Home & Family

7 Unusual Ways to Turn Kitchen Trash Into Real Savings

Sounds crazy, but items we’d normally trash like banana peels, spoiled milk, coffee grounds, and egg shells can save you hundreds of dollars on your cleaning supplies, grocery bills, home repairs and others. Before you chuck what seems like garbage, see its not so obvious virtues!

1. Banana peels

Who would have thought banana peels could be used to dust and add shine to real plants in your home?

Simply remove the stringy strands from the inside of the peel and thoroughly wipe the top and underside of each leaf. You can also use the peel to shine leather since it contains natural oils and potassium, an ingredient used in store-bought polishes!

2. Condiments

When you know there’s another serving in that bottle of ketchup, mustard or BBQ sauce, but you can’t squeeze, shake or bang it out, reach for the white vinegar. It happens to also be an ingredient in each of them. Add a teaspoon or two depending on the consistency and amount clinging to the sides. Then shake and squirt!

3. Egg shells

Whether your eggs are good or bad, their shells can be used to sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal! Crack your eggs and push two shells down into the disposal (Remember: Use a tool, not your fingers!). Flip the switch and let it chop for 15 to 20 seconds. You do not need to run the water while you do this.

4. Milk

Got milk that’s gone bad?  Got china with cracks or silver that needs polishing? Well, spoiled milk is your handy dandy fix-it!

Tarnished silver: As milk spoils it forms more lactic acid, which can remove tarnish from your silver jewelry, silverware and trays. Simply soak the item in the milk for a half hour, wash in warm, sudsy water and dry.

Cracks: Milk contains a protein called casein that, when heated, forms a natural plastic which can mend minor cracks in your china. Here’s how: Place your cracked china in a pot, and cover it with the spoiled milk. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 45-60 minutes. Let cool, remove, rinse, and it should be ready to use!

TIP:  In case you’re in a pinch and want to shine or fix that crack and your milk hasn’t turned, just add vinegar or lemon, which will curdle it!

5. Coffee grounds

This is where being a two-cup-a-day coffee drinker pays off! Utilize used coffee grounds as:

A fireplace dust stopper:Sprinkle wet grounds on the ashes to keep them from flying everywhere when you clean your fireplace.

A wood furniture scratch filler:Make a paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of used grounds with one teaspoon of water. Gently rub the paste into the scratch with a cloth. The grounds will fill in the scratch and minimize its appearance.

6. Wine and champagne corks

If you’re like me, you have tons of wine corks lying around and a few champagne (though I wish I drank more and had more!). Here are a few ways to uncork their other uses:

– Organize, stick and store your post earrings.

– Protect your floors: Cut circles in the corks and glue them to the bottoms of your chair legs and end tables to avoid scuffs and scratches.

– Clean high-carbon knives: Use a cork instead of an abrasive pad with cleanser. If you have a champagne cork, use that. Since the top is larger it serves as a built-in “handle” to hold on to as you clean your knife. Cheers!

7. Wine

I rarely have any leftover wine, but if you do, here’s what to with it:

White wine: Put it in a spray bottle to clean your bathroom and kitchen sinks and showers since it’s a natural bacteria killer. If the smell bothers you, you can wipe with a fabric dryer sheet after you finish cleaning.

Red wine: Pour into ice cube trays and freeze to add to recipes or to a glass of sangria to chill without diluting it! Or pour a glass into your next bath as you run the water. Red wine contains resveratrol, which is an anti-oxidant and will help firm and soften your skin.

Looking for more easy and affordable cleaning tips? Try these:

8 New ways to use lemons around the house

5 Common back to school messes solved

10 New ways to use tennis balls and racquets at home

How to get rid of common bugs

Egg shell image courtesy of Brett Jordan, Flickr; banana peel courtesy of Claire Knights, Flickr; milk image courtesy of bluewaikiki, Flickr; Wine cork image courtesy of Derek Gavey, Flickr

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