Flour, What else is it good for? Some household tips.

Did you know that baking soda can soothe a sunburn or de-stink a cat litter box? What removes paint from skin and can be used in place of shaving oil? Olive oil. How do you prevent sauce stains in Tupperware or  remove gum stuck in hair? Cooking spray.

Eric Ravenscraft on Lifehacker reveals several odd use cases for some of the most common items in your pantry. Olive oil, baking soda, cooking spray, flour, and cornstarch are surprisingly useful outside of the kitchen.

Here is just a glimpse of what you’ll find on the lifehacker post Uncommon uses for the Common Pantry Item:

Olive Oil

Remove paint from skin: It’s nearly impossible to paint without getting paint all over yourself. When that happens, add a bit of olive oil to a rag and rub it on the affected area. Follow that up by adding a bit of salt for abrasion and scrub it down to easily remove the paint.

Use it in place of shaving oils: In addition to being cheaper than certain types of other shaving oils (depending on where and what you buy), olive oil can also help improve the quality of your skin.

Baking Soda

Soothe a sunburn: A solution of baking soda and water can help soothe sunburned skin and prevent further damage. Add about four tablespoons of baking soda to a small bowl of water. Soak cotton balls or cloth in the solution and apply to burned areas of skin.

De-stink a cat litter box: Many cat litters do a pretty good job of masking pet odors. However, if you’re using a cheaper brand that doesn’t do much to disguise the scent, line the bottom of the box with a bit of baking soda. If you can get proper smell-hiding litter, that’s better, but in a pinch this works. Baking soda also does a great job of removing smells from old spongesyour car, and a variety of other smelly things.

Cooking Spray

Prevent sauce stains in plastic containers: If you store sauces in plastic containers long enough, they’ll start to gain a reddish tint. To stop this from happening, spray the inside with cooking spray before you store your food.

Loosen gum stuck in hair: If you’ve ever gotten gum stuck in your hair, you know it can be a pain to remove. However, if the mess isn’t too bad, you can loosen the gum with some cooking spray. It might not be a perfect solution, but it can reduce the amount of cutting that may be necessary.


Keep out ants: While flour isn’t poisonous to ants, they also won’t cross a line of the powder. Sprinkle a bit along the outside of an entry that you want to keep ants out of.

Keep jar lids loose: If you have a particularly stubborn jar, you can sprinkle a bit of flour around the rim before closing it. The next time you go to open it, the lid should slide off a bit more easily.


Clean unwashable stuffed animals: Your favorite childhood stuffed dog might not be able to handle another run through the washing machine. To clean and deodorize Mr. Flufflepants, put him in a ziplock bag with a cup or two of cornstarch. Shake it vigorously and let it sit for a while. When it’s done absorbing the odors, pull out the animal and dust it off.

Remove stains from furniture: Continuing the theme of cleaning things that can’t be easily thrown in the wash, cornstarch can be used to soak up fluid and greasy spills. After soaking up the excess, spread a bit of cornstarch on the leftovers and let it soak up the spill.


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