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9 Reasons Why Flour Is Even More Useful Than You Thought

Uses For Flour - collage: bag of Gold Medal Flour with a hairbrush and makeup brush in front of it, hand wiping down the front of a refrigerator, spooning flour over half an avocado in a bowl full of flour.

Clever Uses For Flour (Even Old Or Expired Flour!)

Flour is one of the most useful items in any cook’s arsenal. You already know you can use it to make delicious breads or desserts and thicken creamy sauces, but what you might not know is that there are surprising number of ways you can use flour outside of the kitchen too.

As strange as it might sound, it’s true! And you’ll see them for yourself in today’s post, where I’ll be sharing 9 of the most surprising uses for flour all around your home.

(And if you have a favorite use for flour that isn’t listed in this post, I’d love to hear about it in the comments at the bottom of this post!)

9 Surprising Household Uses For Flour

Surprising Uses For Flour - thin trail of flour on a window sill to repel ants

1. Repel Ants

If you spot ants around the house, sprinkle a line of flour in the area to help keep them at bay. Ants don’t like the taste or powdery feel of flour, so they’ll try to avoid it if they can!

Related: 31 Natural Pest Control Methods

Surprising Uses For Flour- playing cards in a ziplock bag with flour.

2. Clean Playing Cards

If you have a deck of cards that has seen better days, you can use flour to freshen them up! Just toss your cards into a ziplock bag with a handful of flour and shake well.

After shaking, remove the cards from the bag and wipe them off with a clean, dry cloth. The flour will help to absorb moisture, oily residues, and grime, and after you wipe them clean, your cards will be looking much better!

Related: These 12 Fun Party Games Are Guaranteed To Make You LOL

Surprising Uses For Flour - mixing flour and honey to fight acne

3. Fight Acne

If you need to zap a zit fast, try making a paste from honey mixed with a bit of flour and dab it onto the blemish. Cover the paste with a bandaid and leave it overnight to give the flour and honey time to work their magic.

In the morning, rinse the area clean. The blemish should be noticeably smaller, thanks to the healing properties of honey and the drying action of the flour!

Related: Natural DIY Acne Treatments

Surprising Uses For Flour - collage: woman's hand spooning a bit of flour onto a cloth, woman's hand using the flour and cloth to polish a stainless steel refrigerator

4. Shine Stainless Steel

After wiping down your stainless steel appliances, you can use a bit of flour to really make them sparkle! Just sprinkle a bit of flour onto a clean, dry cloth, then use it to buff your stainless steel until it shines.

Related: The Best Way To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances And More

Surprising Uses For Flour - ingredients for copper cleaner: salt, vinegar, and flour

5. Clean Copper

Did you know you can use flour, salt, and a bit of white vinegar to clean copper items like pots and pans? Just mix up equal parts of flour and salt in a small bowl, then stir in just enough vinegar to form a paste.

Spread the paste onto a brass or copper surface and allow it to sit until the paste dries. Then rinse the paste off with warm water, and voila—clean and shiny copper!

Surprising Uses For Flour- bag of flour with a hairbrush and a makeup brush in front of it for dry shampoo

6. Dry Shampoo

If you find yourself out of your favorite dry shampoo, you can use flour as a substitute to absorb excess oils until you can get to the store! (You’ll want to sift the flour before putting it in your hair, because it makes it much easier to apply evenly.)

Apply sifted flour to the roots of your hair using a fluffy makeup brush. Let the flour sit for about 30 minutes, then brush or shake out the excess flour (preferably while standing in your tub or shower so you don’t make a mess of your bathroom.)

The flour will help to absorb oily residue, and your hair will look much fresher afterwards!

Related: 9 Easy Ways To Have Better “Second Day Hair”

Surprising Uses For Flour - collage: bottle of baby oil next to a bowl of flour with baby oil being poured into it from a cup, hands making cloud dough from baby oil and flour for kids to play with

7. Cloud Dough

Flour isn’t all practical—it can be fun too! You can use flour and a bit of baby oil to make “cloud dough,” a moldable substance that kids love to play with.

To make a batch of cloud dough, combine 8 cups of flour with 1 cup of baby oil in a large bowl and mix well. It feels a lot like flour, but you can mold it into whatever shape you like!

Related: How To Play The Flour Game – Silliness Guaranteed!

Surprising Uses For Flour - half an avocado in a dish of flour with more flour being spooned over it

8. Ripen Avocados

If you have an avocado that’s a bit less ripe than you’d like it to be, you can use flour to help speed up the ripening process. Place your avocado in a paper bag, cover it in flour, then leave the bag out on your countertop for 24 hours or so. After the wait, your avocado should be ready to use!

Surprising Uses For Flour - woman's hands using flour and water paste on a paintbrush to glue paper hearts

9. Make Glue

You can use flour and water to make a simple glue substitute if you find yourself in a bind. (Just keep in mind that flour-based glue is not very strong and definitely not permanent, but it works fine for arts and crafts projects!)

To make it, just combine equal amounts of flour and water in a bowl, then mix until smooth. (It should be about the same consistency as pancake batter.)

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and set it on your stovetop over medium heat. Stir constantly until it comes to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool. Transfer the finished glue to an airtight container before using.

Related: Make Your Own Customized Piñatas!

Looking For More Posts Like This?

Do you use flour in any unconventional ways at home?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Great ideas.,I’ll have to tell my folks the avocado one. My dad sometimes buys a few when they’re at good prices . We sometimes have to wait for them to be ready to use.

  • Hi Jillee, I used your peroxide, dawn mixture for stains. I had a new top that was never worn. I noticed a yellow spot on the bottom of my top. I sprayed it with your mixture and now I have more yellow spots from that. How can I remove the spots without ruining my brand new shirt?
    Thank you,
    Barbara

  • Fun and informative post Jillee! When I read about the flour as a dry shampoo, I remembered something! When I was in jr. high, one morning I woke up too late to wash my hair…OMG!…TRAGEDY!! Anyway, my dad told me to take a bit of baby powder and sprinkle in my hair and let sit a bit. And it worked great! So, in a pinch, this works too! My dad always seemed to have nifty little tricks up his sleeve to get me through life in those times when I thought my world had stopped turning!! Miss him… :-)

  • Flour can stop bleeding on your pets clipped too short nails. Use small container, add enough flour to cover bleeding toe, leave in a couple of seconds. Voile! All better, and it wont hurt them to lick off.

  • I was in the trucking business, and owned my own truck for a good part of that time. Consequently, I was always trying to keep the big aluminum wheels and tanks on my truck shiny. Sitting in a truck stop in Fla.one day and polishing on my wheels for lack of anything better to do, another driver walked up and asked me what do I do to get that hard to remove black residue off of the wheels after polishing. I told him I just wear myself out rubbing them with a clean towel. He then went back to his truck and returned with a container of “Magic Chinese Polishing Powder”, sprinkled a bit on my rag, and told me to wipe away. I was shocked when that black residue just wiped right off with next to no effort. That Magic Chinese Polishing Powder was nothing more than plain old white flour.

  • One year when there was a particularly bad infestation of Japanese beetles in our area, I went to pick blackberries at a farm. I saw there was white powder all over the bushes (and berries), causing me much concern as I thought it was sevin dust. I wasn’t about to buy berries coated with that stuff. But when I mentioned it to the owner of the farm, he told me it was not sevin dust, but plain old cheap self-rising flour. He said it keeps the beetles away, and sure enough, there wasn’t a beetle anywhere to be seen, and I took home some beautiful large sweet blackberries! I don’t know if it works for other 6-legged critters, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.

  • This works! Burn first aid. Stick your hand into a bag of flour, or make a dry poultice for another area and wrap it with something for 10 minutes or so. Cools, soothes and starts healing immediately.

  • Not very many people know this little trick but it’s amazing and it works every time. Anyone w/a baby needs to do this just as soon as they come home from the hospital or before would be best so mama can rest. Anyway those little sore bottoms they tend to get that makes them scream wet or dry becuz their so miserable, if ull take a couple of cups of flour and toss it in a skillet and scorch it just as dark as u can without burning. Once it’s good and dark turn it off and let it cool completely before putting in something the put it on baby’s bottom w every diaper change. It is difficult to wipe off between changes butt it is oh so worth ever effort becuz it works so quickly and mamas ears feel so much better as she get a happy baby. I always stored the flour in a bowl and I’d pick up a few travel size baby powders and empty them and put the flour in them much easier way to carry them when u go somewhere. Sandra

  • LOL! I remember my mom telling me I could use I could use “flour water paste”, as we were out of glue, when I was making May Day baskets when I was a very little girl…maybe 5 years old. I picked some flowers and mashed them up with some water. Much to my disappointment I found that”Flower Water Paste” does not work!

  • Hi Jillee,
    I’m Margrith, a Swissborn American who now lives in Catalonia, a country within Spain that’s trying to become independent.
    Your website is absolutely magnificent. I look forward to it every day. Many of your ideas are shared with my radio listeners. My town is a place with around 3,400 people and like to hear things from other countries.
    Continue with your fabulous work. Whenever I have something to share, I will gladly do so.
    Very kind regards,
    Margrith

  • It also works as a sort of styptic pencil-razor cuts, even if you cut your best friend’s toenails (doggie friend) just a little too short and they bleed, flour is the best!!!

    • Actually the flour will make the fire worse. It is extremely flammable and can explode and get into your attic by way of the vent. Baking soda will put out the fire.

      • Salt works great on burner fires I’ve actually used it before just messy cleaning it up but you an vacuum it.

  • Interesting ideas. We almost did the flour game at our last reunion up at the cabin. I think we didn’t do it because my brother in law got sick . I got a kick out of the landlord story. We’ve used the flour and water for paper mache. We used to when family was visiting would do a piñata, and would use this for putting the newspaper on. We will have to try the tips for ants and avocados.

  • Ever burn your hand in the kitchen? Shove your hand into a bag of flour. I’d heard of this but one day I grabbed a cast iron skillet and really burned my hand bad. The flour was sitting right there so I tried it. It seems to pull the heat right out. My hand was none the worse for wear, no blisters or even a red mark.

  • If you drop or splatter some oil on clothing, before washing, just spoon a little flour on the spot(s). Don’t rub in, just let it sit for a couple of hours. Shake clothing out & you will see where the flour has raised the oil. Just wash as usual. Sometimes the spot will disappear even before washing!

    • I wish I had read this earlier! I just folded a load of clothes which contained a white T-shirt of mine. To my dismay, while folding it, I realized (discovered!) that I had this shirt on when we ate tacos a few nights ago and dripped some of the orange grease from the taco meat where most women do…right on top of the boobs! I am sure it is in for good now!

  • Equal parts of flour and water make a wonderful paste/glue for paper mache. I have used this time and time again. Dip the paper in the solution and remove excess, then place on paper artwork being created. Smooth on the paper strip each time. Let dry for several hours.

  • Backyard Game-time with flour! Each grandchild and adult received a bag with cheap flour in it. 3-2-1 and we threw it at each other. Everyone looked great afterwards. Ha!

    THEN we had some backyard WATER games. Which rinsed off MOST of the flour. DO make sure kiddos use the restroom before game, so your house stays relatively flour free. What a great 4th of July we had!

  • I once lost the crown on my tooth while out of town for a wedding. I franctically found a dentist who repaired it just in time for the “I do’s”. He told me I could have made a paste of flour and water which would have held the crown until I got home. My trip would have been far more relaxing had I known that tip!

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