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Cool & Unusual Things You Can Do With Aluminum Foil

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I've often mused that aluminum foil is the unsung hero of the kitchen drawer.  It is used for so many purposes other than cooking though doesn't quite rival duct tape as a multipurpose item (but it sure tries).  Having had this thought, it was time to saddle up Google and see what folks do with aluminum foil that might be a little out of the ordinary.  Apparently this question has been asked before as there were a lot of results for my search query.  Here are some of the highlights from my quest.

Sharpen Scissors:  From what I read, you can take your dull scissors and cut up a few sheets of aluminum foil to get something of an edge back.  I've not tried it yet but I am going to when the opportunity presents.

Shine Chrome:  Ball up some aluminum foil, wet it, and buff away at your chrome stuff.  Haven't tried this one yet but apparently a lot of folks swear by the method.

Keep pets off furniture:
  I did experiment with this one at my girlfriend's house where her five cats get on any surface - especially kitchen counters.  I put some sheets of foil on her granite counter tops and, sure enough, the kitties did not want to walk on it.  My GF, however, was not enamored of the idea of leaving the sheets of foil out.  I think you could use this, with kittens, as a training method.

Speed up ironing. 
Put sheets of aluminum foil under your ironing pad and they will reflect heat back towards the iron, reducing how many passes you will need to iron whatever you are ironing.

Clean your iron: As long as we are ironing we can run the iron over some aluminum foil and the starch will be transferred to the aluminum.  I am going to try this idea in the next few days.

Keep paint off door knobs.
  Wrap aluminum foil tightly around door knobs before painting.  I imagine that would work for some other objects as well.

Polish your silver:  Line the bottom of a non-metallic pan with aluminum foil and then add baking soda until the foil is covered.  Add boiling water and then add your silver item making sure that as much of it makes contact with the foil as possible.  The tarnish will transfer to the foil as the water cools.  This is another idea I plan on trying as I buy a lot of silver-plated stuff from flea markets.

Reheat food in your hotel room:  Heat up aluminum foil with an iron and then wrap food item and it will warm up as the heat is transferred from the foil to the food.  Some claim you make a grilled cheese with this method though I imagine you have to iron the foil while the sandwich is in it.

Make hydrogen gas:  Probably not enough to run your hydrogen fueled car but still a pretty cool experiment.  Put aluminum foil in a jar with ammonia and tightly cap.  After a while you will have hydrogen gas building in the jar.  DON'T ACTUALLY DO THIS.  There are better ways to safely capture the gas using balloons, upside down test tubes, etc. 

Make electricy:This YouTube Video will show you how to make electricity using strips of aluminum foil.

Make a WiFi booster for your laptop:  This YouTube Video will show you how to make a nifty WiFi antenna of sorts that will boost your WiFi signal.

Aluminum is your Friend

That's a pretty cool list of interesting ideas for aluminum foil that are clever and not at all related to cooking.  I am betting that many of you have your own great uses for aluminum foil so please leave a comment and enlighten the rest of us.

erick99 posted Sep 08, 2012

this is pretty interesting, i am going to try a few. thanks for the awesome post=D

lols dude was trying to steal wifi from his neighbors=P

MrBklynW (rep: 426k) posted Sep 08, 2012


welcome back erick, interesting all the things you can do with aluminum foil

rd995 (rep: 151k) posted Sep 08, 2012


there was one thing they did in

encorez (rep: 10k) posted Sep 09, 2012


I never knew aluminum foil was so cool.. Thanks for enlightening us with the awesome article, Erick!

shopange08 (rep: 15.8k) posted Sep 09, 2012


I have many Aluminum Foil at home but didn't use them, oh, maybe they will play key role later ,hhhhhaa

nararal (rep: 230) posted Sep 09, 2012


I love articles like this. Thanks for sharing this info.

lilywow (rep: 8.7k) posted Sep 09, 2012


Welcome back! Love the heating up food in a hotel room one. You rock !

gangstabarbie (rep: 21k) posted Sep 09, 2012


I like the idea to make a antenna for the wifi... if folks remember- they used silver foil for the ol' tv sets to use as a antenna too!!!

MdavidK30 (rep: 3.7k) posted Sep 09, 2012


"reheat food in your hotel room"

This is genius. Ive been in a hotel room without a microwave before. Next time Ill have to try this. The only bad part is I usually dont have foil with me. hmmm

bbattag (rep: 7k) posted Sep 09, 2012


I'm so glad people enjoyed this article! It gets difficult to think up new ideas after writing more than a hundred Pages but articles like this make the effort worth the while.

