Every coffee drinker knows the feeling they get when they have their morning ritual of a hot strong cup of coffee. Mmmmmm, just saying the word makes me smell it in the air; coffee. As a longtime coffee consumer and avid caffeine-scientist I've seen my way around more than a few pots of potent, percolating brain juice. We all know the great benefits of coffee, it's:

  • Hot
  • Caffeinated
  • Awesome

But did you know that coffee has a life outside of being a tasty bevvy? It's true! Coffee grounds can continue to be useful after you've had your morning fix and can work in some interesting ways. So, save those beans and find 11 unusual uses for coffee!

Step 1: In the Garden

Spent coffee grounds can be mixed with lye to make a great composting agent, you can even throw in the coffee filter, too!
Worms in compost like to eat the bacterium that grows on the facets of coffee grounds, though the grounds themselves are a a food source it also adds grit to the worms' digestive system allowing them to digest better.

Small amounts of coffee grounds can be added directly to top soil, especially on plants that like high acidity in the soil like azaleas or roses. Coffee is high in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals, spreading around a thin layer of coffee grounds on your soil will allow a slow release of these minerals into your plants.

Be aware of which plants like acidic soil (roses), and which plants don't (tomatoes).

Insect Repellant:
Coffee has a very strong odour which many insects and animals do not like. In addition, it's been suggested that mosquitoes, ants, slugs and maggots all dislike the acidity of coffee and will stay away from areas where there is high concentration of acidic soil.

Step 2: Pet Repellant

Pesky neighbour's cat or dog always up in your flowerbed? Sprinkling coffee grounds along with other powerful odour-emitting substances can keep those animals away. Most animals' sense of smell is much greater than ours, and while coffee that may smell great to us can smell very unpleasant to a hyper-sensitive-olfactory feline.

Used coffee grounds can be mixed with orange peels (or other citrus) and spread around flowerbeds for an inexpensive pet deterrent. This potent concoction was enough to drive the cat in this picture away, after a brief sniff he couldn't get away fast enough!

Step 3: Aromatic

Instructables member noahw made a coffee air freshener, "enjoy that great coffee bean scent whenever and wherever you like."

You can easily make your own with a pair of ladies stockings and fresh ground coffee. Simply double-up the stockings, fill with coffee grounds and then tie off.

Step 4: Palate Cleanser

You may have noticed that many perfume counters at department stores have a small dish of coffee beans nearby (and if they don't have them, they should). These coffee beans are there to 'cleanse your palate' (olfactory). The reason you want to smell coffee beans between perfume samples is that when testing out powerful aromatics it can get hard to discern one scent from another. The strong odour of coffee beans excites different areas in your olfactory, allowing a more sensitive smell for the next perfume you want to smell.

UC Berkeley scientist, Noam Sobel, writes in his article "Influence of Smelling Coffee on Olfactory Habituation":

Smelling coffee aroma between perfume samples, as compared to smelling unscented air, actually works. The perceived odor intensity of the perfume from sample to sample stayed the same after smelling coffee aroma while it decreased when smelling air between samples. The pleasantness of the perfume, however, was similar after smelling coffee or air.

So grab those beans next time you're sampling perfumes or colognes and give your nose a break!

Step 5: Fridge Deodorizer

Borrowing noahw'sair freshener idea, I found that you can use coffee to help reduce refrigerator odours and food prep smells, like onions or other strong smelling food.

Make a sachet of ground coffee and leave in the back of the fridge for a few days, the sachet should help absorb some of the strong food odours and emit a pleasant coffee aroma.

Step 6: Meat Rub

We all know coffee is great for breakfast, but what about dinner? Try a coffee rub on your next steak dinner for a unique flavour experience! I toasted fresh coffee grounds under a hot broiler for about 30 seconds, shaking often to prevent burning. The toasted coffee was then added with other steak spices and rubbed into the steak and left to marinate for a few hours in the fridge.

