Since starting my DIY journey, I’ve found some things in my pantry that I don’t want to use anymore. I don’t want to just dump then, because there must be some use for them.
Hydrogenated shortening is one of these items I won’t eat, but need to use up. I’ve found other solid oils that work as well, or even better, that are much more healthy. But how do I get rid of the shortening that I have? I have several ideas…
Ways to Use Shortening Without Having to Eat It
As odd as it may seem, shortening makes a great candle. (Follow the steps below, or see an entire tutorial on how to Make Your Own Natural Candles.)
- Thoroughly clean and dry a pint jar.
- Make a wick with a length of cotton cording and a washer. Tie the washer onto one end and place in the jar.
- Fill the jar with melted shortening, leaving about ½ inch at the top.
- Wind the end of the cord around a pencil and guide to the center of the jar. Let cool completely. Unwind the cord and snip off about a half to a quarter inch long.
These make great emergency candles because they will burn for a long time. Shortening will eventually go rancid. Keep these candles in the refrigerator or freezer to make them last longer.
Get Gum Out of Hair
We all know peanut butter works to get gum out of hair and carpet, but did you know that shortening will work just as well? Apply a generous amount, coating the gum well. Leave for an hour or so. You should be able to remove the gum easily after this time.
Cleaning Sap or Other Sticky Residue from Skin
I was with a group of people that cut up a jackfruit once. (If you’ve never done it, it’s an experience!) Inside the spiky, foul smelling, thick coated exterior is a wonderful treat. You need to slice through the rind, which has a sticky, latex-like sap that gets on everything. We used shortening on our hands and arms to make this sticky cleanup a snap.
Caring for Garden Tools
Apply a layer of shortening to your garden tools and wipe off. Not only will this remove some of the rust, but it will prevent more from forming. Be sure to remove as much as you can so that rancidity isn’t a problem.
Greasing Candle Molds
Making your own candles is fun, but sometimes the process is frustrating when they won’t come out of the mold. Use a thin coating of shortening on candle molds and your candles will slip right out. Any excess can be wiped right off.
Deterring Ants from Hummingbird Feeders
Anyone who feeds hummingbirds has had their share of ants. Apply a generous coating to a short length on the feeder line and the ants won’t walk across it. Since it’s usually warm when feeding the hummers, the shortening may melt or become rancid. Wipe off and reapply once a week.
Spread a bit of shortening on a tough-to-remove gasket and let it sit for a half hour or so. The gasket should be soft enough to remove after that time. If only part of it comes off, repeat the process.
This works in the same manner as the gasket removal. Apply a liberal amount over the label and wait a while. The label should come off easily.
Loosen Rusted Nuts
I’ve had my share of rusted nuts that are just too hard to budge. Apply a coating of shortening to the nut and leave overnight. The oils will penetrate the rust making it easier to remove.
I have to wear solid top shoes at work and keeping them clean can be a chore. Apply a thin coating of shortening and buff the remainder off. This leaves shoes shiny and clean!
What is your favorite alternative use for shortening? Share with us in the comments section!