Frugal people sometimes get teased for reusing items. For example, you might save aluminum foil to reuse later. While some may find that idea silly, frugal people know there are plenty of ways to put foil to good use.
How have you reused aluminum foil? Here are a few suggestions.
DRYER BALLS: Wad foil into balls that are approximately 3 inches in diameter and use them to reduce static in your dryer. You can wrap a tennis ball in foil, too.
POT SCRUBBER: If you don’t like the dryer ball idea, you can wad the foil into a ball and use it to scrub pots and pans instead. One reader, Roxanne from West Virginia, shares: “That wadded-up foil will clean the barbecue grill, or at least take the bigger stuff off so you can clean the rack easier.” You can use the foil balls for cat toys or to scrub rust from chrome, too.
REMOVE WRINKLES: A flat piece can be used on your ironing board under the fabric cover to reflect heat. This will make your ironing faster because both sides of your fabric will benefit from the heat.
PREVENT RUST ON STEEL WOOL PADS: Place steel wool pads in a ziplock bag or in aluminum foil after use and store them in the freezer; they’ll last longer.
CARDBOARD SHUTTERS: Cover foam board or layers of cardboard with foil and place these in windows to reflect light and heat. These can be placed in rear-facing windows, so neighbors don’t complain. Another reader, N.J. in Vermont, shares: “In my neck of the woods, people use solid foil-backed insulation board, covered with pretty fabric, to plug the windows. My aunt did this on the windows of her rambling old house. From outside and in, they looked like damask window coverings. They coordinated with, but did not match, the heavy drapes in the living room. She also attached grosgrain ribbon loops to the sides of the insulation boards for easy removal.” For more information and directions read: www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/CardboardShutter.htm.
DRIP BARRIER: You can reuse foil to cover your stove drip pans or on oven racks.
SHARPEN SCISSORS: Fold foil in layers and cut with scissors to sharpen them. This is most helpful for youth scissors or cheap household scissors. But it’s not recommended for sewing scissors.
SOLAR OVEN: Build a solar oven with cardboard and aluminum foil. For directions, visit www.solarcooking.org/plans. Another reader, Karen from Kansas, shares: “An excellent book on the subject is ‘Cooking With the Sun’ by Beth Halacy and Dan Halacy. Instructions for making your own solar cooker are included in the book, as well as lots of recipes. The recipes will indicate if the recipe will work in a reflector cooker, a solar oven or both. Check your local library for a copy.”
CLEAN SILVERWARE: Line a pan with aluminum foil, set your silverware in it, pour boiling water over it, and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the pan. Let your silverware soak for an hour. Rinse it with water; let the silverware dry flat on a towel, and then polish it.
To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.