We’ve all got spare pennies lying around — and while it’s always nice to save them up for a rainy day, it turns out these coins can be extremely useful, making around-the-house tasks easier. From gardening to decorating, cooking, baking and more, we’ve rounded up 14 creative uses for pennies. Break open your piggy bank and try them today!
1. Pennies make it easy to open a stubborn pill bottle
The struggle-free trick to removing the top of a won’t-budge prescription bottle: Wedge a penny as far underneath the plastic cap as you can, then push it up with your hand. The coin will give you more leverage so you can easily pop open the container and get to your medication. This tip also works to open glass jars, say, of salsa, pickles or ketchup. Inserting the penny between the glass and the vacuum-sealed lid allows just enough air to get into the jar, so you can easily twist the lid off.
2. They ensure drapes hang straight
Your new drapes are looking a bit crooked. Instead of shelling out for store-bought drapery weights, tuck a few pennies inside the bottom hem. The coins fit perfectly in the fold of most hems, and the weight gently pulls on the bottom of the fabric, so your drapes stay straight and hang evenly. So easy!
3. Pennies double the life of a bouquet
The fresh-flower arrangement you made really brightens up the room. To enjoy it as long as possible, drop a penny stamped with a date prior to 1982 into the vase. Unlike newer coins, pennies made before 1982 contain more copper than pennies made more recently, and the metal kills wilt-causing bacteria so blooms stay healthy.
“Incorporating pennies into your garden routine may seem like a quirky practice, but the science behind it and the potential benefits for your flowers are worth exploring,” says Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible. “By harnessing the natural antimicrobial properties of copper, you can create a healthier environment for your plants, leading to extended flower longevity.” (When your bouquet does reach the end of its life, click through for an idea that has these women making $10,000 a year from old flowers!)
Click through to see if your pennies are worth serious cash!
4. They tighten a screw fast
Why does it always seem to happen? When you need to tighten a loose screw, your screwdriver is nowhere to be found! Next time, enlist the help of a penny. Just insert the coin into the slot on the top of the screw, then press down and twist clockwise. The small penny will fit perfectly into the slot of medium and large flathead screws so you can tighten the screw in seconds.
5. Pennies make it easy to bake up the perfect pie crust
You’re all set to bake your famous blueberry pie when you realize you don’t have any pie weights to blind bake your crust to ensure it doesn’t get soggy when you add the filling. (Click through for a step-by-step guide to blind baking a crust.) The simple save: Line the raw dough with foil or parchment paper, top with 25 to 50 pennies, making sure the pennies don’t touch the dough, and bake as usual. The weight of the pennies will prevent the dough from bubbling, while the metal in the coins conducts heat for a perfect crust, says Daniel P. Craig, a chef and baker from KitchenDeets. “Pie crusts are all about achieving that perfect balance between flakiness and tenderness,” he adds, and this simple trick is the perfect way to do so! (Click through for 11 delicious pie recipes.)
6. They protect young plants from slugs
The secret to ensuring your outdoor plants and seedlings are safe from slugs: Place a circle of pennies (dated before 1982) in the soil around the base of any young plants or those that show signs of damage. The copper in the older coins gives the critters a tiny electric shock on contact (caused by the exchange of electrons between the slimy slugs and the metal), so they’ll avoid your precious greenery moving forward.
7. Pennies soothe bumps and bruises
Rather than using ice or an ice pack (which can melt or make a mess) to soothe a bruise, create a dripless one with pennies. The easy how-to: Drop a generous amount of the coins into an old tube sock, tie it shut, and freeze. The cold coins will be just as effective without leaving behind a mess. (Click through for 10 other genius uses for orphan socks.)
8. They stop a dog from barking
If Rover has a habit of barking at everything and everyone he sees, try this: Wash out an old soda or seltzer can and drop 5 to 10 pennies inside, then seal the opening with tape. The next time he barks, shake the can several times. He’ll find the sound unsettling and stop immediately. After a few times, he’ll learn to quit entirely.
9. Pennies fix unsightly carpet dents
You were inspired to rearrange your living room furniture and love the new look! The only problem? You’re stuck with indentations in the carpet where everything used to be. To make them disappear, hold a penny on its edge and scrape it against the flattened carpet. The rapid friction will cause the fibers to stand up straight, undoing dents in seconds.
10. They get a coffee pot sparkling
If the inside of your coffeepot is covered in residue, the culprit is likely limescale, which pennies can help clean. Drop a handful of the coins and 2 Tbs. of vinegar into the pot. Let sit for a few minutes, then swirl the pot around repeatedly. Finish by dumping out the pennies and vinegar; rinse the pot with boiling water. Vinegar dissolves the residue while the pennies’ edges scrape it away. Click through for more ways to remove limescale and hard water stains from glass surfaces.
11. Pennies repair a leaky birdhouse
The roof of your backyard birdhouse is looking a bit worse for wear after a bad storm, and you worry about water getting inside. The save: Use strong glue to attach a penny (or multiple pennies if needed) on top of the hole or crack. You can even paint over it if desired to make it blend in. The waterproof coin will ensure any flying visitors stay cozy and dry.
12. Pennies fly-proof an outdoor meal
You love enjoying dinner outside in the summer, but pesky flies can make the experience less than pleasant. To keep them at bay, fill a resealable clear plastic bag with water, then add a few pennies inside. Attach a string to the bag and tie it to a nearby sun-kissed tree, porch railing or other sturdy yard item. Light reflecting off the pennies confuses flies, so the pests will fly elsewhere and leave you in peace.
13. They stabilize a wobbly chair
While relaxing on the porch one afternoon, you notice that your chair is a bit unsteady. The easy fix: Measure by placing pennies under the leg that’s not sitting flat, then remove and glue the pennies together. Once dry, use strong glue to attach the stack to the bottom of the chair leg. (Glue felt on top of that if you are worried about the coins scratching your deck.) Problem solved!
14. They make it easy to tone your arms
You’d like to start working out, but you’d rather not invest in dumbbells. To make your own hand weights, cut a small slit in two tennis balls and fill it with pennies. Voilà — easy-grip “dumbbells!”
For other life hacks, click through the links below!