Aluminum foil is probably one of the most versatile items in your kitchen. We often use it to store leftovers or line trays, but there are a lot of other useful ways to put aluminum foil to work, many of which you might have never even considered (We know we hadn't). These crafty and clever hacks are proof that this seemingly simple kitchen staple has benefits that go way beyond the kitchen - we can't wait to try them all out!
Clean And Polish Jewelry
Turns out aluminum foil is great for removing dirt and cleaning jewelry and silverware. It's relatively simple to use, too. First, cover a dish with aluminum foil, and then throw in a tablespoon of salt and baking soda. Put the items you wish to clean in the mixture and let them soak for around 10 minutes before rinsing everything off. They should come out looking as good as new. If you want, you can then use a cloth to dry and polish further.
The aluminum foil is essentially pulling out the sulfur atoms that create tarnish. The atoms then stick to the aluminum and leave the jewelry clean and shiny, according to The Guardian. It's also more environmentally friendly than using heavy chemicals that are often found in expensive cleaners.
Use Foil In Place Of Dryer Sheets
If you're looking to save money, then you might want to consider switching out store-bought dryer sheets for balls of aluminum foil. Odds are you already have some foil lying around the house somewhere. All you need to do is crumble some foil into small balls and throw a couple in the dryer with your next load of clothes. The foil will collect the static that usually forms when those clothes are rolling around with each other in the dryer.
However, don't expect the foil to give your clothes a nice spring scent like most dryer sheets will. Still, it's a cheap and proven way to get rid of static and leave your clothes softer coming out of the dryer.
Happen to have a dull pair of scissors lying around your home? Try giving those blades new life, even if you don't have a whetstone or other sharpener on hand, by using aluminum foil. All you have to do is fold a piece of aluminum foil multiple times to create layers. Then, cut through the foil using your dull scissors. They should be much sharper after making a few cuts using the scissors.
The layers of aluminum foil act as abrasives similar to how a traditional sharpening stone works. While this won't restore a pair of scissors that are completely gone, it will sharpen and hone a set that has simply gone dull.
Keep Bugs Away From Your Plants
Another surprising use for aluminum foil actually involves using it to repel insects. This is especially useful if you want to keep pests, like aphids, away from your garden. An old study conducted by researchers found that plants with aluminum foil were 25% less affected by pests, according to the Washington Post. The foil is thought to disrupt insects' ability to identify plants that they prefer. Foil can also be used as mulch.
In order to use your foil this way, just cut a few strips and lay them down at the base of your plants. The more you use the better, but as long as around 50% of your garden's surface area is covered, your plants should be protected.
Give Your Furniture A New Look
Admittedly, this look might not match everyone's home decor, but it's still a pretty cool way of changing things up and giving your furniture a custom look without having to paint it. There are a few tutorials floating around on the internet about how to do this, but essentially you just cover your entire piece of furniture with aluminum foil, use a small stick to press it down, and then just cover it with some kind of finish.
The result is a metallic finish that looks sort of like you painted the entire piece in silver leaf. You can also add a coat of paint over the top after you finish in order to add some texture.
Help Alleviate Burns
This one is a bit weird, but aluminum foil can actually be used to help heal small burns. The general thought is that, as a conductor, foil works to disperse the heat in your body out into the air or into the foil itself. If you have a small burn, try covering it with foil and then leaving it covered from 15 to 20 minutes. After you take it off, there shouldn't be any pain from the burn.
Of course, if your burns are more serious then you should probably skip the foil and go to get treated by an actual doctor. However, this is a nice, cheap remedy for minor burns at home.
Easily Clean A Grill
Aluminum foil might not be the first tool that comes to mind when you're about to clean your grill, but it probably should be. You can use foil to easily scrub down your grill. It also has the added benefit of helping remove any rust. All you need to do is turn on your grill and set the heat to high in order to loosen up and burn off any grease or large chunks of debris. Then, ball up a piece of foil and get to scrubbing.
You might want to make sure you use a pair of gloves when cleaning, but the foil should easily get rid of any leftover debris. The abrasive foil will work much better than a brush or sponge.
Boost Your Router
If you remember the old days of having to fiddle around with T.V. antennas then this one might not come as much of a surprise. Aluminum foil used to be a good way of boosting your T.V.'s antenna signal and the same thing is true of your router today. If you want to boost your wifi signal, then take some aluminum foil and form tiny curved squares.
