Did you know there are other uses for aluminum foil besides wrapping leftovers? Just about every home has a roll in a drawer or cabinet, but not many people know to keep some in their cleaning closet, too.
Check out these ways to use aluminum foil around the house. You’ll never see the stuff the same way again.
10 Genius Uses for Aluminum Foil
Use Aluminum Foil to Polish Silver
Is your silverware looking tarnished? Skip the smelly silver polish and use aluminum foil instead. (Read this first to know if it’s appropriate for your jewelry.)
- Line your sink or a baking pan with aluminum foil and fill with 2 inches of very hot water.
- Add 2 tablespoons each of salt and baking soda. Carefully drop your silver items into the liquid, making sure they touch each other and the aluminum foil.
- Through a process known as ion exchange, the tarnish will disappear in a matter of minutes. When your silver looks clean, rinse it with cold water and buff it dry with a soft cloth.
Scrub Metal Pots and Pans with Foil
There’s no need for metal pots and pans crusted with baked-on food to sit in the sink overnight. (Sorry to those who like to leave “soakers” for Mom to deal with the next day.) Grab a wad of aluminum foil and use it as a scrubber. Skip this if your set is nonstick, though.
Need some extra oomph? Dump the water out of the pan and sprinkle it with a thick layer of salt or baking soda before scrubbing with the aluminum foil. Rinse, dry, and leave a clean sink for the morning!
Prevent Oven Splatters the Right Way
Some foods like cheesy casseroles or pizza are practically guaranteed to bubble over and make a mess in the oven. If cleaning your oven isn’t a favorite task, you can use aluminum foil to protect it from spills.
Now, you should never line the floor of your oven with aluminum foil. That old household trick is not safe and may lead to a house fire. But you can stop oven spills with foil if you do it the right way.
Just line the rack beneath what you’re cooking with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch the drips. When you’re done, wad it up and toss it — no oven-cleaning required!
Keep Bananas Fresh Longer with Foil
Like avocados, bananas seem to go from not ready to too ripe in the blink of an eye. During the process of ripening, bananas release a gas that reacts with oxygen to speed up the process. This happens mostly at the stem.
The solution? Use foil to create a barrier between the two. Simply wrap a bit of aluminum foil around the stems, singly or as a bunch, and your bananas will last several days longer. (Too late? Use them to make Banana Bread Without Sugar.)
Use Aluminum Foil to Sharpen Scissors
Discovering your scissors are too dull to cut paper is frustrating. Fortunately, it’s super easy to sharpen them with aluminum foil.
- Get an 18-inch piece of foil and fold it in half lengthwise.
- Repeat that four more times.
- Cut through the layers a dozen or so times.
The foil will smooth rough spots on your scissors while honing the cutting edge. They won’t be as sharp as they were brand new, but you’ll be back to cutting paper in no time.
Clean Your Clothes Iron with Foil
Fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and fabric starch all leave a residue on clothes that can build up on the bottom of your iron. Dirty irons drag when you’re trying to use them, leaving more wrinkles behind. So, use aluminum foil to clean it.
- Put a length of aluminum foil on your ironing board. It doesn’t matter which side is up.
- Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of regular table salt on the foil.
- Turn the iron to hot and run it over a piece of salty aluminum foil several times.
- As the salt scrubs the bottom of the iron, gunk will come off. Move the iron to a new spot on the foil (or use a clean piece), so you’re not adding to the problem.
Make Painting Clean-Up Easier Using Foil
The next time you’re starting a painting project, do yourself a favor that will make cleaning up afterward a cinch.
- Line your roller pan with aluminum foil before adding paint.
- When you’re done, pour the unused paint back into the can then gather the corners of the foil and dispose of the mess properly. Voila, the roller pan is clean.
- Need to pause partway through the job? Cover the entire roller pan with aluminum foil to keep dust (and pets) from getting into the paint during your break.
You can wrap the wet ends of paintbrushes in aluminum foil while you’re taking a break, too!
Use Aluminum Foil to Polish Chrome
This works on faucets, motorcycle parts, and chrome furniture accents.
Give chrome a brilliant shine with a wet wad of aluminum foil. A chemical reaction between the wet aluminum and chrome surfaces lifts away rust almost effortlessly. So long as they’re genuinely chrome — and not painted plastic — the foil will leave a beautiful shine, too.
Pet-Proof Furniture with Foil
Most animals can’t stand the feel of aluminum foil on their paws or the sound it makes when they walk on it.
If you haven’t had luck getting Fluffy or Fido to stay off the sofa, lay a sheet of foil on the cushions. (Take it off when you want to sit down.) A week or two is sufficient to train most pets, though you can always do it again if they forget.
Rust-Proof Steel Wool Using Foil
If you’ve ever left steel wool sitting on the edge of your sink, you know it leaves a rusty mess behind.
Next time place it on a piece of aluminum foil while it dries and it won’t develop rust. Once fully dry, wrap the steel wool in the foil to keep it clean for your next use.
What Side of Aluminum Foil To Use?
Here’s a surprising fact: although aluminum foil has both a shiny and a dull side, it doesn’t matter which you use. That’s because the different sides are simply the result of the manufacturing process — they have nothing to do with the actual use.
Note: This article first appeared on Nov. 11, 2011. It has been revised for republication.
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