New Uses for Old Food: Try 'Em Out!

Food pyramidThose eggs have been residing in your fridge for a couple of months. Throw them out? Not necessarily.  Instead, you could use them to condition your hair and/or give yourself a facial.  Read on for many more suggestions about what you can do with food besides eating it. doesn’t guarantee all these tips will work.  They’re collective wisdom gleaned from many sources.  Some are science; others are folk remedies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do the job. Please give some a try. We’d love to hear which ones work for you, which don’t, and what other alternative uses you’ve discovered for food. 


Of course, these suggestions could also be tried with brand-new food purchases. But the greater surge of satisfaction comes from either 1) using expired food in new ways; or 2) saving money by substituting an inexpensive edible (say, vinegar, oatmeal, eggs, or salt) for a more costly product to beautify skin, repair furniture, unglue gum, or treat an itch.  If both 1 and 2 above apply, that doubles the pleasure.


Okay, here are the claims for alternative food uses: 


APPLES: This one is pretty well-known.  When placed in a closed bag with other fruit, an apple will help speed up the ripening of the other items.


BANANAS:  The inside of the peel can be used to polish leather shoes, remove warts (after several weeks of treatment), tenderize a roast (by adding banana peel to the pan), and clean the leaves of household plants. 


BEER: Beer, by itself, is an excellent hair conditioner.  (Use warm beer, leave it on for ½ hour, rinse.) Mixed with a raw egg, it will give your hair added body. Some beer left in glasses after a party? Pour it into your plants; they’ll thrive on the yeast.


BREAD: Cookies dried out?  When tightly closed with a slice of still-moist bread, those cookies will absorb some of the bread’s moisture and soften.  Bread can also keep brown sugar soft.


CARROTS:  Here’s a reversal: a carrot placed in the bag will help to soften dry bread.


COFFEE GROUNDS: Put them in the ground.  Their acidic content makes that a great addition to the soil for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries.


COLA: It can clean battery terminals, loosen rust on nuts and bolts, remove grime from the windshield, prolong the life of flowers, and clear up a slow drain.  Coca-Cola (not Pepsi) in the wash can remove the odor of diesel.


CUCUMBERS: Here are just some of the seemingly endless uses for cucumbers: rejuvenate the skin, treat a sunburn, eliminate bad breath, defog the bathroom window, polish shoes, clean stainless steel, and erase pen or crayon marks.


EGGS: The yolks are a good hair conditioner. The whites (mixed with a little lemon and honey) become a great facial mask. (Leave on for 20 minutes.) If you have kids, you may need your egg whites to remove gum from fabrics.


HONEY: The curative power of honey has been known for thousands of years. Apply honey to small cuts to fight off bacteria and fungus.


KETCHUP: It’s not easy being green, so if your bleached hair has turned green from the swimming pool chlorine, massage ketchup into it, leave on for 15 minutes, and wash out. 


LEMON: Remove sticky foods from surfaces by rubbing them with the pulp side of a cut lemon. Use lemon juice to whiten fingernails.  Give your hair blonde highlights with the following mixture: ¼ cup lemon juice and ¾ cup water used as a rinse after shampooing.  Finally, benefit from its properties as an insect repellent by applying it to your skin before a summer barbeque or bike ride.


MARSHMALLOWS:  Another suggestion for keeping brown sugar from hardening: add a few marshmallows to the bag.  (If it’s already hard, see the Q/A on softening.)


MAYONNAISE:  On the body, it can be a treatment for sunburn or a conditioner for hair (when mixed with baking soda).  Around the house, use it to clean piano keys or remove water stains on wood furniture. 


MILK:  If you opened the carton more than a week ago, it may not taste good anymore.  However, it will shine patent leather shoes and may remove ink stains from clothing if the clothes are soaked in it awhile.  And here’s an odd suggestion: you can seal fine cracks in china by boiling the damaged dishware in milk and letting it simmer for 45 minutes.


OATMEAL: Doctors sometimes recommend treating the itch of poison ivy, chicken pox, eczema, shingles, or insect bites by soaking in an oatmeal bath.  You can buy a commercially-prepared product to make the bath for about $6, but you can make your own for about $1.  Google “oatmeal bath” for instructions.


OLIVE OIL:  Among other uses are these: Use it to give someone you love a massage, keep cuticles from drying out, polish wood furniture, give yourself a facial, unstick a zipper (apply with a q-tip), and/ or remove oil-based paint.


ONIONS: Another way to stop an itchy mosquito bite: put a slice of raw onion on top of it.  Also, paint odor can be removed by placing half an onion at each end of the room. It will absorb the odor.  No, your room will not smell oniony either.


PEPPER: Websites galore suggest powdered cayenne pepper (and sometimes black pepper) as a way to stop bleeding—external and internal.  (Externally, just pour it on. For internal bleeding, 1 tablespoon in a cup of water is recommended.) Yet other links advise treating colds, stomach ulcers, and arthritis with pepper.  One site recommends pepper on an animal’s bandage to keep the animal from chewing off the bandage and chewing on the wound.


PEANUT BUTTER:  It comes highly recommended for many uses including these:  removing crayon from wallpaper, stopping hiccups, cleaning furniture, removing tar and chewing gum, and polishing stainless steel. What else? It’s also recommended for shaving or moisturizing the skin.


POTATO:  This is an oldie but still a goodie.  When cut in half, a potato is ideal for removing a broken light bulb from a socket.  Grated potato is also recommended to cool down a sunburn.


SALT:  Use it to remove red wine stains from your carpet and the scent of onions from your hands.  If you drop an egg on the floor, pouring salt on the mess makes it easier to clean up.


TABASCO SAUCE® (a blend of red pepper, vinegar, and salt)A few drops in warm water will give you a good cleaner for silver.  About 5 drops on an aching tooth can numb the pain.


TEA:  Puffy around the eyes?  Use a damp, chilled green tea bag applied directly to the skin to reduce puffiness. Got a small cut?  Apply a moistened tea bag to decrease both pain and bleeding.


VINEGAR:  Of its many uses, here are just a few: it can remove stubborn stickers when the vinegar is painted on them; it can kill weeds growing between sidewalk cracks when sprayed on full strength; it removes vomit odor from clothing or carpet; it’s an effective treatment for athlete’s foot or nail fungus.


VODKA: Spritz some into your sneakers to get rid of odor-causing bacteria.  Vodka has no tell-tale odor itself.  It’s also an insect repellent.


Two caveats about these suggestions:


1)  If the tip you’re using involves putting the product in contact with food you plan to eat, don’t use long-expired food.


2)  Some of the procedures recommended above require patience; it may take time for the product to do its job.


Need details about how to implement one of these tips?  Check out the sources below for details.




Beauty Secrets Revealed: Organic Skin Care Blog  "Wonderful Skin Benefits of Cucumber"


Chicago Tribune “Surprising uses for ordinary items”
April 18, 2010, p.21.


Chicago Tribune HomeFinder “Extraordinary uses for ordinary items”,0,7815229.photogallery “Other uses for food! Who knew?!? by Ashley Katherin


Nutrition Wonderland “Food as a Household Tool: The Other Uses for Food besides Eating”  “Wounds and Cuts:  Remedies, Folk”


eHow Blog  “How Does Cayenne Pepper Stop Bleeding?” “Cayenne Pepper medicinal uses…”


Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Agriculture and Horiculture News


"The Amazing Cucumber"




Chicago Tribune
HomeFinder “Extraordinary uses for ordinary items”,0,7815229.photogallery 

hey this is a whole new way of making a great use of old food and trying something new and having a lot of fun.I will surely try this and will let you know the outcome. tattoo removal


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