Put these squares behind your router's antennas and they should help your router better pick up a signal, sort of like giving your router a pair of ears.
Make Paint Cleanup A Breeze
So, this little hack can be used for just about anything, but one of the most useful ways to use it is to cover your paint tray in aluminum foil. This will allow you to easily remove any leftover paint after you're finished and it leaves you with a clean tray. No more having to scrub away any paint or even worse, just leaving the dried-up paint in the tray.
If you're low on dropcloth, you can also just use aluminum foil on the floor to soak up paint splatters that might try to find their way to your hardwood, tiles, or carpet. Easy!
Create A Foil Stylus for Your Tablet or Phone
Styluses for your smartphone or tablet can be expensive if you lose them. They also don't always work as well as a manufacturer intended and sometimes just plain out don't feel comfortable in your hand. But, did you know that you can actually make your own stylus using some aluminum foil and a pencil? All you have to do is wrap a pencil in some aluminum foil and you know have your own stylus.
As we've mentioned before, aluminum foil is a conductor. So, when you wrap your pencil in foil, it actually helps transfer the electrical current from your body into the tip of the pencil.
Save On Your Heating Bill
If your home uses a radiator as a heat source, then you likely know how expensive heating during the winter can get. But, aluminum can help your radiator be more efficient and help you save on your heating bill during the winter. To do so, mount some foil to the sides of your radiator and behind it in order to reflect heat away from your walls.
The heat will be concentrated back towards the center of your room and towards your radiator, meaning more efficiency and less heat loss. The end result is also cheaper heating bills.
Get Perfect Pie Crusts
Pies are great weekend treats, but they can be kind of hard to get right. This is especially true for those crusts, which tend to burn depending on your oven. To protect those pie crusts, you can actually use aluminum foil. Just wrap the side of the pie pan in aluminum foil and it should disperse some of the heat while the pie cooks, leaving you with perfect pie crusts.
This handy cooking hack can be used for other foods that tend to burn easily as well, just make sure to leave some areas open so that the heat has somewhere to disperse.
Create Aluminum Decor
You might've seen this one on a science program before, but you can actually use aluminum foil to create cool decorative balls for your home. The balls look like heavy, solid pieces of aluminum and make great display pieces just about anywhere. To do so, crumble up a piece of foil that's a bit bigger than you want the ball to be. Then, hammer it down for about 20 minutes to half an hour.
Afterward, polish the ball with aluminum polish for around an hour and you should have what looks like a solid chunk of aluminum. You can make them as large or as small as you want.
Easily Move Furniture
Lifting heavy furniture can be bad for your back. It can also be just about impossible if you don't have another person around to help you move something. Instead, try using aluminum foil to move heavy objects like furniture. Just place a small piece of foil underneath each foot and start sliding. The foil just decreases any friction and allows you to slide the furniture across the floor, kind of like if the furniture had wheels.
Of course, results might vary depending on the type of flooring you have in your home, but it should work to varying degrees with just about any surface type. It's also a lot better than blowing your back out.
Boost The Light Your Plants Get
If you've already lined your garden area with foil to keep insects away, then this hack is just another added benefit. But, you can use aluminum foil to increase the amount of light that your plants get from the sun. There are two ways of doing this. You can simply cover the ground around your plant with aluminum foil and use rocks to hold it down, or you can line a shoebox with foil for small seedlings.
The shiny foil will reflect any surrounding light that hits it back onto your plants and keep sunbathed and happy. Of course, you might want to be careful that they don't get too much sun.
This life hack is pretty cool. You can actually use a bit of vinegar and aluminum foil to clean and get rid of rust. All you need to do is rub a bit of vinegar either on the rust or on a piece of balled-up aluminum foil. The resulting chemical reaction will allow you to easily rub away the rust with the piece of foil. Two different chemical reactions make this possible.
The acidity of the vinegar reacts with the iron oxide — or rust — and then the aluminum foil works to steal oxygen molecules away from the iron oxide. The result is that the rust basically dissolves as it loses atoms to the aluminum.
Get Better Photos
Among its many different qualities, aluminum foil is also great for reflecting light. This means that you can reliably use it to better light your photos. Think of it like a professional reflector, only cheaper. A large piece of foil can be used to effectively reflect and disperse light for better conditions when photographing your subject. While you might only need a single sheet for small subjects, larger ones might require that you tape multiple sheets together.
