11 Nifty Uses for Milk

Mmm, milk. For those who aren't allergic or refraining for ethical/religious reasons, milk is pretty awesome. But you don't just have to put it in your mouth (and there are uses yet for that jug in the back of the fridge that went off when you weren't paying attention). Welcome to the rundown of some brand new uses for milk, some of which might surprise you! (Don't forget, milk jugs have their uses too.)

1. Thaw frozen fish in a milk bath

Photo: d3f/morguefile.comFrozen fish sometimes feels dry and gross. It can acquire a metallic, frozen flavor that isn't very much fun, and it's hard to cook with. If you thaw it in a milk bath, though, this natural moisturizer will bring hydration and flavor back to the fish, making it much more appetizing.

2. Facial mask

Remember those hydrating properties? Mix milk powder with just enough water to create a paste, and then gently massage into your face. Let sit for about ten minutes before rinsing. You can add essential oils (choose scents that are gentle on skin) and other ingredients like oatmeal or finely-ground walnut shells for exfoliation and additional benefits.

You can also toss some of that milk powder into your bath to create a luxurious milk bath for yourself, if you want to feel a bit decadent and Roman. Essential oils go really well in milk baths if the scent is a little intense. But make sure, even in the dead of a Minneapolis winter, that HVAC systems are working properly; if your bathroom isn't ventilated well, a luxurious bath one day can result in mold and mildew the next.

3. Polish

Photo: Ladyheart/morguefile.comSour milk (or milk that's been soured with the addition of a splash of citrus or vinegar) can be used to soak silverware to remove tarnish; just soak, wash, rinse, and wipe dry. It also makes a good furniture polish. It'll deeply moisturize the wood at the same time the acidic component lifts up dirt and grime. Pretty cool, eh?

4. Repair fine china

Photo: jdurham/morguefile.com
We know this sounds pretty out there, but give it a shot. If you have a piece of fine china with a hairline crack, put in a big pot with a heavy bottom and cover in milk. Bring the heat up until the milk boils, and turn it down low to simmer for 45 minutes. Proteins in the milk can bond with the clay in the cup, sealing the crack.

5. Soothe itchy skin or sunburn (or bribe Santa)

Photo: snowbear/morguefile.comRemember that milk paste above? It works like a treat for irritated skin, too. If you're crawling out of your skin thanks to insect bites, definitely consider a nice milk paste; cold oatmeal can help relieve a case of the itchies too.

6. Industrial strength hand cleaner

 Photo: pixelrave/morguefile.comYour hands might be dirty from working on the car, spending some time in the garden, or another task. Mix oatmeal and milk to create a thick paste, and rub it all over your hands. The paste will lift the dirt while also moisturizing your hands, leaving them feeling soft, fresh, and clean. Better yet, the small cracks and fissures that tend to develop if you work with your hands a lot will be less likely to appear.

Use it to make a special treat for the handyman in your life; nothing tears your hands up quite like working on household tasks every day.

7. Stain removal Soak clothes stained with ink in milk overnight (or dab at inkstains with milk), and rinse well before tossing in the wash (on cool). Milk can help lift ink stains, although your clothes may need a second rinse to ensure they don't end up smelling like sour milk later -- you don't want to trade one problem for another.

8. Quick shine for patent leatherPhoto: xubangwen/Flickr.com
Run a milk-soaked rag over patent leather items for a fresh new look. For a deeper shine, apply milk and let it dry before buffing your shoes, purses, and jackets. The milk can help seal cracks and scuffs to keep patent leather looking shiny and new.

9. Makeup remover

Photo credit: taliesin/morguefile.comPowdered milk and warm water gently lift makeup off your face without leaving residue behind, and they moisturize your skin in the process. If you've been having problems with breakouts, you might want to consider this trick for getting your makeup all the way off.

10. Pill aid

Photo: mconnors/morguefile.comHorse pills are tough to swallow, but milk can make it easier. It coats your throat to smooth the way down, and even better, it protects the lining of your stomach. If you have medications that should be taken with food, a glass of milk can work in a pinch, although you shouldn't do that regularly.

11. Five alarm fire recoveryPhoto: jmiltenburg/morguefile.com
If you ate something a little bit too hot (like that salsa I had last night), milk can be your best friend. It binds with the capsaicin molecules to rapidly ease discomfort from eating hot foods. Whatever you do, don't drink water or beer, because capsaicin isn't water-soluble.

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

Updated September 2, 2018.

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