Creative Coffee Hacks!
As a coffee lover, I’ve faced my share of mochas! But what are the creative uses of coffee beyond just drinking it? Live with Kelly and Ryan put me to task for their weeklong series FeBREWary and the result? A host of helpful tips!
1. Shoe Deodorizer: It’s almost no secret that dry coffee grounds can, like baking soda, be used to deodorize your fridge. But let’s take it to the next step, literally, and tackle your smelly sneakers. Place dry coffee grounds in any kind of soft, permeable sack—like women’s hose (double up using two pairs, because just one leaked grains and coffee dust)—and tie or knot off the top. This was easy enough for my kids to help, and we made funnels out of cardboard to get the grounds in easily.
Though pictured oblong and roundish here for adult and kid shoes respectively, I actually recommend sizing them longer to custom fit inside the length of your shoe. For TV purposes, the shapes pictured were more appropriate.
Then stuff them in your smelly, stinky shoes and soon they will hopefully smell like coffee and really take the edge of strong shoe odors.
I tested this on my son’s shoes, and it worked! We’re a family of athletes, so we need these. To refresh, squeeze the sack to release more coffee aroma. (I cannot wait to see if during warmer months, these also help with a bit of sweat absorption as well.)
When not in use, store in a re-sealable bag or airtight container.
I just recalled my grandmother Peggy filling women’s pantyhose with sawdust to ward off moths from her closets! I guess her grand-apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
2. Hand Odors: Just chopped garlic, onions and other pungent herbs? Use wet coffee grounds that you can save in a small cup or bowl on your kitchen counter for when it’s time to wash your hands, and not only do the grounds work as a gentle gentle exfoliator to remove dead skin cells but also they’ll tackle neutralizing strong odors! This is akin to using it at the perfume counter in-between fragrances to "cleanse" the nasal palate.
3. Bathroom Odors: Stow an airtight, sealed jar of coffee beans under a bathroom counter as a natural room deodorizer. When they are needed, simply open the lid and set out for a few minutes (depending on the size of the bathroom: obviously smaller spaces needed less time than grand, spacious ones). The room will neutralize to the fragrance of coffee knocking out unwanted scents; I tested this out with my family to rave reviews! Also, consider flavored coffee beans for the task like vanilla, hazelnut, caramel and the like for the added fragrance.
4. DIY Face Mask: I’m a beauty reporter too and love a DIY face mask! Coffee has the beauty benefit of tightening the skin and increasing blood circulation to give you that oh-so-coveted glow. On set I had Ryan and Kelly mix up 1 cup of plain yogurt with 1 tablespoon ground coffee and ¼ to ½ cup ground oatmeal. You could even add some of-the-moment manuka honey if you have that handy for an added moisture boost. Apply directly to a clean face for 30 minutes, then wash off carefully with warm water and dry face gently with a soft towel: never pull or tug. One tip: a little coffee goes a long way, and always adjust levels to your skin type for desired results. For example, you may like a wetter or drier mask, want a little more coffee, etc.
5. Conceal Furniture Scratches: Ah the scratches of life! Little scratches accumulated and created by human beings of all ages on our beloved daily furniture are the ones that probably bother us the most! Try dabbing wet coffee grounds onto wooden scratches (you can be dignified and use a small spoon. I used my fingers during the segment in the interest of time), let sit and remove to reveal a gentle tan stain…just to make them less obvious. This is to tide you over until you can get professional refinishing or tackle the staining yourself, and like an aspirin to a headache, it definitely takes the edge off.
6. Transform Your Hydrangeas to Blue: This is such a good one as we prep for spring and people start thinking about nurturing their gardens. My hydrangeas were pink for years, and I never knew what I was doing wrong. Work wet used grounds into the soil to increase the acidity level at the base of the plant. This helps the hydrangeas absorb aluminum, which in turn helps the flowers become a vibrant blue.
7. Meat Rub & Tenderizer: Coffee can be used as a meat rub to add a smokiness alongside other spices like cumin, brown sugar, Hungarian paprika and chile powder to name a few, as well as a meat tenderizer. Think of how acidic coffee is. That’s precisely why it’s so great at tenderizing meat.
8. Natural Flea Repellant: It’s widely known that coffee grounds added to a garden is an excellent form of a natural insect repellent. It can also be considered as a non-chemical way to ward of fleas from your dog by mixing a small number of dry coffee grounds to your dog's shampoo (enough so the coffee aroma can carry). Shampoo and rinse as usual. This should not replace any regimen you have in place with your veterinarian for pet pest control and is best suited for short-haired dogs: coats that are long will have a hard time washing out the grounds. For external use only, and always consult your trusted vet if you have any questions.
9. No Bake Energy Cookies: The uses of dry coffee grounds in recipes are far and wide, but I loved this one for its no-bake quality, ease of preparation and grab-and-go deliciousness.
The java flavor is oh-so-subtle for the 1.5 tablespoons that you pop in there, but watch out! After eating just one, I felt a buzz after 20 minutes! I joked with Ryan, an avid drinker, that he could eat 4-5 and be totally fine. For this reason, these cookies are intended for adult consumption and out of the reach of children.
Instead of flaxseed, which I didn’t have, I substituted a mystery organic grain in my pantry and it turned out great, along with using peanut butter as suggested as I lacked almond butter. I flattened into cookies simply so they were easier to sample on-air.