1. Grill a juicier piece of chicken
You're a grill master...except when it comes to skinless chicken breasts. They're so lean that they dry out faster than you can flip them. Next time, place a banana peel on top of each breast while cooking. The peel will create a barrier that acts like skin, helping the meat retain its natural juices.
2. Make a natural fruit-fly trap
Even though the oranges and apples in your fruit bowl are nowhere near expiration, you often find little flies buzzing around your kitchen. Catch the pests once and for all by crafting a trap. First gather a large yogurt container, a banana peel, a hammer, and a small nail. Using the nail and hammer, poke holes in the lid of the yogurt container. Place the banana peel inside, snap on the lid, and leave it where the flies tend to gather. The sweet smell of banana will attract the fruit flies, leading them to crawl inside—but they won't be able to fly back out through the tiny holes. Dispose of the trap after a day or when most of the flies have been caught.
3. Stop a scratched CD or DVD from skipping
If your favorite disc just won't play smoothly, fix it with a banana peel. To do: Rub the back of the disc in a gentle circular motion with the inside of the peel. Wipe off any residue with a soft cloth, then lightly spray the disc with glass cleaner and buff it until it looks clean. The wax in the peel will fill in scratches without harming the plastic finish, so the disc can play sans skips.
4. Rid your garden of aphids for good
After noticing some insect damage in your garden, you decide that it's time to nip the problem in the bud. Just cut up two or three banana peels, then dig a 1-inch-deep hole in the ground at the base of your plants and place the peels inside. Aphids and ants find the high potassium concentration in banana peels unappealing, so this little trick will make the pesky bugs retreat.
5. Swiftly lift ink stains from skin
Thanks to an exploded pen, you've got ink-covered hands—and soap and water aren't doing the trick. To the rescue: banana peels! Rub the white side onto the discolored areas and watch the stains disappear. The natural oils in the peel will attract the oils in the ink, weakening the pigment's bond with the skin for easy removal.
6. Soothe an itchy bug bite—stat!
Summer is coming to a close, but it seems the mosquitoes have yet to get the memo—the critters are still biting you. For fast, chemical-free relief from an itchy bite, rub the inside of a banana peel against the inflamed area. The peels are full of polysaccharides, which will seep into skin cells to halt swelling and inflammation within minutes.
7. Whiten teeth on the cheap
No need to spend a fortune on professional whitening strips—let banana peels do the job instead. Simply rub the inner white side of a peel against your freshly brushed teeth for about 2 minutes every day. The combination of plaque-busting, astringent salicylic acid and gently bleaching citric acid in banana peels will effectively lighten surface stains on teeth without wearing down the enamel. With this trick, you'll have bright pearly whites within a week!
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8. Buff away scuffs on leather shoes
Last year's sling-backs are still in great condition, except for a few scuffs on the toes. The natural fix: Lightly rub the spots with the white side of a banana peel, then wipe with a clean cloth. The peel's potassium (a key ingredient in leather polish) will be absorbed into the leather and diminish the marks, leaving your shoes looking brand-new.
9. Perk up dull, dreary houseplants
If your potted ferns, cacti, and spider plants look like they need a little pick-me-up, give them a quick rubdown with the white side of a banana peel. The skin's rough texture will gently buff away dust, while its natural oils will add a nice polished sheen. Bonus: banana peels contain nutrients like potassium that feed plants to keep them healthy and flourishing.
10. Remove a splinter painlessly
Make removal of a tiny wood sliver a cinch with this trick: Tape a piece of banana peel, white side down, over the wound and leave it on for 30 minutes. The enzymes in the peel will seep into the skin and encourage the splinter to move toward the surface for easy plucking. The result: a tear-free extraction.