15 Extraordinary Kitchen Uses for Household Objects
Who doesn't love when objects can multitask? These things you probably already have around the house can serve a new purpose: performing handy kitchen tasks.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
Kitchen gadgets are great, and there are certainly several that we don’t know what we’d do without. But you might be surprised to know that plenty of other objects that are notably not kitchen gadgets—from your hairdryer to your dental floss—can actually be really useful for certain kitchen tasks. Save money by repurposing these things you already have in your home for certain kitchen tasks.
Aluminum foil as pot scrubber
A small ball of crumpled aluminum foil can act as a substitute scrubber and remove grime from your pans. As long as you don’t use it on nonstick pans (it could scratch them), scrub away, no fancy gadget needed. If you prefer to clean pans with SOS pads, find out the things you shouldn’t use them on.
Alka-Seltzer as coffee maker cleaner
Want a super-simple way to give your coffee maker a deep clean? Pop four Alka-Seltzer tablets into the chamber, filling it with water. Wait 15 minutes for a sufficient fizz to build up, and then run the coffee maker as usual. The solution will cleanse the workings of the coffee maker; Alka-Seltzer’s baking soda and citric acid components make it an effective cleaner. Once that cycle has ended, rinse out the chamber a couple of times and run another brew cycle, this time with plain water.
Coffee can lids as leak catchers
Don’t throw away that coffee can lid! Instead, put it underneath a container in your pantry or fridge that’s prone to leakage, like salad dressing or half-and-half. It can act as a “coaster.” You’ll avoid those icky circles of residue that are tough to scrub from fridge shelves. This is one of our favorite secret uses for ordinary kitchen gadgets.
Baking soda as an egg peeling aid
Hate peeling hard-boiled eggs? We don’t blame you. Often, the shells come off in uneven chunks, sometimes taking pieces of edible egg with them. Next time you’re hard-boiling an egg, slip a little bit of baking soda into the pot of water (half a teaspoon for a quart of water). Here’s how to peel hard-boiled eggs the right way.
Clothes hangers as chip clips
Have some of those plastic pants/skirt hangers lying around? The ones that you have to pinch to open to hold the clothes? If you have some that you’re not using for clothes, break off the ends that you pinch and use them to hold bags of chips, cereal, or other food items closed. Save some dough on chip clips!
Rubber bands as spoon holders
How many times have you been stirring something on the stove and the spoon (or another utensil) has slipped into the pot? There’s a super-easy solution. Just wrap a rubber band (we know you’ve got lots lying around!) around the handle of the spoon. When the spoon starts to slide, the rubber band will hold it in place. Here are some more handy kitchen hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.
Straws as a strawberry plucker
If you love strawberries, you probably know that removing the leaves and stem is not the most convenient. If you eat around them, you lose some good fruit. Cutting them out is tough and requires unwieldily digging into the fruit. But there’s a super-simple tip to remove it in one motion: Poke a straw into it! Stick the straw into the bottom of the berry and aim it at the leaves, poking all the way through. The straw should take the leaves with it. If you’re not a fan of plastic straws (understandably), metal straws can do the trick too. In fact, metal straws are probably better because they’re so much sturdier! Is this a coincidence that straws can help ease the eating of a fruit called a strawberry? Well…yes. But it’s cool!
Teaspoon as a ginger peeler
When you find it impossible to peel ginger without losing some of the flesh, try this. If you’re right-handed, hold the ginger in your left hand and, using a teaspoon, firmly scrape the edge of the spoon along the knob with your right. The papery skin will peel straight off.
Dental floss as slicer
Held taut, fine floss can slice layer cakes, soft breads, soft cheeses, butter, and plenty of other soft foods more effectively than a sharp knife. As long as it’s clean (obviously!), use it cut right through soft foods like cinnamon bun dough. Here are more dental floss uses that aren’t for your teeth.
A coffee filter as a gravy strainer
Beef and poultry drippings from a roast make the most delicious, flavorsome base for gravy, but are often packed with grease. Save the flavor and lose the fat by straining the cooking juices through a paper coffee filter.
Scissors as herb chopper
Use clean household scissors to snip fresh herbs and spring onions into salads or mixing bowls. Scissors are also perfect for cutting steam vents in the crust of a pie before it goes in the oven. (Of course, make sure to thoroughly clean the blades of the scissors before doing this, or reserve a certain pair of scissors for kitchen tasks.)
Flowerpots as kitchen tool caddy
Store serving spoons, whisks, tongs, and other kitchen tools in clean flowerpots on the counter. To make the pots more decorative, you could paint each one in a different pastel or bright color. Check out some more ingenious ways to reuse household objects.
Wood rasp as lemon zester
A clean, fine metal rasp from a toolbox works perfectly as a zester for lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruit. Its tiny raised nubs scrape the fruit’s skin to create perfect zest.
Shoehorn to remove corn kernels (and cupcakes)
A clean shoehorn has at least two uses in the kitchen: Scrape the wide end along a cob to remove the kernels and use the narrow end to gently release baked goods such as cupcakes, small pies, or muffins from their tin. Next, check out even more extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.