Maybe it was the recent Crisco printable that helped me build my stockpile of shortening. Or maybe it was the way Jessica Chastain's character in The Help responded in awe to learning about the myriad of ways Crisco could be used that got me thinking about its application in my own home. Either way, here are some alternative uses for Crisco that will have you using this product for more than just frying and baking:

 

1. Use on squeaky hinges

Have an annoying door that rubs or a cabinet that squeaks? All out of WD-40 because you were using it on so many other things? Lightly apply a layer of Crisco to the metal hinge, and work it back and forth by opening and closing the door until the noise disappears.

2. Kiss those cockroaches goodbye

Make a paste of equal parts Crisco and Borax. Apply it to flat items from your recycle box, like plastic lids, cardboard squares, or shallow aluminum tins. Place in an area where annoying critters have taken up residence (garage, under the sink, etc.). This cheap, non-toxic alternative to expensive sprays and unsafe chemicals will make them disappear in no time.

3. Use it to lube a lock

If you have to maneuver a key back and forth in a lock to get it to open, it may be time to clean it. Place a little Crisco on the key, and pull it back and forth a few times in the lock. The friction should cause some Crisco to deposit inside the lock, lubing it and forcing any gunk that's inside to slide away. Just wipe the excess off your key before placing it back in your purse or pocket.

4. Make a "magic" letter bag

Take a cue from my child's preschool teacher, who struggles to get kids to learn to write upper and lowercase letters: make a cheap version of a Magna Doodle board using Crisco and a zip-top bag. Add 1/3-1/2 cup of Crisco to a zip-top bag (the measurement doesn't have to be exact) and press it closed. Add some duct or mailing tape to the top of the bag so that it can't be reopened. Place the bag on a flat surface, working the Crisco into an even layer. Kids can then use their fingers to "write" and erase letters of the alphabet one by one (note: hair gel can also be substituted and works well for this low-cost activity).

5. Use it on a Slip 'N Slide

Is the kids' Slip 'N Slide a little worse for wear this season? Give them a handful of Crisco and let them go to town adding some "slide" back into their toy. Rub it into any worn spots of all over the middle for a big boost of speed (and fun!) sliding.

6. Shine those headlights

When bugs and debris cloud your car's headlights, spread some Crisco on the outside, let it sit for a minute, then wipe away the gunk with an old cloth. Do the same on your car's license plates — it removes all kinds of messy buildup with ease.

7. Use it to grease a pan

Instead of a costly spray oil like Pam, use what your grandmother used when she needed to grease a baking sheet: Crisco. Apply a thin layer with a repurposed butter wrapper or piece of Saran wrap. Dust lightly with flour. Whether baking brownies in a glass pan, preparing a Bundt cake pan, or dropping cookies onto a flat sheet, a canister of Crisco will stretch much further than an aerosol spray can.

8. Use it to remove gum, wax, and more from hair

Whether it's a wad of chewing gum in bangs, a lollipop stuck to the back of a ponytail, or wax on an adult from a facial hair removal attempt gone wrong (all actual occurrences in my home!), a bit of Crisco worked into hair can remove just about anything. Just finish the job with a good shampooing afterwards.

9. Make a survivalist candle

In a blackout, a long-burning candle is essential. Don't have one? Don't panic. You can make one from—you guessed it—a canister of Crisco! Simply add a taper candle (or actual wick, if you happen to have one) into the middle of the canister, light, and enjoy a candle that will last 45 days when burned for eight hours a day. Now that's a wonderful DIY survivalist staple! Note: be cautious of lighting the flame too near the cardboard outside, as that can catch on fire and burn.

10. Use it on dry skin

Crisco provides an easy way to get rid of dry patches of skin on problem areas like elbows, cuticles and heals. Rub a generous amount (maybe it's the foodie in me, but I love using butter-flavored Crisco for the smell) into the dry skin at night, and cover with a cloth (socks for feet, cotton gloves for hands, and an old Ace bandage around a joint like elbows or knees). In the morning, your skin will be smooth! Wipe away any excess or wash gently with soap and water to remove, and have clean, super-soft skin.

11. Tame an unruly brow

Have a couple of eyebrow hairs that won't stay down? Add a fine swab of Crisco to the hair and brush it back into place with an old, soft toothbrush. Voila! No more angry brow!

 

With your brow tamed, your skin soft, and your door jambs now noiseless, you can enjoy the many ways a simple 48-ounce canister of a kitchen staple has been so incredibly useful around your home.