Foil and plastic cling wrap are handy to have around the house for packing lunches and storing leftovers, but they have so much more potential than simply keeping food fresh. There are plastic wrap and aluminum foil uses for your home and garden that can save you time, effort and make your life easier. Check out several hacks for these products that you might put into everyday use once you learn them.
Clever Aluminum Foil Uses
Although we sometimes call it “tin foil,” the shiny rolls of foil are made by rolling pure aluminum slabs into thin sheets. Aluminum foil is durable, malleable and contains properties that make it ideal for some beneficial household uses.
1. Clean Your Silver
For instance, you can bring tarnished silver back to its brilliant glory with aluminum foil, baking soda and water. First, line a container with foil and fill it with boiling water. Next, add baking soda (one tablespoon per cup of water) and then place the silver into the container, ensuring that it touches the foil. The combination causes a chemical reaction called ion exchange that removes the tarnish.
2. Collect Grease You Want To Discard
Not only can pouring grease down the drain cause clogs, but it can also be detrimental to wastewater treatment plants. An easy way to collect and discard unwanted grease is with aluminum foil. First, fold a sheet of foil and form it to the drain. Then you can pour the grease into the foil “bowl” and allow it to cool. When the grease hardens, fold up the foil and toss it in the trash.
3. Remove Gel Nail Polish
A gel manicure is designed to last longer than traditional nail polish does. However, if your nails start to grow out and you can’t make it to the salon, aluminum foil can help you remove the lacquer. Start by buffing off the surface layer. Then soak cotton balls in an acetone-based polish remover. Secure the cotton to your nails by wrapping a piece of foil around each one, holding it in place. Remove the foil after 20 minutes, wiping away the polish. Finish up by buffing any remaining polish away.
4. Speed Up Your Ironing
Ironing can be a time-consuming chore, but foil can help you complete the job more quickly and effectively. Put a sheet of foil on the ironing board under the cover. Since the foil reflects heat onto the underside of the clothing, you can get both sides crisp and wrinkle-free in about half the time.
5. Sharpen Your Knife Or Scissors
Out of all the handy aluminum foil uses, this one is a fantastic way to utilize any clean, dry, leftover foil scraps. First, make a stack of several pieces or fold a large, single sheet into several layers. Then, cut through the foil several times with a slightly dull pair of scissors or a knife that needs sharpening using full-stroke cuts. The layers of metal will help hone the blades.
Helpful Plastic Wrap Uses
Whether you call it cling film, Saran wrap, cling wrap, Glad wrap or food wrap, plastic wrap has loads of practical but unique uses.
6. Germinate Your Seeds
If you enjoy gardening, you can get a jump on germinating seeds using plastic wrap. Plant the seeds in soil-filled pots or seed starting trays. Water and cover with plastic, which helps them retain moisture. Keep the wrap on until you see the first signs of growth, and then remove the plastic.
7. Keep Bananas From Ripening Too Fast
Although they might not be as tricky as avocados, bananas can ripen more quickly than you’d like. One way to keep them fresher longer is to wrap the tops of a bunch in small pieces of plastic wrap. Doing so prevents the ethylene gas the fruit naturally releases from ripening the bananas too quickly. Alternatively, you can separate the bunch first and wrap each stem end individually.
8. Store Your Christmas Tree
If taking all of the ornaments off before storing your Christmas tree only to put them back on again next season seems like too much effort, try plastic wrap. Cover the tree in a layer or two of cling wrap before toting it to the attic or stashing it in a closet. Then, come next winter, you can slice off the plastic and the tree will only require a few finishing touches for display.
9. Keep Your Paintbrush Ready To Use
Don’t worry about coming back to a hard, dried-out brush or roller if you are done painting for the day but haven’t completed your project Instead, wrap it in plastic wrap and squeeze out any excess air. If you are stepping away from the project for more than a day, you can store the wrapped paintbrush or roller in the refrigerator until you’re ready to get back to painting.
10. Keep Your Fridge Clean
Speaking of the fridge, you can save yourself the time and hassle of cleaning up gross, sticky, smelly messes. The next time you clean your refrigerator, line the shelves with plastic wrap. Then, when spills do happen, all you have to do is remove the dirty wrap and replace it with a fresh piece.
As you can see, these products are handy for so much more than wrapping casseroles or sandwiches. So which plastic wrap or aluminum foil uses do you plan to try first?
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.