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Deter ants, clean grease or detangle necklaces with baby powder

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 11:50 a.m. CDT

Baby powder is a popular baby shower gift. If you’re a new parent, you’ll probably have more than you know what to do with. Many parents don’t use much of it for their baby, so rather than let it collect dust, you can use it around your home. 

Here are a few suggestions:

Halloween: You can make your hair white by sprinkling baby powder in it. One reader, Palooka from Missouri, shares: “When I was a teen, I dressed up for work as an old lady. I put my hair in a bun, poured tons of baby powder in it to make it look gray and wore my mom’s robe and slippers.” This works well for school plays, too. 

Hot sheets: During summer months, your bed can feel hot and clingy. Sprinkle baby powder between your sheets to help with humidity and perspiration. It gives your sheets a fresh scent, too. 

Deter ants: Leave a powder line near doors and windows to prevent ants from crossing over. 

Add it to your beach bag: If you sprinkle baby powder on yourself before you get in the car, the sand will slide right off. 

Clean grease: Baby powder also works well for removing grease on kitchen walls. Rub the grease spot with powder and a soft cloth. Another reader, Lisa C. from Texas, shares: “Sprinkle cornstarch or baby powder over the grease stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it off. The powder absorbs the grease. You can use Dawn dishwashing liquid for grease stains, too.”

Baby powder also works well for removing grease from suede. You can absorb the stain by blotting it with a soft, dry cloth and then applying baby powder, cornmeal or cornstarch. Let it set for a few hours. Use a suede brush to remove the absorbent product. Do this a couple of times, until the grease stain is far less noticeable. Lastly, gently rub a pencil eraser over any remaining stain. 

For shoes: Baby powder keeps sneakers dry and comfortable. If your shoes are squeaking, sometimes sprinkling powder inside them can stop the noise.

Unstick items: Playing cards often stick together. If you place them in a bag, add some baby powder and shake the bag, they’ll stop sticking. Baby powder works well on inflatable beach/pool toys, too. Once they’ve been deflated and folded up, inflatable toys tend to stick to themselves and can rip easily. Sprinkle them with baby powder to help keep them intact. 

On hair: Sprinkle baby powder on your hair and brush it out to give your hair volume. Another reader, M.M. from Georgia, shares: “If I don’t have time to shower before I go out, I brush my hair with baby powder from root to end. It absorbs the oils so my hair looks freshly blow-dried.”  

Detangle a necklace: If the chain gets tangled, apply a bit of baby powder or baby oil to help slide the tangles out with a pin or needle. Baby powder works for detangling shoelaces, too.

Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email sara@frugalvillage.com.

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