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Life Hacks

14 Brilliant Uses for Hot Water: Refresh Cat Toys, Revive Flowers, Restore a Sweater and More

Find out how it can help with sleep, guarantee better pasta and more!

Hot water is a household must for comfortable showers, laundry, washing dishes and more. But it can come in handy for many unexpected problems too! From soothing uncomfortable insect bites to unclogging pipes, this low-cost solution can really help you out. Below, you’ll find 14 uses for hot water that will make life so much easier.

1. Uses for hot water: Refresh a catnip toy

Mittens usually goes crazy for her catnip mouse, but lately she doesn’t seem to have much interest in the toy. It may be that it no longer has much of the scent she normally can’t get enough of when she plays. What can help (without having to buy a new one): Soak the toy in hot water for a few minutes. The water allows the oils to recirculate so they’re like new.

2. Uses for hot water: Fall asleep in a blink

A hot water bottle being used to help induce sleep
john shepherd/Getty

After a busy day, you find you’re having trouble drifting off to dreamland. To induce sleep in a blink, fill a hot water bottle with hot water, then place under your back. The warmth lowers blood pressure to help bring on drowsiness in no time!

3. Uses for hot water: Clear kitchen pipes

Kitchen pipes often get clogged when liquid fats from dirty pots and pans go down the drain, then harden inside the plumbing, reveals home insurance expert Melanie Musson. To clear pipes easily, pour hot — not boiling — water down your kitchen sink. “The hot water melts the fat and grease, helping dislodge and move the gunk down the pipe before it can build up and cause plumbing headaches,” she explains. Aim to “flush” your pipes this way about once a week, and you may never have a kitchen sink backup again!

4. Uses for hot water: Easily slice an ice cream cake

Your gang can’t wait for you to serve up your homemade ice-cream cake, but you forgot to thaw it out. The save: Run your knife under hot water for 15 seconds. This will warm the blade, so it slides cleanly and evenly through the cold layers. Repeat as needed until the last piece is served. (Try our delicious Tropical Ice Cream cake recipe!)

See how well this works for clean slices in other desserts too:

@michellemorfett

Run your knife under hot water and dry it off when you cut your cakes. It looks SO much better! #bakinghack #cake #chocolatecake #hack

♬ In My Mind (feat. Crystal Waters) – Never Dull

5. Uses for hot water: Revive a droopy flower arrangement

Hot water being used to revive wilted blooms
Claudia Totir/Getty

Your beautiful birthday bouquet makes an ideal centerpiece, but after just a few days the flowers become floppy. To revive wilted blooms, try this florist tip: Submerge the stems in a vase of hot water (at least 110°F) until the blossoms perk up, then return them to a vase of fresh, cool water. Hot water is absorbed more quickly to quench the dehydrated blooms and restore the resilience of the stems. Warning: Use hot water only on flowers that have already wilted — placing new blooms in warm temperatures will have an adverse effect.

“I gave it a fresh cut and left it alone for a few hours,” shares user @flower_moxie on TikTok, as she gives the trick a test in the video below. “I did prop it up against a wall so gravity didn’t work against those already droopy stems. And within a few hours, this was the outcome. So it worked!”

@flower_moxie

While placing flowers into boiling water may seem terrifying, it works! My Hebes greenery went floppy so I tried this old florist technique to see if I would salvage it and it was just what it needed. Have you ever tried using boiling water to perk droopy blooms? . . . #flowermoxie #flowertutorial #diybride #diyweddingflowers #newflorist #floristtips

♬ original sound – Flower Moxie DIY Flowers

6. Uses for hot water: Effortlessly open a stuck jar

You whipped up some homemade jam last weekend and can’t wait to spread it on your morning toast, but the vacuum seal is so tight that you can’t open the jar. The fix: Pour hot water into a bowl, filling it about one-third of the way, and set the jar upside down in the bowl for a few minutes. Inverting the jar so the food presses against the lid reduces pressure in the jar, and the heat causes the metal lid to expand so you can easily twist it off. (Click through for other ways to open a stuck jar).

7. Uses for hot water: Stop an insect bite from itching

You thought you had taken enough steps to ward off pesky mosquitos before your hike in the woods, but a couple still managed to bite you. Now you can’t stop scratching at the welts! To stop the itch, run bites under hot (but not scalding) water for about five seconds. Hot water overloads the network of nerves in the skin that cause itching, stopping the urge to scratch for up to three hours.

8. Uses for hot water: Guarantee tastier carved meat

A woman washing a cutting board under hot water
gorodenkoff/Getty

You always make sure to let freshly cooked steak sit for 5 minutes before slicing. The only problem? Placing a hot steak on a cold cutting board can leave your dinner lukewarm. The fix: Run the board under hot water and towel-dry it before setting down the meat. You’ll get extra-juicy steak that tastes like it came straight off the grill. (Click through for chef secrets to your best grilled steak yet!)

9. Uses for hot water: Eliminate clumps in mascara

Argh! While in the middle of applying your make-up before heading to your sister’s birthday bash, you find that your mascara is a bit clumpy. To make it usable again, soak the tube in a cup of hot water for a few minutes before applying. The heat thins out the mascara so it won’t clump. (This works great for liquid eyeliner too!)

10. Uses for hot water: Extend the life of honey

Those last drops of ooey-gooey goodness stuck to the bottom and sides of the honey jar don’t have to go to waste — you can use the sweet stuff to make a simple syrup for tea or cocktails. Just add hot water (about the same amount that you have of honey) to the jar, close the lid and shake. The hot water will help dissolve the honey and thin it out so it’s still usable. Stored in the fridge, the syrup will stay fresh and blended for weeks.

11. Uses for hot water: Reveal beautiful skin for pennies

A woman dapping a washcloth with hot water on her face
Tetra Images/Getty

No need to buy pricey products to reveal a gorgeous complexion. Simply soak a washcloth in hot water, wring it out and drape it over your face for 30 seconds. Remove, then cleanse your skin as usual and rinse with cool water. The steam helps cleanser dissolve the deepest clogs by opening pores, then the cool water seals them again, leaving you with a clear complexion that will wow.

12. Uses for hot water: Save a dry pen

Eek! While working up your to-do list, your pen suddenly stops working. The quick save: Dip the tip of the dead pen in a mug of boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds. The hot water will melt away any clogged-up ink on the pen’s ball so it can flow freely again and you can finish writing your list.

@stationerypal

How to revive a “dry” pen? 🖊️🖊️🖊️ #capcut #stationerypal #stationery #fyp #gelpen #tips #brushes #fineliners #markers

♬ original sound – Macka Music

13. Uses for hot water: Avoid mushy noodles

Pasta being rinsed with hot water to prevent mushiness
FluxFactory/Getty

Your baked ziti is always a hit, but the noodles often come out gummy. To dodge mushy results, try covering dry pasta with hot water, then let it soak for 30 minutes while you prepare the sauce. Drain well and assemble the casserole as your recipe directs. Unlike parboiling, which can overcook noodles, this method hydrates the starches just enough to soften to a perfectly chewy texture in the oven.

14. Uses for hot water: Restore a sweater

If you notice the sleeve openings of your favorite sweater are starting to stretch out, try this: Spritz the cuffs with a spray bottle filled with hot water, then blow-dry them on the hot setting. The hot water and hot air cause the fabric to shrink back to normal so the garment fits good as new.


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