There is nothing like eating a bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning to warm you and fuel you for the day. In fact, a container of old-fashioned or whole oats is probably a staple on your pantry shelf all year long.
However, did you know you could use oatmeal for a wide variety of other uses than just for eating? Here are 10 uses for oatmeal you may not have tried. (Please note that these uses are intended for whole oats and not for instant oatmeal, which usually has added flavors and sugars.)
1. Absorb odors.
Oatmeal can neutralize unwanted odors in your home as well as baking soda can. Place a bowl of oats in the fridge or sprinkle some in your teenager’s smelly sneakers overnight.
You even can add some oatmeal to your kitty litter box.
2. Clean cast iron.
Use oatmeal to help remove grease and stubborn small food particles from your cast iron pots and pans. Simply sprinkle about two tablespoons of oats in the pan. Then add a little water and scrub with a stiff brush or a dishcloth. Rinse well and dry.
3. Thicken soups and stews.
Skip the extra flour or cream and try adding oats to thicken your next batch of soup. Add the oats, one tablespoon at a time, until your each your desired consistency. In addition to a creamier, thicker texture, you will add healthy fiber to your meal.
4. Replace flour.
You can use oats as a substitute for flour in baking recipes for breads, cookies and pancakes. You’ll have twice the fiber but far fewer calories. (Measurements may vary. Quaker Oats has a helpful substation chart here .)
5. Soothe minor burns and skin irritations.
Oatmeal can come to the rescue for pain relief from sunburn, poison oak, poison ivy and other minor burns. Mix a half cup of oatmeal and a quarter cup of water and let it sit in the bowl for about 60 seconds. Then gently apply the paste on the burn for about five minutes.
6. Clean oil spills.
You can absorb oil spills in your garage or in your kitchen with plain oatmeal. Sprinkle enough oats over the affected area to cover the oil completely. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then sweep away the mess.
7. Remove sap from skin.
Oatmeal works wonders at removing sticky tree sap from your skin. Just rub some oatmeal into your sticky hands before washing them with soap and water. Oatmeal works as an abrasive, helping to remove the sap as you wash. Plus, it is gentle on your skin.
8. Make a dry shampoo.
Make a DIY dry shampoo that is inexpensive and gentle on your hair. Massage one tablespoon of ground oats into your scalp. Let them sit for about five minutes before brushing them out.
9. Soothe your dog’s irritated skin.
Is your dog itchy? Try massaging some dry oats into his coat to soothe irritated skin. Let the oats sit for about five minutes and then brush the oats out.
You also can grind oats into a fine powder and add them to your dog’s bathwater. (This works well for humans too!)
10. Make modeling clay.
There is something just so soothing about working with clay. Now you can make your own fresh-smelling modeling clay with oatmeal. Combine one cup of rolled oats, two-thirds cup of all-purpose flour and one-half cup of water. You will create a substance that stays moist for hours but will harden overnight.
So now, you have 10 good reasons to stock up on oatmeal the next time you see it on sale.
What uses would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below: