Surprising Uses for that Extra Potato

Unless you buy potatoes individually, one or two surplus potatoes are often left from that 5 or 10 pound bag you picked up at the market. Here are some surprising things you can do with those stragglers that have nothing to do with cooking them!

Give these ideas a try…

  • Get rid of rust. The acid in potatoes can loosen and lift rust from all kinds of surfaces without a whole lot of scrubbing. Cut a potato in half and rub the inside area on rusted baking pans, cast iron cookware, gardening tools, or anything else that has a buildup of rust. The rust will be gone a lot sooner than you might imagine!

  • Remove a broken light bulb. It can be nearly impossible to extract a light bulb that has broken off in a socket. A potato can get the job done easily and fast. But first, always TURN OFF ALL POWER to the light fixture. Absolutely no electric current should be flowing to or from the light. Simply press a potato into the broken bulb until it is firmly in place. Then turn the potato and you will be unscrewing the light bulb at the same time.

  • Clean berry-stained hands. If you have ever cut up fresh strawberries, you know how red your fingers can become… and how difficult it can be to return them to their natural color. Just rub the inside of a potato over your fingers for a bit and watch the color disappear.

  • Clean silverware. The juices of a potato can remove tarnish from silverware without much of a hassle. Just dip a cut potato in a little baking soda and gently rub it on tarnished silverware. Leftover water from boiled potatoes also works. Soak tarnished silverware in potato water for about one hour and then wash the utensils as usual.

  • Make a cold or hot compress. Potatoes can retain heat or cold for longer than you might expect. The next time you are trying to ease your achy muscles, grab a potato. If you want a hot compress, microwave or boil the potato and wrap it in a cloth. If you want a cold compress, pop the potato in the refrigerator or freezer until it is cold. Use the cool or warm potato as you would any cold or hot compress.

  • Sooth itching and minor burns. The inside of a raw potato has soothing properties that can offer some quick relief from bothersome insect bites or minor burns. Slice a raw potato and place the slices on your insect bite or minor burn. It should help banish the itchiness and pain at least temporarily. NEVER use potato on serious burns. ALWAYS seek medical attention for insect bites or burns that cause any sign of a medical issue, such as an allergic reaction, infection, fever, etc.

  • Get creative with potato stamps. It’s easy to make beautiful patterns for handmade cards, wrapping paper, artwork, etc. Just cut a potato in half and carve the inside portion of the potato. The pattern you want for your project should be raised above the rest of the potato. Dip the carved area in a little paint and use it to produce your artistic creation. It’s possible to make some quite elaborate designs with potato stamps.

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