13 Clever Uses for Paper Towels

Paper towels to the rescue! These home tips will have you reaching for the roll every time you're in a fix.

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Woman wiping ceramic bowl with paper towel indoors, closeup
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Paper towels to the rescue!

You might only be using paper towels to clean up spills and wet messes around your house, but there are a few other clever ways you can put them to work. Try out these extraordinary uses for paper towels that will help make your life a little easier.

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ear of corn in female hands
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Clean silk from fresh corn

If you hate picking the silk off freshly husked ears of corn, then you’ll love this paper towel trick. Dampen a sheet of paper towel and run it across the ear. The towel picks up the silk, and the corn is ready for the boiling pot or the grill.

Find out how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave.

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Clear Chicken broth
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Strain grease from broth

Use a paper towel to absorb the fat that surfaces on the top of broths and soups. Here’s how: Place another pot in the sink. Put a colander (or a sieve) in the new pot and put a paper towel in the colander. Now pour the broth through the towel into the waiting pot. You’ll find that the fat stays in the towel, while the cleaner broth streams through.

Here are 12 things you shouldn’t be cleaning with paper towels.

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Transparent glass jar with brown sugar cane on a black background
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Soften brown sugar

If your brown sugar resembles a brick, you can reconstitute it by placing it in a bowl covered with a damp paper towel. Place the bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds, and the moisture will soften the sugar again.

Here are more clever kitchen hacks you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

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Person taking basket with fresh raspberries from open fridge
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Keep produce fresh longer

Don’t you hate it when you open the vegetable bin in the refrigerator and find last week’s moldy carrots mixed with the now-yellow lettuce? Make your produce last long enough so you can eat it by lining your vegetable bins with paper towels. They absorb the moisture that causes your fruits and vegetables to rot. Makes cleaning up the bin easier, too!

Find out which fresh foods you should never store together.

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Kitchen counter with cutting board faucet, sink and plate of fruits
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Keep cutting boards in place

Some plastic cutting boards don’t have anti-slip grips on the bottom, which means they’ll slide around the counter as you try to chop. Simply place a paper towel underneath the board for improved traction.

Check out these brilliant ways to hack your kitchen appliances.

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Tin opener opening a can in a kitchen
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Clean a can opener

Have you ever noticed that strange gunk that collects on the cutting wheel of your can opener? You don’t want that in your food. Clean your can opener by “opening” a paper towel. Close the wheel on the edge of a paper towel, close the handles, and turn the crank. The paper towel will clean off the gunk as the wheel cuts through it.

Here’s how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

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Woman warming up a container of food in the modern microwave oven for snack lunch at home
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Prevent microwave messes

If you’re heating up something in the microwave and think it might pop or splatter, place a paper towel over the food to minimize the mess.

Discover 20 microwave tricks every cook needs to know.

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Loaf of sliced bread in bag
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Keep frozen bread from getting soggy

Here’s how to freeze—and thaw—your bread so it tastes just like fresh. Place a paper towel in the bag of bread before you freeze it. When you’re ready to eat that frozen loaf, the paper towel absorbs the moisture as the bread thaws.

Find out how to freeze cheese properly.

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things you can do with paper towels - close-up of hand drip coffee
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Serve as a DIY coffee filter

If you need a caffeine fix but don’t have any filters, a paper towel will work in a pinch. Just use it to line the basket of your coffee maker, and it will strain out the grounds.

Here are 50 more money saving tips that’ll slash your monthly expenses.

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things you can do with paper towels - Close-up of couple having breakfast at home
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Cook bacon—without the mess

Layer two paper towels on the bottom of your microwave. Lay slices of bacon side by side, on the paper towels. Cover with two more paper towels. Run your microwave on High at 1-minute intervals, checking for crispness. It should take 3 to 4 minutes to cook, then toss the towels for easy clean-up.

Find out the mistakes everybody makes when cooking bacon.

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things you can do with paper towels - Cookware set
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Keep cast-iron pots rust-free

Stop rust from invading your prized collection of cast-iron pots. After they’re clean, place a paper towel in each to absorb any moisture. Store lids separately from the pots, separated by a lining of paper towels.

Discover the cleaning hack that makes your pots and pans look brand new.

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things you can do with paper towels - Hand hold out on palm have watermelon seeds
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Test viability of old seeds

You’ve just found a packet of watermelon seeds dated two years ago. Should you bother to plant them or has their shelf life expired? To find out for sure, dampen two paper towels and lay down a few seeds. Cover with two more dampened paper towels. Over the next two weeks, keep the towels damp and keep checking on the seeds. If most of the seeds sprout, then plant the rest of the batch in the garden.

Here are more gardening tips that’ll save you time and money.

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things you can do with paper towels - Sewing machine on table in tailor's workshop
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Clean a sewing machine

After you tune up your sewing machine, don’t worry about residual grease harming your sewing project: Use this paper towel trick. Thread the sewing machine and stitch several lines up a paper towel first. That should take care of any residual grease, so you can resume your sewing projects.

Next, find out 45 aluminum foil hacks that’ll make your life so much easier.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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