Improve radiator efficiency Here’s a simple way to get more heat out of your old cast-iron radiators without spending one cent more on your gas or oil bill: Make a heat reflector to put behind them. Tape heavy-duty aluminum foil to cardboard with the shiny side of the foil facing out. The radiant heat waves will bounce off the foil into the room instead of being absorbed by the wall behind the radiator. If your radiators have covers, it also helps to attach a piece of foil under the cover’s top.
Protect a child’s mattress As any parent of a potty-trained youngster knows, accidents happen. When they happen in bed, however, you can spare the mattress — even if you don’t have a plastic protector available. First, lay several sheets of aluminum foil across the width of the mattress. Then, cover them with a good-sized beach towel. Finally, attach the mattress pad and bottom sheet.
Hide worn spots in mirrors Sometimes a worn spot adds to the charm of an old mirror; sometimes it’s a distraction. You can easily disguise small flaws on a mirror’s reflective surface by putting a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side facing out, on the back of the glass. To hold the foil in place, attach it to the backing behind the mirror or to the frame with masking tape. Don’t tape it to the mirror itself.
Sharpen your scissors What can you do with those clean pieces of leftover foil you have hanging around? Use them to sharpen up your dull scissors! Smooth them out if necessary, and then fold the strips into several layers and start cutting. Seven or eight passes should do the trick. Pretty simple, huh?
Clean jewelry To clean your jewelry, simply line a small bowl with aluminum foil. Fill the bowl with hot water and mix in one tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent (not liquid), such as Tide. Put the jewelry in the solution and let it soak for one minute. Rinse well and air-dry. This procedure makes use of the chemical process known as ion exchange, which can also be used to clean silverware.
Move furniture with ease To slide big pieces of furniture over a smooth floor, place small pieces of aluminum foil under the legs. Put the dull side of the foil down — the dull side is actually more slippery than the shiny side.
Fix loose batteries Is your flashlight, Walkman, or your kid’s toy working intermittently? Check the battery compartment. Those springs that hold the batteries in place can lose their tension after a while, letting the batteries loosen. Fold a small piece of aluminum foil until you have a pad that’s thick enough to take up the slack. Place the pad between the battery and the spring.
Don’t dye your glasses You want to catch up on your reading during the time it takes to color your hair. But you can’t read without your specs, and if you put them on, hair dye can stain them. Solution: Wrap the temples of your glasses with aluminum foil.
Clean out your fireplace Looking for an easy way to clean the ashes out of your fireplace? Place a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil across the bottom of the fireplace or under the wood grate. The next day — or once you’re sure all the ashes have cooled — simply fold it up and throw it away.
3 Uses in the Laundry Room Speed your ironing When you iron clothing, a lot of the iron’s heat is sucked up by the board itself — requiring you to make several passes to remove wrinkles. To speed things up, put a piece of aluminum foil under your ironing board cover. The foil will reflect the heat back through the clothing, smoothing wrinkles quicker.
Attach a patch An iron-on patch is an easy way to fix small holes in clothing — but only if it doesn’t get stuck onto your ironing board. To avoid this, put a piece of aluminum foil under the hole. It won’t stick to the patch, and you can just slip it out when you’re finished.
Clean your iron Is starch building up on your clothes iron and causing it to stick? To get rid of it, run your hot iron over a piece of aluminum foil.