18 Fast Fixes for Kitchen Problems

With these easy fixes — using such common items as toothpicks and rubber bands — you’ll never have to get steamed in the kitchen again.

Can’t open a jar?
Grab a piece of sandpaper and place it grit side down on the lid. The sandpaper should improve your grip enough to do the job.

See more uses for Sandpaper.

Fill narrow-mouthed spice jars
Roll a piece of wax paper into a funnel shape and pour spices into your jars without spilling a single mustard seed. In a pinch, you can even funnel liquids by using a couple of layers of wax paper offset so the seams in the layers don’t line up.

See more uses for Wax Paper.

Other made-do funnels:
That handiest of kitchen tools, the funnel, can also be replicated easily with a small sandwich bag. Fill the bag with the contents you need funneled. Snip off a corner and transfer into needed container. Then just toss the bag when funneling is done.
Or make a couple of disposable funnels from an envelope. Seal the envelope, cut it in half diagonally, and snip off one corner on each half. Now you have two funnels for pouring spices into your smaller jars.

See more uses for Funnels.

Need an instant colander?
Just grab a clean aluminum pie pan and a small nail and start poking holes. Then bend the pan to fit comfortably over a deep bowl. Rinse your new colander clean, place it over the bowl, and carefully pour out your pasta.

See more uses for Aluminum Pie Pans.

Keep your spoon from slipping
Wrap a rubber band around the top of the spoon’s handle. Now you won’t have to fish it out of the messy batter.

See more uses for Rubber Bands.

Secure your casserole lids
If you have lovingly prepared a casserole for a potluck dinner, secure the lid to the base with a couple of wide rubber bands and you won’t have to worry about carrying it safely in your car.

See more uses for Rubber Bands.

Keep your cutting board from moving around
Give the board some traction by putting a rubber band around each end.

Can’t find your turkey baster?

A cleaned squeeze bottle makes a dandy substitute. Simply squeeze out some air, and then use it to suck up the fat from your roasts and soups. You can even effectively use it to distribute marinades and drippings over meat.

See more uses for Squirt Bottles.

Stop cooking oil drips
Fill a cleaned, recycled squirt bottle with olive oil or another favorite cooking oil. It’s a lot easier to handle than a jar or bottle, and you can pour precisely the right amount of oil over your salads or into your frying pan without having to worry about drips or spills.

Make condiments easy-to-use

Indeed, cleaned, recycled squirt bottles are great for storing any foodstuffs that are typically sold in jars — such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, jelly and jams, or honey. In addition to having fewer sticky or messy jars in your refrigerator, you’ll also be lightening the load in your dishwasher by eliminating the need for knives or spoons. Make sure you give the bottles a thorough cleaning before using.

Kitchen scissors losing their edge?
To sharpen them, take a piece of leftover aluminum foil, smooth it out, then fold it over a few times. Next, cut the folded foil into strips. Seven or eight cuts should be enough to put a sharp edge back on the scissors.

See more uses for Aluminum Foil.

Got a waffle-eating waffle iron?
Nonstick surfaces don’t last forever. You can’t fix the problem permanently, but to get it to work today, put a layer of wax paper between the plates of the waffle iron for a few minutes while it heats up. The wax will be transferred to the plates, temporarily helping waffles pop out again.

See more uses for Wax Paper.

Can’t find the beginning of a plastic wrap roll?
Try this time-saving trick: Put a piece of transparent tape on your finger, sticky-side out, and dab your finger on the roll until you find the edge. Then use the short piece of tape to lift the edge and pull gently.

See more uses for Tape.

Remove a jar or price sticker
Soak the label with vegetable oil. It will slide right off without leaving a sticky residue.

See more uses for Vegetable Oil.

Stacked drinking glasses stuck together
It seems like nothing you can do will separate them. But the solution is simple: Pour a little vegetable oil around the rim of the bottom glass and the glasses will pull apart with ease.

Mend a cracked plate
Place the plate in a pan, cover it with milk (fresh or reconstituted powdered milk), and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. The protein in the milk will miraculously meld most fine cracks.

See more uses for Milk.

Tired of cleaning the cheese grater?
Pasta is always better with a dash of freshly grated Parmesan. But who wants to bother washing the grater after each use? Instead, stick the grater into a sealable plastic bag along with the cheese wedge and keep them in the fridge together.

Protect a cookbook
Cover the book with a clear plastic bag. You’ll be able to read the directions, while the book stays clean.

See more uses for Plastic Bags.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest