19 Surprising Uses for Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil isn't just for wrapping up leftovers and lining baking trays. We found genius uses for aluminum foil around the house and yard!

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celery wrapped in aluminum foil
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Keep your celery fresh longer

Remove the plastic wrap when you get your celery home, and wrap it tightly with a large piece of aluminum foil. It will last two to three times longer than in the plastic bag. Here are some tips for keeping your lettuce fresh, too.

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cleaning tarnished silverware with aluminum foil and salt
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Polish your silverware

Line a pan with foil, fill it with cold water and mix in 2 teaspoons of salt. Soak your silverware in this solution for five minutes, then remove, rinse and wipe with a soft cloth or paper towel. Get our step-by-step guide here.

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a clump of hard brown sugar on a piece of aluminum foil
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Soften brown sugar

A baker’s worst nightmare: You go to measure brown sugar for your favorite chocolate chip cookie only to find the sugar is hard as a rock. To restore your sugar, break off a chunk and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Pop in the oven at 300ºF for five minutes and you’ll have soft sugar again.

(Learn more tricks for how to soften brown sugar!)

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hand holding a ball of aluminum foil cleaning a grill
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Ditch that metal grill brush

Got a dingy grill brush hanging in the garage? Besides being grimy, these brushes can also be dangerous—bristles can come loose, stick to the grate and find their way into your food. Forget the brush and crumple up a wad of foil instead. Take this ball and scrub both sides of your grate for a squeaky clean grill.

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grill with tin foil
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Make a disposable grill pan

Speaking of grills, for stick-free fish and chicken (like these tasty recipes), spray a piece of foil with vegetable or olive oil spray. Poke a few holes in it, lay it across the grill, then add your food. When dinner is over, you can crumple and toss!

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sharpening scissors with strips of foil
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Sharpen your scissors

Dull scissors got you down? Sharpen them easily by folding a sheet of foil in half a few times. Cut this into ribbons with your scissors to sharpen them.

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cleaning steel wool with foil
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Preserve your steel wool

Steel wool, while handy, can be frustrating. More often than not you find that your pad has turned into a rusty mess before you get your use out of it. Next time, wrap the pad in foil and toss in the freezer. This will keep the pad rust-free until you need it next.

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close up of the base of a plant with tin foil around it
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Keep garden pests at bay

Have you ever had problems with cutworms, slugs or other garden varmints destroying your plants? Lay circles of aluminum foil underneath and gently snug up to the plants’ stems. A spring bonus: The reflected sunlight will warm your plants after cool nights.

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flashlight with foil on the battery
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Flashlight quick fix

Is your flashlight or other battery-operated device working sporadically? It might be that the battery compartment spring has, like many of us, lost its springiness. Fold up a small bit of foil and place between the battery and the spring to tighten the connection.

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cleaning a pot with foil and baking soda
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Keep Your Pots Shiny

You don’t have to let that extra-crusty pot soak overnight. Instead, sprinkle salt or baking soda on a wet, dirty pan, ball up some aluminum foil and start cleaning. You can toss some aluminum foil in the dishwasher, too.

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cleaning jewelry with foil
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Clean Jewelry

Your jewelry deserves to look brand-new again. Line a bowl with aluminum foil, then add hot water and 1 tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent. Let your jewelry soak in the solution for 60 seconds, then rinse and let air dry.

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moving heavy furniture by putting foil on the legs
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Move Heavy Furniture

Don’t worry about stocking up on furniture sliders. Just pop some aluminum foil under heavy furniture—put the dull side down, since it’s more slippery—to help move things more easily across carpet.

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Pie wrapped in foil
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Protect Pie Crust

You can transform aluminum foil into a pie crust shield. Place aluminum foil around the crust, and crimp it around the pan so it stays in place. You can either put the pie shield over the uncooked crust and remove it about 20 minutes into your baking time, or place it over the crust when it’s nearly golden.

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frosting cupcakes with a piping bag made of foil
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Create a Makeshift Piping Bag

Add some extra magic to your baked goods! Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil and form it into a cone shape (we recommend putting two pieces on top of one another for extra strength). Then test the foil piping bag with one of our recipes for cute cupcakes.

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funnel made from foil
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Create a Funnel

Like making a piping bag, aluminum foil can be formed into a funnel to measure out liquids. Since foil is easy to shape, it can be customized depending on your needs and will reduce mess while pouring.

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tray lined with foil for growing seeds
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Help Seedlings Grow

Put seedlings in a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil. The foil will reflect light and heat to all parts of the seedlings, encouraging growth. You can even use this trick when you grow seedlings in an egg carton.

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painting the door and protecting handle with foil
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Protect Door Handles During Painting

When you’re doing home renovation, wrap aluminum foil around your door handles to keep them paint-free. The foil is easy to shape around any doorknob and can be tossed when it gets dirty. This is only one of our TikTok painting hacks!

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heart shape cake pan made with foil
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DIY Cake Pans

You can fashion aluminum foil into any shape, whether for a holiday, a superhero fan’s birthday or just because. Form two pieces of foil into your preferred shape inside of a larger cake pan. We recommend trying this trick with one of our five-star cake recipes.

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using foil balls in laundry to prevent static
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Keep Your Laundry Static-Free

Swap out your dryer sheets with foil! Ball up a few pieces—each ball should be about 2 to 3 inches in diameter—and toss them into your dryer to reduce static.

Kim Bussing
Kim is a writer and creative consultant with more than a decade of experience publishing content about food and drink. She has told food and wine stories for top brands with household names, including Hilton and Marriott. Kim also writes about health and wellness topics, home decor and baking. For Taste of Home, she’s tackled stories about canned wines, cocktail kits, wine Advent calendars and much more. Kim’s passion is bringing together nutrition and joy in every meal and she’s always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.