Sure it’s great for heating up leftovers and giving a baked potato a head start, but it’s the microwave’s lesser-known uses that make it an excellent household helper. Here are a few things we bet you didn’t know your microwave could do:
Sterilize sponges. Your dish sponge smells like last night’s dinner, and detergent won’t help. Time to toss it, right? Wrong. Pour a dash of white vinegar or lemon juice in a bowl of water, soak the sponge, and then heat it in the microwave on high for a minute. The heat will deodorize and disinfect the sponge—even after wiping up raw egg or chicken.
Clean the cutting board. How can you tell if you’ve washed the cutting board thoroughly enough after preparing raw meat? Eliminate the guesswork by sterilizing it in the microwave. Wash it first, rub it with lemon, then heat on high for one minute.
Soften sweeteners. Hardened brown sugar and crystallized honey don’t need to be thrown away, they just need to be heated. Sprinkle a bit of water into the brown sugar bag and heat the whole thing on high for 20 seconds. To return honey to its liquid form, remove the lid and heat the jar on medium for 30-60 seconds.
Speed up bread baking. Bread bakers know that yeast dough can take at least an hour to rise. Cut that time down to 15 minutes by proofing the dough in the microwave. Put the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Position a cup of water at the back of the microwave before placing the bowl inside. At a low temperature, heat for 3 minutes, pause for 3 minutes to let the dough rise, then heat for another 3 minutes. Allow the dough to rise for another 6 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Relieve aches and pains. Warm up gel or herb-filled heating pads to soothe sore heads and tummies, and to reinvigorate tired muscles.
When it’s cold, every extra layer makes a difference. Wearing pantyhose will help you stay warm. Note: Men may have to cut some extra space in the crotch area.
2. Prevent Blisters
This is important if you bug out and spend several hours a day walking. You don’t want to get a blister on your foot that could get infected. Just cut the feet off the pantyhose and wear them under your socks, or you could get the footy or knee-high kind.
3. Prevent Bug Bites
Marines have been known to use them to stop tick, ant, and chigger bites. They will also stop jellyfish stings and leeches when you’re wading through water. However, they won’t stop mosquitos.
4. As a Mosquito Net
Although mosquitos can bite through them, they can’t fly through them. Cut several of them lengthwise and stitch them together to make a mosquito net.
5. As a Mask
If you are in an area with lots of dust and ash in the air, put pantyhose over your head like a robber would. This will protect your lungs. It won’t protect against viruses and toxins, but it will stop the dust.
6. For First Aid
There are several options here: use them as a tourniquet, as a way to hold bandages in place, to tie a splint in place, or to make a sling.
7. Filter Water
The first step to purifying water, no matter what method you use, is to filter out the debris and large particles. Stretch it over a container of water and pour the water into another container.
8. Sprout Seeds
First, soak your seeds in two inches of lukewarm water for 24 hours. Then pour the water and seeds into pantyhose, squeeze out as much water as you can, and hang it up to dry. Pour water over the seeds and hang them up to dry again, and do that several times a day. Once the seeds sprout, transplant them.
9. Grow Plants
For potted plants, plug the bottom with pantyhose to keep soil from escaping while the extra water drains out. For climbing plants such as peas and tomatoes, use strips of pantyhose to tie the stalks to a support without damaging them.
10. Protect Your Garden
Put dog or human hair in some pantyhose, then tie them in several places on the fence around your garden. The smell will keep deer and other foragers away. You can also stretch them over squash and melons to keep animals from eating them.
11. Store Small Items
While foraging, you can use them to gather berries, nuts, and herbs. You could also use them to organize or carry small items like nuts and bolts, bathroom supplies, pill bottles, etc.
12. Store Your Food
Foods like garlic, onions, and potatoes spoil faster while lying on a surface. Put them in pantyhose, tie knots between each one, and hang them up. This works better than other types of bags because the holes allow air in so they stay fresh longer. In fact, onions can last as long as six months this way.
13. Dry Your Food
Put peppers, herbs, and other food in them and hang them in the sun to dry out. Another way is to spread them out on a surface in the sun and spread the nylon over them to keep bugs and dirt off.
14. Dry Your Tinder
If your tinder is damp, you don’t want to store it in an ordinary bag or in your pocket. It’s better to put it in pantyhose and hang it up so it can dry out.
15. Catch Bait
You won’t be able to catch large fish with pantyhose, but you may be able to catch some bait fish and things like crawdads and small frogs. To do this, stretch them over a Y-shaped branch to create a makeshift net, then skim the water. They are also a great option for storing bait while you fish.
16. Catch Crabs
Put some bait in the toe and dangle the pantyhose in shallow water. When crabs try to get the bait, they’ll get tangled in the netting. Then you can just lift up the hose and you’ll have a fresh crab.
17. Hunt Small Animals
Put a large rock or several small rocks in the toe and tie it off, then use it as a bola to kill birds and small game.
18. As a Rope
Twist it up really tight and it will make great cordage. You can tie things together, hang things up, or even use it to make cross joints and tie branches together to make a shelter.
19. As a Belt
If you don’t have anything else, you can use it to hold your pants up. After all, many of us are bound to lose weight after the SHTF.
20. Fix Your Vehicle
Pantyhose can also be used as a temporary fan belt. It won’t last long, but it could get your vehicle home or to the nearest garage.