18 Clever Uses for Milk (Besides Drinking It)

From fixing cracked china to soothing dry skin—milk's many uses make it an item you'll always want in the house!

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Milk has always been a staple—the better half of a bowl of cereal, a large component of our favorite frozen desserts, or even just a reliable, tall glass of freshness to start off our days. Sure, milk is a classic drink, but we’re here to tell you that it has much more potential than you may think.

It can be used for purposes far beyond the kitchen and normal sustenance. Milk can be a moisturizer, a cleanser, a refresher, or even an ager. We all know milk is good for our bones and our growing bodies—but this delicious drink has way more to offer.

Take a look, I dair(y) you.

Make frozen fish taste fresh

If you want the fish from your freezer to taste like it was freshly caught, try this trick: Place the frozen fish in a bath of milk until it thaws. The milk will make it taste fresher. While you’re at it, learn why you shouldn’t be throwing away your eggshells.

Clean and soften dirty hands

When you come back from the garden with stained and gritty hands, regular soap just won’t do. Instead, make a paste of oatmeal and milk and rub it vigorously on your hands. The stains will be gone and the oatmeal-and-milk mixture will soften and soothe your skin.

Boost corn on the cob flavor

Corn cobs boiling in the waterIssaurinko/Getty ImagesHere’s a simple way to make corn on the cob taste sweeter and fresher. Just add 1/4 cup powdered milk to the pot of boiling water before you toss in the corn. If you thought milk was multi-functional, look at these uses for toothpicks that have nothing to do with picking teeth.

Repair cracked china

Before you throw out that cracked plate from your grandmother’s old china set, try mending it with milk. 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 even the finest cracks.

Polish silverware

Tarnished silverware will look like new with a little help from some sour milk. If you don’t have any sour milk on hand, you can make some by adding vinegar to fresh milk. Then simply soak the silver in the milk for half an hour to loosen the tarnish, wash in warm, soapy water, and buff with a soft cloth. If you’re wondering if your milk counts as sour, take a peek at this guide on milk sell-by dates.

Soothe sunburn and bug bites

If your skin feels like it’s burning up from too much sun exposure or if itchy bug bites are driving you crazy, try using a little milk paste for soothing relief. Mix one part powdered milk with two parts water and add a pinch or two of salt. Dab it on the burn or bite. The enzymes in the milk powder will help neutralize the insect-bite venom and help relieve sunburn pain.

Give yourself a facial

Beautiful young afro woman with cucumber on eyesvalentinrussanov/Getty ImagesHere’s another way to give yourself a fancy spa facial at home. Make a mask by mixing 1/4 cup powdered milk with enough water to form a thick paste. Thoroughly coat your face with the mixture, let dry completely, then rinse with warm water. Your face will feel fresh and rejuvenated. Check out these clever ways you never thought to use mouthwash as well.

Soften skin

Treat yourself to a luxurious foamy milk bath. Toss 1/2 cup or so of powdered milk into the tub as it fills. Milk acts as a natural skin softener.

Clean patent leather

Make your patent-leather purses or shoes look like new again. Just dab on a little milk, let it dry, and buff with a soft cloth.

Remove ink stains from clothes

To remove ink stains from colored clothes, an overnight milk bath will often do the trick. Just soak the affected garment in milk overnight and launder as usual the next day. Don’t stop there, check out this guide on how to remove every type of stain.

Make the medicine go down

Try using a cup full of milk next time you’ve got a few of those large, hard-to-swallow pills. Drinking milk before and with the pills will help to coat your throat and protect your stomach lining. While many prescriptions recommend taking pills with either a full stomach or a full glass of milk, the benefits can be extended to most types of pills as long as there isn’t a warning about a potentially negative interaction. Drinking milk is a given for us humans, but can our feline friends drink milk, too?

Remove makeup

Woman in bathroom washing faceWillie B. Thomas/Getty ImagesTo make sure you remove every last smidge of makeup without stripping your skin, try a milk-based makeup remover. Mix warm water and powdered milk to remove makeup just like the department store “milky” lathers. Your clean and moisturized skin will thank you. Check out these other makeup tips to totally makeover your routine.

Soften calluses

Next time you’re faced with a tough callus, try using milk to soften it before the expensive drug store alternatives. Just soak a cotton ball or round in milk and apply it straight to the callus to soften and moisturize the surrounding area. Milk isn’t the only food that serves as a skincare miracle—check out these 6 foods for better skin.

Fight the burn

If you bite off a little more heat or spice than you can chew, try washing it down with a cold glass of milk. The old wives’ tale about milk soothing spiciness is actually scientifically backed. The protein in mammal milk, casein, binds to the fatty acid tail of the capsaicin compound found in chili peppers to help stop the sensation of heat or abrasion that creates the spice you know and love. If you’re a spicy food aficionado, here’s what it says about your personality.

Shave

When things become dire in regards to your facial, leg, or armpit hair, look no farther than powder milk. If you’re out of shaving cream or far away from the store, you can create a paste of powdered milk, water, and sugar that will help the razor glide with ease.

Lather up

If you’ve ever stepped foot in your local farmer’s market, you know that milk soap is more popular than ever. You can make your own version of milk soap with lye, olive oil, coconut oil, and castor oil here. If you’re impressed by these many uses of milk, don’t miss these superb uses for soap.

Nourish your garden

If your plants are looking a little grim, milk can be used as a natural fertilizer. The many nutrients and minerals in milk can help perk up your plants and keep them healthy.

Age stains and paint

Trying to keep up with an antiquated aesthetic? Try using leftover milk as the binder in milk-based paint as a green alternative to store-bought paint. Further, it can give textured surfaces, wooden furniture, and many other items an antique look to rival the wonders of age over time.

We know milk caught you off guard, but don’t let it happen again— learn these clever uses for bananas (besides eating them).

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