Aluminum foil is Penny Hoarder’s best friend when it comes to preserving leftovers. However, if you just use this handy wrap to wrap daytime food, you’re missing out on so many other uses for that extraordinary kitchen standby.
The many uses of aluminum foil
You might be able to date yourself if you still call the shiny workhorse “tin foil,” though it’s not uncommon to hear this phrase. Foil was made from tin until the stronger and cheaper aluminum became widespread after World War II. Now you know. Read on for 10 Smart, Money-Saving Ideas.
1. Sharpen the scissors
Don’t throw blunt scissors or pay someone to sharpen them. Sharpen the scissors with aluminum foil, says Rachel Timmerman, a blogger from Virginia The analytical mom. Fold a piece of 10 by 10 inch aluminum foil three times. Then cut the foil with scissors about 20 times to make it as sharp as it was on the day of purchase.
2. Replace dryer sheets
Crumble a foil ball and toss it in your dryer, says Gladys Connelly, technical writer for The HouseWire, a product review page. This works just like a dryer sheet, says Connelly. “It removes static electricity and plumps up your clothes,” she says. Spray lavender oil or your favorite scent in the center of the aluminum sheet before crumpling it so the sheet smells as good as a dryer sheet, recommends Connelly.
3. Lower your heating bill
If you have cast iron radiators, you can build an aluminum foil heat reflector yourself. Glue some heavy duty aluminum foil with the shiny side up on a piece of cardboard. It literally is. Place the heat reflector behind your radiator or under the top of the radiator. The heat waves are naturally reflected from the foil into the room instead of going into the wall behind the radiator.
4. Cover your paint tray
Don’t throw away your plastic paint tray after each use. Keep the tray clean by wrapping it in aluminum foil. When you’re done, just peel off the liner and your paint tray will look as good as new, says Connelly.
5. Remove gel nail polish
You can’t use acetone or cotton wool to remove gel nail polish. Instead, you should soak your nails in acetone. However, it would be wasteful to use a bowl of acetone to remove the polish. So Malaika Desrameaux, a Miami content creator with Self care sunday lovefound an aluminum foil method. 1. File the tops of your gel nails to remove the shiny layer. 2. Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place the cotton ball over your nail. 3. Wrap your nail (cotton on top) with a 3 by 5 inch piece of aluminum foil. 4. Repeat on all fingers and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Remove cotton and aluminum foil and peel off the gel nail polish.
6. Polish silver
No need for a special polish or even an elbow grease to make Nanny’s heirloom cutlery glow again. Put a sheet of aluminum foil in a pan, add cold water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Put silver in the pan and leave for two minutes. Rinse with water and let dry. The aluminum triggers a molecular reaction and cleans the silver for you.
7. Clean jewelry
Similar to polishing silver, you can clean aluminum foil jewelry by creating an ion exchange (a molecular reaction with the aluminum). Place aluminum foil in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot water and 1 tablespoon of bleach-free powder detergent. Soak jewelry in the solution for a minute, rinse with water and air dry.
8. Battery change
You really want a battery to light the flashlight. Try aluminum foil, says Melanie Musson, a home security expert with U.S. insurance agents. “If your flashlight needs two C batteries but you only have one, you can fill the empty space with compacted foil,” says Musson. It might not be at full strength, but you will have a little bit of light to get through.
9. Garden Buddy
Aluminum foil miraculously improves your green thumb. Birds are afraid of the shiny foil because of the sound it makes. So tie strips of foil around the branches of your fruit trees so that the birds don’t nibble on the premium. The same goes for mice and rabbits. These creatures don’t like the feel of the aluminum foil, so placing parts of it on your shrubs will act as a natural deterrent. Bugs annoy you and eat your plants? Wrap foil with soil or stones at the base of the plants. Or mix a few strips of aluminum foil with your mulch. Either way, the sheeting will hold the moisture in your soil and prevent the weeds from growing while keeping the pests at bay.
10. Custom cake pan
Don’t run into the store every time your child wants a cake that looks like something other than a rectangle. Do you need a dog-shaped pan? A heart pan? Make the shape out of heavy duty aluminum foil and place your DIY foil creation in a baking pan big enough to hold the shape.
11. Grill cleaner
Don’t buy expensive grill scrubbers when a rolled-up ball of aluminum foil is working just fine, says Connelly. The foil ball should be big enough – about 3 inches around – to comfortably hold with tongs (remember the grill is hot). Take the foil ball with the tongs and rub it back and forth over the grate before it cools down. Leftover food is easier to remove when the rack is warm. If you have already stubbornly burnt food on the grill, place a piece of aluminum foil on the wire rack and close the grill. Turn on the heater and let it run for a few minutes. Then remove the film, turn off the heater and try the original cleaning method. It should be easier now as the foil sheet will trap the heat to loosen any stubborn residue.
Aluminum foil is a natural heat reflector. So if you put a piece of this under the cover of your ironing board, the aluminum foil will speed up your ironing time.
Danielle Braff is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com