Cook steak as desired.

Step 7: Fabric Dye / Wood Stain

Coffee's dark colour makes it a good choice for giving fabrics that worn-look and wood an aged patina. You're not going to end up with a very dark dye or stain, but you will get a unique, weathered look. Depending on number of applications and type of material the coffee is applied to this method of dying and staining can produce some effective results.

Fabric Dye:
Brew a regular pot of coffee and completely immerse the fabric of choice into pot, you may need to place a small weight on top of the fabric to stop it from poking out of the coffee while it's soaking. Allow fabric to dye for 24 hours (or longer), then rinse fabric and let air dry. The result is a browny,off-white colour; giving the fabric an aged look. Try a few different strength of coffee brews, or length of time fabric is submerged to achieve different shades.

Wood Stain:
Brew a strong pot of coffee and place the grounds back into the pot, allow to slightly and then apply to untreated wood. The coffee will stain the wood a slightly darker stain, but don't expect very dark results. Leaving a the coffee grounds directly on the wood will result in a darker stain.

Step 8: Paint

Artists and crafters have used coffee and tea as a form of 'paint' for ages. Regular brewed coffee can be brushed onto cardstock and will dry with a faded, browny, textured look. With repeated applications you can build up your image and create depth.

Make sure to take a sip between brush strokes.

Step 9: Cleaning Abrasive

Used coffee grounds can be used as a cleaning abrasive. Simply save up your coffee grounds and scoop some into your next dirty pot or pan before hand washing, the absorbent grounds are perfect for greasy pans and the small jegged edges of each ground helps in cleaning even the grossest of dishware.

Step 10: Facial Exfoliant / Faux Beard

Facial Exfoliant:
Coffee grounds are abrasive enough to scrub with, but are soft enough to be used on your face. Gently massage a small amount of spent coffee grounds into your face to use as an exfoliant. The sensation was like rubbing sand into my face, and not unpleasant. My skin was left feeling smooth, tingly and with an espresso aftershave aroma that would make Juan Valdez blush.

Faux Beard:
Feel free to get carried away and give yourself a fearsome coffee-beard while you're doing the exfoliation.

Step 11: Breath Freshener

All out of mints? Sucking on a whole roasted coffee bean can work in a pinch.
Just pop a whole bean in your mouth on the way out the door and you'll have fresher breath than before in no time!

