18 Surprising Home Uses for Banana Peels

Stop throwing your banana peels away! Here's how to put them to good use around the house

1. Polish shoes. Just rub the inside of the peel on your shoe, then buff it with a soft cloth.

2. Tenderize meat. Add a ripe banana peel to a roasting pan to keep boneless, skinless cuts of meat from toughening up and drying out during cooking.

3. Feed roses. Banana peels are rich in calcium and magnesium, which flowers love.

4. Relieve rashes and itches. Rub the peel over bug bites, poison ivy rashes or psoriasis patches to reduce itchiness and promote healing.

5. Shine houseplants. Wipe dust and dirt off the leaves of houseplants with the inside of a banana peel.

6. Polish silverware. Blend a banana peel with water and use on your silver with a soft cloth.

7. Deter aphids. Bury banana peels around your garden to scare away these pests.

8. Polish leather. Rub the pithy side of the peel on leather jackets and furniture, then buff with a soft cloth.

9. Whiten teeth. Rub a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every time you brush to let the manganese, magnesium and potassium helps whiten the enamel.

10. Treat bruises and scrapes. Potassium in the banana peels helps with the healing process when rubbed on a wound.

11. Fertilize tomato plants. Wrap a banana peel around your tomato starts so they can absorb nutrients from it throughout the season.

12. Attract butterflies and birds. Put peels from overripe bananas on a raised platform and watch the lovelies flock to the sweetness. Beware that bees and wasps may be attracted as well.

13. Remove warts. Tape a piece of banana peel to the wart overnight for about a week and the potassium will eliminate the outbreak and prevent its return.

14. Work out splinters. Tape a piece of banana peel on top of a splinter and its natural enzymes will shift the splinter and make it easier to remove.

15. Improve compost. Banana peels break down quickly and add lots of nutrients to the soil.

16. Boost indoor plant water. Soak a banana peel in a large jar of water, then combine one part of the resulting banana peel water with five parts of regular water in a watering can to fertilize indoor plants.

17. Make vinegar. Use the sour flavor of banana-peel vinegar on salads, to flavor water and tea, or in any recipe that calls for vinegar. Get instructions here.

18. Treat acne. Scrub blemishes for 10 minutes with a ripe banana peel. Leave the residue on your face for as long as possible before washing off before bed. Repeat daily until acne is cleared up.

Ellen Sturm Niz is an editor and writer working, parenting, and living in New York City. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+.

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