Monday, May 5, 2014

30 Unusual Uses for Aluminum Foil


Most of us know the general uses for foil, but did you know there are at least 30 other ways to use aluminum foil? I have selected a few that were sort of "new" to me or ones that I use all the time around the house. (There is only 1 that deals with baking!)




Soften up brown sugar 
To restore your hardened brown sugar to its former powdery glory, chip off a piece, wrap it in aluminum foil, and bake it in the oven at 300°F (150° C) for five minutes.

Polish your silver
 
Is your silverware looking a bit dull these days? Try an ion exchange, a molecular reaction in which aluminum acts as a catalyst. All you have to do is line a pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, fill it with cold water, and add two teaspoons of salt. Drop your tarnished silverware into the solution, let it sit for two to three minutes, then rinse off and dry.

Keep silverware untarnished
 
Store freshly cleaned silverware on top of a sheet of aluminum foil to deter tarnishing. For long-term storage of silverware, first tightly cover each piece in cellophane wrap — be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible — then wrap in foil and seal the ends.

Preserve steel-wool pads
 
It’s maddening. You use a steel-wool pad once, put it in a dish by the sink, and the next day you find a rusty mess fit only for the trash. To prevent rust and get your money’s worth from a pad, wrap it in foil and toss it into the freezer. You can also lengthen the life of your steel-wool soap pads by crumpling up a sheet of foil and placing it under the steel wool in its dish or container. (Don’t forget to periodically drain off the water that collects at the bottom.)

Improve radiator efficiency 
Here’s a simple way to get more heat out of your old cast-iron radiators without spending one cent more on your gas or oil bill: Make a heat reflector to put behind them. Then tape heavy-duty aluminum foil to cardboard with the shiny side of the foil facing out. The radiant heat waves will bounce off the foil into the room instead of being absorbed by the wall behind the radiator. If your radiators have covers, it also helps to attach a piece of foil under the cover’s top.

Sharpen your scissors 
What can you do with those clean pieces of leftover foil you have hanging around? Use them to sharpen up your dull scissors! Smooth them out if necessary, and then fold the strips into several layers and start cutting. Seven or eight passes should do the trick. Pretty simple, huh?

Clean jewelry
 Read my post about DIY JewelryCleaner HERE

Clean out your fireplace 
Looking for an easy way to clean the ashes out of your fireplace? Place a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil across the bottom of the fireplace or under the wood grate. The next day — or once you’re sure all the ashes have cooled — simply fold it up and throw it away.

Attach a patch
 
An iron-on patch is an easy way to fix small holes in clothing — but only if it doesn’t get stuck onto your ironing board. To avoid this, put a piece of aluminum foil under the hole. It won’t stick to the patch, and you can just slip it out when you’re finished.

Clean your iron
 
Is starch building up on your clothes iron and causing it to stick? To get rid of it, run your hot iron over a piece of aluminum foil.

Put some bite in your mulch

To keep hungry insects and slugs away from your cucumbers and other vegetables, mix strips of aluminum foil in with your garden mulch. As a bonus benefit, the foil will reflect light back up onto your plants.

Protect tree trunks

Mice, rabbits, and other animals often feed on the bark of young trees during winter. A cheap and effective deterrent is to wrap the tree trunks with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil in late fall. Be sure to remove the foil in spring.

Create a sun box for plants
A sunny window is a great place for keeping plants that love a lot of light. However, since the light always comes from the same direction, plants tend to bend toward it. To bathe your plants in light from all sides, make a sun box: Remove the top and one side from a cardboard box and line the other three sides and bottom with aluminum foil, shiny side out, taping or gluing it in place. Place plants in the box and set it near a window.

