Bananas are a yummy snack, but we tend to toss away the peel once we’re finished eating it. And this part of the fruit can be repurposed in so many ways around the house. Here are 10 uses for leftover banana peels that will make your life so much easier!
1. Whiten teeth for pennies.
No need to shell out for tooth whitening strips to get a picture perfect smile — let a banana peel do the job! To do: Rub the white side of the peel on teeth for two minutes daily. Banana peels contain minerals like magnesium, potassium, and manganese that minimize stains on the teeth without damaging the enamel. The happy result: pearly whites in a week!
2. Grill up juicy, tender chicken.
Grilled chicken breasts are one of your go-to summer dinners, but the meat often ends up dry. To prevent this, simply place a banana peel white side down on top of the chicken while it cooks. The peel will act like a skin and lock in the meat’s juices without affecting the flavor. Yum!
3. Fade unwanted wrinkles.
Rather than buying pricey creams to help reduce wrinkles, try this: Rub the inside of a banana peel onto skin for one minute, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. Unique compounds in banana peels have been shown to increase collagen production, which can help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, the textured peel can gently slough off dead, dry skin.
4. Treat a dog’s warts naturally.
Eek! Poor Fido has a few unsightly warts on his paw that he keeps licking. The all-natural way to get rid of them: Rub the inside of a banana peel over each of the warts for a few minutes daily. Plant compounds in the peel will help kill the virus that causes warts. (Note: If the warts remain after two weeks or if they return, have a vet take a look, as warts can be contagious to other dogs.)
5. Attract butterflies to your yard.
This time of year, you love seeing beautiful butterflies fluttering around your yard. The easy trick to attracting more: banana peels! Simply set a few peels on rocks or a tree stump in your yard. The peels contain sugar, which the winged creatures love, and they’ll fly in for a taste.
6. Soothe itchy bug bites.
You forgot to apply bug spray before your walk and ended up with a few itchy mosquito bites. For fast relief, rub the inside of a banana peel against the inflamed areas. The peels are full of polysaccharides, which sink into cells and soothe inflammation.
7. Easily remove a splinter.
Ouch! You got a splinter from your wooden deck. To remove it painlessly, reach for a banana peel. Cut a section of the peel into a one inch square, then place it over the wound (white side down). Secure with tape and leave the peel in place for 30 minutes. Enzymes in the peel will soften skin, allowing the splinter to move closer to the surface so it’s easier to pluck out.
8. Ripen an avocado fast.
You want to whip up your homemade guacamole for tomorrow’s taco night, but the avocado in your kitchen is far from ripe. To speed up the process, simply place the avocado in an airtight container or paper bag with a banana peel for 12 to 24 hours. The peel will releases ethylene, the gas that triggers ripening in fruit, so your avocado will be ready to prep.
9. Fall asleep fast on warm nights.
Sticky summer nights keeping you up? Sip a cup of banana-peel iced tea. To do: Cut off both ends of one washed, unpeeled banana. Place it in two to three cups of boiling water for five minutes. Strain and add honey to taste. Add ice or refrigerate until cold, then drink. The peel’s magnesium and potassium relax muscles, helping you fall asleep fast.
10. Keep pesky aphids at bay.
Argh! While tending to your garden, you notice insect damage on your roses’ leaves. To get rid of the gobbling pests, cut up two or three banana peels, then dig a one inch-deep hole in the ground at the base of your plants and place the peels inside. Peels contain a chemical that aphids detect as a warning sign of danger, so they’ll stay well away!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.