Have you got another unusual use for coffee? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
<p>My dad took me fishing with him from before I could walk. As I got old enough to toddle along behind him I'd follow him out into the yard at night to harvest nightcrawlers (very long worms), which we'd attract to the grass by watering it at twilight, then going out with a lantern after dark. We'd spot the nightcrawlers and pull them gently from their holes, then deposit them in our worm bucket. If there were any left over, Dad would leave the worm bucket down cellar and add a small amount of dirt mixed with - Coffee Grounds! A night or two later, off we'd go for more fresh trout, etc.</p>
<p>Wow! I never knew about that. Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>Lots of interesting (!) discussion about coffee. I live in Western Canada, fairly far North, and we have short summers with (at the peak) 18 hours a day of sunlight. For some reason, this climate encourages some species of ant (I'm an engineer, not a myrmecologist), who build very large underground ant colonies. We've tried many remedies, (although not &quot;molten aluminum&quot; casting) but the ants just keep on breeding, and expanding their home. The opening is usually an bare earth area about 20 cm in diameter, with numerous passages, but the rest of the colony - up to 1.5 metres on a side, stays underground. It does, however, kill the grass, trees, flowers, etc. all around the area. </p><p>One day, on the theory of &quot;why not?&quot;, I saved about 5 days worth of moist coffee grounds, then dumped them over the ants' entrance/exit area, which was very close to my house's basement concrete foundation. This made the ants unhappy immediately, so I just left the coffee grounds where they were and waited. After about 10 days, the ants had moved themselves and their colony a good 10 metres away from the house, and digging down more than 1 metre beside the concrete basement foundation, the very large former nest was intact, but empty. </p><p>I saved more used coffee grounds for several days, moist and in a sealed container, then dumped the lot on the new colony &quot;gateway&quot;. In very short order, the ants had vacated that home too, and I could find no trace of them in the lawn or garden area on the property. Grass began to grow back, and drooping shrubs and bedding plants came back to life. Since we have a very short &quot;green season&quot;, and a long &quot;white season&quot;, I was glad to find <u>something</u> that persuaded the ants to go elsewhere. </p>
<p>Interesting results, thanks for sharing your story. I wonder if anyone else has tried this?</p>
<p>When I was a little girl, my mother used to send me outside with the percolator basket full of wet coffee grounds and instructions to dump them on any ant hills I saw around the house. I never knew if it worked or not, and I later wondered if it was her way of getting me out from under her feet! </p><p>Maybe I'll give it a try again to rout out the invasion I've got going on now!</p>
Cleaning pennies with highly acidic over brew
<p>Makes the worms taste better too!</p><p>Nobody likes me</p><p>Everybody hates me</p><p>Going down the garden to eat worms</p><p>Long thin slimy ones, short fat furry ones</p><p>Gooey gooey gooey worms</p><p>Long thin slimy ones slip down easily</p><p>Short fat furry ones stick</p><p>Short fat furry ones stick in your teeth</p><p>And the juice goes Shlick, Shlick Shlick</p><p>Everybody hates</p>
<p>lol!! I haven't heard that since I was a kid in the 50's and my mom and grandmom used to recite this version whenever we kids would pout and complain about something:</p><p> Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,</p><p> Going to the garden to eat worms.</p><p> Great big juicy ones, little tiny slimy ones,</p><p> My, how they do squirm!</p>
We kept a compost bin in our garden. Among the stuff we put in were teabags. We assumed all would break down.<br>Periodically we spread it onto our flower beds.<br>One day we found a daffodil wearing a flat hat.<br>It had come up under a teabag - the bag part not having broken down.<br>
<p>How interesting to know there are different versions of this.</p><p>In my New England childhood, we kids used to sing that as a song, but I don't recall any adults ever using it. Our version was more disgusting:</p><p>Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,</p><p>I'm gonna go eat worms, </p><p>Big fat juicy ones, slip-slop slimy ones,</p><p>Fuzzy-wuzzy, uzzy-wuzzy worms! </p><p>(Anyone with a squeamish stomach, STOP RIGHT HERE. You keep reading at your own peril.)</p><p>First you bite the heads off,</p><p>Then you suck the juice out, </p><p>Then you throw the rest away.</p><p>(The last two lines were some sort of chorus, repeating lines 3 and 4.)</p><p>There are some very interesting used for coffee mentioned here. I experienced their power once when we had moved into a house built on the side of a big hill, where the hill had been cut away to make ledges for dwellings. The soil in the small garden was hard and seemed as if it would never grow anything, but we kept throwing coffee grounds out onto it and mixing them in, and eventually it had some really nice soft dirt for ground cover and flowers. We were surprised.</p>
