It's a truth universally acknowledged that butter is... magic. Want to make a mediocre recipe better? Add more butter. The secret to your favorite restaurant dish? Yeah, they added a ton of butter. But if you're only using butter to delight your taste buds, you're missing out. Not only is it multipurpose in your kitchen, but butter can help you solve problems in every room of your house.
1. Silence Squeaky Hinges
There's nothing like one squeaky door hinge to announce to the entire household that you're making a 3 a.m. bathroom visit. Lubricate those creaky hinges using a little softened butter. Smear it over the hinge using a paint brush, if necessary, to get the butter into squeaking crevices. Your door should swing silently now.
2. Make the Medicine Go Down
It doesn't matter how big, tall and strong you get. If you have a problem taking pills, over the course of your lifetime you may spend hours over in the bathroom trying to psych yourself into just swallowing the darn thing already. Speed up the process by coating a large pill with a little softened or melted butter to help it slide right down your throat. This trick may also make it easier for kids to swallow their medicine.
3. Loosen Tight Rings
Your jewelry makes a statement, but you don't necessarily want to make the same statement 24/7 for the rest of your life. So when a too-tight ring refuses to budge from your finger, take a deep breath and grab some soft butter. Smear a dab of the stuff all around the stuck ring. The lubrication should help it finally slide off.
4. Slice Through Sticky or Delicate Things
You spent all afternoon meticulously following the recipe for a gooey, sticky casserole or a tender cake — only to make a mess of it by carving into it with a dull knife. Butter can help you make those cuts smooth and clean. Spread a little butter over both sides of a knife before slicing into anything delicate. This strategy helps make a knife slide through desserts with sticky toppings like, well, a knife through hot butter.
5. Untangle Jewelry Knots
If you wear necklaces and bracelets, you've probably had to abandon a favorite piece when a knot in the chain proved impossible to untangle. Just as butter helps loosen stuck rings, it may also help you loosen knots in jewelry chains. Work a little butter over the knotted area to make it easier to unsnarl those problem areas. This might not be the best strategy for pricey antiques, but give it a try on inexpensive everyday jewelry.
6. Keep Cheese Fresh
While you're worshipping the creamy kitchen staple that is butter, don't overlook its equally wonderful cousin: cheese. You'll want to eat and enjoy every salty bite of your favorite semi-hard cheese, and that can't happen if you have to cut crusty edges or moldy patches off the cheese first. Spread a little softened butter over the cut edge of the cheese before putting it back in the fridge. It will create a protective seal that will help keep that provolone or Swiss fresh until your next cheesy snack.
7. Remove Ink Stains From Plastic Toys
You could warn a preschool to keep markers away from dolls until you're blue in the face — but eventually, one of those dolls is going to end up with her own blue face. Kids play messily, and it's inevitable that some of their plastic toys will end up marred by ink. The next time your little artist gives her favorite doll a makeup job with marker, rub butter over the area and leave it in the sun for a day or so. Wash with soap and water, and the marks should be gone or much less noticeable.
8. Cover Up Funky Smells
Last night's fish dinner is long gone, but the smell isn't going anywhere. Cover unpleasant kitchen odors with something much more pleasant by faking the smell of baking cookies. Turn your oven on low and put some butter, cinnamon and brown sugar on a cookie sheet. Stick it in the warm oven for a few minutes and your kitchen will smell like delicious baked sweets instead of whatever icky odors used to linger there.
9. Rid Your Car of Tree Sap
When you nabbed that great parking spot, maybe you didn't notice the sappy tree branches hanging over your car. Or maybe, in the excitement of finding the perfect Christmas tree, you didn't think about the sticky mess it would leave on top of your SUV. Ridding your car of tree sap can be as simple as making a trip to the fridge. Try rubbing a little butter over any sap before washing the area — the slippery butter should help loosen any sap, making it easy to wash away.
10. Spark Light in an Emergency
Sorry, did you think we were exaggerating about the magical power of butter? It can literally create light in the darkness. The next time you find yourself in the dark after a power outage, grab a partial stick of paper-wrapped butter, a few squares of toilet paper and a toothpick. Roll the toilet paper into a wick and use the toothpick to push it through the butter, creating a candle that will burn (and smell delicious) for hours.