I love aluminum foil. It's recyclable, it's shiny, and it is super versatile. It can be used to clean, catch, protect, frighten, scrub, lift, soften, shape, grow, fix, sharpen, steam, attach, boost, and polish. We'll get into the specifics in just a moment, but first I would like to share a quick haiku about aluminum foil:

Aluminum* foil
The duct tape of the kitchen
All kinds of useful

Some of the following uses may surprise you. Some may anger you. Others may just leave you thinking, "I knooooow, I totally use it that way every day." Either way, these aluminum foil tips and tricks may just save your life, so settle in, grab a beverage, and position your roll of aluminum foil so you can gaze at it lovingly while I extol its many virtues.

*To those of you who speak British English, the syllabication doesn't quite work here. Aluminum was given an extra i to make it sound like all of the other -ium elements: helium, plutonium, uranium, etc. This is equally correct; I'm just going to use the lazy American disemvowelled version. In the meantime, don't go getting any ideas about platinum. It'd sound weird with an extra i. Say it aloud, "Platinium." That's how aluminium sounds in the colonies. Rich and vibrant and just a little bit vowelly.

Step 1: Use it in the kitchen

Soften brown sugar. Brown sugar. It tastes so good. But it's not always the easiest sugar to work with, because it gets clumpy and lumpy after a while. With some aluminum foil, however, you can soften brown sugar in the oven! Wrap your brick of brown sugar in aluminum foil, then pop it into the oven for five minutes at 300F. Soon you will have softened brown sugar for all of your sugary needs. (You could always just do this in the microwave, but maybe you don't have any microwave- or oven-safe flatware. Or a microwave.)

Pie crust protector. Some aluminum foil folded over the crust of a pie will keep the crust from browning and blackening and eventually falling off before the rest of the pie has cooked sufficiently. This use: useful but not unusual. Its usefulness far outweighs its ordinariness.

Pressure cooker lifter. Placing and lifting bowls into and out of a pressure cooker can be dangerous. Hot food, hot bowls, and slippery surfaces make for a situation fraught with danger. Aluminum foil makes an excellent lifting apparatus to safely and securely raise the precious contents of your pressure cooker without scalding your hands, arms, counter, floor, or curious dog. Just use a piece of aluminum foil that's the size of your bowl plus about eight additional inches. You're making a sling of sorts to lift out the bowl with your newly-made aluminum handles. Fold the foil lengthwise two or three times for strength, then place your bowl into the cooker with your shiny improvised lifter. Fold the handles down during cooking, then use them to lift out your hot bit of deliciousness.

DIY cake pans. Oh no! It's your nephew's birthday and you were supposed to get him a cake shaped like Darth Vader wearing bunny ears. But you forgot because you were busy mayonnaising your hair. Don't panic! You can make yourself an awesome custom cake pan using aluminum foil and some creativity. Just use some aluminum foil inside another baking pan to create the outline of whatever cake you're trying to make. (This is great for county fairs when you want to make something in the shape of the county to woo city council into preferring your home-baked tribute to local government.)

Oven cleaner. You can protect your oven from thrills and spills by placing a few sections of aluminum foil beneath something that might bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble all over the floor of your oven. Don't foil the actual floor of the oven, as that could cause a build-up of heat to warp the bottom of your expensive appliance. Instead, lay some foil over the rack just beneath whatever it is that might erupt and create a mess. Instead of scrubbing until your elbows run out of grease, you can just ball up the soiled foil and recycle it. BONUS OVEN TIP: to protect your heating elements from the harsh chemicals in store-bought oven cleaner, put some aluminum foil over them before spraying down the interior of your oven. [EDIT] This may cause a potentially explosive chemical reaction, but your heating elements will appreciate your thoughtfulness while the house burns down.

Scrubber. I'm a big fan of cast iron frying pans. They're great, but clean up is sometimes a disaster. Using salt and paper towels works most of the time, but egg and rice (and the combination thereof after fried rice) tend to grip the pan like limpets. With a little bit of crumpled aluminum foil, I can scrub off tough messes. This works anywhere you might find yourself scrubbing unusually hard like post-casserole Pyrex, forgot-about-the-pasta-and-all-the-water-boiled-off pots, and caramel that's Maillarded to the point of crumbly blackness.

