You might think the one cent coins rattling around in your purse are a nuisance, but there’s actually a lot of brilliant uses for pennies that have nothing to do with spending them!
Take a look at how you can get more out of the pennies in your wallet or change jar. (But make sure the ones you use for these DIY fixes aren’t secretly worth a boatload of cash first!)
1. Patch a leak in a birdhouse roof.
The weather has done a number on the roof of your beloved backyard birdhouse, and you worry about water seeping in through cracks.
The quick fix: Use strong glue to attach a penny (or pennies) on top of the hole or crack. (Note: You can paint over if desired to help it blend in.) The waterproof coin will block out the elements, ensuring any bird visitor stays dry.
2. Banish pesky garden slugs.
If you find that your outdoor plants are being munched on by slugs, try this: Place a circle of pennies (dated before 1982) in the soil around the base of any plants that show signs of damage.
The copper in the older coins gives slugs a tiny shock when they come in contact with them, so they’ll avoid the area.
3. Easily stabilize a wobbly chair.
While relaxing on the porch one afternoon, you notice that your chair is a bit unsteady. The easy fix: Measure by placing pennies under the leg that’s not sitting flat, then remove and glue the pennies together.
Once dry, use strong glue to attach the stack to the bottom of the chair leg. (Glue felt on top of that if you are worried about the coins scratching your deck.) Problem solved!
4. Fly-proof an outdoor meal.
Want even more great uses for pennies? If you love enjoying dinner outside in the summer, but pesky flies can make the experience less than pleasant. To keep them at bay, fill a resealable clear plastic bag with water, then add a few pennies inside. Attach a string to the bag and tie it to a nearby sun-kissed tree, porch railing or other sturdy yard item.
Light reflecting off the pennies confuses flies, so the pests will fly elsewhere and leave you in peace.
5. Put an end to pup’s barking.
Sparky gets so excited when guests arrive that he barks nonstop. To nix the habit: Add a handful of pennies to an empty soda can, then seal with duct tape.
When he barks, shake the can. The noise will startle him so he stops making a racket, then praise him, and he’ll learn the clanking is a signal to stop.
6. Extend the life of fresh flowers.
The secret to helping a bouquet of your garden blooms thrive: Drop a penny stamped with a date prior to 1982 into the vase.
The copper (which is found in older coins) is known to banish wilt-causing bacteria, helping your flowers stay healthy.
7. Soothe bumps and bruises.
Ouch! You banged your arm against the counter and you can’t track down your cold pack. To the rescue: pennies!
We bet you never thought of this an one of the best uses for pennies. Pour as many coins as you can into a sock, tie it closed and pop the whole thing into the freezer until it feels cold to the touch. The bunch of pennies will easily mold around an arm or leg, while the metal will stay cold for a long time so you can get some relief.
8. Clean a coffeepot sans scrubbing.
When your coffeepot accumulates a lot of hard-to-clean residue, skip the scrubbing to get it clean. Instead, reach for a few pennies. Simply drop a handful of the coins and 2 Tbs. of vinegar in the pot. Let sit for a few minutes, then swirl the pot around a few times before dumping out the pennies and vinegar. Then rinse the pot with boiling water.
Acetic acid in the vinegar dissolves residue while the edges of the pennies will quickly scrape it away.
9. Ensure drapes hang straight.
Argh! Your new curtains are a bit crooked and you don’t want to get store-bought drapery weights. The affordable solution: Tuck a few pennies inside the bottom hem.
The pennies will fit perfectly inside the fold of most hems, and the weight will pull on the bottoms of the fabric enough for your drapes to hang straight.
10. Open a tight jar without struggle.
To pry open the lid on a jar of jam or pickles that just won’t budge, enlist the help of a penny. To do: Hold the coin on an angle and carefully wedge it between the lid and the top of the glass jar. Then press up and out.
This trick will allow just enough air to get into the vacuum-sealed jar, so the lid is finally a cinch to remove.
Keep these incredible uses for pennies in mind the next time you’re dealing with any of these pesky problems!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.