Look inside the cupboards of any typical American kitchen and you're almost guaranteed to find a box of aluminum foil. Even though it's mainly only used for food preparation and storage, 1.3 billion pounds are still produced each year in the United States.
Unfortunately, aluminum foil is rarely accepted by recycling centers for sanitary reasons, as it's usually dirtier than the widely recycled aluminum can (your local recycling center might be the exception, so you should still check). As a result, thousands of tons of aluminum foil ends up in landfills each year: enough to create a whole fleet of commercial airliners. Therefore, it's important to get as much use out of aluminum foil as possible before disposing of it. That's why we've put together the following list of easy, useful, and surprising reuses for aluminum foil.
ARTS & CRAFTS WITH ALUMINUM FOIL
- Use old foil to make greeting cards, placemats, picture frames, or wrapping paper.
- Use cardboard and some foil to make the star for your Christmas tree, or cut out smaller shapes and make them into ornaments.
- Let your kids use old foil to make pretend jewelry and hats or create costumes for halloween or a dress up day.
- Use aluminum foil instead of clay to make a model for a school project or rainy day fun for your kids.
CLOTHING/SHOES USES FOR ALUMINUM FOIL
- Remove static cling from garments by throwing them in the clothes dryer along with a crumpled piece of foil (that hasn't been wrapped around garlic bread for the last two weeks).
- Be more energy efficient when you iron by putting foil underneath the iron board cover. You'll be ironing both sides of your clothing at the same time because the aluminum foil reflects the heat.
- To help your leather boots and shoes keep their form when you're not wearing them, wad up balls of foil and stuff them into the toes.
HOUSEHOLD USES FOR ALUMINUM FOIL
- If you live in an older house that has lot of nooks and crannies hosting various rodent families, just stuff some old foil into the crack to make the mice disappear. You don't even have to fill the crack completely, the sharp edges and texture of the aluminum prevents them from getting through.
- Ball up some old foil and put it under the short leg of an uneven table to make it level.
- Wrap a little foil around nuts, bolts, or screws with stripped threads for a quick, temporary fix.
- Use a wad of foil instead of steel wool to scrub rust off of steel and chrome.
- If you want to train your pet to stay off your furniture, just put down a couple sheets of used foil; they can't stand it. This method also works to deter birds, deer, and other unwanted pests from your yard and garden; just hang strips of used foil from strings or tree branches.
- You can add interesting textures to your painting and plastering projects by using crumpled up foil. Old foil is also great for protecting fixtures from wet paint and for wrapping paintbrushes during breaks.
- Fold some old foil until it's six to eight layers thick, then cut through it a few times with a pair of dull scissors, and they'll be instantly sharpened! Just fold the foil more times to make it thicker and you can use it to sharpen garden and pruning shears as well.
- Protect your young tomato plants or other plant starts from cutworms and various other insects by making a collar out of used foil to fit loosely around the stems.
KITCHEN USES FOR ALUMINUM FOIL
- As long as the foil doesn't come into contact with raw meat, it can be used over and over again for wrapping leftovers. Just use soap and water to wash it, then use a rolling pin to flatten it on the kitchen counter, and it's ready to be reused.
- Wadded up foil can be used as a scouring sponge to clean stubborn, stuck-on food from pots, pans, ovens, barbeques, grills, etc.
- Boiled over and spilled dishes can make the stovetop burners smoke and stink for a long time. Fortunately, you can line your burners with foil and never have to clean up a stovetop spill again. All you have to do is cut some foil into a circle that's slightly bigger than the burner, and then cut a hole for the flame to come through.