Campsite cooking utensils. The next time you're camping, you can lug around an entire kitchen set, or you can take a light roll of aluminum foil and fashion your own utensils and pans. You can make a frying pan using a forked stick with aluminum foil stretched over the crook. You can easily make plates and bowls, wrap veggies and meat, or even fold a spoon, fork, or spork out of aluminum foil.

Reheat crispy things. I enjoy the occasional pizza delivered to my door from a company whose name comes from a popular dotted-tile game. But I can't always finish the pizza in one sitting, and I need to reheat the delicious cheesiness. I'll microwave when I'm in a rush, but if I want ideal flavor I go to the oven with some aluminum foil. I set the slice directly on the foil and fold an edge over the crust to protect it from the heat. Bake at 350F for five or so minutes (or broil in high for two) and bam!: fresh-ish pizza. This method has the added advantage of instilling false olfactory hope in a roommate.

<p>Okay, I didn't take the time to read all these great comments, so maybe someone might have stated this before. </p><p>Some weeks ago I watched a report about aluminum in food and the effects this might have on peoples' health. While being a widely used kitchen item for being versatile as hell, aluminum in contact with acid is something you might not want to let into your organism. Scientists found out that aluminum is being absorbed by food up to levels that the WHO claims to be poisenous on the long run by accumulation. Aluminum diluted in acid (which many food items contain in big quantities without people even realizing it) is capable to cross the brain barrier with your blood stream and is suspected to be an important factor in the development of nervous diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson. This would explain the tremendously increasing number of these diseases since the late 50s. </p><p>I banned aluminum widely from my kitchen and food preparation. I cannot say I can think better ever since, but why take a risk... ;-)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/Azze01" rel="nofollow">Azze01</a></p><p>I had wondered about the interaction between aluminum and acid. I was fond of cooking fish in aluminum and squirting lemon juice over the fish before baking it. For sometimes now I've been placing the fish onto a piece of Reynolds Wrap before cooking it. I think now tho' that I will bake fish w/lemon juice in a glass casserole with a piece of crumpled parchment paper on top. </p><p>Thank you for that!</p>
<p> Wow, finally someone to reflect about contents, not spelling... ;-) Thanks! </p><p>Parchment paper (baking paper as we call it here) may be fine for that application; only you might have to fiddle around with the temperature setting for a while as the paper does not reflect heat back into the fish the way aluminum foil does. When you feel you just cannot do without the aluminum, one option would be to cover the glass casserole with aluminum foil making sure to form a ridge in the foil i.e. to create an aluminum &quot;roof&quot; of sorts. This way aluminum loaded condensed water will run down the inside of the &quot;roof&quot; and down the outside of the casserole instead of into your dinner. Be inventive. </p>
<p>I used aluminium foil to shield the inside of my Fender Strat. It works just as well as copper sheet or tape and is a good deal cheaper.</p>
<p>Finally, somebody has spelled it correctly. It's aluminium not aluminum!!!! :D Sorry, I hate the wording aluminum nearly as much as I hate it when people say soddering instead of soldering.</p><p>Good collection of uses for aluminium foil though :)</p>
<p>Nice to see my native spelling here. Been in Canada so long now, I've adapted I suppose.....but lovely to see SPELT again! My biggest beef here with language is the use of lay........it's incorrectly most of the time!!</p>
<p>&quot;...it's incorrectly most of the time!!&quot; That sentence needs help.</p>
<p>You are correct, it does need help. So, regarding lay or lie - it is incorrectly used most of the time! lol........fingers could do with help as well. :-)</p>
<p>I am now suddenly reminded of English grammar lessons from nearly 50 years ago. The use of certain words for past tense and present tense. 'Spelled' being for past with 'spelt' as present. :)</p>
<p>Actually Kevan, both spellings are correct. Do some research.</p>
<p>Actually, Pete, aluminum is an incorrect spelling here in the UK. I'm in the UK therefore the correct spelling for us is aluminium. It is highly relevant by the way because for years (when I was much younger and I am talking decades ago) I genuinely thought aluminum was a different aluminium alloy just as duralumin is. </p>
<p>It's our language, we know how the words are correctly spelt!</p>
<p>Yeah, but we won the war, so let us spell it how we want!</p>
<p>You're right <a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/Kevanf1" style="">Kevanf1</a>. According to Google; &quot;<b style="">Aluminum</b> is the American <b style="">spelling</b> and <b style="">aluminium</b> is the British <b style="">spelling</b>&quot;</p>
<p>Actually Kevan, BOTH spellings are acceptable. I already knew that it depends on what part of the globe you live. And seeing as it was a North American who wrote the article, he has it spelled correctly. You see, Kevan, your part of the world is not the only one that counts.</p>
<p>Finally! Someone has spelled Kevan correctly</p>
<p>I am very grateful for this :) </p>
<p>Reminds me of the old Players Weights joke that one. Just trying to lighten the mood here :) I'd relate the old joke but I would need a packet of Players Weights cigarettes. Old timers will know what I mean :)</p>
It is a good thing you don't live in N. America Kevan! When I first come here it was very difficult to understand what was being said. Ends are dropped off words often and naturally my spell checker is very busy underlining words I've 'spelt' in the English way!
<p>I really don't have a problem with spelling a word the way it is spelled in a particular country. As long as I am in that country. I just pointed out that the spelling was incorrect for the UK (maybe I went about it the wrong way I don't know?). I fully accept that in the USA aluminium is spelt aluminum. It's the same as colour being spelt color. I suppose really it is good that we have people on both sides who are passionate about spelling and long may that continue :)</p>
<p>Correct, although it should be SPELT and not spelled to be proper English.</p>
<p>Aluminium and Aluminum are both acceptable spellings.</p>
<p><strong style=""><em>According to </em></strong>http://grammarist.com/, <strong style=""><em>Aluminum </em></strong>is the American and Canadian spelling.</p><p>Back in the 1960's, I was in the US Army Reserves. An old Sergeant had a piece of aluminum foil inside his helmet liner (the light weight plastic piece that fits inside the steel helmet). I asked what that was for. He replied, &quot;It keeps my head cool&quot;. At summer camp, everyone wore the helmet liners and they were like having your head in an oven. I put a big piece of aluminum foil in my liner and it was like wearing a straw hat. MY HEAD STAYED COOL. Since then, I have put the foil on the under side of my sunshade on my tractor and my riding lawn mower with spray adhesive. It works great. </p>
<p>Is the dull side or the shiny side next to your head?</p>
I am in &quot;that&quot; country, but my life as a young girl at school was in another country. I automatically use UK spelling just because it's how I was taught. Can't teach an old dog new tricks! :D<br>
<p>Your excellent writing skills and dry wit made this one of my favourite instructables ever. </p>
<p>So many great ideas! I had no idea! You can also store your silver jewellery or silverware with a sheet or wad of foil to keep it from oxidizing. The aluminum attracts moisture more readily than silver.</p>
<p>You left one out - line cookie sheets with a sheet of foil. No washing!</p>
<p>I would argue parchment paper does a much better job.</p>
I personally stick to SOS pads for getting cooked on gunk unstuck from my pots and pans. They're also great for getting sticker residue off of nearly any type of surface, glass, stainless steel, porcelain, plastics, etc. I've also found SOS pads quickly remove paint/ spray paint from all those same surfaces too. And here's where the almighty Aluminum comes in : place your SOS pad on a small square of aluminum foil and next time you're ready to use it, it will still be usable instead of crumbling apart in your hand!
<p>you know what else is really good for getting sticker residue off commercial goods? Peanut butter. Also, the peanut butter wont leave any markings behind on the porcelain nor gouge your plastics... Smear it on, rub it about, let it sit for a bit then clean off as normal. It is my go to when buying new items for the kitchen.</p>
<p>&quot;Sometimes the springs that hold batteries in place loose their springiness&quot;.</p><p>lose, not loose</p>
<p>:) absolutely with you on this one Pete. Another one is the incorrect usage of accept and except :(</p>