However, this is certainly a cheap and quick solution if you ever find yourself in need of better lighting. Aluminum foil is common enough to be found near just about any shoot.
Fashion A Funnel
Probably one of the most useful hacks on this list, you can use aluminum foil to fashion a homemade funnel the next time you need to make a delicate pour. just take a thick piece, or fold a thinner piece over itself, and mold it into a funnel. You now have a water-tight material to use if you need to pour a drink or even something like oil.
However, you might want to get someone to hold the funnel while you pour because aluminum foil can be pretty light despite it being so heavy duty. But, once you have that, you're ready to start pouring.
Prevent Bananas From Ripening
We've all covered leftovers in aluminum foil at one point or another in order to keep food fresh for longer. However, did you know that you can use aluminum foil to prevent the entire ripening process from even happening when it comes to bananas? Try covering the stems of the bananas tightly in aluminum foil and they should stay fresh for longer and now brown as quickly as they would without foil.
This occurs because aluminum foil traps the gases released by bananas that would normally cause them to ripen and brown. The same happens if you wrap them in plastic wrap.
Keep Your Oven Clean
While the better method might just be to use a tray, we've all been in this spot late at night. Sometimes, you just don't feel like washing dishes or maybe you don't even own a baking sheet. If that's the case, then keep your oven clean the next time you cook something directly on the rack by using aluminum foil. Just place a sheet underneath whatever you're cooking and it should catch anything that falls.
You can also just throw away the sheet of foil after you finish cooking, making this a pretty easy and fast way to cook something without using a baking sheet.
Use Foil To Upsize Some Batteries
If you're like us then you probably constantly find yourself with the wrong size battery for whatever you need. The solution, at least half the time, actually turns out to be aluminum foil. Since foil conducts electricity, you can use it to turn AAA batteries into AA and so on. Just place a bit of aluminum foil between the positive terminal and your battery and you have something that's one size up.
This should go without saying, but do be careful not to use too much foil so that it is touching another terminal. This probably shouldn't be used as a long-term solution either.
Not everyone knows this, but you can actually fix a hole in your jeans by ironing on another patch of denim. However, you might want to consider sliding a piece of aluminum foil between the inside of your jeans. This is so that the patch doesn't stick to the inside of your jeans when you go to iron on the denim. After you finish ironing, you can just remove the foil.
So, the next time you rip a hole in your favorite pair of jeans, you know what to do and how to patch it up. That is if you're not into having a bunch of holes throughout your jeans.
Easily Cook Eggs
This is a great hack for when you don't feel like pulling out that pan or skillet. You can also use it if you're out camping and don't want to carry along any heavy pots. Instead, you can use aluminum foil to cook your eggs just as you would a small pan. There are various recipes for this floating around on the internet, but essentially you just crack an egg in some foil and place it over some heat.
Since aluminum foil is such a great conductor, it allows you to cook evenly. You could even enclose the foil to cook the top of your eggs so you don't have to try any awkward flips.
Seal Up Bags
Ever wish you could easily seal up a bag after opening it? Well, turns out that you can, and quite easily as well. All you need is an iron and some aluminum foil. For bags that don't already have one side that's made of foil, you're going to want to lay a strip over one side. Place the bag down over a piece of cloth. Then, with the foil covering the plastic, run your iron over the top of the bag.
The heat from the iron will melt the plastic underneath the foil together, creating a seal that's almost as good as new. This is a hack if you plan on shipping something that needs to stay fresh.
Repair A Flashlight
This hack is similar to the battery solution in an earlier post. Basically, you can use aluminum foil to quickly fix a flashlight that might not be getting a connection. Sometimes the springs in flashlights get worn out and no longer tough the terminals on a battery. If this happens, you can use a bit of aluminum foil to fill the gap and restore the current in the flashlight.
Of course, you could probably use this little trick for just about any situation that needs a connection restored, but a flashlight tends to be one of those items that you don't realize is not working until you really need it.
Create Custom Cookie Cutters
Everyone loves cookies, but we don't always have cookie cutters on hand. When we do, they're usually nothing more than simple circles. If you want to add a little flavor to your baked goods, try creating your own cookie cutters using aluminum foil. You simply fold a few sheets over themselves a couple of times to create rigidity, then form them into whatever shape you want.
