Clever hints and tips for kitchen items

The items in your kitchen can be repurposed in dozens of weird and wonderful ways! 

Here’s our favourite clever uses for kitchen items. Will you give any a go?

Clean sponges in the dishwasher or microwave

A sponge’s damp surface is the perfect way for nasty bacteria to develop and as easy as it is to throw them out and buy a new set, the heat of the dishwasher or microwave will kill off any unwanted guests, saving you from buying more too often.

Soften brown sugar with aluminium foil

Brown sugar makes deliciously soft cakes and cookies, but can quickly harden after its first use. Instead of throwing it away, try this instead – wrap a hardened brick of brown sugar in aluminium foil and place in an oven set to 150C for five minutes.

Sharpen blender blades with rice

Blender blades will dull over time and can be tricky to sharpen. This simple trick will make them much more effective. Fill the blender with uncooked rice – about a half cup should be fine – then turn the blender on and let it run for roughly two minutes.

Remove the garlic and onion scent from your hands with coffee grounds

If you cook regularly with garlic and onion you know the smell can linger on your hands long after you’ve finished using it. Used coffee grounds quickly eliminate the scent – keep a small cupful by the sink, then rub a handful into your hands like a scrub. Rinse and wash as usual, the smell will be gone.

Keep cheese from moulding with butter

Keep your cheese from moulding with this simple trick. After cutting into a block of cheese, lightly smear the open edge with butter, then wrap and put back in the fridge.

Make an air freshener with coffee filters

Coffee filters work well as homemade air fresheners. Put a few scoops of bicarbonate of soda into the filter and tie shut – they work well in shoes and closets, cupboards, and even the fridge. You can also make drawer fresheners using lavender instead of baking soda, or even add your favourite potpourri.

Keep avocado fresh with sliced onion

Keep your sliced avocados from browning by adding a sliced onion to the container. The sulphur dioxide released from the onion will help your avocados stay bright green.

Shine artificial plants with mayonnaise

If you have artificial plants around the home, this simple trick can help perk them up and make them look clean and good as new. First, dust the leaves with a dry cloth. Next, take a second dry cloth and dab a very small amount of mayo on to it – then buff the surface of the leaf until shiny.

Deter pests with eggshells

Another advantage of incorporating eggshells into your soil is that it can also act as a deterrent for pests like snails and slugs. Crush eggshells and sprinkle on the topsoil around your garden plants to help keep unwanted critters away.

Unclog a drain with vinegar

Clear up a clogged drain with two ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Start with half a cup of baking soda – about 90g – sprinkled down the drain in question. Follow it up with a cup – or 250ml – of vinegar. Once it stops foaming, wash it down with hot water, and voila!

Degrease dishes with a used tea bag

You can remove grease from your dishes without chemicals by leaving them to soak in warm water. Add one or two used teabags to the sink – it will help loosen any grease or food residue and cut down on the amount of time you spend scrubbing.

Remove tarnish from stainless steel with sliced cucumber

Sliced cucumber can also help remove tarnish from stainless steel without strong or harmful chemicals.

Catch fruit flies with banana peels

If you have fruit flies in your kitchen, you can trap them easily with this simple trick. Place an empty banana peel inside a plastic or glass container and cover. Either poke small holes in the plastic lid or use a piece of cling film and do the same.

Make your own stock cubes with an ice cube tray

Chicken and vegetable stock also works a treat when you freeze them into an ice cube tray. You’ll have fresh stock on hand and can use only what you need when you’re cooking.

Clean your microwave with citrus peel

Place citrus peel and water in a microwave-safe bowl and zap for five minutes. Afterwards, any built-up gunk should wipe away easily.

Remove pesticides from fruit and veg with bicarbonate of soda

If you’re worried about lingering dirt, wax or pesticides on your fruit and veg, try washing with baking soda. Add two tablespoons to a bowl of water and then gently soak your fruit and veg for a few minutes to dissolve anything unwanted on your produce.

Prevent a paintbrush drying out with cling film

If you like to paint or are taking on a home DIY project, you can save yourself the hassle of washing brushes and paint rollers when the day is done by wrapping them in plastic wrap instead. The next day, they’ll still be wet and ready to use straight away again.

Remove watermarks using salt

Help remove watermarks from wooden furniture using a paste made from 1 teaspoon of salt and a few drops of water. Gently rub on the watermark, then restore shine with furniture polish.

Polish silver with cream of tartar

Bring your silver back to its original shine by scrubbing gently with a soft bristled toothbrush, and a paste made from a few drops of water and cream of tartar.

Revive cut flowers with vodka

A few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar added to fresh water will help revive a bouquet of flowers and extend its life even further. Be sure to also trim the stems for best results.

Speed up composting with Coca-Cola

If you keep a compost box in your back garden, try this useful trick to speed up the process. Pour a bottle of Coke into the compost box and leave it to work. The sugar feeds micro organisms in the soil and the acidity will help the compost break down faster.

Remove grass stains from clothing with sugar

Grass stains can be notoriously difficult to remove from clothing, but you can make quick work of it with this homemade solution. Mix sugar and water to form a paste, then dab directly onto the stain. Let it absorb for about an hour, then wash as usual.

Do you know any other clever hints and tips? Share your wisdom in the comments below! 

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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14th Aug 2020
Thanks for voting!
Many thanks for the useful tips some I already know but the fruit flies one I can’t wait to try. Now
14th Aug 2020
Thanks for voting!
Love all the tips, some I already knew but its great to get new tips.

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