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Sep 09, 2012


very nice, Erick. I'm glad you're back :)

zoneric (rep: 58.2k) posted Sep 09, 2012


I taight my wife the jewelry and silver cleaning trick years ago. Works great but it takes some practice to learn how to do it. Her grandmother gave her the family flatware set and that was the first realy job we did with it after practicing on some cheaper jewlery first. Works like a charm but really just takes off tarnish but does it well.

Acidbaby (rep: 7k) posted Sep 09, 2012


This is neat! I like random articles like these. Thanks erick :)

arsiel (rep: 13.1k) posted Sep 09, 2012


Erick, I don't know why your source would say to "tightly cap" the bottle when making hydrogen by putting aluminum foil in ammonia. Given enough of the reactants, the bottle would probably burst or blow its cap off from the pressure. Aluminum will react with any strongly alkaline solution to give off hydrogen. It doesn't need to be confined to make it work.

As a kid, I once put aluminum foil in a Coke bottle with Draino (sodium hydroxide) & water, and put a party balloon over the mouth of the bottle to fill it with hydrogen. It floats like a helium balloon when tied off and let go. This is EXTREMELY dangerous if you don't first let the evolving gas chase most of the air out of the bottle before putting the balloon on, because a mixture of hydrogen and air is violently explosive and even a slight static spark from rubbing the balloon could set it off.

fluffy (rep: 2.2k) posted Sep 09, 2012


Wow,how neat,some I would have guessed but others not so much,thanks for the post.

xptrish (rep: 101k) posted Sep 09, 2012


fluffy is right. As kids, we used to combine balls of foil + bathroom cleaner in a sealed 2-liter bottle. The chemical reaction would build incredible pressure causing the bottle to swell/explode. Be very careful what you're "tightly capping" as this is rather dangerous advice.

lancescape (rep: 148) posted Sep 10, 2012


I agree with Fluffy and lancescape. When I have done experiments to make hydrogen usually just using two probes, two test tubes, a battery & water, I have captured the hydrogen in something that can expand and then ignited it (after a very small amount has been produced). I will update the article to note this.

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Sep 10, 2012


Going to have to put an Omaha Steaks order in so I can play with the block of dry ice they throw in the box.

Acidbaby (rep: 7k) posted Sep 10, 2012


My girlfriend orders from Omaha Steaks but I've never been over the day she receives an order so I haven't gotten to play with the dry ice.

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Sep 10, 2012


@Acidbaby: Sounds like a really expensive way to get dry ice! They sell it at the Safeway grocery store near me, no steak purchase required!

fluffy (rep: 2.2k) posted Sep 10, 2012


I was a skeptic until Mary started ordering from Omaha Steaks and the meat is really, really good :)

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Sep 10, 2012


I saw Steven Segal blow up bad guys using foil, a microwave and something else on TV. That's the one I wanna try. :-)

Nice page Erick. Welcome back.

Acid...Dry ice, a little bit of water and a plastic bottle is fun ittle experiment. Just make sure you stand plenty back. :-)

nthsll (rep: 12.5k) posted Sep 11, 2012


Aluminum Foil doesn't like oven cleaner.....try it

encorez (rep: 10k) posted Sep 11, 2012


what happens?

horrorfreakshow (rep: 2k) posted Sep 12, 2012


@horrorfreakshow Probably melts it--that's my guess anyways.

Here's another thing you can do with aluminum foil: pronounce it "aluminIum" like our British and Australian counterparts do.

toast (rep: 5.5k) posted Sep 13, 2012


this is pretty cool. only if i had some silver lying around to polish

aznballa161 (rep: 3.2k) posted Sep 13, 2012


innnnteresting! love learning about how to make the most of everyday things =)

dvinegrace83 (rep: 37.4k) posted Sep 13, 2012


Some cool ideas, from now on when I travel I will have to fold some sheets of foil and bring them with me. luckily I usually drive my car when traveling LOL no airports cuz who know what they would think it is

Rainnn (rep: 30) posted Sep 14, 2012


this was a pretty cool article ...

boricua1 (rep: 7.7k) posted Sep 14, 2012



gginobi (rep: 93) posted Sep 14, 2012


groundhog day......

encorez (rep: 10k) posted Sep 14, 2012


Agreed. Definitely an awesome article! =]

deal (rep: 7k) posted Sep 14, 2012


thanks for sharing! some interesting info and comments as well. Keep it up dealsplus members.

solowkoe (rep: 5.7k) posted Sep 14, 2012


Worth reading it, thank you for sharing

Dexterous (rep: 102k) posted Sep 14, 2012


Well,Thanks so much for sharing this. Nice post:)

newjerseychickxo (rep: 14k) posted Sep 15, 2012