20 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Potatoes

Potatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of surprising and unique ways beyond just cooking. These 20 unconventional uses highlight the humble potato’s versatility, proving it’s not just a staple food but also a handy resource for household and health-related solutions.

Ease Arthritis Pain

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Potatoes are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. High acidity levels increase gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and other symptoms of various chronic diseases. Cornell Botanic Gardens says, “Potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous and help reduce acidity in the body.” Wrapping a warm, mashed potato poultice around joints might help alleviate arthritis pain.

Clean Silverware

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The oxalic acid in potatoes also works to clean silverware. Next time you boil potatoes for dinner, use the water to soak your tarnished silverware and wash it with a cloth to restore its shine.

Make Potato Stamps

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Potato stamps are fun and creative if you’re looking for a great craft to do with older kids. Just carve designs into a halved potato to create stamps that can be used for crafting. Dip the carved end in paint and stamp it onto fabric or paper for custom designs.

De-Fog Glasses

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Rubbing a potato slice on your eyeglasses can prevent them from fogging up. Simply rub a raw, sliced potato over the lenses, then wipe them clean. It is also effective when rubbed on the inside of your windshield.

Remove Rust

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Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is found in most common household cleaners. This chemical compound makes the average potato a safe and effective rust remover. Cut a potato in half and rub it on the rusty area, or soak the item in potato water for a few hours before scrubbing off the rust.

Create a Hot or Cold Pack

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Don’t worry about running out to the store for a cold pack or heating pad next time you have an injury. A potato can be microwaved or frozen to make a reusable hot or cold pack for injuries. Wrap it in a cloth before applying it to the injury to avoid burns or frostbite. 

Polish Shoes

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This incredible vegetable can also be used to polish shoes. Simply slice a potato in half and rub it directly on the shoes’ leather. Almost immediately, the shoe will have a dull appearance. Set the shoes aside for about five minutes, then wipe them down with a soft brush or clean cloth for a shiny buff.

Generate Electricity

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Potatoes can be used to create a simple battery; STEM Generation says that they can power small devices like LEDs or digital clocks. You need three fresh, clean potatoes, three galvanized nails for the zinc electrode, and three U.S. pennies (or copper wire with an exposed copper end). The pennies will be used as your copper electrodes, along with five dual alligator clip connectors (10 actual clips total) and one LED clock that has a battery compartment. 

Reduce Puffy Eyes

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You’ve seen cucumbers on the eyes at the spa, but raw potato slices can also be placed on the eyes to reduce puffiness. The anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the skin and tighten the area.

Natural Pain Reliever

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In the traditional medicine of Europe, raw potatoes are used for gastrointestinal disorders. For topical pain such as burns, bites, and sores, applying raw potato slices can help soothe discomfort. The moisture and coolness from the potato provide relief.

DIY Face Mask

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To hydrate and brighten your skin for a healthy glow, a DIY face mask can be made by grating half a potato and mixing it with half a tablespoon of besan and half a teaspoon of lemon (juice). Let the mask sit on your face for about 15 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water, and that’s it. The starch in potatoes is great for soothing sunburns and nourishing the skin.

Remove Stains

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Have beet or berry stains on your hands or clothes? Before washing, you can rub a cut potato on a stain on fabric or hands; the enzymes in the potato help break down the stains.

Preserve Paper

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This old artist’s trick gives the paper a nice sheen. Brush boiled potato water onto important papers to help stiffen and preserve them. 

Improve Soil Health

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Next time you’re on potato peeling duty for dinner, hang on to the peels for composting. Burying potato peels in garden soil can add nutrients as they decompose, which is beneficial for plant growth. Texas Real Food states, “Composted potato peels add nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium to the soil, which are crucial for plant growth.” 

Cure Warts

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Warts can be a pain to remove, usually involving multiple trips to the doctor to have them frozen off. Rubbing a potato on a wart daily can help remove it without leaving your home. The potassium in potatoes is thought to help dissolve warts over time.

Relieve Headaches

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Some believe that placing slices of raw potato on the forehead can help relieve headaches due to the potato’s soothing properties. The slices are generally cloaked in a thin cloth and wrapped around the head or rubbed directly on the temples to ease tension and pain.

Keep Glasses from Slipping

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For those who are constantly pushing their glasses back up the bridge of their nose, potatoes can also help. Rubbing a small amount of potato juice on the bridge of the nose can help prevent glasses from slipping down.

Whiten Teeth

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The mild abrasive nature of raw potatoes, combined with their acid content, can help remove stains from teeth. Rub a raw slice or peel on your teeth every time you brush them for at least a week for a natural whitener. “If you decide to go this route, you should clean your teeth afterward since the acid may erode tooth enamel if it is allowed to remain on the teeth for an extended period,” advises Royal Oak Family Dental.

Natural Dye

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The peels of purple potatoes can be boiled to extract a natural dye for fabric or Easter eggs, offering a range of beautiful, earthy tones. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, or silk work best. Other foods that can be used for natural fabric dye are avocado pits, avocado skins, onion skins, purple cabbage, black beans, tea, spinach, blackberries, blueberries, and beets.

Grow More Potatoes

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Don’t throw away your sprouted potatoes. Plant them in the soil to grow new potato plants. This is a great way to recycle and get fresh produce. Plus, you’ll have potatoes for all of these activities!

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