We love life hacks, especially when they involve using something that you already have in your pantry and can buy in bulk without breaking the bank. Enter oatmeal.
We already know that adding oatmeal to your diet is proven to help you lose weight, aid in digestion, and boost your immunity. But it can do so much more! These clever uses will change the way you think of your favorite breakfast food.
Banish Buster’s dandruff flakes.
Lately, your dog’s dandruff has caused him to scratch like crazy. The home remedy: Cut one leg off an old pair of pantyhose and fill with 1⁄4 cup of oatmeal, then tie it around the spout of your tub. Let warm water from the faucet run through the oatmeal sachet, then bathe Buster in the tub. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oatmeal will banish pesky flakes fast.
Block out those annoying drafts.
Even with the heat turned on in your home, certain areas can feel a bit drafty. To stay warm while keeping heating costs down, create a quick DIY draft-stopper. To do: Fill a long, clean tube sock with oatmeal and tie at the ankle. Then place it in front of chilly windows or doors. The thick oats will block cold air from seeping in, so you can stay comfy all season long.
Quickly relieve a minor burn.
Ouch! You scorched your wrist on the oven rack. To get relief, mix 1⁄2 cup of oatmeal and 1⁄2 cup of water in a bowl. Let the mixture stand for one minute while you run cold water over the area. Then apply the paste to the burn and leave it on for five minutes. Oatmeal will reduce inflammation (and pain) fast.
Neutralize fridge odors.
With the fridge packed with fresh produce, fragrant cheeses, holiday meats and hearty casseroles, it can be hard to keep everything smelling fresh. To eliminate unwanted odors, simply fill a small cup with oatmeal and place it on one of the shelves. The absorbent oats will remove stubborn smells overnight and then can be repurposed for cleaning pots and pans.
Keep little ones entertained inside.
On cooler, rainy days, the cutie in your life can get a bit restless. Keep her happily busy indoors with a DIY modeling clay. To make: Mix one cup of dry oatmeal, 2⁄3 cup of flour and 1⁄2 cup of water. The clay-like material will stay moist so your little crafter can keep building all day long.
Clean cast-iron pots with ease.
If your trusty cast-iron cookware is looking a bit shabby, try this: Toss in two tablespoons of oatmeal and rub it with a dishrag. The gentle abrasive will absorb grease and scrub away small food particles without ruining the cookware’s seasoning.
Instantly soothe aches and pains.
The next time a day of yard work leaves your back or neck aching, get relief fast with an oatmeal heat pack. To do: Fill a tube sock with one cup of oatmeal, tie closed and heat in the microwave for one to two minutes. Then place on sore areas as needed. The pack will offer pain-easing warmth, plus it will be easy to mold to fit your body. (Microwave in 30-second intervals so the sock doesn’t overheat.)
Perk up fading houseplants.
Your potted plants are looking a bit lackluster lately, but you don’t want to shell out for plant food to spruce them up. The save: Mix two tablespoons of dry oatmeal into the soil in each pot. The grains contain minerals like iron and phosphorous that will help nourish the plants, ensuring they flourish in no time. (Continue to add two tablespoons to soil monthly for the best results.)
Rejuvenate skin for pennies.
To naturally brighten your complexion, try this spa-inspired mask: Grind one tablespoon of oatmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder and mix with two teaspoons of honey and 3⁄4 teaspoons of water. Apply to your face, then relax for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. The gently abrasive oatmeal grains will help exfoliate and absorb oil, while the honey will moisturize.
Mop up oil spills easily.
Oops! While whipping up your favorite vinaigrette dressing, you accidentally knocked over an open bottle of olive oil. To make cleanup a breeze, cover the spill with oatmeal. The grains will soak up the oil, so you can just wipe away the mess after five minutes.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.