Build a seed incubator
To give plants grown from seeds a healthy head start, line a shoe box with aluminum foil, shiny side up, allowing about two inches of foil to extend out over the sides. Poke several drainage holes in the bottom — penetrating the foil — then fill the box slightly more than halfway with potting soil, and plant the seeds. The foil inside the box will absorb heat to keep the seeds warm as they germinate, while the foil outside the box will reflect light onto the young sprouts. Place the box near a sunny window, keep the soil moist, and watch ‘em grow!

Grow untangled cuttings
Help plant cuttings grow strong and uncluttered by starting them in a container covered with a sheet of aluminum foil. Simply poke a few holes in the foil and insert the cuttings through the holes. There’s even an added bonus: The foil slows water evaporation, so you’ll need to add water less frequently.

Improve outdoor lighting
Brighten up the electrical lighting in your backyard or campsite by making a foil reflector to put behind the light. Attach the reflector to the fixture with a few strips of electrical tape or duct tape — do not apply tape directly to the bulb.

Keep your sleeping bag dry

Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil under your sleeping bag to insulate against moisture.

Keep matches dry
It’s a tried-and-true soldier’s trick worth remembering: Wrap your kitchen matches in aluminum foil to keep them from getting damp or wet on camping trips.

Lure a fish
None of your fancy fishing lures working? You can make one in a jiffy that just might do the trick: Wrap some aluminum foil around a fishhook. Fringe the foil so that it covers the hook and wiggles invitingly when you reel in the line.

Re-attach a vinyl floor tile
Don’t become unglued just because a vinyl floor tile does. Simply reposition the tile on the floor, lay a piece of aluminum foil over it, and run a hot clothes iron over it a few times until you can feel the glue melting underneath. Put a pile of books or bricks on top of the tile to weight it down while the glue resets. This technique also works well to smooth out bulges and straighten curled seams in sheet vinyl flooring.

Keep a paintbrush wet

Going to continue painting tomorrow morning? Don’t bother to clean the brush — just squeeze out the excess paint and wrap the brush tightly in aluminum foil (or plastic wrap). Use a rubber band to hold the foil tightly at the base of the handle. For extended wet-brush storage, think paintbrush Popsicle, and toss the wrapped brush in the freezer. But don’t forget to defrost the brush for an hour or so before you paint.

Shine your chrome

For sparkling chrome on your appliances, strollers, golf club shafts, and older car bumpers, crumple up a handful of aluminum foil with the shiny side out and apply some elbow grease. If you rub real hard, the foil will even remove rust spots. Note: Most “chrome” on new cars is actually plastic — don’t rub it with aluminum foil.

Scare birds.
Some birds are scared of shiny things. If you dangle some aluminum foil from your fruit tree (especially with scary eyes drawn on), the more skittish marauders will move past your scrumptious feast that's festooned with terror in favor of someplace a little less dangerously delicious. Light-sensitive pests will stay away from your be-tinseled tree.

Make your soap last longer. 
Put a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of your bar of soap to keep it from sitting in a puddle of water and wearing away quickly.

Protect your furniture. 
Pets can’t stand the feeling or the sound of crinkling aluminum foil. If you want them to stay off of your furniture, cover the seats with clean aluminum foil whenever you’re not using the furniture. Your pets will learn within a couple of days to avoid sitting up there. You can also prevent them from scratching or biting furniture legs by covering them in aluminum foil.

Although we haven’t tested this tip (and it seems a bit dubious), it’s said that you can put a wadded-up ball of aluminum foil in your dryer with a load of clothes to reduce static cling.

Use it as wrapping paper in a pinch. 
You can glue or tape interesting cut-out pictures onto the aluminum foil to make it even more personal.

Cakes - to create shaped molds
Double up on heavy-duty aluminum foil to form your desired shape. Place the shaped aluminum inside a cake pan and fill with your favorite batter.

Celery –
To make it last longer, wrap it in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator. (Click HERE to read other ways tokeep groceries longer)

 Aluminum foil for burns!
Wrap burn in foil, wait 15-30 minutes and pain is completely removed! 



What unique and creative ways do you use aluminum foil?


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