Good to the last drop
Do you love a good cup of coffee? More than 50 percent of Americans drink it every day. But what about the leftover grounds? We did a little research and found several ways you can reuse coffee grounds in and around your home.
1. Clean kitchen drains — Boil about 6 cups of water. Pour a half of cup of used coffee grounds down the drain, followed by the hot water.
2. Cat and pest repellent — To help keep cats and pests from the garden area, mix coffee grounds with used orange peels and spread the mixture around the outside of your garden.
3. Mulch — Toss your used coffee grounds onto the soil. The dark color absorbs heat from the sun, which helps the soil warm up, adding nutrients to the soil as the grounds break down.
4. Body scrub — In a bowl, mix 2 cups of coffee grounds, a half cup of raw sugar or sea salt and º tablespoon of massage oil. Rub in a circular motion to wet or damp skin in the shower.
5. Deodorize a freezer — Fill a couple of bowls with used or fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight.
Other uses can be found at www.howtodothings.com/caffeine.htm.
A spray-on product promises to aerate and dethatch your soil without mechanical means — and condition it at the same time.
LazyMan Liquid Gold contains polyelectrolytes and takes advantage of their opposing positive and negative electrical charges to loosen soil, allowing air, water and nutrients to enter more easily. It also contains microbes to feed on the dead plant material that creates thatch, as well as soil conditioners consisting of kelp, humic acids (decomposed plant and animal matter) and mycorrhizae (fungi that help plants better absorb water and nutrients).
The product is available only at www.outsidepride.com.
Prices range from $34.99 for a quart — enough to cover up to 10,000 square feet — to $299.99 for 5 gallons.
Go ahead, show off
Everyone believes you when you say you weren't trying to show off when you did all those extravagant home-improvement projects. But just in case you would like some well-deserved recognition, here's a contest you can enter.
Better Homes and Gardens is taking submissions for the 2008 Home Improvement Challenge. Sponsored by Wells Fargo and others, the contest awards creative home-improvement and remodeling efforts of any size in nine categories: additions, bath, decorating, exterior face-lifts, green improvements, kitchen, outdoor improvement, projects less than $5,000 and renovation.
The grand-prize winner of the challenge will receive $40,000 in cash and will be featured in an issue of Better Homes and Gardens and on a national TV show. The prize for the winner of each category is $2,500 in cash.
You can see last year's winner in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens, on sale Aug. 19. Entries will be accepted through Jan. 31.
Details are available at www.bhg.com/challenge.
Only Inspector Gadget, who has just about every tool built-in, can vacuum under beds without risking a back injury. The rest of the world must bend over backward — literally — to cover hard-to-reach spots.
Enter the Shark Cordless VX3 floor and carpet cleaner by Shark Euro-Pro. It has a "back saver" bendable handle that eliminates the need to bend over to get under furniture, easing the strain on your back. Dirt gets filtered into a no-touch dust cup that empties at the touch of a button so your hands don't come into contact with dirt.
Details are at www.sharkvx3.com.