end scraps of hand soap into a jar and add enough water to just cover the soap slivers. Leave it overnight to liquefy, then stir in a couple tablespoons of coffee grounds. Keep the jar sink side to use after handling fish, onions or other smelly foods. Add more soap scraps and coffee as needed. Just scoop out a dollop and use it t wash your hands.
– Got problems with slugs in your garden? Coffee to the rescue!
Scientists aren’t sure exactly what it is in coffee that slugs and snails don’t like, but whatever it is, they really really hate it. Lay down a one or two inch border of coffee grounds around areas that you want to protect from being slug munchies, and watch them turn away and head in another direction when they hit it.
– Want to bring out the shine in brunette hair?
Add a teaspoon of plain vinegar to a cup of black, brewed coffee and work it through your hair after shampooing. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then rinse. The coffee deepens the color and the vinegar amps up the shine for a glossy, thick mane of rich, dark tresses.
– Touch up worn spots and stains on your dark wood furniture with coffee.
Brew it extra strong, and paint it on the stained or worn area with a cotton swab or soft cloth. Let it dry, reapply if necessary, and buff with beeswax.