We must have been horrible kids in the 50s.<br>Probably because so many of us were brought up by our Grans due to the war.<br>My wife told me that one. she probably got it from her Gran.
<p>You need some coffee. :)</p>
<p>.....and I need a scotch........</p>
<p>Well, resurrect an old essay, worthy, too. Here's your song for the morning, courtesy our Wood Badge Scout training: ( A'louetta)</p>Caffeination,<br>Morning Caffeination<p></p><p>(refrain):</p><p>Caffeination, morning caffeination, </p><p>Caffeination, helps<br>me start the day! </p><ul><li>Make it of a <u>brownish<br>hue</u>, <li>Throw the grounds in, <u>let it brew</u>!</ul><p>Let it brew, brownish hue, Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh,</p><p>(refrain) </p><ul><li>Make it strong,<br>it <u>melts the spoon</u>!<li>And I&rsquo;ll drink it <u>very soon</u>!</ul><p>Very soon, Melts the spoon, Let it brew, Brownish hue, Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh,</p><p>(refrain)</p><p> Burns my tongue, <u>oo-oo it&rsquo;s hot</u>!</p><ul><li>Think I&rsquo;ll drink the <u>whole darn pot</u>!</ul><p>Whole darn pot, Oo, it&rsquo;s hot, Very soon, Melts the spoon ,</p><p> Let it brew, Brownish hue, Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh </p><p>(refrain) ((etc.))</p><ul><li>Sweeten it with <u>glucose plain</u>,<li>Then we&rsquo;ll sing the <u>same refrain</u>!<li><li>Add some milk or <u>cream today</u>,<li>Maybe next I&rsquo;ll <u>make Earl Grey</u>! </ul><p>A Biento!</p>
<p>I enjoyed that, James. Fun to sing. Thanks. lol </p>
<p>I thought All Americans were wealthy... Or so the TV shows tell us!</p><p>I must have got it wrong because I'd just dump the moldy fridge ($10 surcharge at the recycle point) and get a new one! Coffee is a stomach destruction poison in the making. It stinks the place to high heaven too. I've banned it in the office. If you can't get a good night's sleep and don't have a reason for needing a pick-me-up, you are certainly in no state to work with my equipment or drive a car for that matter.</p>
<p>Oh, you poor man! The only reason to go to sleep at night is waking up and getting to drink coffee. </p><p>Your mother and your women have been either scrubbing out the fridge or putting a deoderizer like a box of baking soda for years. Dumping a fridge every six months is an absurd idea! Maybe if you had better caffeine levels you's be able to learn some housekeeping basics? </p>
Housekeeping? Not sure exactly what you mean by that Elizabeth, but in my house - the one I built so my family had somewhere to call home... We have a few basic rules for the smooth operation of how 8 people have to behave for the house to remain their home.<br> <br> 1. I am the hunter/ gatherer / provider who supplies fresh meat and the means to grow fresh vegetation or the funds to buy either or both.<br> <br> 2. The female who gave birth to the children who benefit from rule 1 do their own housekeeping of the area designated as 'their place'.<br> <br> 3. The children who live in this house ensure their rooms and areas dedicated to their activities are kept tidy. Anything left laying on the floor after they go to bed, leave for school or work is automatically put in the trash awaiting collection.<br> <br> This has on occasions included a laptop computer, various dolls and other toys... one of which was worth several hundred dollars.&nbsp; There is a place for everything in my house. If you leave it in an untidy situation, I'll do the housework right enough... Chuck what's not in its right place out with the rest of the trash.<br> <br> It took 4 month before my children and their mother realized that if they want the luxury of living in a house built especially for them and any friends they choose to have sleep over, they better look after it and keep their possessions where they decided during the design stage of this house that would be their home.<br> <br> All except the youngest are free to leave home whenever they like. They'll still get their allowance until they turn 21 and receive what's left of their Grandfather's bequest to them.<br> <br> One (the eldest who is capable of reciting his legal rights whenever there is a conflict about my housekeeping) did leave for a while last year. He's back now after discovering how good life at home really can be in a properly run household. WE (as in all of us) don't allow coffee, Coca-Cola or any beverage containing caffeine into the house.<br> <br> As the late Micky Rooney (who died last year at age 93) once said on how to live a long life... &quot;caffeine is the big killer&quot; . Stay away from that stuff and chances are you'll live longer&quot;.<br> <br> I may be a poor man but I have the richest life imaginable and coffee or caffeine has no place in it.<br> <br> Thank you for your comment ElizabethC28<br> Feel free to chat or comment whenever you like.<br> I'm always willing be positive and constructive.
