Upcycle Your Beverages: 20 Uses for Coffee, Tea, Soda and Beer

Photo (cc) by opal nova

Americans consume an average of 44 gallons of soda, 27 gallons of coffee, 7 gallons of tea, and 20 gallons of beer per year, MarketWatch says.

The problem is, if your house is anything like mine, not every beverage you buy ends up being consumed. I’m always finding half-full cups of coffee, watered-down tea, or unfinished beer in my house. In a perfect world, that wouldn’t happen, but I’m a realist. Sometimes there’s going to be a little left in the bottom of the cup (or leftover grounds in the pot).

But rather than waste it, I reuse it. I like to think of it as upcycling. Here are some examples:

Coffee

  1. Stain wood. Dab a washcloth in coffee and run it over a scratch in your wood furniture or hardwood floor. The coffee will stain the scratch and help blend it in.
  2. Kill the garlic and onion smell. After cooking with garlic or onions, rub used coffee grounds on your hands and wash with soap. No more smell.
  3. Keep bugs away. Used coffee grounds act as a natural barrier to insects. Line your garden or potted plants and keep pests out.
  4. Fertilize plants. A friend once told me to mix coffee grounds in the soil for tomato plants. I tried it and grew a crop of gorgeous tomatoes.
  5. Stop fridge odors. Coffee grounds act like baking soda in the fridge. Pour a cupful into a bowl, stick it on the top rack, and the grounds will absorb odors.

Tea

  1. Soak pots and pans. For grease and burnt-on food, fill the sink with warm water, drop in two used tea bags and soak the pan overnight. In the morning, the pan will scrub clean easily.
  2. Reduce under-eye circles. Pop leftover tea bags in the fridge. After they’ve completely cooled, place the bags over your eyes for 10 minutes. The cooled tea will reduce puffiness.
  3. Shine your shoes. Gently rub a used tea bag on your dark-colored shoes in a circular motion, then buff with a dry towel. The tea will clean your shoes and add a little shine. Warning: Liquid can damage suede. Use this trick only for leather or imitation-leather fabrics.
  4. Clean glass. Fill a spray bottle with half leftover tea and half water. Spray the mixture on windows and wipe off with old newspaper. You’ll get a streak-free shine without all the chemicals.
  5. Soothe skin. Tea can soothe irritation from poison ivy, sunburns, razor burns or bug bites. Just soak a cotton ball in cool tea and dab on.

Soda

  1. Clean stained pans. I recently let an artichoke steam too long; the pan ran out of water, and the bottom of the pan turned black. Scrubbing didn’t work but Coke did. I poured 1 cup of Coke in the pan and put it on low heat on the stovetop for 30 minutes. After, the stain washed right out.
  2. Remove rust. For small rusted items, place the item in a bowl of soda and let it sit overnight. In the morning, clean and polish the item and the rust will come off.
  3. Marinade meat. Soda makes a slightly sweet, slightly tangy marinade for chicken, steak or ham. Just soak the meat in soda for 30 minutes or more and cook as you normally would.
  4. Eliminate oil stains. To remove oil stains from your garage floor or driveway, soak the area with Coke, let it sit for one to two hours, and wash it off with a hose.
  5. Clean windshields. Shake up a can of soda and spray it over your windshield. Let the mixture sit for five minutes and wash with soap and water. Bugs and film will come right off.

Beer

  1. Polish gold jewelry. Pour beer into a shallow dish and soak your jewelry for one to five minutes. Take the pieces out and dry them off with a cloth, leaving jewelry clean and polished.
  2. Attract wasps. If you have a wasp problem on your porch, fill a container with beer and place it just off the porch. Attracted to the smell, the insects will dive into the container.
  3. Remove stains. Pour a small amount of beer on a stain on your clothes or carpet. Blot the stain with a dry towel and watch the stain disappear.
  4. Barbecue chicken. Beer makes for the easiest barbecue chicken recipe ever. Simply open a can of beer, place a whole chicken over the can and carefully set it on the grill.
  5. Make batter. Replace the water in a batter recipe with beer for a new flavor. Beer batter works great for chicken, vegetables and even breads.

Do you have other ways to put these common beverages to work in your house? Share them on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security

If you fall into one of these groups, don’t assume that you will receive benefits.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail
5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail

Here’s how to keep unwanted mail from clogging your mailbox and trash can.

The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station
The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station

Beware these cash-guzzling missteps when you stop at any gas station.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.