Although oatmeal is a healthy and tasty breakfast choice, it doesn’t last forever. And I don’t want an all-you-can-eat oatmeal cookie habit to develop in our home! Alas, my family doesn’t always get around to eating the open containers in the pantry. Rather than throwing out stale oatmeal, I have found a variety of creative ways to use it to save money and time. And it’s (mostly) lump-free!
Other Uses for Oatmeal
- Make Your Own Dry Shampoo. I must confess I don’t have time to wash my hair every morning. Some mornings are just too chaotic, with my husband running around the house looking for his lost work shoe and my daughter shouting that she doesn’t have enough marshmallows in her Lucky Charms! My quick fix? Oatmeal! I just mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup plain oatmeal. I sprinkle the mixture onto the roots of my hair and rub it in with my fingertips. After allowing it to absorb any oil for a few minutes I brush it out and style as normal. A bottle of dry shampoo can cost up to $20, so this trick saves me money and time, using ingredients that I already have in my pantry.
- Odor Absorber. In addition to absorbing liquid, oatmeal is also great at absorbing odors. To prevent everything in the fridge from smelling like last night’s lasagna, I stick a small, open container of oatmeal in the back of the refrigerator. Try sprinkling a thin layer of oatmeal wherever you find unpleasant odors, such as the bottom of a trashcan, an ashtray, or a litter box.
- Itch Rescue. Oatmeal soothes dry skin and itchy rashes. I discovered its healing properties last summer after an unfortunate encounter with poison ivy. Oatmeal works by absorbing the oils that cause poison ivy to spread and itch. Boil the oatmeal until it is thicker than an edible consistency. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, then spread the paste onto the skin and cover it in plastic wrap. Yes, you may look like a weird plastic mummy, but the wrap will keep the oatmeal from flaking off and making a mess! Unwrap and rinse after the oatmeal completely dries.
- Kid’s Toy. My four-year-old daughter loves to play with Play-Doh. But she is notorious for leaving the lids off and allowing the stuff to dry out. I found that oatmeal, when mixed with a little bit of water and food coloring, works just as well as Play-Doh. It has the same consistency and stays moist for several hours! It’s also edible, making it a nice toy for little ones who are just learning how to craft.
- Spill Rescue. My husband likes to change the oil in our car by himself. Unfortunately he tends to make a mess every time he does it! Oatmeal cleans up oily spills. All I have to do is cover the spill completely with a few handfuls of oatmeal. After allowing it to sit and soak up the spill for about 30 minutes, I can just sweep the mess away.
- DIY Scrub. To smooth out rough skin on my body and face, I make my own scrub out of oatmeal by grinding up two or three tablespoons of oats in my food processor. After the oatmeal turns grainy, add one or two teaspoons of baking soda and enough water to turn it into a paste. Smooth the scrub onto the skin and rub gently in a circular motion. After about 20 minutes, rinse off the paste with cool water.
- Flour Substitute. There’s nothing worse than running out of flour while baking…especially if I’ve already poured most of the ingredients into a mixing bowl! My solution? Grind up oatmeal in the food processor and use it in place of flour. Not only does it taste similar, it has fewer calories and twice the fiber as regular flour.
- Doggy Itch Remedy. If your furry pal suffers from itchy skin and hair problems, consider mixing warm water with equal parts oatmeal. Apply the mixture in a thin layer over your dog’s itchy skin, rubbing gently in circular motions. Cover or wrap the area in aluminum foil, and attempt to keep your dog still as it dries. Rinse after about 10 minutes.
This is a guest post by Rose from Washington
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