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15 Brilliant Uses for Banana Peels — From Whitening Teeth to Warding Off Pests

Don't toss those peels in the trash; they can save you time and money!

Bananas are a delicious addition to so many recipes (Who can resist a fresh-baked slice of banana bread?) not to mention they make a great on-the-go snack. Most of us simply toss the peels in the trash, but it turns out banana peels come in handy for a host of everyday problems like tarnished silver, minor burns and so much more! Keep reading for 16 uses for banana peels that prove just how versatile the food scrap can be.

1. Banana peels ease the pain of a minor burn

You brushed your arm against a pot on the stove and you don’t have any first-aid cream on hand to soothe the pain. What can help: Hold the white side of a banana peel on the affected skin for five minutes. Banana peels are packed with antioxidants and vitamins (like vitamin B-6), that will help speed healing and ease the sting. You’ll feel better in no time! (Click through to learn how banana peels help soothe painful cracked heels, too.)

2. They help you fall asleep fast

Banana peels used for banana peel tea

Banana tea is a top sleep elixir, says Michael Breus, PhD, better known as The Sleep Doctor. “Full of magnesium and potassium, it relaxes your muscles, helping you get restorative sleep. Making a tea from the banana and peel — which contains three times more magnesium than the banana itself — is a delicious way to relax before bed,” he says. His easy to-do: “Just cut off both ends of one washed, unpeeled banana. Place it in 2 to 3 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and add honey to taste!”

3. Banana peels keep small pets entertained

If you notice your pet bird is getting a bit restless, you don’t have to shell out for treats or toys to keep them content and busy. “If you have small rodents or birds, you might consider drying out the banana peels, cutting them into smaller pieces, and adding them to their cage as a chew toy,” says former veterinarian Mollie Newton, DVM, founder of PetMeTwice. “This not only provides enrichment for your pets but also helps in keeping their teeth in good condition.”

Cute little guinea pig waiting to nibble on dried banana peel, which a good use of it

4. Banana peels soothe tired, puffy eyes

To look bright-eyed after a late night with friends, simply rub the white side of a banana peel on the skin under your eyes and over your closed eyelids. Let sit for 10 minutes, then wash any residue off. The peel’s potassium will draw out fluids and ease swelling, so you’ll look refreshed in a blink.

5. They lift ink stains from skin

Eek! While writing your to-do list, your pen exploded all over your hands, and soap and water aren’t doing the trick. The save: Rub the inside of a banana peel on the areas covered in ink until the stains disappear. The peel’s natural oils weaken the ink’s bond with the skin, allowing you to rinse off any marks that remain

6. Banana peels ensure juicy grilled chicken

Grilled chicken breasts are one of your go-to dinners, but the meat often ends up dry. To prevent this, simply place a banana peel white side down on top of the chicken while it cooks. The peel will act like a skin and lock in the meat’s juices without affecting the flavor. Yum! (Click through for a “broasted” chicken recipe that makes your dish extra moist!)

7. They whiten teeth for pennies

No need to shell out for tooth-whitening strips to get a picture-perfect smile — let a banana peel do the job! To do: Rub the white side of the peel on teeth for 2 minutes daily. Banana peels contain minerals like magnesium, potassium and manganese that minimize stains on the teeth without damaging the enamel. The happy result: pearly whites in a week!  Check out the video below to see “Motivational Doc” Dr. Mandell put this trick to the test!

8. Banana peels keep pesky aphids at bay

Argh! While tending to your garden, you notice insect damage on your roses’ leaves. To get rid of the pests, cut up two or three banana peels, then dig a 1″-deep hole in the ground at the base of your plants and place the peels inside. Peels contain a chemical that aphids detect as a warning sign of danger, so they’ll stay away!

9. They make plantar warts disappear

If you notice an unsightly plantar wart, no need to buy pricey treatments for it: A study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that banana peels shrunk a wart in two weeks, and the wart had vanished entirely after six weeks. To do: Cut a small piece of banana peel and secure it over the plantar wart (pulp side down) with medical tape or a bandage. Use this remedy overnight for two weeks to reveal a softened wart that is ready for removal. To remove it, move a foot file, pumice stone or emery board back and forth over the wart. Why it works: Potassium in banana peels helps break down the wart so it’s easier to slough off.  (Click through for more at-home treatments for plantar warts.)

10. They soothe itchy bug bites

You forgot to apply bug spray before your walk and ended up with a few itchy mosquito bites. For fast relief, rub the inside of a banana peel against the inflamed areas. The peels are full of polysaccharides, which sink into cells and soothe inflammation.

11. They add shine to houseplants

Polishing plant leaves is one of many uses for banana peels

If your potted plants look like they could use a little pick-me-up, enlist the help of a banana peel. Simply wipe the leaves of the plants with the white side of the peel. Its slightly rough texture will gently buff away dirt on the leaves, and its natural oils will leave behind a glossy shine.

12. Banana peels ripen an avocado in no time

You want to whip up your homemade guacamole for tomorrow’s taco night, but the avocado in your kitchen is far from ripe. To speed up the process, simply place the avocado in an air- tight container or paper bag with a banana peel for 12 to 24 hours. The peel will releases ethylene, the gas that triggers ripening in fruit, so your avocado will be ready to prep.

Related: Don’t Throw Away Your Avocado Peels! They Can Help Fight Inflammation and Give You More Youthful Looking Skin

13. They fade unwanted wrinkles

Rather than buying pricey creams to help reduce wrinkles, try this: Rub the inside of a banana peel into skin for 1 minute, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. Unique compounds in banana peels have been shown to increase collagen production, which can help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, the textured peel can gently slough off dead, dry skin. (Click through for the best ways to eliminate crows feet.)

14. Banana peels attract butterflies to your yard

You love seeing beautiful butterflies fluttering around your yard. The easy trick to attracting more: banana peels! Simply set a few peels on rocks or a tree stump in your yard. The peels contain sugar, which the winged creatures love, and they’ll fly in for a taste. (Click through for the best plants for a butterfly garden.)

15. They restore shine to tarnished silver

You pulled out your best silverware for a dinner party, only to find that it has lost its shine. The fast save: Remove the stringy bits from the inside of a banana peel, then rub each piece of silver with the peel before buffing with a soft cloth. The oils and wax in the peel break down the tarnish, so your silver will look like new!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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