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19 Genius Uses for Ice Cubes You Had No Clue About

They're good for much more than just chilling your drink.


Water hanging plants and Christmas trees

If you’re constantly reaching for the step stool to water hard-to-reach hanging plants, ice cubes can help. Just toss several cubes into the pots. The ice melts and waters the plants and does it without causing a sudden downpour from the drain hole. This is also a good way to water your Christmas tree, whose base may be hard to reach with a watering can. (Related: You also need these hacks for healthy houseplants.)


Soothe plucked eyebrows

Giving your eyebrows a good tweeze will make them look fabulous, but can definitely cause pain and redness. (Related: These eyebrow grooming tips can change your appearance.) Use an ice cube to ease the pain and any red inflammation before putting on makeup or going out.


Remove dents in carpeting

If you’ve recently rearranged the furniture in your living room, you know that heavy pieces can leave ugly indents in your carpet. Use ice cubes to remove them. Put an ice cube, for example, on the spot where the chair leg stood. Let it melt, then brush up the dent. Rug rehab completed.


Prevent stains from setting

The common advice you hear is to dab some water the second you splatter something on yourself, but ice cubes work even more effectively. The next time you need to prevent a stain from setting, rub the spot as soon as it happens with an ice cube.


Smooth caulk seams

You’re caulking around the bathtub, but the sticky caulk compound keeps adhering to your finger as you try to smooth it. If you don’t do something about it, the finished job will look pretty awful. Solve the problem by running an ice cube along the caulk line. This forms the caulk into a nice even bead and the caulk will never stick to the ice cube.


Help iron out wrinkles

So your ready-to-wear shirt is full of wrinkles and there’s no time to wash it again. Turn on the iron and wrap an ice cube in a soft cloth. Rub over the wrinkle just before you iron and the shirt will smooth out. Or try these other ways to de-wrinkle clothes without an iron.

iStock/Robert Kneschke

Use as an eye mask

Sometimes a bad night’s sleep or even an allergic reaction can cause your eyes to be puffy. To reduce any eye puffiness, wrap an ice cube in a rag and place it on your eyes for a few minutes.


Mask the taste of medicine

No matter what flavor your local pharmacist offers in children’s medicine, kids can still turn up their noses at the taste. Have them suck on an ice cube before taking the medicine. This numbs the taste buds and allows the medicine to go down, without the spoonful of sugar.

iStock/Diana Taliun

Clean vases and bottles

Vases and bottles with slender necks can be hard to give a good clean because your hand or sponge won’t fit. The next time you find yourself having to clean one, toss in a few ice cubes and ¼ cup of salt and swish around vigorously to give it a good clean.


Pluck a splinter

Parental challenge #573: removing a splinter from the hand of a screaming, squirming toddler. Before you start jabbing with that needle, grab an ice cube and numb the area. This should make splinter removal more painless and quicker.


Cool down

It’s the middle of summer and your air conditioner is broken or you simply just don’t have one in your room and you are sweating. What do you do to cool off? You may be surprised to know that putting a big bowl of ice cubes in front of a portable fan works wonders. Give it a try the next time you find yourself a hot, sticky mess.


Cool water for your pets

Imagine what it’s like to wear a fur coat in the middle of summer. Your rabbits, hamsters, and gerbils will love your thoughtfulness if you place a few cubes in their water dish to cool down. This is also a good tip for your cat, who’s spent the hot morning lounging on your bed, or your dog, who’s just had a long romp in the park.


Unstick a sluggish disposal

If your garbage disposal is not working at its optimum because of grease buildup (not something stuck inside), ice cubes may help. Throw some down the disposal and grind them up. The grease will cling to the ice, making the disposal residue-free.


Make creamy salad dressing

Do you want to make your homemade salad dressing as smooth and even as the bottled variety? Try this: Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid, then add a single ice cube. Close the lid and shake vigorously. Spoon out the ice cube and serve. Your guests will be impressed by how creamy your salad dressing is.

iStock/Robert Ingelhart

Stop sauces from curdling

Imagine this: Your snooty neighbors are over for a Sunday brunch featuring eggs Benedict. But when you mixed butter and egg yolks with lemon juice to make hollandaise sauce for the dish, it curdled. What do you do? Place an ice cube in the saucepan, stir, and watch the sauce turn back into a silky masterpiece.


De-fat soups and stews

Want to get as much fat as possible out of your homemade soup or stew as quickly as possible? Fill a metal ladle with ice cubes and skim the bottom of the ladle over the top of the liquid in the soup pot. Fat will collect on the ladle.


Help your acne

Ice cubes help close swollen pores and prevent bacteria from reentering your skin. If you have a pesky, swollen pimple that keeps filling back up no matter how many times you pop it, put ice in a wash cloth and rub it over for about 10 minutes to help tighten your pores and reduce inflammation.


Remove gum from clothing

You’re just about to walk out the door when Junior points to the gum stuck to his pants. Keep your cool and grab an ice cube. Rub the ice on the gum to harden it, then scrape it off with a spoon.


Reheat rice

Does your leftover rice dry out when you reheat it in the microwave? Try this: Put an ice cube on top of the rice when you put it in the microwave. The ice cube will melt as the rice reheats, giving the rice much-needed moisture.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest