Alternative uses for aluminum foil

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Chances are, you have aluminum foil in your kitchen right now. It’s an indispensable kitchen basic but it can be used in so many other ways besides lining a cookie sheet or covering leftovers. Here are just a few ideas…


Celery is a staple we personally keep in our house all the time. I use it in a lot of different recipes since it’s usually cheap, can be cooked in various ways, is low in calories, and is available year-round. But I hate when it becomes limp and loses the crunch I especially enjoy when eating it raw. To keep it fresh and crispy for up to a couple of weeks, tightly wrap it in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator. This works so much better than keeping it in plastic wrap or the plastic bag you put it in at the grocery store.

Did you know you can actually grow celery from that bunch you bought at the store? Chop the celery stalks from the base. Rinse the base and place in a small bowl or saucer of warm water, on or near a sunny windowsill. (Base side down with the cut stalks facing up.) In about a week you’ll see new leaves appear in the center. The leaves will be yellow at first but after they really start emerging, they’ll turn green, which is when you can plant it in a pot or the ground. Here’s an easy “how to” if you’re interested…


Whether you’re grilling in the backyard, at a campsite, or baking a casserole in your kitchen oven, baked-on grime can be difficult to clean if you don’t have a scouring pad. An easy and cheap fix? Just roll a piece of aluminum foil into a loose ball and use it to scrub the pan or grill. It works great! (Don’t use on nonstick dishes.)


If you have a screw that keeps turning in a piece of wood, you can push a bit of foil loosely in the hole. It should grab tight.


I’ve been rearranging several rooms in our house and a couple of the pieces of furniture didn’t have the felt pads on the bottom of the legs which made it a really huffing and puffing experience. A friend told me to fold some tin foil in half, shiny side up, and place it under the legs. I tried this tip and it really did work without scratching the floor. (Use multiple sheets, especially for heavier pieces, so it doesn’t tear.)


Protect those pricey buttons on your more dressy clothing when taking them to the cleaners, which can be damaged during the cleaning process or even lost. Cover the decorative buttons with foil and they won’t get damaged.


The main reason I drag my feet when it comes to painting a wall? Because I hate cleaning the brushes. Especially when I’m not quite finished but need to stop for whatever reason, which means cleaning a brush I’ll be using again later that day or the next day. It’s time-consuming! To keep the brush from hardening, if you’re using it again fairly soon like the next day, blot any extra paint from the bristles and then wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Secure with a rubber band and the brush will be ready for the next coat of paint without drying out.


Save money when doing laundry by using a crumpled ball of foil in the dryer instead of dryer sheets. The aluminum foil will reduce static and keep your clothes hanging properly on your frame. (For larger loads, I use a couple of foil balls.)


If you’re out of wrapping paper and need to wrap a gift and have no time to make a detour at the store, aluminum foil is a perfect solution, especially for boxed or smaller gifts. Wrap with the shiny side out, top with a sparkly bow, and you have a uniquely wrapped gift and no one has to know it wasn’t planned.


You can actually cut your ironing time down by using aluminum foil which might encourage you to pull out that wrinkled blouse that’s been hanging in your closet for a year… ok, that’s directed at myself. Anyway, to speed the process of ironing, with fewer swipes, place a sheet of foil under the ironing board cover, shiny side up. (The foil reflects the heat back up.) Smooth, wrinkle-free clothes with minimal effort.


Get quick curls sans rollers with strips of aluminum foil. Just tear off strips of foil, fold them over, roll a damp lock of hair around each, and fold them over. Once hair is dry, unfold and you have curls without rollers or pins (a great way to save room in your luggage too when traveling).


While this may not be the most attractive idea, it does save money and seriously, how many people, other than your family, are looking at the soap in your shower? Instead of letting those bars of soap melt in the water that puddles in the soap holder, which is like letting money go down the drain, wrap a piece of foil around the bottom of the bar. This way, when someone swipes their wet hands against the top, the bottom won’t end up sitting in a pile of water.


I personally haven’t tried this since we have a gas fireplace but it makes sense. Before you light a fire, place a double layer of foil on the floor of the fireplace. Once you’ve enjoyed a toasty time by the fire, wait till the next day when the ashes are TOTALLY cool, and just fold the foil up and toss. The foil is heat-safe and the ashes fall onto the foil which means there’s no mess to sweep up.


I have used this method to shine tarnished silver tons of times because it works quickly without a lot of elbow-grease. Line a pan with foil and place the silver in it. Fill with 4 cups of boiling water and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak for about 5 minutes and then rinse. Wipe dry and you have shiny silver once again. (There’s a chemical reaction between the baking soda and aluminum foil that causes the tarnish to break down.)


Ever line an oven bottom with foil to catch drips from fruit pies or casserole juices? I think most of us have used this trick a time or two or had a mom or grandma that did.

But Reynolds Kitchens does NOT recommend this method. And since they make Reynolds Wrap, I think I’ll take their recommendation. They say, “To avoid possible heat damage to your oven, we do not recommend using aluminum foil to line the bottom of your oven. Rather, we recommend that you place a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the oven rack beneath the pie or casserole you are baking. The foil should be only a few inches larger than the baking pan to allow for proper heat circulation. The foil will catch any drips before they reach the oven bottom.”

And to keep stovetop drip pans clean (if you have removable drip pans beneath the heating elements on your stovetop,) cover them with foil, shiny side up. Once they start to look dirty, you can just toss and re-cover with clean foil.


Since going gluten-free due to celiac disease, I have missed my Taco Bell taco salads…a lot! But with this tip, I can make my own shells using corn tortillas (this works with flour tortillas too, which I’d actually prefer eating). Ball up a piece of foil about 4 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet. Brush a large corn or flour tortilla with olive oil and drape it over the ball. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crisp in a 350 degree oven. Let cool and fill with your favorite salad ingredients.


Ok, so this works for some pets and not so much for other furry friends. I guess it depends on just how determined your own kitty is to jump up on the counters. One of our cats is definitely scared by foil while the others could care less. Anyway, it’s worth a shot if you’re trying to keep the cats off spaces they shouldn’t be on. Lay a few sheets of foil over the exposed countertops. When kitty jumps up or walks over the foil it will make a noise that most cats don’t like and he/she will get down. But we’re talking about cats so…


  • I still use the term “tinfoil” but technically that’s incorrect. While household foil was once made of tin, it’s now made of aluminum. Tinfoil hasn’t been around since about 1947 when they changed the materials.
  • According to Reynolds Kitchens, it makes no difference which side of the aluminum foil you use when cooking, storing, or freezing food. The difference in appearance between the dull and shiny sides is due to the foil manufacturing process.
  • Aluminum foil has the lowest moisture-vapor transfer rate of all wrapping materials which means it is the most effective in preventing the loss of moisture and vapor from the food. This is why foil is better than plastic wrap for long-term food storage and freezing.

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