We all have a giant bag of flour in our cupboards. I actually have two, one is all-purpose flour and the other is cake and pastry flour. But you can only use so much flour at a time, obviously, and it seems like the bag is never going to disappear.
But what if I told you that there are ways to use that flour for something other than cooking or baking, and it can also help you save money around the house?
There is! All-purpose flour is for just that...all purposes.
1. Repelling Ants
As the warmer weather approaches, chances are you'll be welcoming so tiny, albeit unwanted, friends into the house. They're annoying, gross, and a little creepy the way they move in a huge line.
I find that ants often find their way into our kitchen, always on the hunt for food. But because the kitchen is where we eat, I don't like the idea of putting down chemical traps or sprays to stop them.
That's why I use flour now instead of store-bought solutions! Just sprinkle a line of flour wherever you see the ants in your home, and it will keep them away.
Ants hate the feel and taste of flour, it's too powdery for them, so they won't come near it!
If you are worried about pets in the home consuming raw flour, you can bake it for a few minutes to kill any potential bacteria.
2. Polish Copper
Copper pots and pans are great to cook in, but they can start to tarnish and look dull after a while. You can clean them often, but there's not a lot that can be done without using chemical cleaners to bring them back to normal.
My Gran gave me her old set of copper cookware when she downsized into her condo, and I'm always scared to use them because I'm worried it'll speed up the dulling process.
However, you can use flour from your cupboard to bring that shine right back!
Combine equal parts flour, salt, and vinegar until it forms a paste. Spread the paste onto a brass or copper surface (it doesn't just have to be cookware!) and allow it to sit until the paste dries out.
Wash off the solution with warm water, and you'll have clean and shiny copper all over again!
3. Buff Stainless Steel
I don't know about you, but my stainless steel fridge is full of finger prints. It may not seem like the end of the world, but I'm a bit of a neat freak.
Not being able to clean anything stainless steel without streaks becomes aggravating after a while, but it turns out the flour in my cupboard will help solve that!
All you have to do is sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a DRY, clean cloth and use it to buff your stainless steel appliances (or anything else). The flour will absorb the oils left by finger prints, and it'll shine like new!
4. Clean Playing Cards
Every week, my husband has his friends over for a poker night. It really is a fun evening, with a lot of laughter and great snacks. The problem is, the cards end up getting so greasy from the food that they look awful.
You can't very well get the cards wet, but they do need to get cleaned. No one wants to play with sticky cards.
It turns out, putting the playing cards in a plastic bag along with some flour will solve the problem!
Shake the cards in the bag, allowing the flour to coat them. Much like the stainless steel, the flour helps absorb oil, grease, and grime that are stuck to the cards.
After shaking, take the cards out and wipe them down with a dry, clean cloth. They'll be looking way better!
5. Fight Acne
Got a big zit the day before a presentation or special event? DON'T SQUEEZE IT!
Mix together a little bit of flour and some honey, forming a paste. Apply it to the zit and then cover the area with a bandaid.
The natural healing elements of the honey and the drying action of the flour will make your blemish look noticeably smaller in the morning, which is perfect!
6. Dry Shampoo
Sometimes you don't have time to wash and style your hair before you run out the door, but that doesn't mean you have to have greasy hair!
Dry shampoo is the perfect way to solve that problem, but it can be expensive to buy at the store. Using a little bit of flour you can achieve the same results.
Sift the flour to avoid clumps, and use a makeup brush to apply the flour to your roots. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then brush (or shake!) out any excess.
The flour will absorb any moisture and oil, so your hair will look fresh and clean.
7. Ripen Avocados
How many times have you bought an avocado and had to wait ages for it to ripen? Not anymore!
Put your avocado in a paper bag and cover it in flour. Let the bag sit on your counter for about 24 hours and then take it out of the bag.
Voila! Ripe avocado!
8. "Cloud" Dough
Play dough is fun, but sometimes it can get boring. Cloud dough is a great alternative that will leave kids entertained for hours.
Combine flour and a little bit of baby oil to make "magic sand," which feels like flour to the touch, but molds into whatever shape you choose! The best ration is 8 cups of flour to 1 cup of baby oil, but you can adjust that to your needs.
You can also add food coloring to make things a little more fun!
9. Safe Glue
When kids are young, it seems like everything somehow ends up in their mouths! This can be a worry when they're using craft supplies.
Non-toxic glue is available, but it's still not great to eat. Luckily, you can make kid-friendly glue using only flour and water!
Of course, it's not going to be as strong as store-bought glue, but it's perfect for a day of crafts with the kids.
10. Fabric Stiffener
If you're into sewing and are out of the store-bought stiffener, you can just use a mixture of flour and water!
Combine two tablespoons of water with one cup of water, then mix this with a cup of boiling water and whisk it until it becomes thick.
Let it cool, and then use it to stiffen your fabrics!
11. Jar Lids
I find that the jars in our house often get stuck to the lids, making them hard to open. I hate having to struggle constantly to open the jar, and half the time I just give up!
Then I learned that you can just add a little bit of flour to the ridges of the jar rim when you first open it, and it will stop the lid from sticking over time! Genius!
12. Garden Pests
Similar to how you can keep ants out of your house, you can also keep pests in general away from your veggie garden!
Sprinkling flour on or around your veggies, particularly your potatoes or sweet potatoes, will help keep unwanted pests away from your garden and allow you to enjoy your produce!