Superb Uses for Sand | Reader's Digest

Superb Uses for Sand

Whether from the sandbox or the hardware store, sand's usefulness makes it one handy item!

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Protect and store garden tools
Your gardening tools are meant to last longer than your perennials, so keep them clean and protected from the elements. Fill a 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket with builder’s sand (available at masonry supply and home centers) and pour in about 1 quart (1 liter) of clean motor oil. Plunge shovels and other tools into the sand a few times to clean and lubricate them. To prevent rust, you can leave the tool blades in the bucket of sand for storage. A coffee can filled with sand and a little motor oil will give the same protection to your pruners and hand trowels.

Clean a narrow-neck vase
You’ve held on to your bouquet as long as possible, but it’s finally time to toss it along with the water it was sitting in. Now the vase needs cleaning, but the opening is too narrow for your hand. Put a little sand and warm, sudsy water in the vase, and swish gently. The sand will do the work of cleaning the residue inside for you!

Hold items while gluing
Repairing small items, such as broken china, with glue would be easy if you had three hands — one for each piece along with one to apply the glue. Since you only have two hands, try this: Stick the biggest part of the item in a small container of sand to hold it steady. Position the large piece so that when you set the broken piece in place, the piece will balance. Apply glue to both edges and stick on the broken piece. Leave the mended piece there, and the sand will hold it steady until the glue dries.

Carry in trunk for traction
A bag of sand in the trunk of your car is good insurance in icy weather against getting stuck or spinning out from a parking spot. Throw in a clean margarine tub as well, to use as a scoop. For those with rear-wheel-drive vehicles, a bag or two of sand will also give you some extra traction.