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Life Hacks: Countless uses for old coffee grounds

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - The almighty coffee bean's powers don't end after the last sip. There are numerous ways to reuse old coffee grounds, including in gardening, house cleaning, do-it-yourself projects and beauty boosters.

Roberto Torres, owner of the Blind Tiger cafes in Tampa, says coffee grounds are a handy household hack.

"I actually pour a little bit down my pipes at home - in the sink or toilet - because it helps unclog any hair," Torres said.

A natural degreaser, used coffee can be used to scrub pots and pans, and when put through a disposal, the gritty grounds sharpen blades.

But that's not all!

"You can actually take scratches out of furniture, wood, because it's a natural stain," Torres said.

One recipe for homemade stain: add a steel wool pad to a glass jar containing 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds and white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours. When you're ready, begin to scrub your piece of wood with the coffee and vinegar-dipped steel wool. Let dry, then repeat a second time for a darker, aged finish. Wipe off any excess grounds.

For caffeinated home-made candles, add a spoonful of grounds to wax to perk up your pillars.

Gardeners also think grounds are great! Blind Tiger cafes, and several other local coffee roasters in Seminole Heights, donate used coffee grounds to the Seminole Heights Community Garden each week, for use in compost, as a fertilizer and to repel pests:

  • As a fertilizer, coffee grounds add organic matter, improve water retention and aeration, while helping beneficial microorganisms thrive. Fresh grounds are also beneficial for acid-loving plants, as they raise the pH level of the soil, while used grounds are a great source of nutritive nitrogen.
  • Along with being a great fertilizer, coffee grounds also help strengthen garden compost with beneficial trace elements. The extra nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in the grounds help plants convert sunlight into energy and retain moisture, making it a nutritious addition to your compost pile. Add coffee grounds to your compost pile with an equal amount of a carbon source, such as dried leaves.
  • Coffee grounds are great for repelling a variety of garden pests, especially slugs and snails. Sprinkling the grounds around your garden or creating a coffee ground "wall" about two inches wide around the perimeter will help deter these pesky veggie-eaters. Earthworms, however, love coffee and, according to Lynelle Bonneville, Secretary for the Seminole Heights Community Garden, their worms are given a healthy dose of grounds each day. She says the grounds are a good food source for the worms and worms help aerate soil which is good for drainage.

Other suggestions:

  • Coffee grounds can also be an effective temporary treatment for cellulite. Massaging and exfoliating with the grounds stimulates circulation and nutrient flow, while the caffeine content temporarily dilates blood vessels and reduces water retention-all beneficial to minimizing cellulite rumpled appearance.
  • Remove dark circles and under-eye bags using a combination of coffee grounds and coconut oil. When mixed into a paste, and applied for 15-20 minutes, the concoction acts as a diuretic, which may reduce puffiness.
  • Massaging coffee grounds into your scalp while in the shower will help remove product build-up, exfoliate your scalp and help stimulate hair growth.
  • Coffee grounds can be used as to exfoliate and slough away dead skin. Use alone, or create a scrub by combining 1/2 cup ground coffee, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, 1/4 cup coconut or olive oil and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

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