Unexpected But Genius Bread Hacks That’ll Make Your Life Easier

In 2019, the average American bought 53 pounds of bread throughout the year. If you’ve ever bought a loaf that you haven’t finished, know that there are plenty of other uses for your extra slices besides sandwiches. Bread slices are porous enough to soak up spills and rough enough to polish suede. Bread hacks can solve many problems, from fingerprints on the wall to cake drying out in the fridge. Don’t believe us? Check out these genius bread hacks, and you’ll wish you learned them sooner!

Stop Crying Over Chopped Onions

A woman keeps bread in her mouth while chopping onions.
Pinterest/SuperKids Nutrition Inc.
Pinterest/SuperKids Nutrition Inc.

If you don’t want watery eyes while chopping onions, hold a piece of bread in your mouth. As you chew it, allow part of the bread to hang out. Although some people say that the bread absorbs gas from the onion, this isn’t entirely true. Rather, chewing disperses the gas.

When onions break, they release syn-Propanethial-S-oxide. This chemical reaches the lachrymal glands, which tell us to cry to remove the chemical. When you chew bread, it disperses the gas so that less reaches the lachrymal glands. The result: fewer tears.

Wipe Fingerprints Off The Wall

A wall-cleaning stick has a piece of bread at the end of it.
Pinterest/Apartment Therapy
Pinterest/Apartment Therapy

Accidents happen in a home, and some of those accidents involve dirty finger stains on the wall. When this happens, you don’t have to reach for a disinfectant. A piece of bread will remove the fingerprints without a trace. In fact, until the 1770s, erasers were made from wet bread crumbs that were balled up.

To start, don’t use the crust. Dab the soft, fluffy part of the bread on the fingerprints in only one direction. This also works for removing crayon and pencil smudges from walls, cabinets, and countertops.

Soak Up The Grease

Bread cooks in pork fat.

Never pour grease down the drain. Over time, the grease will build-up, which causes 47% of sewer overflows in the U.S. If you want to prevent your sink from smelling or clogging, use a piece of bread to soak up the grease.

Wait until you finish cooking when all the fat rises to the top of the dish. You only need to place the bread in grease for a few seconds. Lift it with tongs, since it’ll be hot, and throw away the greasy remains.

Soften Calluses

Bread with apple cider vinegar is wrapped around a foot to remove calluses.

As an antifungal, apple cider vinegar makes a sufficient callus treatment. However, pure apple cider vinegar is too acidic and can irritate your skin. For a perfect callus treatment, you’ll have to dilute the vinegar, and bread can help do that.

Bread is porous enough to allow some vinegar through, but it also won’t be too much. Dampen a piece of bread with the vinegar and press it against your callus. Hold it in place with a sock or plastic wrap. Leave it for at least an hour. Afterward, your calluses should be soft enough to file.

Prevent Food From Burning

A chef sprinkles bread crumbs on broccoli bites.
Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In 2017, a TODAY article reported how to save dishes from burning. For oven-baked or broiled vegetables, you’ll need bread, according to them. Before you cook the veggies, sprinkle bread crumbs on top of them. The bread will burn, but your vegetables will cook to the perfect brown crisp.

You can also prevent rice from burning by throwing a slice of white bread on top. The bread not only absorbs the smell, but it also takes the burn for the food. Burns always happen on the top of the dish, after all.

Keep Cake Moist

Bread slices line the cut edges of cake.

After you slice a cake, it’ll go stale overnight. Guess what you need to prevent this. Yep, a slice of bread! The bread’s moisture will transfer to the cake, so the edges of the pastry will remain moist.

For this to work, you’ll want to stack bread as close to the cake’s edges as possible without compromising the frosting. You can do this with any baked pastry, including cupcakes, to keep them edible for a day. You’ll thank yourself when you eat that leftover slice!

Clean Suede Shoes

A person cleans suede shoes with a piece of stale bread.

If you try to clean suede with water, it’ll create more stains. So how can you clean suede shoes? Use some bread, according to Pro Housekeepers’ chief hygiene officer Jennifer Rodriguez. In an interview with TODAY, she said that the bread acts like sandpaper that removes the rough stains.

That said, you don’t have to buy the right sandpaper to clean suede shoes. Get stale, crunchy bread (ideally left out for a day or two) and rub it on the messy areas. If you need extra power, dab on some white vinegar with a cloth.

Remove A Splinter

Bread is placed on a bandaid to remove a splinter.
Pinterest/Lisa Brown | It Keeps Getting Better
Pinterest/Lisa Brown | It Keeps Getting Better

If you have a splinter that’s too deep to pull out, weed it out without any pain. Grab a slice of bread and dampen it; don’t make it too wet, or it’ll fall apart. Then, find a way to wrap the damp bread around the splinter spot. You may need to use some gauze tape.

Wait until the bread has dried before checking the splinter. In the best case, the splinter will stick to the dried grain and come out entirely. If that’s not the case, the splinter should be easier to pull out.

Safely Pick Up Glass Shards

Glass shards are stuck in white bread.

Glass shards are tricky to pick up. If you use a vacuum, the glass will damage it, and a broom can’t sweep the tiny shards. Take a piece of bread, moisten it with a bit of water, and dab the glass shards to pick up every small fragment.

If the bread is too porous to get all the glass shards, you may want to add an adhesive. Peanut butter can make the small pieces stick, and you can mop it up later. Make sure to leave no space untouched!

Spill? Grab The Bread, Not The Napkin

A woman accidentally spills coffee on a white tablecloth.
JOKER/Alexander Stein/ullstein bild via Getty Images
JOKER/Alexander Stein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Imagine that a bit of salad dressing spills on your tablecloth during dinner. Do you reach for your napkin? Carolyn Forte, a Cleaning Lab director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, recommends grabbing the bread. It’ll absorb the spill more quickly, she says.