<p>The idea that you cannot put metal in a microwave is Urban Myth. Microwaves are not absorbed by metal, merely reflected off. I often heat food in a dish with the spoon or fork left in it. Philips Electronics included a cookbook with my first microwave cooker in 1980. Cooking chicken legs is difficult because the thighs cook slower than the thinner bit, so Philips recommend wrapping the thin bits in aluminium foil. The microwaves reflect off the aluminium and the thin bits remain OK while the thighs cook more slowly.</p><p>If you leave a knife standing upright in a dish and it comes close to the microwave waveguide opening, it may give off a shower of sparks ( been there, done that ), but that has to do with some high-voltage breakdown.</p><p>HTH</p>
<p>Just A suggestion but you cant rlly microwave foil because its metal/conductive and it could most likely break ur microwave because I think most of us have the understanding of what happens when you put metal in the microwave lol so just to let you know but I dont know if I'm wrong plz call me on it because I dont want to be one of those people that go around telling people false stuff.</p>
<p>Links to handy printer template for paper and foil antenna reflectors:</p><p><a href="http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/" rel="nofollow">http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/</a></p><p><a href="http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/Ez-10/" rel="nofollow">http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/Ez-10/</a></p>
<p>For house painting, foil conforms easily to mask ackward shapes instead of tape.</p>
In a pinch, you can use a small piece of foil to bridge a blown car fuse, until you can fix it properly. <br> <br>You can also use a small bit folded up at the end of a AAA battery, to make it work where an AA battery should be used.
Okay, please do not EVER bypass a blown fuse unless you know why the fuse blew in the first place and know for certain that a new fuse wouldn't blow again. If you don't know why the fuse blew, by bypassing it you are potentially allowing full unregulated current from your battery to travel through any number of wires in the circuit. Your car could catch on fire and people could get hurt. Just make sure you know what you're doing, that is all!
<p>So are you saying this is wrong? (It's a UK 240v mains plug)</p>
Could be worse: http://www.darwinawards.com/legends/legends1998-04.html
<p>Electricity 101, day one, LESSON ONE: </p><p>There aren't enough 'nevers' to adequately describe the circumstances under which you may use foil to replace or bypass a fuse. Seriously. Don't EVER do it. For ANY reason. No matter how 'temporary' you think it will be, no matter how confident you are that you've fixed the fault in the circuit. You are playing with fire when you do that. LITERALLY. </p>
<p>I just wanted to share a little love over your use of &quot;disemvowelled&quot;.<br>Well played, my friend, I love a good piece of wordcraft.<br>DtB</p>
<p>LMAO! This was as much fun to read as it was informative :)</p><p>Here's another one - back in the day when I didn't have air conditioning and didn't want to heat my apartment to resemble Vulcan (much as I love Spock, I don't think I could live with him), I pulled off a long strip of aluminum foil and loosely wadded it into a long snake. I coiled that into the bottom of a stew pot, added water to about half way up the foil, then put my beef roast on top of that. Rather than heating an oven, and the rest of my apartment, to 300 to cook the thing for several hours, I steamed it for about one hour. It worked in ways I can't even describe! The roast was thoroughly cooked but still juicy and tender since I used wet heat rather than dry, I had a nice broth underneath to cook my potatoes in, it was finished much quicker, easier cleanup - the list goes on. Even later in life, when I had air and the money to pay for running it, I still cook my beef roasts this way. Much better than oven roasting it!</p>
<p>With the comment about heating an apartment, I thought you would be describing how to cover windows in foil to reflect outside heat away from the apartment during the summer... or maybe foiling the insides of the windows to keep it warm in the winter.<br><br>But learning about the improved cooking time was a really wonderful thing!</p>
<p>It sounds much like a camp oven that you would use out in the bush? It turns out just like he said,juicy and tender, just add a bit of water and cook on low to medium heat. </p>
<p>T, look into Sous Vide. Another inexpensive way for cooking and works great. Lots of DIYs available </p>
I'll do that. Thanks! :)
<p>You forgot helmet... you know... to keep them from reading your thoughts... and sending you signals. </p>
<p>The government started the whole tin-foil hat idea because tin foil hats actually amplify, not block, signals. </p><p>/sarc</p>

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Bio: I'm an English teacher and former Instructables staff member.
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