The thicker the foil you use the better. For best results, try using heavy-duty aluminum foil, which is pretty much sold anywhere normal aluminum foil is sold.
Easily Clean Irons
If you've ever run over something sticky or just plain dirty and it sticks to your iron then you probably know how much of a pain it can be to get off. Not only that, but it might ruin anything else you iron in the future. Luckily, there's a pretty easy way of dealing with this. Simply run your iron over a sheet of aluminum foil a couple of times and any debris should come right off.
Easy right? There's definitely been a couple of times where we wished we knew about this hack. It beats trying to scrub debris away with a blade or something else.
Save Your Steel Wool
While helpful, steel wool has a tendency to rust quite quickly after your first use. However, you can aluminum foil to help preserve it. All you need to do is wrap the steel wool up in some foil and then throw it in the freezer. The next time you pull it out it'll be good as new and you won't go through that pack of steel wool nearly as fast.
The freezer essentially freezes any remaining moisture and the foil works to deoxidize any rust that might form. If any rust does manage to somehow form, you can just wipe it away with the foil.
Scare Away Birds
We've already been over how you can use aluminum foil to keep away insects, but you can also use it to scare away birds from fruit trees. To do so, just hang a couple of strips from your trees and let them do the rest of the work. The strips should act like shiny scarecrows and keep any birds from gobbling up your fruit. The birds aren't fans of foil for two reasons.
They don't like the way the foil feels, and the shiny nature of the foil also messes with their strong vision, so they try to keep it as far away as possible.
Keep Dinner Warmer For Longer
This dinner hack is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The next time you invite guests over for dinner, you can keep things like bread and other items warmer for longer by placing some aluminum foil underneath them. The foil will trap more heat and transfer it to the food better than a normal paper napkin. The best part is that you can place the foil underneath a fancy napkin to hide it and it still works.
Of course, if you just want to keep something warm for the longest amount of time possible and don't care about looks, you can completely wrap it in foil to trap heat.
Get Rid Of Oil
Cooking oil can be a bit tricky to get rid of. You can't just pour it down the drain or you risk seriously damaging your plumbing. You also can't just dump hot cooking oil into your trash can or it'll melt through the bag. Well, it turns out there's a pretty simple alternative. All you have to do is pour any used cooking oil you have into some aluminum foil.
Just wait for it to solidify, crumble up the foil, and throw it in the trash. It's that simple. We really wish we'd known about this a long time ago.
Keep Tarnish Away
We've already looked at how aluminum foil can help get rid of tarnish on your jewelry, but it can also be used to keep tarnish away in the first place. Simply store any silver you might have on small sheets of aluminum foil and the same processes that help clean jewelry help keep away tarnish. You might need to cut some pretty small pieces for silverware and jewelry boxes but if it saves time cleaning then it's certainly worth it.
After all, you spent so much money on your silver that it'd be a shame to pull out your jewelry or silverware only to discover that it's been tarnished.
Create A Grill Pan
Don't feel like cleaning off those grill grates? Or maybe you simply have something that would cook better in a pan? Well, you can use aluminum foil to fashion your own pan the next time your cooking something like burgers. All you need to do is lay down one or two layers of aluminum foil on your grill, poke some holes in it, and you're good to go.
The aluminum foil conducts heat just about as well as any pan would and it has the added benefit of protecting your items from any flare-ups that might happen.
Line Your Drawers
We all love drawers and wish we could have more of them to organize and store. However, they can be a hassle to keep clean and just clean in general. Luckily, there is an easier way, and it involves aluminum foil. You can use it to line your drawers and create a trap for debris but also a protector from any hard surfaces such as knives.
Just measure a sheet of foil over your drawer and cut it using a pair of scissors. Not only is it easy, but you can simply throw it away as soon as it gets too dirty.
Keep That Cast Iron Skillet Clean
Cast iron skillets are great for cooking just about anything. They can withstand extremely hot temperatures and they only get better with age. However, they can also be a hassle to clean. Scrubbing too hard with soap and water can remove some of the "seasoning" that gives them their nonstick attributes. Instead, try using aluminum foil to clean your skillets. The idea is basically the same as the grill hack we looked at earlier.
Just ball up a piece of foil and use it to scrub away any food and stubborn debris that's clinging to your skillet. The best part is that foil removes rust instead of causing it like water and soap.