21 unexpected uses for aluminum foil

Aluminum foil has a lot more practical applications beyond wrapping burritos. Here are some things you may not have tried.

Jessica Learish
1 of 21 Jessica Learish

Polishing tarnished silver

A sheet of aluminum foil and a little science can help you polish tarnished silver. Line a pan with foil, fill with cold water, add 2 teaspoons of salt and your worn-out silver. Three minutes later, remove your gleaming silver, rinse and dry.

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Keeping silver shiny

After your silver is properly shined, store your freshly washed heirlooms on a sheet of aluminum foil to keep them from getting tarnished again.

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Sharpening your scissors

If your scissors are dull, you don't need a new pair or a fancy sharpener. All you need is a folded piece of foil to cut through a few times.

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Reflecting light for photos

You can improve the production quality and lighting of your photos with a piece of foil attached to cardboard.

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Fixing loose battery springs

Don't throw away another battery-powered gadget because of a worn-out spring. Just pop some foil on top of the spring to connect to the battery and make sure the electrical currents keep flowing.

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Cleaning your iron

If your Maytag or Rowenta iron is getting sticky and starchy from pressing lots of dress shirts, run it over a piece of foil a couple of times and watch as the plate comes up clean.

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Moving heavy furniture

Give yourself some leverage by slipping some foil (dull side down) under the legs of a heavy piece of furniture. The slippery foil will help you slide the furniture wherever you want it to go.

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Improving radiator efficiency

Foil can also help you save money on your gas bill in the winter by improving the efficiency of your radiator. Mount a sheet of foil behind and to the sides of your radiator to reflect heat away from the walls into the center of your living space, if you don't mind having shiny silver walls for a few months.

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Cleaning your grill

Aluminum foil can help you clean grill grates. After you finish cooking, while the grates are still hot, drop a sheet of foil on top and close the lid. Once everything has cooled down, remove the foil and scrub the grates with a grill brush. Your cooking surface will be good as new.

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Scrubbing those grates

If you don't have a wire brush, wait until the grill and foil have cooled completely, crumple up the foil and get to scrubbing. If your trusty Weber or Kenmore is equipped with thicker grill grates, the foil actually works better than some wire brushes.

11 of 21 EyeEm/Getty Images

Keeping bread warm

Dinner party hosts and hostesses, rejoice! You can keep your freshly baked bread and dinner rolls hot throughout the meal by slipping a sheet of foil into the bottom of your bread basket. If it's under your fancy cloth napkin, no one will be any the wiser.

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Disposing of used oil

Here's another genius kitchen tip. If you're always at a loss for how to dispose of used oil, crumble a piece of foil into a bowl shape and pour the oil into the foil. Once the oil cools and hardens, crumble the foil with the oil and throw it all away.

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Bug-proofing your mulch

Tired of bugs and slugs poking holes in your gardening efforts? Mix strips of aluminum foil into your garden mulch.

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Getting your ironing done faster

If you're super-impatient about the time it takes to get your clothes wrinkle-free, line your ironing board with aluminum foil under the cover to reflect heat back onto your clothes from below.

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Filling in for dryer sheets

Did you know a ball of foil will keep your clothes just as static-free as a dryer sheet? Of course, your foil isn't lavender-scented, but a ball of foil is a whole lot better than nothing. Just toss the ball into your ol' Whirlpool or Samsung dryer, and your clothes won't cling.

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Improving your outdoor lights

Maximize the power of your outdoor string lights by using a long sheet of foil as a reflector. Attach the foil to the cord (not the bulbs) with electrical tape.

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Making a funnel

If you're ever in need of a funnel but don't have one handy, fashion one out of foil. Just fold a piece of foil in half to give your funnel more structural integrity.

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Making your own cookie cutters

Turn your house into a custom cookie bakery with a double-layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil bent into your favorite shape.

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Not painting your doorknobs

Hop on the accent-colored door trend without also having accent-colored doorknobs. Wrap your doorknobs and locks in foil, trim the excess and tape the edges.

20 of 21 Cyrus McCrimmon/Denver Post/Getty Images

Protecting your pie crust

Tired of your pie edges burning? Wrap the outside of your pie pan with foil so that it acts as a heat shield for the outermost inch of the pie.

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Keeping out alien waves

OK, so this proverbial use probably doesn't actually work for preventing mind control via electromagnetic fields. But who could say no to such a stylish preventative measure?

See more uses for tinfoil here.

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