10 Must-Know Ways to Use Banana Peels at Home

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High Angle View Of Banana On Cutting Board
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If you didn't already know that bananas were one of the world's favorite fruits, a quick look at the produce section of your local supermarket would tell you so. Their sweetly aromatic flavor makes them ideal for eating out of hand or baking, and they're one of the few fruits whose peel tells you exactly how ripe they are at any given moment. Bananas don't have seeds or cores so their peels are the only part of the fruit that's commonly wasted, yet they're uncommonly useful around the house.

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Old boots
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Shine Up Leather Surfaces

It might sound crazy at first, but banana peels are also great for cleaning and conditioning leather surfaces. It's logical when you think about it, because the peels are good for your skin and leather is just another kind of skin. It turns out that commercial leather polishes are high in potassium — who knew? — and so are banana peels. Rub the inside of the peel over your scuffed hiking boots, walking shoes or leather sofa, then buff with a soft cloth when you're done to reveal a soft, gentle luster.

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Banana-Peachy Bowl of Fruits
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Trap Those Annoying Fruit Flies

Biology lab humor says, "Time flies like the wind...and fruit flies like bananas!" One of the few downsides to keeping bananas and other fresh fruit in your house is that your fruit bowl will inevitably attract fruit flies. Those irritatingly persistent little bugs will colonize your kitchen rapidly if you let them, so to stop them in their tracks, set out traps. This is where you turn their love of bananas against them: Place a dead-ripe peel or two in a disposable container like a leftover yogurt tub, and punch a few small holes in the lid. Set this alongside your fruit bowl, where the overripe banana smell will lure them into the trap. Discard and replace it every few days until the fruit flies are gone.

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Close-Up Of House Plant
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Shine Your Houseplants

Houseplants with big, showy leaves can lend a lot of drama to the most humdrum of rooms, but the effect isn't as good as you might wish when those leaves are covered in dust. An electrostatic duster will do a decent job of removing and trapping the dust so it doesn't just settle back, but to restore the leaves to their full glossy glory, use a banana peel. After you've finished dusting, use the inside of a banana peel to wipe down any plant with large, glossy-surfaced leaves. When you're done, they'll shine beautifully in the sunlight.

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Silver cutlery on plate
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Polish Your Silver

Silver tableware is maddening stuff: So beautiful when it's clean and shiny, but so quick to dull and tarnish. Really it doesn't take that long to bring it back to a beautiful shine, but silver polish is often full of unpleasant and nasty-smelling chemicals. For fume-free cleaning of silver pieces you use or display regularly, banana peels can help. Blend a peel or two with just enough water to make a thick paste, then use a soft brush to apply the paste to your silver. The peels' gentle acidity will strip away light tarnish, leaving the silver shiny. This works best as regular maintenance; heavily tarnished pieces will still need conventional polish.

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Fruit and vegetable scraps
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Make Seriously Amazing Plant Food

If you're a gardener, banana peels make a great addition to your compost. Not only do they break down quickly, they're high in phosphorus and potassium — the "P" and "K" of commercial fertilizers — and can give your plants a real boost. In fact, they break down so quickly, you can put small pieces of banana peel directly into the soil around plants to act as a sort of natural slow-release fertilizer. Alternatively, you can dehydrate the peels and crumble them before adding them to the soil, or boil them to make a nutrient-rich compost "tea."

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Female smiling with perfect teeth, natural
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Whiten That Smile

Maintaining a perfectly bright, white smile is a lot of work — surprisingly, banana peels can help. Choose the peel from a just-ripe banana with a hint of green at the end, and use a paring knife or kitchen shears to lop off a piece that's a manageable size. Rub the white inner side of this piece of banana peel across your teeth, working your way methodically from side to side and top to bottom. The peel's high levels of manganese, magnesium and especially potassium work to strengthen and brighten your teeth.

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Close-Up Of Insect On Banana Peel
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Attract Desirable Insects to Your Garden

Humans don't often eat them but if you've ever misplaced a banana peel in your home or car for a few days, you'll know that most insects love banana peels. This includes a lot of bugs that are welcome in the yard or garden, from beautiful moths and butterflies to beneficial pollinators and pest predators. Leaving a bit of the banana inside the peel enhances the effect. Place a few peels in an elevated spot, where only flying insects can find them, and wait for the colorful visitors to arrive. Ideally this should be at a distance from your window, because bees and wasps, great predators of common garden pests, are among the bugs that will be drawn to your feeding station.

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Cropped Image Of Scar
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Use Them for Skin Care

The gentle acidity and high mineral content of banana peels makes them a surprisingly effective tool in your skincare arsenal. For a simple, gentle facial, rub your skin with the inside of a banana peel and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. To shrink puffy eyes, rest a piece of banana peel (or frozen banana peel) on your puffy underlids for a few minutes. Banana peels can also minimize acne, reduce bruising or help shrink warts. You can even use them to gently fade scars, by rubbing the affected area with a peel every day and then wiping away the residue after it dries.

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