Lots of people keep a stash of cotton balls in their medicine cabinets. These little, soft puffballs are wonderful hygienic tools, but there's more to cotton balls than meets the eye. We all know cotton balls are great for applying makeup and ointments, but did you know you can use them to start a campfire or grow beans? It's true. There's a wide array of cost-effective solutions you can use cotton balls for.
Check out these 10 clever alternative uses for cotton balls.
1. Campfire Starters
Who needs flint and steel when you have cotton balls? Next time you go camping, bring some cotton balls and petroleum jelly. A cotton ball slathered in jelly will catch fire in a flash and will burn for about five minutes, making it the perfect little fire starter. The Outdoor Gear Review has a great guide on how to make these.
2. Ant Bait
A Good Tired
Ants - these obnoxious pests are everywhere. Take back your home and battle these tiny invaders with this nifty cotton ball bait trap.
Create your bait using two cups of hot water, half a cup of sugar, and one-and-a-half tablespoons of borax. Once the sugar and borax have dissolved in the water, soak your cotton balls in the mixture. Place the cotton balls onto some scraps of tin foil and place them at strategic locations around infested areas. The ants will come for the sugar, but they won't be able to detect the borax until it's too late. Bye bye, ants!
3. Paint Tester
The Dominion Project
Are you the artsy type? Do you have a hard time keeping your different paints in order? Using a little rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls, you can determine if your paint is made of oil or latex. Latex paint will rub off onto the cotton ball, but oil based paint will not. The Dominion Project has a step-by-step guide to this crafty test.
4. Compact Saver
Miss Natty's Beauty Diary
Air travel has a way of wreaking havoc on our toiletries. From shampoo bottle explosions to spilt makeup, planes can be a real pain. Travel with peace of mind with this quick tip on how to secure your expensive powdered makeup. Simply place a cotton ball or pad over your compact and close it shut. This will keep the contents safe and orderly.
5. Nail Polish Remover Travel Kit
Quick And Dirty Tips
Air travel restrictions make traveling with a bottle of nail polish remover impossible. Travel sized options are not common, but you can make your own. Fill up an old pill container with cotton balls. Pour some of the liquid onto the cotton balls and you have nail polish remover on the go!
Verbena Simple Living
Things smelling a little … funky? Freshen up any room, closet, car, bag or whatever with this DIY deodorizer. Drip one tbsp of vanilla extract along with cinnamon, nutmeg, or another spice of your choosing onto a cotton ball. Put your new aromatic ball into a tea filter bag and tie it off with some string. This will add a pleasant scent to any stinky situation.
7. Bean Garden
The Imagination Tree
Grow beans above ground with a jar and some cotton balls. Just fill up a mason jar with damp cotton balls and place a bean along the side of the jar. Now, you can watch your green veggie grow before your very eyes! Kids will especially love this project. Check out The Imagination Tree for more details.
8. Vacuum Air Freshener
Young Living Independent Distributor
We already showed you how to make a portable deodorizer, but you can also use your vacuum to freshen up your home. By placing a cotton ball soaked in essential oils, such as lemongrass or lavender, into your vacuum bag, you can fill your house with a soothing scent. Now you can clean your carpet and the air in one move!
9. Mold Blaster
The Craft Patch
Mold is not attractive, and if left unchecked, can be disastrous to your health. Mold thrives in damp places like bathrooms. Blast away mold and soap scrum from grout with some bleach and some cotton balls. Place the soaked cotton balls over the problem sites and let them work their magic overnight. By morning, your grout will be looking like new.
10. Glove Garden
Here's another "handy" alternative garden. Grab a plastic glove and place a damp cotton ball into each fingertip. Add three to four seeds to each cotton ball and cover them up with another damp cotton ball. Beans, carrots, tomatoes, just about any plant will work. In less than a week, you'll see the seeds start to sprout. This is a fantastic project to do with little kids at home or at school. For more details, check out this tutorial by Dad Logic.
Be sure to SHARE these nifty tips and tricks with your friends and family.