Cucumbers are a staple ingredient for salads and flavored water, but they can surprisingly actually make everyday tasks around the house so much easier to do! Here are 10 brilliant uses for cucumbers.
1. Polish Stainless Steel Fixtures
You love the look of your stainless steel faucets, but they tend to get covered in fingerprints. The easy way to get and keep them clean and shiny: Just use the peel from a cucumber to rub the fixture. The peel will lift the oily fingerprints to reveal a gleaming surface. Plus, its mildly alkaline potassium will draw out tannins that tarnish steel.
2. Sidestep a Foggy Mirror
When you need to get ready in a rush, you don’t want to wait around for your bathroom mirror to defog or streak it by using a towel. To the rescue: rubbing a cucumber (flesh side down) over the mirror. The fruit’s juice will leave behind a film that repels water droplets.
3. Reduce Cellulite For Pennies
No need to shell out cash for pricey treatments to banish the appearance of cellulite. Instead, try this easy trick: Simply rub slices of cucumber directly on your bumpy areas for a few minutes. The fruit brims with phytochemicals that cause collagen in your skin to tighten, resulting in an instantly firm complexion.
4. Freshen Fido’s Funky Breath
Nothing beats kisses from your pup — if only his breath weren’t so strong! Rather than fight to brush his teeth, simply serve Fido some cucumber slices. Compounds in the fruit will kill any odor-causing bacteria lurking in his mouth, while munching on the slices will clean his teeth. This is one of the most overlooked uses for cucumbers, but super helpful!
5. Stay Hydrated All Day Long
Staying well-hydrated as the days warm up keeps you energized and sharp, but water is so boring. Try adding fresh cucumber slices to your glass. Cucumber not only makes your sip more refreshing, it has an abundance of “gel water,” which hydrates cells more efficiently than plain H2O.
6. Give Feet a Spa-aah Treatment
Refresh feet after a day of walking by pureeing one cucumber and one tablespoon of honey in a blender. Apply to clean feet in a dry basin and leave on for up to 20 minutes. The coolness of the cucumbers will soothe tired tootsies, while the honey will leave them soft.
7. Add Shine to Beach Sandals
You can’t wait to wear your favorite plastic sandals to the beach for the day, but when you pull them out of the closet, you find they’ve gotten a little lackluster. What can spiff them up again: Rub a sliced cucumber over each shoe, let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse. Compounds in cucumber bring out a good-as-new shine and leave a coating that protects shoes from grime.
8. Lift Rust From Grilling Tools
Yikes! The metal spatula and tongs you use during grilling season are starting to get covered in rust. The save: Cut off the top inch of a cucumber, dip it in salt, then use it to scrub the tools. The oxalic acid in the cucumber will bond with the oxidized iron in the rust to loosen the buildup, while the abrasive salt will scrub it away. Just rinse the tools with cool water and dry well before storing.
9. Soothe Tired, Puffy Eyes
The secret to feeling bright-eyed after a night of not-great sleep? Cucumber! Simply place half a grated cucumber on top of a paper towel and wrap it up like a burrito. Then place over eyes for five minutes. Using grated cucumber instead of slices releases anti-inflammatory enzymes in the fruit to cut down on swelling in half the time. Aah…that’s better!
10. Ant-Proof Your Patio Fast
Did you know getting rid of pests is another one of the best uses for cucumbers? If you discover an army of ants marching onto your porch, skip toxic chemical products to banish them. Instead, place cucumber peels all along the edge of the porch or other outdoor space. Ants hate the bitter veggie scent and taste of alkaloids in the peel, so they’ll look for a new place to invade. Problem solved!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.