There is nothing like eating a bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning to warm you and fuel you for the day. In fact, a container of old-fashioned or whole oats is probably a staple on your pantry shelf all year long.
However, did you know you could use oatmeal for a wide variety of other uses than just for eating? Here are 10 uses for oatmeal you may not have tried. (Please note that these uses are intended for whole oats and not for instant oatmeal, which usually has added flavors and sugars.)
1. Absorb odors.
Oatmeal can neutralize unwanted odors in your home as well as baking soda can. Place a bowl of oats in the fridge or sprinkle some in your teenager’s smelly sneakers overnight.
You even can add some oatmeal to your kitty litter box.
2. Clean cast iron.
Use oatmeal to help remove grease and stubborn small food particles from your cast iron pots and pans. Simply sprinkle about two tablespoons of oats in the pan. Then add a little water and scrub with a stiff brush or a dishcloth. Rinse well and dry.
3. Thicken soups and stews.
Skip the extra flour or cream and try adding oats to thicken your next batch of soup. Add the oats, one tablespoon at a time, until your each your desired consistency. In addition to a creamier, thicker texture, you will add healthy fiber to your meal.
4. Replace flour.
You can use oats as a substitute for flour in baking recipes for breads, cookies and pancakes. You’ll have twice the fiber but far fewer calories. (Measurements may vary. Quaker Oats has a helpful substation chart here.)
5. Soothe minor burns and skin irritations.
Oatmeal can come to the rescue for pain relief from sunburn, poison oak, poison ivy and other minor burns. Mix a half cup of oatmeal and a quarter cup of water and let it sit in the bowl for about 60 seconds. Then gently apply the paste on the burn for about five minutes.