<p>What is sleep?</p>
<p>It has been proven that coffee is great for liver recovery and also can be very good for the kidneys</p>
Highly toxic in the long term too!
<p>Banned coffee from the office!? Haha, if you did that i Sweden you would not have any employees left!</p>
You're right there. We have strange labor laws here. they call it 'unfair dismissal' if you dismiss someone because they don't do what they are employed to do. <br>Killing the free coffee and biscuits sure did the trick for me. It was my Lawyers suggestion. Probably saved me $15,000 in court costs. <br>Who wants employees anyway? Contractors are the way to go.<br>They cost you more than employees but they make you money... Usually! <br><br>This is a true story; (30 years ago) When I worked in an open pit gold mine, 60 men went on strike for 3 days when they tried to save money and gave them plain instead of cream biscuits.<br><br>At another mine they went on strike for 3 weeks because there was only vanilla ice-cream! The worst one I saw was how they sacked the cook because she tried to save a little time and pre-cooked a leg of lamb. It cost the mine owner over $5000 to charter a plane to get her out and another $2900 to fly in a new cook on a regular &quot;fly in&quot; flight the same day. Things have changed now but the sort of place I'm talking about is in the bush, dirty filthy work. to maintain the machinery. filthy, dusty work driving it but the pay was good.
<p>haha! Yes that's the fantasy those tv shows try to sell every one. I wish I had the $$ those shows say we do. </p>
<p>Coffee grounds (dry and not brewed) can remove that musty odor old drawers get when the furniture had been left sitting in the garage, basement or attic. Great trick if you like antiques.</p>
<p>For staining wood darker, try sanding with a course grit sandpaper first. When wood is sold at your local lumberyard/hardware store, it is slick and doesn't take stain as well as it would if you buff the surface .</p>
<p>Soft wire wool is better as leaves no marks, or gently spray the wood with water to open the grain, just b4 it dries go to work with the coffee grounds/solution and you get a lovely aged look x</p>
<p>Do used coffee grounds work to deodorize the fridge?</p>
<p>The best option for deodorising Fridges (and even coolers over winter) is to toss in a few unused tea bags. Plain tea bags. They do a great job of absorbing any lingering moisture and leave a fresh &quot;tea&quot; aroma. We have a summer cooler that went 2 years without use and it opened up as fresh as ever. It's not coffee, but it works.</p>
<p>Great, I am going to try that one. I have a small cooler that no matter what I've used to deodorize, nothing is working!! So teabags will be next :-) thanks for the tip.</p>
<p>Hey real life...</p><p>Got any vanilla essence? Put some ( a few drops may be enough) in your cooler and the strongest smell is gone overnight. We can but a spray version in the supermarkets in Aus.</p>
<p>Thanks I will try that too :-)</p><p>I know of a pure vanilla spray (non chemical) that I can buy at my local hardware store, but do you think pure vanilla extract will also work? Or did you mean the vanilla essence (synthetic) that they sell for candle and soap making, that you can get at craft stores? </p><p>I'll try them all if I have to, haha. </p><p>Anything to save my favorite little cooler :-(</p><p>Thanks very much for the tip.</p>
<p>tea? it works with tea? neat</p>
NO! I tried that when we moved once and the fridge sat in storage for several months while we built a new house. The fridge was TOTALLY FULL of mold when we got it out of storage! I had thoroughly cleaned it inside with Clorox before putting a cloth packet filled with coffee into it just before it went into storage. This does not work at all! Clean it and put some silca gel or those dehydrating crystals in it that are iften sold in the south or other humid areas.
<p>After trying expensive spray bottles that boast about cleaning mold in the shower, etc, and don't...I tried spraying diluted bleach on the shower walls and watched those black critters dissolve away. Even the yellow mold on the shower curtain washed away. </p><p>Cheap, no labor involved but the odor took a while to go away and I advise using a diluted spray and keeping a window open and maybe closing the bathroom door until it airs out.</p>
