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
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery

Amazon’s new pharmacy is hardly the first to offer free shipping.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them
The 3 Biggest Regrets of Retirees — and How to Avoid Them

Rescuing a retirement from regret starts with these steps well before it’s time to quit working.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

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.

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.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

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.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

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.