Sandwich bags, tin foil, and plastic wrap are cupboard commodities, and while these things are super useful, they could save the day in more ways than one. Take, as an example, humble wax paper: You use it to prevent layers of boxed brownies from sticking together; to line your countertops while kneading bread; to wrap your sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch. But did you know that wax paper is capable of so much more? Read on to see how you can get your money’s worth by using wax paper to its fullest potential.
1. Help cheese stay fresh longer.
Whenever you buy cheese to make a charcuterie board, the leftover blocks always seem to spoil before you can enjoy them. The save: Double-wrap the block — first in wax paper, then in aluminum foil. The paper wicks away mold-causing moisture while the foil keeps the block from drying out, so fresh cheese keeps for a week and aged cheese for over a month.
2. Quiet a shower curtain rod.
Every time someone in your family moves the curtain to get in and out of the shower, you hear that ear-piercing squeak. Wax paper to the rescue! Rub the rod with a single sheet so that the waxy coating lubricates the rod and the curtain glides smoothly and quietly.
3. Lift stuck-on candle wax.
If the taper candles you displayed on your Thanksgiving table dripped on your tablecloth, try this to remove it: Place a piece of wax paper (coated side down) over the spill and rub it with a warm iron set to low. The iron’s heat binds the paper’s waxy coating to the stuck-on candle wax, causing the latter’s residue to come up with the paper.
4. Easily re-cork any bottle.
You have a half-used bottle of wine and want to save it, but can’t get the cork back in. Since wine corks expand when they’re exposed to air (which makes bottles tough to re-cork), cut out a three inch square of wax paper and place over the bottle opening, then push the cork into the bottle. The wax will lubricate the cork so it will slide back into place. Bonus: If the cork breaks apart when you go to pull it out again, the wax paper will catch any cork bits.
5. Help de-gunk a can opener.
Grime and food splatters stuck between the gears of your can opener are keeping it from working properly. What can help: Place a sheet of wax paper between the blades and run the tool as if you were opening a can. The thick paper will remove gunk, while the wax will help lubricate the wheels.
6. Banish stubborn water spots.
The trick to nix spots and fingerprints from bathroom fixtures: Rub a piece of wax paper, coated side down, over the chrome surfaces. Repeat weekly. The paper buffs away spots, while the wax acts like clear varnish to help make chrome sparkle.
7. Save a soaked coffee-table book.
Your cat knocked a glass of water onto your favorite coffee-table book. Don’t buy a new copy just yet. After blotting away excess water with a paper towel, slip sheets of wax paper between the wet pages. If possible, stand the book on end until it’s dry. The paper’s water-repellent coating will keep pages from sticking and let air circulate for faster drying.
8. Make a waxed floor sparkle.
Guests are due soon and you notice that your waxed floor is looking a bit dingy. The quick save: wax paper. After sweeping, use two rubber bands to attach a sheet of wax paper (coated side out) over the head of a sponge or Swiffer-style mop. Run the mop head back and forth over the floor a few times. The resulting friction will transfer wax to the floor for a beautiful shine.
9. Splatter-proof your mixer.
It’s such a pain to clean splattered batter off your counters and walls after whipping up your pumpkin cookie dough. To avoid the mess, tear off a sheet of wax paper so it extends a few inches over the mixing bowl. Poke the beaters through the paper and mix as normal. The paper will act as a splatter guard, keeping the batter in the bowl where it belongs.
10. Nix static from your pet’s fur.
Dry indoor air this time of year means you and your furry friend (cat or dog) get a static shock every time you pet him. To minimize these painful occurrences, enlist the help of wax paper. Just tear off a sheet of the kitchen staple and rub it all over his body. (Repeat as needed.) This will lightly coat the fur with wax, nixing the static and any resulting “shocks.” You’ll be able to cuddle with your pal worry-free.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.