“A piece of bread will quickly absorb a spill, like gravy or wine dribbles, before they soak too far into your tablecloth,” she told Good Housekeeping. After blotting the stain, quickly grab some freshwater to wash out the rest of the stain.

Removed Dust From A Painting

A woman takes a bread loaf and dusts a painting with it.
Pinterest/The Krazy Coupon Lady
Pinterest/The Krazy Coupon Lady

When paintings become dusty, you don’t want to pull out a disinfectant. The chemicals will destroy the paint. Instead, buy a baked loaf of bread that has not been sliced. Grab a handful of the soft inside and pad it against the painting. The bread will reach the crevices that regular wipes can’t, according to Artist’s Network.

If you’re worried that the crumbs will attract bugs, then grab a soft-bristled paintbrush. Without wetting the brush, use it to dust off the remaining bits. Double-check the frame to remove all the possible debris.

Clean Your Coffee Grinder

Coffee beans pour into a grinder.

One internet hack recommends using salt to clean a coffee grinder. The downside is that the salt will make the coffee taste, well, salty. With bread, you can clean your coffee grinder without leaving an aftertaste. But first, ensure that the grain has become dry and stale.

After your bread has dried, crumble it into coffee ground-sized pieces. Grind for a while; the bread can reach the dirty cracks that other cleaning solutions can’t. Unlike rice, bread won’t dull the grinder blades over time.

Butter Corn And Bread At The Same Time

A person butters corn on the cob with a slice of bread.
Pinterest/Yummy Mummy Club
Pinterest/Yummy Mummy Club

If you ever have both corn on the cob and bread on your table, you have an amazing opportunity. Why make a mess with a knife when you have a perfectly good bread slice lying around?

Butter the bread first, and wrap it around the corn. The hot corn will melt the butter and spread it around. After that, you have a perfectly buttered cob and a slice of bread. It’s cleaner and less wasteful than using a knife, although others at the table may ask what you’re doing.

Revive Stale Marshmallows

A marshmallow roasts over a fire.

After you open a bag of marshmallows, they stale very quickly. To save dry marshmallows, store them in an air-tight bag. Place one or two slices of bread in with them. The marshmallows should become plump again.

Here’s the science behind this hack. Bread, like marshmallows, is porous. Water evaporates out of bread quickly, and when it does, it rehydrates the marshmallows. You can also store bread in the marshmallow bag to keep them fresh for longer. First, remember to seal the bag well with a twist tie.

Soften Clumpy Brown Sugar

A split image shows white bread and a bowl of brown sugar.
Pinterest/Cobblestone Bread Co.
Pinterest/Cobblestone Bread Co.

Brown sugar is made with molasses, which evaporates quickly. When that happens, the sugar becomes as hard as a brick. To rehydrate the sugar, transfer it to an airtight container. Add a slice of fresh bread. Like with marshmallows, the bread will lend moisture to the rest of the sugar.

This technique works best if you can wait two or three days before using your sugar. If you don’t have the time, microwave the sugar with a damp paper towel on top. Heat it in 20-second increments until it’s soft.

Deodorize Brussels Sprouts

A meat dish includes brussels sprouts and bread croutons.
Brinckmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Brinckmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Brussels sprouts contain hydrogen sulfide, and when they cook, they release that gas. This can stink up your kitchen quickly. Food chemist Shirley Corriher has a solution. “Reheat them with butter in a big skillet with some bread crumbs,” she told All Things Considered.

Bread is a master odor-remover. If you cook the brussels sprouts with bread, the grain will disperse and soak up the hydrogen sulfide gas. This technique will prevent your kitchen from stinking up right before a Thanksgiving dinner.

Test Your Oven

A tray of toasted bread shows which parts of the oven are hotter or cooler.
Pinterest/Judith Q

Some ovens don’t heat food equally. If you want to see which sides of your oven are hotter than others, grab a couple of slices of bread. Preheat your oven to 350°F. On a long rack, place several slices of bread across every corner of the pan.

Once the oven’s hot, leave the bread in for around 10 minutes. When you pull it out, you’ll see which sides of your oven are more heated than others. This can prevent baking disasters in the future.

Mop Up Sauce

Pork chops cook in a pan full of sauce.
Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Who wants to clean pasta sauce off of dishes? After the sauce dries, it becomes hard to scrub. Instead of wasting your paper towels, use a couple of slices of bread. Wipe the sauce off before it hardens, and you’ll have an easier time cleaning your dishes.

If you want to save bread, you can use it to mop up salad dressing. Chop the bread into tiny squares and use them to clean up the oil. Then, toast them for five to ten minutes at 350°F, and you have some homemade croutons!

Skim The Fat

Matzo ball soup is on a plate with a side of bread.
Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

When food cooks at high temperatures, the fat rises to the top of the dish. In soups, stews, and other similar dishes, you can see this fat. Gross! You can skim off the extra fat with a slice of bread. Lightly toast the bread and then place it on top of the soap.

Since bread can absorb grease and fat better than paper towels, you can use it on other dishes, too. If your pizza is too greasy, for instance, pad it with bread. This technique won’t work unless the fat is liquid, however.

Prevent Grease Fires

A grease fire shoots up from a pan on a stove.
Flickr/State Farm
Flickr/State Farm

Grease fires are incredibly dangerous, especially since pouring water will not put them out. If you’re broiling meat, you can prevent grease fires with a couple of bread slices. Place them on the bottom of the drip pan underneath the rack.

The bread will soak up some of the grease. The less grease in the pan, the less likely that it’ll start a fire. After you finish cooking, you can throw out the disgusting pieces. Don’t forget that bread can clean grease off a pan too!