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Freshly ground, part five

As promised, here’s how to use coffee grounds to help care for your pet, as well as several other uses I’ve not mentioned elsewhere.

1. Before or after washing your pet, rub her down with coffee grounds. Work the grounds right through the fur to the skin. Leave for a few minutes if you can, then rinse or wash. The coffee will repel fleas and exfoliate the skin, and also leave your pet’s fur soft and silky.

2. You can revive faded brown fabrics using coffee grounds. Steep your grounds in water (about a quarter of a cup of grounds to a litre of water). Pour the dark liquid, with the grounds, into the drum of your washing machine and add your clothing or fabric before running on a gentle cycle. You can repeat this process as many times as you like to rejuvenate brown or black clothing. Make sure your washer is well rinsed before using it on other colours or whites and don’t wash your re-dyed fabrics with other colours.

3. To make a stronger dye for individual fabric items, or for paper, steep the grounds in hot water for ten minutes or more. Pour into a wide shallow dish and use as a dye-bath for sheets of paper or fabric.

4. Sprinkle wet grounds over the ashes in your fire place before cleaning. This will help keep the ash dust under control.

5. Coffee grounds are great for the garden. You can:

  • Add them directly to the soil of any plants. The grounds add nitrogen which will be released slowly when it rains or you water. Use them especially on plants that enjoy acidic soil (e.g. roses). You can also add them to indoor plant soils, or sprinkle them on your lawn.
  • Use them as an excellent addition to any compost heap or wormery. As well as nitrogen, they add phosphorus (which is getting rare), potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur.
  • Steep them in water for a gentle liquid fertiliser. (Cold coffee you’d otherwise toss out can be used the same way.)
  • Sprinkle them wherever there are unwanted ants.
  • Mix with crushed eggshells and sprinkle around plants to make a barrier against pests (while feeding the soil).
  • Mix dry grounds with seeds before sowing. This will help distribute the seeds and increase some plants’ yields.

Can you believe that we ever threw these things away?