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13 Clever Uses for Paper Towels

Paper towels to the rescue! These home tips will have you reaching for the roll every time you're in a fix.

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Paper Towel Pyramideyebex/Getty Images

Paper towels to the rescue!

You might only be using paper towels to clean up spills and wet messes around your house, but there are a few other clever ways you can use them. Try out these extraordinary uses for paper towels that will help make your life a little easier.

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SweetcornBRETT STEVENS/Getty Images

Clean silk from fresh corn

If you hate picking the silk off freshly husked ears of corn, then you’ll love this paper towel trick. Dampen one and run it across the ear. The towel picks up the silk, and the corn is ready for the boiling pot or the grill.

Try this genius way to use paper towels in your fridge.

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Clear broth or stock without meat in cooking pot , close upVICUSCHKA/Getty Images

Strain grease from broth

Use a paper towel to absorb the fat that surfaces on the top of broths and soups. Here’s how: Place another pot in the sink. Put a colander (or a sieve) in the new pot and put a paper towel in the colander. Now pour the broth through the towel into the waiting pot. You’ll find that the fat stays in the towel, while the cleaner broth streams through.

Here are the 12 things you shouldn’t be cleaning with paper towels.

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Brown sugar in a glass jarKarl Tapales/Getty Images

Soften brown sugar

If your brown sugar resembles a brick, you can reconstitute it by placing it in a bowl covered with a damp paper towel. Place the bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds, and the moisture will soften the sugar again.

Here are 40 facts that will make you use less paper.

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Keep produce fresh longer

Don’t you hate it when you open the vegetable bin in the refrigerator and find last week’s moldy carrots mixed with the now-yellow lettuce? Make your produce last long enough so you can eat it by lining your vegetable bins with paper towels. They absorb the moisture that causes your fruits and vegetables to rot. Makes cleaning up the bin easier too.

These are the fresh foods you should never store together.

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white plastic cutting board on blue wood tableMagone/Getty Images

Keep cutting boards in place

Some plastic cutting boards don’t have anti-slip grips on the bottom, which means they’ll slide around the counter as you try to chop. Simply place a paper towel underneath the board for improved traction.

Here’s what to do if you run out of these household staples.

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Closeup of a Side Can OpenerPhotography Firm/Getty Images

Clean a can opener

Have you ever noticed that strange gunk that collects on the cutting wheel of your can opener? You don’t want that in your food. Clean your can opener by “opening” a paper towel. Close the wheel on the edge of a paper towel, close the handles, and turn the crank. The paper towel will clean off the gunk as the wheel cuts through it.

These are the germ-spreading items you’re probably carrying right now.

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Inside view of clean, empty microwaveunclepodger/Getty Images

Prevent microwave messes

If you’re heating up something in the microwave and think it might pop or splatter, place a paper towel over the food to minimize the mess.

Don’t miss the 20 microwave tricks every cook needs to know.

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Keep frozen bread from getting soggy

Here’s how to freeze—and thaw—your bread so it tastes just like fresh. Place a paper towel in the bag of bread before you freeze it. When you’re ready to eat that frozen loaf, the paper towel absorbs the moisture as the bread thaws.

Try these money-saving tricks using everyday items.

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Pouring milk into coffee cupAbdulrhman Al Shidokhi/Getty Images

Serve as a DIY coffee filter

If you need a caffeine fix but don’t have any filters, a paper towel will work in a pinch. Just use it to line the basket of your coffee maker, and it will strain out the grounds.

Here’s 10 ways to make your coffee habit healthier.

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bacon, all that is good in lifetedfoo/Getty Images

Cook bacon—without the mess

Layer two paper towels on the bottom of your microwave. Lay slices of bacon side by side, on the paper towels. Cover with two more paper towels. Run your microwave on High at 1-minute intervals, checking for crispness. It should take 3 to 4 minutes to cook, then toss the towels for easy clean-up.

Watch out for the mistakes everybody makes when cooking bacon.

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cast iron pot on stovevitaphoto/Getty Images

Keep cast-iron pots rust-free

Stop rust from invading your prized collection of cast-iron pots. After they’re clean, place a paper towel in each to absorb any moisture. Store lids separately from the pots, separated by a lining of paper towels.

Here’s what not to cook in cast iron.

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Test viability of old seeds

You’ve just found a packet of watermelon seeds dated two years ago. Should you bother to plant them or has their shelf life expired? To find out for sure, dampen two paper towels and lay down a few seeds. Cover with two more dampened paper towels. Over the next two weeks, keep the towels damp and keep checking on the seeds. If most of the seeds sprout, then plant the rest of the batch in the garden.

Think twice before ignoring these expiration dates on food.

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The white sewing machine on a desk.Yuki Kondo/Getty Images

Clean a sewing machine

After you tune up your sewing machine, don’t worry about residual grease harming your sewing project: Use this paper towel trick. Thread the sewing machine and stitch several lines up a paper towel first. That should take care of any residual grease, so you can resume your sewing projects.

Now, check out these clever coffee filter hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest