Out of the Frying Pan: 24 Unusual Uses for Butter

by Jason Topp on 29 February 2012 14 comments
Photo: jolieodell

Butter, generally speaking, makes life better. It enhances the flavor of many of our favorite foods, acts as a delicious condiment, and is a staple in most desserts. But food isn’t the only use for the amazing dairy product. Take a look at these unusual uses for butter. (See also: More Uses for Powdered Milk Than You Ever Imagined)

1. Aid in Swallowing Pills

No need to worry if you’re one of those people who has a hard time swallowing vitamins and other pills. Just coat the pill with a little butter, take a big gulp of water, and let that tablet slide right down!

2. Nourish Dry or Brittle Nails

If you suffer from dry or brittle nails, then grab a stick of butter, rub a dab onto each cuticle, don some cotton gloves overnight, and voila! The proteins from the butter help to strengthen the nails and prevent cracking.

3. Slice Through Sticky Foods

Don’t you hate when you cut through a pan of brownies and by the third pass, the knife is caked with brownie scraps that make it nearly impossible to continue? Next time, coat your knife with butter first and then try cutting. Your knife will slice through pies, brownies, and other sticky foods.

4. Remove Sticky Residues

Have you ever gotten tree sap on a car before? It can be a pain to remove. Apply butter to the sap and rub with a soft cloth until it’s gone. You can also help remove glue from your hands by first applying butter before washing too.

5. Grease a Creaky Door

Noisy doors can be annoying. With over 2,000 uses for WD-40, you might find yourself fresh out of a can. No need for concern — just open up a stick of butter and generously rub it onto the hinges. Squeaky door be gone!

6. Prevent Moldy Cheese

If you don’t use all of your hard cheese in one sitting, it’s tempting to throw it in the fridge with a little baggie on it and call it good. Too often the cheese will begin to mold rather quickly. Rub a little butter on the exposed portion of the cheese, and it will form a tight seal that prevents the mold from growing.

7. Reduce Snow Shoveling Time

According to this article from Yahoo!, if you rub ¼ cup of butter on a snow shovel, you will prevent the snow from sticking to the shovel. Thus you'll avoid the annoyance of having to always smack your shovel on the ground, which in theory reduces shoveling time.

8. Loosen a Stubborn Ring

Ever get a ring stuck on your finger? Instead of panicking, run to the fridge and grab the butter. Rub it liberally onto your finger, which should allow the ring to slip right off.

9. Soften Your Hands

The proteins and fats in butter act as a natural moisturizer. In the event you run out of real moisturizer, rub a little butter all over your hands (as long as you don’t mind smelling like popcorn all day).

10. Remove Gum From Hair

If you have kids, then chances are you have done battle with bubble gum — either in the carpet or your child’s hair. Rub butter all over the gummed hair and allow it to absorb. The gum should slide out without a fight.

11. Obtain a Close Shave

If you ran out of shaving cream and don’t want to use soap, which can often dry out skin, try butter! Since butter is a great moisturizer, it can be a great shaving cream substitute since it won’t dry your skin and will leave you feeling soft and smooth.

12. Remove Ink From Plastic

If you’ve ever accidentally marked up plastic with an ink pen or have had kids deface their Barbie dolls with Dad’s new ballpoint, then grab the butter and rub it generously onto the plastic. Let it soak in for a bit. After that, the ink stains should wipe away easily.

13. Prevent Boil-Overs

Cooking pasta is fun, but if you don’t keep your eye on the boiling noodles at all times, you could wind up with a boil-over and a mess to clean up. To prevent the noodles from erupting over the sides, put a pat or two of butter into the pot.

14. Condition Your Hair

Do you suffer from dry hair? Is your conditioner just not cutting it? Try saturating your hair with a little butter. The natural fats and proteins will help give a healthy shine to your hair and leave it feeling smooth.

15. Relieve Bad Rashes

If you’ve got a nasty rash, you may want to try coating it with butter a couple times a day. According to this article, you should wrap your rash in a bandage after the second coating, and after a few days you’ll be all set.

16. Shine Up Your Leather

Are you looking to get your softball mitt into pre-season shape? Try rubbing the glove with a little butter to loosen up the fibers and give the old glove a nice shine. This trick can work on leather belts and shoes too.

17. Preserve Half-Used Onions

The other day I cut onion slices to throw on the grill. I only used half. Normally I would put a half-used onion into a baggie and placed it in the fridge knowing that in a day or two my poor onion would be shriveled and dehydrated. Not so anymore. Simply spread a bit of butter onto your onion and wrap it in foil to keep your onion fresher longer.

18. Untangle a Knotted Necklace

If a tangled necklace is giving you fits, rub a little butter onto the entwined area and use a fork or other small pointed item to work out the kink.

19. Remove Watermarks From Wood

If you have condensation rings on your wood desk or other furniture, you can apply about a tablespoon of butter to the water mark and rub it into the wood. Allow it to sit overnight and wipe off the excess in the morning. The butter replaces lost moisture and restores the wood.

20. Massage Your Feet

If you need to appease those “barking dogs,” then grab a half stick of butter and apply a good portion to your feet. According to Reader’s Digest, if you wrap your feet in a warm, damp towel after you baste them in butter, they'll feel rejuvenated.

21. Revitalize an Old Candle

If you’ve ever pulled out an old candle from storage, you’ll notice a white residue on it. If you take a bit of butter and rub the candle vigorously, you’ll begin to dislodge the pale film and the butter will coat the candle to restore a nice glossy luster.

22. Distract Your Cat From Guests

If your cat gets a little anxious when people are around, then distract it with a pat of butter. Rub a small amount on the top of your kitty’s paw and your feline will be more consumed with cleaning her paws than dealing with visitors.

23. Bring Out Your Artistic Side

For those who are much less practical and much more creative, you can always attempt a butter sculpture! Take a look at some of these amazing butter sculpture creations.

24. Accelerate a Heart Attack

As if we don’t have enough possibilities to increase our health risks, you could always try deep fried butter! Not only can you deep fry your Twinkies or your Oreos, now you can deep fry your butter for a “delicious” snack!

What other uses for butter have you tried?

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Guest's picture
Rebecca ON

Butter is also great for getting stains out of vinyl and similar plastics. You just put a blob of it on the stain and leave on a sunny window sill. It might take a few applications but it seems to work! I came across this tip when I found one of my childhood toys had aan inky stain on it and it worked wonders.

Jason Topp's picture

Very cool! Don't be afraid to put on a few "coats"! :)

Guest's picture

I can vouch for the vinyl trick, it definitely helped me out when I got a spot a Decemberists record!

Guest's picture
Megan

When we bought my engagement ring, the jeweler said that a lot of people use butter to remove stubbord rings, but it can cloud up the stone, and possibly the metal as well.

He said a better way to remove a stuck ring is to use Windex. The ring will slide right off, and it'll even clean the stone.

Jason Topp's picture

Thanks Megan, that makes a lot of sense!

Guest's picture

It is good with warm milk for a laxative. It could also be put on cold sores to soften them and splinters to help remove them.

Guest's picture
Liz

Some great tips. #22 though - I have a severely lactose-intolerant cat.... that would be really bad news, haha

Guest's picture

Although I'll admit that the title of this piece first drew me in through some dime association with the brandot film, Last Tango in Paris, I soon found myself thoroughly impressed by the manifold uses of better. It seems a shame to me that something so ubiqituous and versatile would be condemned for its one bad attribute. I plan on printing this blog off and keeping it on hand for the purpose of easy referencing.

Guest's picture

Wow I love butter but I don't think i will be putting it in my hair anytime soon! :) some of the ideas listed are good ones, I might in fact use it to cut some of the candy I make (well put it on the knife to aid in cutting it! Thanks for the list!

Jason Topp's picture

Thanks for the comment. Yeah, you've got to be brave to start conditioning your hair with butter! Let us know how it goes with cutting candy!

Guest's picture

This is a great article. Not sure if I am going to use butter this way, but it's good to know I can!

Guest's picture
Ginger

Good article, but you can do all this and more with other oils that won't go rancid. It's the oil in butter that works all these miracles, but the dairy portion of the butter can cause you more problems.

Try veggie, olive, coconut, sunflower seed, etc. oils instead. They're also much cheaper. For any of the skin applications, jojoba oil is the best one to use.

Hope this helps!

Guest's picture
ladyh

It will work to soothe chapped and windburned lips if you have nothing else.

Guest's picture
Guest

Make sure you deep fry your butter in hot melted butter and not unsaturated fat/vegetable oil, otherwise you will cause major health problems.