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Chow items you use for something else?

Just wondering how many folks have found alternative uses for items that are normally asociated with cooking, prep or to be eaten?

I use:
Olive oil on the cutting blades of my electric razor
Turkey baster to remove automotive fluids captured in reservoirs
Candy thermometer to measure radiator thermostat opening temp

Of course, on the reverse side, I'm sure there are many non-food items that make it into the kitchen:
Digital multi-meter with K-type temp probe to accurately measure my drip coffee & espresso brewing temps
Toothbrush to clean my espresso maker's grouphead

What do you use? Keep it clean, it's a family show!

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  1. I am forever reaching for chopsticks for gardening purposes. Likewise the odd spoon or the crappy 'never-needs-sharpening' knife from college days - great garden tools. They *feel* right in my hands, so I use them with greater effectiveness, I think, than some of the tools that are actually *for* gardening. Now that I think of it, a number of utensils that retire from the kitchen end up in one of my garden tool tubs.

    Olive oil gets used as a mold release agent fairly regularly around here - for concrete or plaster. A wok makes a wonderful mold for clay.

    I like to use herbs and spices in papermaking. The aroma and the colors can be quite nice.

    And then there's always all the vinegar and baking soda that gets deployed for cleaning.

    5 Replies
    1. re: cayjohan

      i've found that "'crappy 'never-needs-sharpening' knife from college days" to be extremely handy for tightening loose eyeglass screws.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Brilliant! I can always find the crappy knife, but there must be a couple dozen eyeglass-sized screwdrivers lost in this household's grand and glorious junk void, never to resurface. My eyeglasses thank you!

        1. re: cayjohan

          i've lost more of those miniature screwdrivers than i can count, so i just default to the knife now...i'm so glad i mentioned it for the sake of you & your eyeglasses! :)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Now that I have an alternative, all those elusive little screwdrivers can reappear and I'll use them as hors d'oeuvre picks. <g>

            1. re: cayjohan

              ooh i like that idea! because *of course* they'll all reappear now that you don't need them.

    2. Egg cup upside down--great for holding ink when I'm doing calligraphy, with a solid base

      chopstick holders--for holding pens, nibs, etc.

      1. olive oil....Mmmmmm, o l i v e o i l......oopps, family show...use a few drops in the car wash bucket to keep water stains from forming on dark colors. Corn starch when seating a tube in the bike tires

        2 Replies
        1. re: BiscuitBoy

          Ahh, cornstarch!

          Back in 2001 after the anthrax scare the public health lab where I worked tested a huge variety of white powders ... one of the things we hadn't known before was that cornstarch made a fantastic dry lubricant in industry. It was especially widely used to keep individual pieces of mass mailings (magazines, advertizing fliers and the like) from sticking together.

          I still use it to keep stacked, little used glassware from sticking.

        2. Craftsman "Baby Boa Constrictor" rubber wrench-like thing to open really stuck lids--works like a charm!

          1. From the medicine cabinet: package of unwaxed, unflavored dental floss...last used to cut a block of solidified polenta into sheets for layering.