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As a prepper, it’s always wise to learn how to take everyday items and use them in ways that will make life easier during a disaster. Knowing how to do this might even save your life someday. One everyday item that you will definitely find in the majority of homes is coffee.
It’s been estimated that four out of five Americans drink coffee (with the average user drinking at least two cups a day), so odds are you have coffee filters and coffee grounds in your home, or you at least know somebody who does. Now it’s time to learn how you can use these things in ways that could greatly benefit you during a long-term disaster.
We’ll start with coffee filters. For most of the uses listed below, a different fabric, such as a paper towel, would be better. But the point of this article is to show you what you can do with coffee filters if you don’t have any other options. Now on to the list:
1. Food Wrapper – Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and Ziploc bags are excellent ways to store and protect dry food. The problem is, you might not have enough of those things, which means your food will be left exposed to bugs and the elements. Coffee filters are the solution. Most coffee filters are relatively small, so you may have to use three or four of them to adequately cover your food.
2. Disposable Bowl – Of course, this wouldn’t work with soup or anything wet, but they’re great for dry foods or any foods you might forage such as nuts and berries.
3. Fire Tinder – You never know when you might need to start a fire, whether for cooking, signaling, or warmth. However, your matches and lighters will be useless if you don’t have good tinder to catch and convert a spark into a flame. Fortunately, a grease-soaked coffee filter is one of the best fire starting materials there is.
4. Toilet Paper – Let’s just say that in this department, you may need to get creative. If toilet paper isn’t available use coffee filters rather than taking a risk with seemingly harmless looking green leaves that you aren’t sure about.
5. Regular Paper – If you need something to write one, for example to draw a map or write down some instructions, a coffee filter will work just fine. Just don’t let it get weight as it will become very fragile.
6. Water Filter – It’s not exactly wise to use a coffee filter as your primary water filter. Instead, you should boil your water for at least thirty minutes or purify it with tablets. However, you can still use a coffee filter to remove some of the larger matter such as dirt and and tiny twigs from your water before purifying it.
7. Medical Compress – One reason almost every survival expert recommends carrying a bandana is because it can be soaked in water and used as a cool compress for a headache or fever. But if you don’t have a bandana or a similar object such as a towel, a coffee filter is a decent alternative.
8. Medical Bandage – The last thing you need in a survival situation is a cut or scratch going unattended and getting infected. A coffee filter should be used in place of a first aid kit, unless you don’t have one. In that case, a filter can be tied down over an open wound as a makeshift bandage.
9. Air Freshener – Simply fill up a coffee filter with baking soda before tying it shut with some cordage, and it will absorb any nasty odors around it. You can make several of these and put them in various places such as in a room, in a tent, in your shoes, in your backpack, in an outhouse, in the refrigerator, and so on.
10. Glass Cleaner – Specifically, eyeglasses or screens on phones and other devices. Just use a little bit of water, and the glass will wipe clean without leaving streaks and lint behind.
11. Seed Starter – Get the coffee filter wet and wring it out. Then place each seed in the filter (about an inch from each other) and fold down the sides of the filter. After that, slide the filter into a Ziploc bag (don’t seal it) and put it in a warm place (but not hot). The greenhouse effect inside the bag will help the seeds to germinate. Once the seed house sprouted and is at least an inch long, carefully transplant it into soil.
Now let’s move on to how you can use coffee grounds for survival:
12. Compost Material – Coffee grounds add nitrogen to compost piles. In other words, they absorb and hold onto moisture within the pile to allow the seeds to sprout faster. Simply stir the coffee grounds into the soil and combine them with water.
13. Fertilizer – Coffee grounds do more for your garden than just boosting the compost. They also act as a fertilizer by enhancing the acidity level in the soil and attracting earthworms, which are great for gardens. The increased acidity is also important because many different kinds of plants require acid in order to stay healthy and grow fast.
14. Pest Repellent – There is one more important thing that coffee grounds can do for your garden: repel pests. Many people rely on their gardens for food during long term disasters, but critters such as slugs and snails like to eat garden plants and can even kill them. Fortunately, most bugs strongly dislike coffee grounds making it an excellent and natural pest repellent.
15. Kitchen Cleaner – Dish soap could potentially be in short supply after the SHTF, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on keeping your pots and pans clean. Since coffee grounds are abrasive but not scratchy, they’re the perfect solution for scrubbing all that grime that can accumulate on your dishes.
16. Ice Melter – If you have icy steps and walkways around your house, you can make them safe to walk on by sprinkling coffee grounds on them. The grounds will give you some traction, and the acid in them will make the ice melt faster.
17. Morale Booster – Last, but certainly not least, there’s no denying that coffee is a huge morale booster. Even when everything is upside down and it seems like the world is going down the tube, just one cup of coffee can bring a sense of normalcy back to you and your companions and give you the motivation you need to get through the day.