Love Kool-Aid? This sugary drink is totally nostalgic for me: a hot summer afternoon in a glass. (These classic summer movies also take me back.) Did you know that the drink powder is good for more than quenching thirst? From cleaning hacks to fun projects (great for kids!), the packet has a surprising range of uses. Check out some of our favorites:
1. Make a Lip Gloss
Why pay good money for a store-bought gloss when you can customize your own at home? Grab a packet of your desired color (or mix more than one) and swirl it with some non-petroleum jelly. You can make the hue as light or dark as you want by adding more or less Kool-Aid.
2. Repair Chlorine-damaged Hair
The summertime can mean you’re spending a lot of time in the pool. For many people, that means a brassy or greenish hue to your locks. Reverse the effects by mixing a lemon packet of Kool-Aid with your shampoo and lathering up. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing for the best results.
No swimming pool but want to spend time outside with your kids? Try backyard camping.
3. Dye Your Hair a Fun Color
Maybe you want to try a fun color out for a few days, or perhaps your kids are itching to have cool highlights for a party? Kool-Aid can do it! Mix one or two packets of your desired color with a teaspoon of cornstarch and dash of water; put the paste on your hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse out and go. The best part? The color only lasts a few shampoos, so you don’t have to worry about anything permanent. (Love DIY? Here are some ideas for your Halloween party.)
4. Color Unfinished Wood and Yarn
For a more permanent look, you can color unfinished wood for craft projects. Dissolve a few packets in some water and put your pieces in the mixture. Let it all sit overnight for the best results.
Maybe you want red yarn but only have white – no worries. Just dissolve a packet in some water, put the yarn in, and put it on the stove. Bring it to a boil, turn it off, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Rinse the strands in warm water and let them dry before you use them.
5. Turn Glue into a Colorful Crafting Tool
Glue doesn’t have to be something you cover up-when it’s colorful! Pour a Kool-Aid packet into a bottle of liquid glue and shake it until the powder is dissolved and evenly mixed. You can then use it to make window clings and other fun crafts.
6. Clean Your Washing Machine
First things first: Do not dump a load of white clothes in with the fruit punch mix! But you can definitely use Kool-Aid powder to clean an empty washer. The citric acid crystals in the drink packets actually scrub away rust and gunk buildup. Toss a quarter cup of orange or lemonade powder in and run a regular cycle to clean things up.
Want to brighten things up? Try these 50 cleaning tricks with baking soda.
7. Scour the Dishwasher
The same theory can be applied to the rust stains and lime deposits in your dishwasher. Run a regular cycle with the unsweetened lemonade flavor in your dishwasher’s detergent area. When it’s finished, if the stains aren’t entirely gone, you’ll be able to wipe them away with just a sponge. (Again, don’t do this with dishes in it.) Want to learn how to deep clean your dishwasher? Here’s how.
8. Clean the Toilet
Yes, the lemonade packets can do it all! Sprinkle one in your toilet bowl and either scrub right away or let it sit for a few minutes if you have particularly tough stains. Flush to rinse the Kool-Aid away and leave your toilet with a fresh lemon scent. (We especially this idea if we’re traveling and that rental cabin toilet needs a once-over.)
9. Shine Up Tarnished Silverware
Who knows what’s in that chemical-filled silver cleaner you typically use? Toss that to the side and use a packet of lemon Kool-Aid instead. Soak your grimy flatware in 1 cup of sugar, 2 quarts of water, and 1 packet of the drink mix for 10 minutes. Simply wipe the stains away with a cloth when you’re done. Plain lemons also do wonders for cleaning.
10. Make Your Own Kool-Aid Pickles
Yes, this sounds weird. But have you had sweet-and-sour pickles? You can make them cheaply at home. (Find more smart phone-free kids activities over here.) Get a jar of whole dill pickles, drain them (keeping the brine), and slice them up. With the juice, mix 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 packet of the unsweetened Kool-Aid flavor of your choice. Pour the juice over the pickles and store for at least a week before serving. Here’s our full recipe.
Bet that packet of lemon Kool-Aid is more versatile than you thought. Want more surprising cleaning tips? Check out 20 ways to clean with salt.