It’s an unmistakable, comforting scent with familiar notes that harken back to your earliest memories. Baby powder (also called talcum powder) is a parenting medicine cabinet staple. But did you know its usefulness goes far beyond a baby’s bottom?
Two key qualities of baby powder are its ability to absorb moisture and to reduce friction. These properties mean there are a ton of other opportunities for the product to be tactfully deployed. Here are 10 of the most useful.
Remove sand at the beach
You can cleanup after going to the beach not suck by bringing a bottle of baby powder along with you. If you’re having trouble removing some pesky grains of sand from your body, sprinkle a bit of baby powder over the sandy areas and get yourself as clean as a whistle. Since the baby powder absorbs moisture causing the sand to stick to you, the sand will end up easily brushing off.
Freshen up your shoes
If you’ve noticed some unpleasant odours wafting from your shoe closet, it’s time to bring baby powder into the equation. Put a dash of baby powder inside each shoe and shake it around so it spread over the entire sole, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, shake out the excess baby powder, and all of the odours brought on by your foot sweat sweat should be eliminated.
Use it as dry shampoo
If you don’t have access to a shower but still want to feel fresh, you can use baby powder as dry shampoo. Put a little bit on your comb or brush and spread it throughout your scalp. The baby powder will absorb any grease or oil in your hair, leaving you a passable, fresher scalp.
Loosen up playing cards
Don’t let sticky cards stand between you and Gin Rummy. Fresh packs of playing cards have a proclivity to get stuck together. To get past this frustration, put the cards in a ziplock bag with a dash of baby powder. After shaking the bag well, remove the cards and wipe off any excess powder. Now you’ll be able to shuffle a deck of cards for your morning workout.
Cool your sheets
If you’re looking for ways to survive sleeping in the heat when you don’t have air conditioning, add this one to the list: Lightly sprinkling a tablespoon or two of baby powder over your sheets before hopping into bed will allow the powder to absorb moisture (read: sweat) during the night, saving you from waking up in a puddle of your own perspiration. Downside: extra loads of laundry.
Fix squeaky floors
If your floorboard are making a high pitch noise with every step you take, sprinkle a little bit of baby powder over the offending spots and work it into the seams. Filling these spaces will lubricate the wood and keep the floorboards from rubbing together. If you’re having trouble getting the powder in the narrow spaces, use a plastic card (like a credit card) to jam it in there.
Use as emergency deodorant
You can’t ask to borrow someone else’s deodorant, but you can ask to borrow some baby powder. If you find yourself with a body odor problem and no access to a shower or deodorant, apply some baby powder to your pits. It will reduce moisture in your underarms and freshen up your scent. It’s not as good as taking a shower, but it’ll be good enough to hold you over until you can.
If you have a knot in a piece of jewellery you can’t get undone, grab the baby powder and sprinkle a little bit over the knot and gently rub it in. This will lubricate the metal and should make it easier to create some separation between the different segments of the chain, making it possible to untangle. Once you’ve taken care of the knot, wash off the baby powder with a mild soap.
Remove grease stains
Getting a grease splatter on your clothes is one of the risks you run when frying foods. Instead of sulking over marked garment, grab some baby powder, apply to the stain with a cotton ball or soft bristled brush, and rub it in well. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, then gently brush off the powder. Repeat this until the stain is gone.
Don’t try to make heads or tails of this one, just accept it for what it is: Eric Sebring, an Associate Certified Entomologist for Ehrlich Pest Control, says “using talc or baby powder in areas where you have seen ants may deter them from that area. Ants don’t like to cross the powder and get it on their bodies. It is clear that ants have an aversion to baby powder — but we don’t necessarily quite know why.” One of life’s great mysteries, I suppose.