5 Household Uses for Potatoes (Besides Eating)

I love potatoes. Aside from a brief hiatus in the 90's due to some lingering guilt from my Mr. Potato Head toy (that was a confusing time), they've been a staple in my diet for years. Not only are they one of the most versatile vegetables to eat, it turns out potatoes are also pretty handy. You might even say they're real "spuds" around the house (Ugh, I had to). Besides the ubiquitous broken light bulb removal tip, here are five other ways to use a potato.

Flower arrangements--Want your flowers to stay upright without flower foam? Cut a large potato in half and place the flat side on the bottom of the vase. Use a skewer or ice pick to poke some holes for the stems and arrange away!

Stamp--My favorite elementary school activity was recently revived when I needed to make some quick wrapping paper over the holidays. I cut a potato in half, scraped out a quick pattern and dipped it in paint to turn plain brown paper into artistic (albeit rustic) wrapping.

Remove rust--A cut potato is the perfect texture for scrubbing rust off cast iron, baking pans or gardening tools. Acid in the potato dissolves the rust, and adding soap or salt increases the cleaning power. This is especially great for kitchen jobs where using toxic rust removers are a definite no no. Check out this post for more details.

Hot/cold compress--I remember reading how olden-day ladies would slip hot baked potatoes into their cloak pockets to keep their hands warm on long winter carriage rides. Turns out, potatoes hold their temperature (hot or cold) for a really long time so, in a pinch, a frozen potato can be a great icepack alternative.

Remove tarnish--Potato water contains a residue that can get rid of tarnish. After boiling your dinner, try soaking tarnished silverware in the water for an hour, and then simply wash as usual to make it good as new.

(Image: Shutterstock)