Potatoes are delicious in every form; fried, baked, mashed, you name it. They are also nutrient-filled: Spuds are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant, plus they have potassium, an electrolyte which helps in the workings of your heart, muscles, and nervous system. Tasty and healthy… can it get any better? Turns out, it can. Potatoes aren’t just good for your body — they are also good for home improvements. Keep reading to discover 10 unique ways to use potatoes in your house.
Easily remove a broken lightbulb.
The bulb in your side-table lamp broke as you were trying to change it, and it’s still screwed in. A safe way to extract it: After you’ve unplugged the light and discarded the broken glass, cut a raw potato in half and press the fleshy side into the metal stem. Then twist it as you would the bulb. The stem’s jagged glass will sink into the potato for quick, easy removal.
Lift food stains from skin.
The cranberry tart you make is always a hit with guests — if only handling the fruit didn’t leave your hands stained red! To remove the discoloration, rub the flesh of a raw potato onto your skin. The spud contains catecholase, a lightening enzyme that gently breaks down the dyes in berries. After you rinse with cool water, you’ll have stain-free hands once again.
Want to skip pricey, chemical-based treatments to nix an unsightly pimple? Try cutting a raw potato in half and gently rubbing it over the blemish. Acne is caused by skin inflammation, and one 2013 study on mice found that there’s possible anti-inflammatory effects of potato skin extracts (note: this has not been tested on humans). Anecdotal claims also suggest that potato face masks may reduce signs of aging, increase glow, and decrease the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Treat a dog’s upset stomach.
During all of the holiday hullaballoo in your house, Buster snuck into the trash and now has diarrhea. Potatoes to the rescue! The spuds’ starches calm stomach woes. According to Chewy, starchy vegetables like potatoes are bland and easily digestible, making them a good choice to feed your dog with diarrhea. The vet recommended dose (but check with yours first): one boiled potato (peeled, sliced and lightly cooled) three to four times a day for large dogs and twice daily for breeds under 25 pounds.
Guarantee a stunning bouquet.
The blooms you placed in your holiday centerpiece look great, but they keep falling over! Try this: Cut a raw potato in half; set one half, flat side down, in the bottom of the vase. Poke holes in the spud with a skewer, then place flower stems in the holes. The potato’s flesh will hold them in place.
Dress up a plain tablecloth.
An easy way to add pizzazz to a paper tablecloth? Potato stamps! First, slice a raw potato in half and press a cookie cutter into the spud as far as it can go. Carefully cut around the edge, leaving a portion of potato sticking out where the cookie cutter was. Dip the “stamp” into paint and stamp on paper. Voilà!
Give houseplants new life.
No need to buy special plant food to keep your greenery thriving. Next time you boil potatoes, strain the water into a pot. Then, after it cools, use the liquid to water your plants. This works because starchy water spurs the release of nutrients in the soil — so, potato-infused water should make your plants lush again.
Restore tarnished silverware.
Your go-to holiday cutlery set has lost its luster, but you’re all out of silver polish. The all-natural solution: Peel a potato, then cut it into a few large pieces and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and carefully remove the potato pieces. After the water has cooled, set the silverware inside the pot and soak for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water. The potato releases natural acids into the boiling water that may weirdly help dissolve tarnish once it makes contact with the silverware.
De-puff tired eyes fast.
If a late night has left you with puffy circles around your eyes, enlist the help of a potato. To do: Cut two slices of a raw potato and let sit on top of closed eyes for 10 minutes. The vegetable’s enzymes and astringent properties reduce inflammation while its vitamin C will neutralize redness and brighten skin.
Soothe sore, tired muscles.
After a busy day of shopping, your body could use a little TLC before you start wrapping presents. For relief, pierce a raw potato several times with a fork and microwave for three minutes or until hot. Next, wrap the potato in a dish towel, then apply onto achy spots. Starchy compounds in the potato allow the spud to retain pain-soothing heat. Plus, rolling the spud gently onto tight muscles can help loosen them up. Ahh… that’s better.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.