By Patrice Frantz
Long known to be a lifesaver in the kitchen, the venerable crock pot has broadened its résumé with household duties that have little or nothing to do with food. A basic crock pot is all that’s needed, and an inexpensive one can be purchased and dedicated to non-food use. Yard and garage sales are a great resource for used crock pots as well.
The crock pot offers a great alternative to chemical strippers. Home improvement and restoration projects often yield hinges and latches sporting old paint that needs to go. Hard to believe that just water and a drop or two of dish detergent can safely remove latex and oil-based paint from hardware, but they can if you use a crock pot.
Place the dirty hardware in a crock pot of water and add just a few drops of dish detergent. Set the crock pot on a low or medium setting and let it “cook” overnight with the lid on. In the morning, remove the hardware with tongs. The paint should be peeling right off. If necessary, use a soft brush or a cloth to remove any remaining residue. Now your hardware is clean and ready for a new life.
Clearing the Air
If you’ve got a room that smells stale or musty or your pet seems to be creating an overwhelming fragrance in your home, you can use your crock pot to zap that stink out of the air. Fill the crock pot half-full with water and add 1/4 cup of baking soda. Remove the lid and set the pot on low for a few hours. The baking soda will neutralize the offending scent and the air in your home will be fresh like springtime.
Now that your air is fresh and clean, make it smell it lovely and inviting. Using your own creativity and your crock pot, make a fragrant potpourri. Combine spices, fruit, flowers, herbs or whatever else from nature’s bounty that you enjoy with water and let it simmer in your crock pot. Develop your own special blends.
If you’re looking for a way to get some humidity into your home, turn to your crock pot. Whether it be a child with a stuffy nose or dry air issues in the house, a crock pot can save the day. Fill the pot between half and 3/4 with water, put the lid on, and set on high. After a while, take the lid off and let the steam fill the air.
Colors to Dye For
By partnering your crock pot with drink mixes, you can put color into lots of projects. Using packets of non-sweetened drink powder such as Kool-Aid for the hue, you can dye a number of things from Easter eggs to yarn. Think about the fun bright colors in the drink aisle of your grocery store. Methods vary depending on the project, but there are many tutorials online that can instruct and inspire.
After a long day of working in the garden or doing a thorough spring cleaning, your friend, the crock pot, can help ease your sore and tired muscles. Roll up a few hand towels and place them in the pot. Pour enough water into the pot just to moisten the towels, not soak them. About 2 cups should do the trick. Put the lid back on and set the crock pot to its low setting.
After a few hours, take the towels out with tongs and shake them slightly. Let them cool a bit so you don’t burn your skin, and place the warm towels on your aching back or neck. If you’ve got the energy, you can even add some wonderful smelling oils and turn this trick into a facial treatment!
You can try these helpful and fun ideas or come up with some of your own. But remember that hot water and steam can cause injury, so use caution and always supervise children when using a crock pot.
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