20 Clever Uses for Bananas (Besides Eating Them)
Bananas aren't just the world's most portable snack. You can also use bananas in your beauty routine, to grow houseplants, polish silver, and more.
Make a Face Mask
Who needs Botox when you have bananas? That’s right: You can use a banana as an all-natural face mask that moisturizes your skin and leaves it looking and feeling softer. Mash up a medium-sized ripe banana into a smooth paste, then gently apply it to your face and neck. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water. Another popular mask recipe calls for ¼ cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 medium banana. Check out more ways to use bananas to improve your hair and skin.
Freeze a “Banana-sicle”
As a summer treat for friends and family, peel and cut four ripe bananas in half (across the middle). Stick a wooden ice-cream stick into the flat end of each piece. Place them all on a piece of wax paper, and then put it in the freezer. A few hours later, serve them up as simply yummy frozen banana-sicles. If you want to go all-out, quickly dip your frozen bananas in 6 ounces melted butterscotch or chocolate morsels (chopped nuts or shredded coconut are optional), then refreeze.
Polish Silverware and Leather Shoes
It may sound a bit like a lark, but using a banana peel is actually a great way to put the shine back into your silverware and leather shoes. First, remove any of the leftover stringy material from the inside of the peel, then just start rubbing the inside of the peel on your shoes or silver. When you’re done, buff up the object with a soft cloth. You might even want to use this technique to restore your leather furniture. Test it on a small section first before you take on the whole chair. Here are more surprising ways to polish silver.
Tenderize a Roast
Banana leaves are commonly used in many Asian countries to wrap meat as it’s cooking to make it more tender. Some say the banana itself also has this ability. So the next time you fear the roast you’re cooking will turn tough on you, try softening it up by adding a ripe, peeled banana to the pan.
Brighten Up Houseplants
Are the leaves on your houseplants looking dingy or dusty? Don’t bother misting them with water; that just spreads the dirt around. Rather, wipe down each leaf with the inside of a banana peel. It’ll remove all the gunk on the surface and replace it with a lustrous shine. Check out more kitchen ingredients that can help your garden grow.
Are aphids attacking your roses or other plants? Bury dried or cut-up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the aphid-prone plants, and soon the little suckers will pack up and leave. Don’t use whole peels or the bananas themselves, though; raccoons, squirrels, gophers, rabbits and other animals will just dig them up. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen bug-free.
Use as Fertilizer or Mulch
Banana peels, like the fruit itself, are rich in potassium, an important nutrient for both you and your garden. Dry out banana peels on screens during the winter months. In early spring, grind them up in a food processor or blender and use them as a mulch to give new plants and seedlings a healthy start. Many cultivars of roses and other plants, like staghorn ferns, also benefit from the nutrients found in banana peels; simply cut up some peels and use them as fertilizer around your established plants. Here are more inedible food scraps that are surprisingly useful.
Warts are stubborn and gross, so needless to say nobody wants one. A natural way to remove one is by using a banana peel. Cut a piece of ripe banana peel to cover the affected area, using the inside, and keep it there overnight by using some medical tape. In the morning you should notice some improvement. You can repeat the process nightly until the wart is gone!
Attract Butterflies and Birds
Bring more butterflies and birds to your backyard by putting out overripe bananas (as well as other fruits such as mangos, oranges, and papayas) on a raised platform. Punch a few holes in the bananas to make the fruit more accessible to the butterflies. The fruit is also likely to attract more bees and wasps as well, so make sure that the platform is well above head level and not centrally located on your patio. Moreover, you’ll probably want to clear it off before sunset, to discourage visits from raccoons and other nocturnal creatures. These are the best foods in your kitchen to attract backyard birds.
Assist with First Aid
Banana peels have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they are great when it comes to bug bites, minor scrapes, poison ivy, and sunburn. All you have to do is put the banana peel on the affected area and press it like you would a cool compress. You can repeat this process until you feel some relief.
Ripen an Avocado
Are you an avocado enthusiast? Though you could eat all the avocado toast and guacamole in the world, sometimes avocados just don’t ripen fast enough. In order to satisfy your avocado craving, use a banana to help speed up the ripening process. Bananas release ethylene, which triggers ripening in avocados. Simply place a banana in a brown paper bag and roll it up with an avocado. Check daily until it is ripe enough. Don’t have a banana peel around? Try these tricks to ripen bananas fast.
Slough Off Dry Skin
In order to keep your skin feeling smooth and radiant, create a body scrub with a banana. There are many different variations depending on the kind of scrub you need. For a gentle scrub, you can mix a mashed banana with brown sugar. For a medium scrub try mixing in oatmeal or sea salt. If you really need a heavy-duty scrub, grind apricot pits at home and add them to your banana to dig deep into your pores.
Add to the Compost Pile
With their high content of potassium and phosphorus, whole bananas and peels are welcome additions to any compost pile, particularly in so-called compost tea recipes. The fruit breaks down especially fast in hot temperatures. But don’t forget to remove any glued-on tags from the peels, and be sure to bury bananas deep within your pile (otherwise they may simply turn out to be a meal for a four-legged visitor). Try these simple steps to get started with composting.
Whiten Teeth on the Cheap
Everyone wants pearly whites, but do you really want to spend all that money on whitening treatments? Banana peels contain citric acid, which will help lighten surface stains on your teeth. For natural teeth whitening at home, after giving your teeth a good brush, simply rub the banana peel on the surface for about two minutes every day. Your smile will not only be whiter, but brighter!
Get Rid of Splinters
Splinters can be a real pain, literally and figuratively. The natural enzymes in banana peels can help loosen splinters that just don’t want to seem to get out of your skin. Press the inside of the peel on your skin for up to 30 minutes and it will help move the splinter to the surface for an easy plucking. Eating bananas for the health benefits? Try kicking it up a notch with one of the foods even higher in potassium than bananas.
Make Banana “Ice Cream”
If you don’t have the time or calories to spare, try making “ice cream” out of bananas. All you have to do is freeze your peeled bananas and blend it in a food processor or blender. The result is an ice cream-like consistency and a satisfied craving. Try adding some peanut butter or shredded coconut as toppings. Here are more delicious dairy-free frozen desserts.
Create a Dog Treat
Dogs love human food, but most of the time our cherished pooches cannot digest what we eat. Bananas, however, are foods that our pets can enjoy. They are high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Mash up a banana and add it to your dog’s favorite food so they can chow down. Always avoid these toxic foods for dogs.
Restore Dry Hair
Bananas are great ways to combat that stringy and brittle hair texture. To make a banana hair mask, puree one to three really ripe bananas (depending on your hair length) and then massage it throughout your scalp to your ends. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it off in the shower and shampoo as usual. Try these other homemade beauty recipes.
5 second Studio/Shutterstock
Bananas are an alkaline fruit, which means they may help neutralize acid in the stomach. You can eat bananas regularly as a home remedy for heartburn and GERD. Add a banana to your breakfast to help coat the stomach for the rest of the day.
Fix a Scratched CD
Is your favorite DVD or CD playlist for the car scratched? Gently rub the scratched part of the disc with the inside of the peel in a circular motion. Wipe off any residue with a soft cloth and then shine it with some glass cleaner. The wax in the banana peel may help fill in the scratches so you can enjoy your treasured disc once more. Be sure you eat at least some of the bananas you’re buying. If you don’t eat a banana every day, this will convince you to start.