Colanders last a long time. But through heavy use, they get chipped, dented, partially rusted or melted. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your old colander with a new one. Don’t throw the old one away. There are multiple creative ways to use it even if it’s not in perfect condition. If your colander is still in great shape, I’ve included a few ways to make it multitask.

Do you have any handy household ways to use a colander?

Here are some more ideas.

PRODUCE CONTAINER: It can hold fruit or vegetables. Place on your kitchen counter as a practical and pretty display bowl, or use it in the refrigerator for food such as grapes or berries.

FOOD COVER: Use a colander to cover food at a backyard BBQ. It will protect your food from insects. Or use it indoors to cover a plate of hot food such as waffles or pancakes. It will help keep them warm until it’s time to serve them.

PLAY TIME: A colander can help corral bathtub toys. The holes let the toys breathe and drip dry, too. Kids will enjoy using one at the beach or in a sandbox as a sifting toy. Don’t have young kids? Use it to hold a loofah, washcloth, soaps, etc., in your bathroom.

CRAFTS: Use a drill and a clock kit and make a whimsical clock. Or make a creative hanging lamp by adding a lamp cord. Visit for a tutorial.

GIFT CONTAINER: Use as a no-waste gift container. Fill it with homemade goodies, an Italian gift "basket" or kitchen items.

PLANTS: A colander can make a fun container for plants. The bowl shape lends itself well to being made into a hanging planter. Plant herbs or seeds for a beautiful mini container garden. Use one to grow sprouts, too. Visit for a how-to video.

STEAMER: A metal colander can be used as a makeshift steamer basket. Place vegetables in the colander and place the colander inside a large pan (that allows the colander to balance on the edges and not be immersed) of water to steam vegetables.

YOGURT CREAM CHEESE: Make a homemade substitute for cream cheese. Another reader, Patty A., from Utah, shares a recipe: “You’ll need one tub of low-fat plain yogurt, cheesecloth, a colander and mixing bowl. Place the colander over the mixing bowl. Wet the cheesecloth and line the colander with it. Dump the yogurt onto the cheesecloth so the yogurt can drain through the cloth. Let drain for an hour. Tie the corners and leave to drain overnight in the fridge. The next day put the cheese in a storage container. Discard the liquid left in the mixing bowl. You can eat it straight (like cream cheese), or you can mix spinach and other flavors into it for a great dip or spread.”

To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., fourth floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail