Nifty Hacks For Using Aluminum Foil In The HouseBy Michelle Stone
If there’s one item we’re likely to find in just about every kitchen, it’s aluminum foil. It is used for grilling, baking, and several other functions within the kitchen. However, the kitchen staple has proven helpful in various ways outside the kitchen. The flexible, shiny, paper-thin sheets come in several tempers. This refers to the degree of hardness, and this also influences its application. Industrially, aluminum foil is used for insulation, transportation, and packaging. It also comes in handy at grocery stores and in the household. It has several functions that most of us haven’t explored yet. From using the shiny sheets as sharpening tools to using them for pest control purposes, there are endless unconventional ways that can put those aluminum foils at home into good use. We have compiled a list of some of the clever ways this kitchen product can be used.
Most of us turn to reusable plastic storage bags to freeze food. However, it’s easy to run out of those or lack them entirely when meat or other food needs to be frozen. Instead of placing food bare in the freezer, wrap it in aluminum foil.
After all, aluminum foil sheets essentially function as packaging solutions, and they work well in cold conditions. It allows proper penetration of cold and this, in turn, allows food to freeze faster. Ensure that the food item has been covered entirely so that moisture doesn’t seep in and affect the integrity of stored items such as baked goods.
Make Ice Cream Cones Mess-Free
Ice cream cones are refreshing when temperatures are soaring, but they can also leave behind a dripping mess. This is especially the case when it’s a kid enjoying the cold treat. While a a paper towel can be wrapped around the cone, it sticks and still creates a mess.
Help contain the dripping by wrapping the ice cream cone with aluminum foil. The foil won’t stick to the cone, and it doesn’t allow any ice cream drops to drip out of the foil. In short, it makes the process of enjoying an ice cream cone clean and enjoyable.
Clean Cast Iron Cookware
People who own cast-iron cookware know that it doesn’t come cheap, and items require a certain level of maintenance. It isn’t recommended to clean them using regular soap and water, which presents a challenge. Once again, aluminum foil offers the perfect solution.
It rids a cast iron cooking pan of the rust and dirt that develops over time. Mold the foil into a ball, then run it over the surface of the skillet. That should dislodge the rust and dirt that has accumulated. Then, wipe it down using a cloth or paper towel.
Avoid The Stove-Top Mess
While aluminum foil is well-known for its use inside the oven, it is also quite handy for the stovetop. Cleaning the stovetop can also be extremely taxing, and one can never predict when and how certain ‘overflow accidents’ will happen.
Covering the entire stovetop with aluminum foil helps save us the trouble of cleaning up after cooking. Just remove the foil and discard it after once done cooking or when there’s a mess. Replace the foil along the entire stovetop surface as well as around the stovetop plates once again.
Keep All Those Vegetables Fresh
Refrigerators help us prolong the shelf life of food, but it doesn’t always solve the problem when it comes to vegetables and fruits. Veggies may become limp and go bad inside the fridge, depending on how one stores them.
Wrapping veggies in aluminum foil should solve this problem. Make sure to use an ample-sized piece of aluminum foil to cover the veggies completely so that no part is left exposed. Store the vegetables in the cool compartment of the freezer to maintain their crispiness and freshness.
Clean Rust From Chrome Surfaces
Folks that love motorcycles or bicycles also have to deal with rust formation on their chrome surfaces from time to time. The same applies to areas around the house with chrome coatings, like bathroom or kitchen taps, and the hardware on windows.
The chrome coating often flakes off, and that’s where rust starts to develop. A piece of aluminum foil and some water should help clean the rust off from such surfaces. Follow through by using crumpled aluminum foil to buff these spots and restore the surface luster.
Anyone with a yard that has trees in it probably knows that they are bird magnets. They can leave damage, particularly if we are talking about fruit trees. Prevent birds from making themselves at home in the trees and pecking at the fruits using aluminum foil.
Get a large sheet of aluminum foil and cut it up into long strips. Then, someone needs to climb up a ladder to hang the foil strips all around. The sun reflects the shiny DIY streamers, and it bothers birds’ eyes, which keeps them away.
Re-sharpen & Clean A Pair Of Scissors
We all know that scissors eventually become stiff. And depending on how it’s used, they can also develop rust. Most of us ditch them at this point and get a new pair, but aluminum foil can quickly help solve that problem.
Use a sheet of aluminum foil to re-sharpen those pair of scissors. Use it to cut up about seven to ten strips of aluminum foil, and that should give a sharper edge. In the process, the aluminum foil will also clean up the scissors and help restore its former glory.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
A grilled cheese sandwich always comes to the rescue when in need of a quick-fix meal. If there’s no cooking pan or skillet at hand, one can still enjoy a good grilled cheese sandwich. The foil can work in place of a pan or skillet, but this is specifically for toasting the cheese.
Wrap cheese in aluminum foil and place it on a heat source. Want to go the whole DIY way and make a grilled cheese sandwich? Assemble the ingredients and wrap the bread with aluminum foil. Then, place a hot iron on top of the foil for about ten minutes on each side.
Reflector For Photography
This one qualifies as a five-minute craft, and it’s a hack anybody can turn to whenever they want to give their photos a professional touch. Professional photographers use reflectors to help manipulate light in a given direction and draw more focus on the subject.
Not everyone has shiny silver or gold-colored reflectors at home. Aluminum foil can do the same job, and it’s easy to create a reflector in a few minutes. It only takes a sheet of foil, some clips, and a piece of a cardboard box. Wrap the cardboard box with aluminum foil and use the clips to secure it in place.
Create A DIY Funnel
Several instances call for a funnel, and a different-sized one is usually needed for various applications. For example, one may need to pour some homemade stock into a storage container or come up with a customized piping bag for baking needs.
Rolling a sheet of flexible aluminum into the funnel size needed gets the job done. It also saves anyone the hassle of a clean-up because the DIY funnel can be discarded after use. There’s also no need to stock up on different store-bought funnels, particularly if there’s no space to store them.
When roasting meats, particularly fish, one needs to create conditions that allow them to cook through without burning. Aluminum foil helps a great deal in this regard because of its ability to absorb heat.
There are no worries about the skin of the fish sticking to the aluminum foil, and it also makes the process of turning the fish on the grill so that each side cooks easier. It’s also great to add accompaniments and condiments alongside the fish with the same results. Wrap the fish entirely with aluminum foil to allow it to cook through.
Moving Heavy Furniture Pieces Over Rags
We all need to move furniture at some point, whether we are cleaning or rearranging their placement. It calls for putting some muscle into the process or getting some help if there are heavy pieces of furniture. If nobody’s there to offer assistance, aluminum foil pieces can function as that extra push, especially on carpeted surfaces.
It also helps protect furniture legs whenever it’s time to get them cleaned up. Just wrap the legs of furniture pieces with aluminum foil when mopping or staining wooden floors. This will help protect them from any gradual damage that may occur.
Paint & Scratch-Proof Doorknobs & Handles
Aluminum foil is a handy DIY tool for crafts and home decor projects. When painting, one can use it to cover doorknobs and handles to protect them from splatters. It’s also easier to discard the foil after painting rather than dealing with a doorknob or handle with paint splatters.
One can also lay a foil sheet on a paint tray to keep it as clean as possible. It can save anyone from having to scrub dried-up paint marks that are left on the tray. Having the foil cover door knobs also protects them from scratches, dirt, and other stains.
Re-Seal Plastic Food Bags
When ripping open food items that come in sealed plastic bags, that’s how they stay, and it affects their shelf life. If they can be sealed back, it helps preserve their integrity, and that’s where the awesome aluminum foil comes in.
Fold the aluminum foil over the plastic bag’s opened edges that needs sealing. Then, iron over the foil for a couple of minutes, causing the plastic to melt together. Let the aluminum foil cool down before handling it with bare hands. It should help re-seal plastic food bags.
No one typically thinks of aluminum foil as an effective pain reliever. Studies have found that it can significantly help when dealing with pain in the muscles and joints. Just wrap a piece of aluminum foil in the affected area, followed by a bandage.
Leave it for at least four hours or overnight for it to take effect. Aluminum foil is also used to heal minor burns and reduce skin inflammation. In this case, make sure to clean the wound, apply an ointment, and then wrap the affected area with a bandage before wrapping it with aluminum foil.
Unwrinkle Clothes Quicker & Clean The Iron Used
When ironing, place an aluminum sheet on the ironing board, and it will help unwrinkle clothes faster. How? It acts as a conductor, which helps straighten wrinkles quicker, and it also gives phenomenal results that are so much better than regular ironing.
Depending on the fabrics of the clothes frequently ironed, the iron used might get starchy or sticky. Turn to aluminum foil once again for a quick fix! The same applies to cleaning the gunk that collects on the iron. Cleaning it using a piece of aluminum does the trick because it acts as an ionizing cleaner and removes oxidation residue.
Keep Baked Goods Warm
Aluminum has heat conserving properties that can help with the problem of food cooling. To clarify, the aluminum foil helps already heated up food maintain the desired level of heat for longer. When wrapped in foil, hot air is trapped inside, and the foil acts as an insulator and reflects it to the food.
Given that baked goods form condensation when wrapped up, this is a temporary fix to keep them warm for short periods of time until they’re ready to be consumed. Remember to let baked items cool down on a rack before wrapping them in foil from the oven.
Cleaning Baking Pans
Baking can leave anyone with quite the cleanup job, and scrubbing down baking pans isn’t the task that most folks want to do following the pleasant task of preparing a delectable treat. Aluminum foil functions as the excellent cleaner needed to restore any baking pan’s shiny look.
Crumple up an aluminum foil sheet to give a better grip. Use it to scrub down baking pans the same way it would when using a scrubbing brush. This should loosen up all the stubborn food debris and make the cleaning process more manageable.
Keep Those Soaps Intact
Bars of soap dissolve as one keeps using them, and they may break into pieces after some time. The way the soap is used, its composition, and how it is stored after use can make it break apart faster. Aluminum foil placed beneath a bar of soap can help keep it intact.
The foil helps prevent the soap from sitting in the soap suds that normally flow off the soap, causing it to disintegrate. A similar trick works for steel-wool pads to stop them from rusting. Just wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the steel wool until the next usage. The foil serves as a barrier to stop oxidation, which results in rust.
Slow Down The Ripening Of Bananas
Bananas are a hit with just about everyone, and they are a popular ingredient used to make some of the best desserts. The problem is that they have a knack for going bad quickly, especially when they’re purchased in bulk.
Aluminum foil can help control the ripening process of bananas. Wrap the stem with aluminum foil, as this contains the spread of ethylene gas. The gas is responsible for the ripening and browning process in most fruits, and when wrapped with aluminum foil, it slows down these processes and keeps the bananas fresh.
Softening Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is an ingredient used in many baking recipes, as well as roasting meat like pork. It contains molasses, which allows it to absorb water and hence its propensity for clumping up together. In its lumped-up form, it becomes a pain to work with whenever needed for a recipe.
Aluminum foil can unclump the brown sugar lumps. Wrap the hard chunks in aluminum foil, then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for five minutes. The foil evenly spreads the heat and helps to soften up the sugar.
Keep That Oven Spotless
Cooking in the oven can end up being messy, particularly when working with dripping meats or overfilling baking tins with cake batter. It leaves just about anyone with the task of cleaning up, and it can become testing for frequent oven users.
The solution is to line the grilling rack, baking tray, and the bottom part of the oven with aluminum foil. The foil picks up the crumbs, grease, oil, and other food items that may drip during the cooking process. Once done, discard the aluminum foil sheets, and there shouldn’t be too much of a mess left to clean up.
Bake The Perfect Pie
Baking takes time to perfect, and when we are talking about pies, some mastery is required to make a perfectly good and delicious crust. The common problems most people face with pies are burning the crust and keeping the shape right.
Solve both problems by creating a pie shield using aluminum foil. It helps the pie maintain its shape while also distributing heat evenly. That, in turn, prevents the pie from burning. In the absence of a pie tin or one in size needed, simply create a disposable one using aluminum foil. Voila!
Fix Loose Springs On Battery-Powered Devices
We use batteries in several electronic devices we have at home, and they run their course with time. For instance, remote controls face this problem when the springs that hold the batteries in place become loose or even fall off.
Placing a piece of folded aluminum foil between the spring and battery acts as a pad that keeps them in place. The same trick works for every other battery-powered device around the house, including kids’ toys, which receive a fair share of beating, causing such damage. One could also turn AAA batteries into AAs using this hack to hold them in place.
DIY Cookie Cutters & Plating Molds
Baking calls for creativity, and it may involve turning to aluminum foil in the place of baking tools. For instance, when cookie dough has a loose consistency, but the goal is for the cookies to come out in cool shapes, flexible aluminum foil can create custom cookie molds.
The best thing about it is that it doesn’t have limitations, and any fun cookie shapes are still yummy cookies. The same applies when plating food. Just use aluminum foil sheets as molds to develop exciting ways of presenting meals, particularly for kids.
Cleaning Silverware & Making It Shine
Most of us don’t really bother much when it comes to polishing our silverware. It’s too much of a hassle, especially if we hardly ever host guests. Aluminum foil can help keep silverware gleaming without too much effort. It all goes back to the ionizing properties of aluminum that makes it a good cleanser.
Place an aluminum foil sheet in a shallow container, followed by some baking soda. Top it up with salted hot water. Submerge the silverware and let it soak for five minutes. Run them under cold water after that and gently buff dry using a soft dish towel.
Boost The Brightness Of A Lantern
Lanterns are timeless, and they provide the ambient source of light needed while away on those summertime nights spent outdoors trying to beat the heat. Like most light sources, they may become dim and fail to provide the level of brightness necessary.
Use aluminum foil to boost a lantern’s brightness by attaching it to a nearby wall or at the back of the unit. The foil reflects the light and illuminates the surroundings more. It’s also a hack anybody can use on the go while camping to improve the lighting situation.
Clean That Grill
At this point, it should be clear that aluminum foil comes in handy when cleaning different types of iron or stainless steel surfaces. Those who own a grill know that the clean up is a messy and time-consuming affair. The ionizing properties of aluminum help in this case too.
It works in the place of a scouring pad, and the best thing about it is that it removed oxidization residue. Just crumple up some aluminum foil and use it to scrub the soiled areas gently. It helps unstick charred food bits as well as get rid of flaking soot. Finish up by wiping the remaining debris away.
Blackouts are unpredictable. And sometimes, when the lights go out, that’s when the realization that there’s no backup light source at hand kicks in. The good news is it’s easy to create an emergency candle to provide a temporary source of light.
It would be best to have a flame-resistant container, sturdy thread for a wick, cooking oil, and some aluminum foil for this DIY project. Fill the container with oil and cover it with a piece of foil. Poke a small hole in the middle of the foil. Insert the wick through the hole. The wick should remain straight without leaning on the sides of the container. Once the thread soaks up the oil, all that’s left is to light up this homemade candle.
Keeping The Fireplace Neat & Warm
Just like an oven, fireplaces have a knack for collecting soot and dirt at the bottom. They become a nightmare to clean up, especially during the winter months when most households crank up the heat by keeping the fire burning.
Instantly solve this problem by placing an aluminum sheet at the bottom section of the fireplace. Once the ashes, soot, and other burnt-out debris have cooled down, crumple the foil and discard it. Lay down a fresh sheet of the silver-paper to make the subsequent cleaning processes a breeze.
A Perfect Cover For Plants
It’s no secret that plants need light to grow, and when cultivating an indoor garden, it’s challenging to get enough illuminating rays inside. The process of photosynthesis refers to the conversion of water, light, and oxygen into carbohydrates/energy. Given that light is an essential part of the equation, reflecting the rays that flood indoors offers more effectively is the solution to keeping plants blooming.
Line up a cardboard box with aluminum foil, having the shiny side facing upward. It should help reflect the light evenly, allowing seedling to soak up all the goodness. The amount of reflected light will also be adequate to improve plant growth.
Preventing An Internet Error
When they are in the middle of binge-watching their favorite show on any streaming TV service, the last thing anyone needs is to have it start buffering or even stop playing entirely. If the Wi-Fi bill is all paid, then more often than not, it’s down to a poor signal.
If rebooting the router doesn’t solve the problem, then an aluminum foil might just solve it. To boost the Wi-Fi signal, grab a cardboard box and line the inside with foil paper. Then cut out the front, and place it around the antennas of the router. What it does is strengthen the signal delivering a better connection even for devices that are out of range.
Make A Foil Based Cake Pan
Baking is a therapeutic activity that can quickly become a nightmare without the right tools at hand. But sometimes, thinking outside the box results in interesting creations. Since baking often calls for getting a baking tin in the right shape, this is how easy it is to make a homemade cake pan.
Just use a piece of aluminum foil to form a cake pan in the desired shape. The possibilities are endless thanks to the pliable nature of this shiny stuff, and best still, it can create cake pans in various sizes. Also, reinforce existing cake pans before each baking session by layering them using the foil.
Keep Rolls And Breads Warm
The use of aluminum foil to keep food warm isn’t a new hack, but it’s still an effective one. It’s challenging maintaining the warmth of bread or other baked treats whipped up in large batches. The heat-conserving properties of foil paper, once again, comes to the rescue.
Once the baked treats have cooled down on a rack, wrap them using aluminum foil. When trapped within the reflective paper, hot air goes back to the food and keeps it warm. Naturally, this is a temporary fix for short periods. Take note that baked goods can form condensation when wrapped freshly out of the oven, beating the hack’s purpose altogether.
Improve Radiator Efficiency
Old cast-iron radiators have mileage on them, but there’s no need to replace them if they are still working. The go-between is boosting their efficiency, which, in turn, cuts back on gas or electric bills. Fashion a heat reflector out of a cardboard box wrapped with aluminum foil.
