15 Unexpected Uses for Peanut Butter

by Paul Michael on 10 December 2013 1 comment

As a Brit, I was not a big eater of peanut butter growing up. To be honest, I rarely ate it in college or beyond either. Then I came to America, where peanut butter is as common in the kitchen as milk, eggs, and flour. And now, I'm a regular eater of PB&Js. (See also: 11 Ways to Update Your PB&J)

But when you're not putting peanut butter in a sandwich, what else can you do with it? I've been doing a little digging, and found 15 unusual uses for this everyday household snack. Some of them surprised even me.

1. Peanut Butter Popcorn

I'm not a huge fan of plain popcorn, but throw some flavor in there and I'm a happy camper. First, bring a ½ cup each of sugar and honey to a boil in a pan, stirring constantly. Let it get a darker color, around 3-4 mins, then stir in ½ cup of smooth peanut butter and a teaspoon of salt. Put your popcorn on a baking tray, pour the mixture all over it, and toss it around until covered. Once cooled, it becomes a delicious snack. If you like more crunch, use crunchy peanut butter instead. (See also: Yummy Homemade Popcorn)

2. Shaving Cream

This is not a permanent replacement, but a good solution when you're all out of shaving cream. Spread a thin layer of smooth peanut butter on your face or legs and shave as usual. The natural oils in peanut butter help moisturize the skin, too.

3. Leather Cleaner

Once again, the natural oils in peanut butter come to the rescue. Obviously this only works with the smooth or creamy varieties, but it really does work. Just use a small amount on a soft cloth, and rub it in using a circular motion. You can also use it on your leather shoes, purses, and more.

4. Pill Disguiser

Ever tried giving a pill to a fussy kid, or an equally fussy pet? It's a job Superman would have trouble accomplishing. But a little peanut butter can hide the pill, and the taste, very easily. They may even want a little more.

5. Gum Remover

Oh, the annoyance of treading gum into your carpet. It seems like the worst thing you could do is pile peanut butter on top of that, but it actually does work. There is a method to this madness though. First, grab you hair dryer and heat up the gum, then rub with a plastic bag. Most of the goop should come out, but it won't get it all. Apply a small dab of peanut butter onto the remaining gum, and let is sit for 5-10 minutes. Wipe it away with a damp cloth, and finish with warm water and dish soap, or your carpet shampooer if you have one. Job done. It also works on hair and clothing. (See also: 6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers)

6. Mouse and Rat Bait

The cartoons have been lying to you. Cheese just doesn't do it for mice and rats. But stick a big blob of peanut butter in the mouse trap (humane if possible) and they'll pile in like shoppers on Black Friday. (See also: Mouse Traps That Work)

7. Odor Eliminator

Fish. It's delicious, it's healthy, but boy, it can really leave a funky smell in your pans. After you've cooked fish, put a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter in the pan and swirl it around. It will soak up the fishiness for you. (See also: Delicious and Affordable Ways to prepare White Fish)

8. Glue Remover

We've all been in that sticky situation, when we get more super glue on our hands and work surfaces than the object we're trying to fix. One way to remove the glue, without using harsh solvents and chemicals, is to rub peanut butter into your hands or the affected surfaces. For really bad gluey fingers, hold them in the whole jar for several minutes (then throw it away, obviously). Once again, it's those precious oils that loosen the glue.

9. Windshield Cleaner

After a long drive you'll have enough bugs on your windshield to keep a spider happy for months. Sadly, they don't just clean right off. They stick. That's when you grab your jar of peanut butter and rub it into the affected spots. Let it sit for 5-10 mins, then spray with your hose. The windshield is now clear.

10. Wood Scratch Repairer

When you have those unsightly scratches on your wooden furniture, banisters or anything else, you can use peanut butter to make them fade or even disappear. Just rub some smooth peanut butter into the scratch and let it soak for 30 minutes to one hour. Then rub it away with a clean cloth and your scratch will be almost unnoticeable. (See also: Simple Tips to Refinish Wood Furniture)

11. Bird Feeder

You can make your own bird feeders just in time for winter, and it's really easy. Just tie a string to a pinecone, then cover it in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Now you can hang this to a tree or from your porch and make the birds pretty happy.

12. Squeak Eliminator

Do you have squeaky door hinges, or other creaking objects that could use some lubrication? Well, if you don't have a can of oil handy, use the natural oils in peanut butter. A little dab on the offending squeaker will keep it quiet for a while.

13. Butter Substitute

If you're all out of butter, and the recipe can handle the switch, use the same amount of smooth peanut butter instead. This is especially useful when you're cooking on camping trips, when peanut butter is usually more readily available than regular butter. It also adds a nice nutty flavor as well.

14. Ice-Cream Cone Sealant

When you're making an ice-cream cone, put a big blob of peanut butter, chunky or smooth, into the bottom of the cone. Then add your ice cream as usual. Now, the melting ice-cream won't make the cone soggy or leaky, and you'll have a delicious extra treat when you reach the bottom. (See also: Best Ice Cream Makers)

15. Roach Motel

Bugs check in, but they don't check out. After you've used peanut butter for all the methods listed above, you may not have much left in the jar. Don't throw it away yet. Remove the top, lay it on its side and place it where you may have roaches, spiders, or other bugs. They are attracted to the peanut butter, but it's a fatal attraction, as the sticky peanut butter easily holds them inside the jar. When it's full, screw the lid back on and dispose of it.

Do you have any unusual uses for peanut butter? Share them with us in comments!

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Lisa Denny

This is a spin off of #13. Whenever I cook oatmeal I melt in a big spoonful of peanut butter along with the milk and sugar. Addictive stuff!