By Mary Mazzoni on Jan 4, 2013

10 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags

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If Jack Frost is nipping at your nose this winter, you’re probably reaching for that favorite hot beverage to warm your bones on frigid days. But what to do with all those spent coffee grounds and tea bags? Sure, you can compost these common morning leftovers, but why not find a few clever ways to reuse them first? From cleaning your furniture to shining your shoes, here are 10 creative ways to repurpose coffee grounds and tea bags.

1. Remove cooking odors from your hands

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Both coffee grounds and tea bags are excellent deodorizers and can work wonders on your hands after chopping stinky foods like garlic, onions and fish. After prepping your nightly meal, simply rub loose green tea leaves or tea bags onto your hands before washing with warm water and soap. Use spent coffee grounds in the same way to remove food odors and leave your hands feeling smooth, soft and rejuvenated.

2. Make wood floors and furniture shine

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Looking for an all-natural way to keep wood floors and furniture shiny and clean? Look no further than your morning cup of tea!

Due to its tannin content, twice-brewed tea is perfect for adding extra luster to your wooden decor on the cheap. As an added bonus, you’ll also ditch the cleaning product smell and still get results you’ll love.

For a shiny finish, boil five to 10 used tea bags in a gallon of water. Use the tea to mop your floors as usual, or apply to wood furniture with a clean washcloth and buff dry.

Keep in mind that this method is best used on darker wood finishes, as twice-brewed tea also acts as a mild dye and may slightly discolor lighter wood grains. Earth911 Tip: Only teas containing tannins are suitable for use on wooden surfaces. Herbal teas and other concoctions may not contain tannins, so check the original product packaging to be sure.

3. Keep pests out of your garden

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Noticing ants, slugs and other pests hanging around your garden? Sprinkle coffee grounds around problem areas to keep pests at bay. Spent coffee grounds are also fantastic cat repellents. So, if your kitty is using the garden as a restroom or fiddling with indoor houseplants, add a few tablespoons of coffee grounds around your plants to solve the problem.

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