Ensure that the shiny side faces outwards, and proceed to place the homemade heat reflector behind the radiator. Heatwaves bounce off the reflector, going back to the room instead of losing it to the wall near the radiator. For radiators with covers, attach foil paper underneath the top surface.
Pieces of metal-made jewelry can start losing their gleam with time, and often it’s due to a build-up of gunk on their surfaces or between their seams. A regular clean-up session is all it takes to keep their shine. Start by lining the inner part of a bowl with aluminum foil.
Fill the bowl with a mix of a tablespoon of laundry detergent powder (bleach-free) and hot water. Allow the sparkly pieces to soak in the solution for a minute. Rinse them well, air dry, and that’s it. The process utilizes the ion exchange process that’s equally effective when cleaning silverware.
Protect Tree Trunks
Anyone with trees growing in their yard knows that they are prime grounds that attract all kinds of critters. They are magnets for rabbits, mice, and other small animals that cause irreparable damage by feeding on the tree’s bark. There’s a quick-fix solution to repel these creatures.
Just wrap up the tree trunk using foil paper liberally. Make it a double layer using a heavy-duty grade of the reflective material. Apply this treatment in the late fall months, and remember to remove the cover once spring is in full bloom.
Keep Matches Dry
Matchsticks prove handy whenever fire is needed, but they can easily get wet when out camping. It can swiftly dampen a weekend, but a small ball of foil paper is all that’s needed to keep the fire starting sticks as dry as possible.
Wrap the matchsticks in foil paper, as it works as a protective layer if they ever get exposed to water. Even with the absence of water, matches can suffer from dampness due to camping conditions, though. This hack still works to prevent the integrity of matchsticks under varying elements.
Re-Attach A Vinyl Floor Tile
Vinyl floor tiles can sometimes come loose, especially when doing home renovations. As long as the tile is unbroken, it’s easy to fix it back in place without incurring extensive costs. All that’s needed is an iron box and glue for this hack. Use construction-grade adhesive to coat the area where the tile should go, then place the tile.
Next, lay a piece of foil over the tile and run a hot iron box over it. Follow through by placing a heavy stack of books on top to allow the glue to reset. It’s an effective hack to also straighten seams or smoothen out bulges in vinyl tiles.
DIY Dryer Sheets
A fresh load of laundry is enticing enough to compel anyone to get some washing done. The issue is that the aftermath after spinning clothes in the dryer and the tumbling action causes electrostatic charges when the outfits rub against each other. It’s enough to leave anyone with mental scars when thinking about working a pile of laundry.
Just create static-repelling balls to solve the problem. Crumple up the reflective paper into ball shapes and place them in the dryer. They prevent the static activity that occurs in the dryer. The only trade-off is that aluminum foil isn’t floral-scented like store-bought dryer sheets, but it never hurts to save the extra bucks.
Fix A Pair Of Jeans
Buying new outfits with season changes gets quite costly, but with a few cross-seasonal staples, it’s easy to stay stylish for years. The only problem comes when the outfits develop holes. Instead of trashing them, iron-on patches offer a solution to get more mileage out of those garments.
The denim iron-on kind, in particular, prove pretty handy. However, fixing them on a torn pair of pants requires some caution. Just place a piece of foil inside the pants on where the patch on will be ironed. That should prevent the patch from sticking where it shouldn’t.
Lift Food Out Of A Pressure Cooker
There are lots of nifty kitchen aids available these days, but not every home should be crammed up with all kinds of expensive gadgets. Some of the simpler tools, in particular, are easily fashioned out of everyday household items, like a food basket, for instance.
When using a pressure cooker, hand safety is of utmost importance because it’s easy to sustain burn injuries. Fashion a sling-type basket as seen above to hold the food cooked inside the kitchen aid. Use it to lift the food out safely once done cooking.
Make A Tin Foil Stylus For Smartphones Or Tablets
Perhaps the artistic flair has kicked in, and a smartphone or tablet is the canvas that’s closest to create a drawing. It often ends up looking like something a child doodled when using fingers in place of a stylus. Without one of these tools at hand, use a regular pen transformed into a stylus.
Here’s how to use a pen (the kind with an ink cartridge), Q-tip, and aluminum foil to craft a stylus. Remove the ink cartridge from the pen and place the Q-tip inside. Lightly wet the cotton pad of the Q-tip and wrap it up with the foil. Use a pencil wrapped with foil in the same manner for a quicker fix.