<p>Bleach drives the mold to sporulate. Bleach is pretty good but only gets the surface. Then the remaining mold goes into a mode where it protects itself, encapsulates, and propagates.<br>Vinegar will get deeper into the surface without putting mold into a fight and flight mode. (Or so I've heard. Your mileage may vary.)</p>
<p>Cool, did not know that, good info :-)</p><p>...just FYI for everyone: Never combine straight bleach (undiluted) <br>with straight vinegar or alcohol! Very dangerous fumes that can <br>sometimes be fatal.</p>
<p>Hi, just FYI for everyone: Never combine straight bleach (undiluted) with straight vinegar or alcohol! Very dangerous fumes that can sometimes be fatal.</p>
<p>Putting an icebox into storage with the door shut will get you trouble. The door needs to be propped open, in a climate controlled warehouse/ storage facility. And it needs to be checked on. You also need to be sure the drains are empty and cleared,( and the icemaker) fridges have a ton of places where water acumulates. Silica gel alone won't dry out the humid insides of an unplugged icebox.</p>
<p>Probably you didn't read well...? It said &quot;leave in the back of the fridge for a few days&quot; - a few days, not months. So that's why the mold after months... I do this all the time, but only for a few days :-)</p>
FYI bleach does not kill mold it only changes its color. Instead try a mixture of white vinegar, and lime juice infused with fresh rosemary.
<p>I don't think that coffee grounds or any other product would have work in that situation...a closed door on a fridge will get mold, unless it is plugged in....mold seeks out anything damp, it loves getting into our lives and it is really a nasty little devil</p>
<p>yup, I know. when I lived in Telford we had a fridge that was given to us. it had so much mould in it we spent the best part scraping it out before we could clean it. </p>
<p>Activated charcoal powder, or alternatively, baking soda are old standby methods to deodorize a refrigerator. Don't leave the refrigerator box sealed for any length of storage. The mold spores are already in the plastic from all the food that has been in the compartment. Clorox won't remove every last single spore unfortunately.<br>Good luck with that!</p>
<p>i think fresh.</p>
<p>I don't know if I was bitten by a bug or what, but the itching on my head was unbearable - I made a mix of coffee grounds and water to form a paste and I sat with it on my head for 30 minutes or so and it's been 2 weeks and the intense itching is gone. It was so bad before that a crust would form on my scalp everyday. I would wash my hair everyday obviously and it didn't matter - every morning there was this gross clear crust on my scalp. But now it's gone thanks to the coffee poultice, and I only used it one time.</p><p>If you have ever looked up coffee enemas there is amazing evidence that they are used to successfully treat cancer in some people who have not already undergone radiation.</p>
Hi. If you ever get it again, and you don't have any coffee available, just don't wash your hair with shampoo, wash and scrub with hot water only instead, for two days. And never, ever scrub your scalp with shampoo, just gently wash your hair with it every two to three days, and rinse it out thoroughly, finally scrubbing your scalp after it is all gone. Then your scalp will begin to be able to heal. <br>I used to suffer from that. The horrible itching would turn to bloody scabs. It turns out it is caused by a mold that grows on our scalps, and when the weather is humid, it gets really bad in those sensitive to it. The natural oils of our scalps prevent the mold from growing, but when we wash harshly with shampoo, our scalps are exposed to the mold and it infects the skin. It is apparently a very common problem. <br>I will try the coffee method, too! This is just easier therefore more sustainable for me, with no danger of plugging up the pipes. Thank you for sharing!
I mixed the coffee grounds with hair conditioner, not water, I forgot how I did it until just now when I pictured you trying it. I did also switch to a VERY mild shampoo, one that does not even lather. Maybe the two in combination is what did it - thank you for sharing!
Thank <em>you</em> for sharing - but I for one will never not have coffee available, if I don't drink it everyday I get a headache. I did not know it was a mold though, when my friend looked with a magnifying glass she saw a small red dot - a small red dot that was driving me crazy.

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