7 Surprising Ways to (Carefully) Use Boiling Water Around the House

updated Jul 6, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Fun fact: Boiling water doesn’t just cook up your pasta or brew your tea. You can also put your hot water to work in some surprising — and effective — ways around the house. Here are a few ideas for how to (carefully, of course) use your next pot of boiling water.

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1. Kill weeds.

Ditch the Roundup in favor of a pot of boiling water, a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to stave off those annoying weeds that sprout up through your sidewalk cracks. Simply boil water and immediately (and liberally) pour it over weeds, which you can pull when the water cools off. If the treatment doesn’t work the first time (apparently, this is more common with weeds that have longer roots, like dandelions or thistles), grab another pot and go at it again. 

Credit: Kitchn Video

2. Shine tarnished silver.

Who knew boiling water could shine up silverware that’s lost its luster? Just grab an aluminum pan or line an enamel pan with foil, and add baking soda, salt, and vinegar. Then, pour in some boiling water before adding your tarnished pieces. See all the steps here.

3. Nix unpleasant odors.

Cooking smells have a way of lingering around for longer than you want, which only makes things worse when coupled with stinky trash or dirty dishes. Try taking care of a smelly kitchen by boiling a pot of water on your stovetop with citrus rinds. You can even add in sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. 

Credit: Kitchn Video

4. Remove microwave splatter.

Got a grimy microwave? Boiling water should loosen up the mess, making it easier to wipe away. Just boil a cup or so of water in the microwave (ideally, in a wide-mouthed bowl to allow as much steam as possible) and then, when the microwave is full of steam, take a minute to wipe things up. You can also try adding a spent lemon or a few tablespoons of lemon juice, as the acid will help cut through grease and grime.

Read more: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally with Just a Lemon

5. Clear backed-up drains.

While harsh chemicals can be an effective way to clear clogged drains, they also pose the risk of corroding your pipes. So what’s the best way to clear blockages? Instead of store-bought cleaners, try pouring boiling water down the drain. One caution: Only use truly boiling water if you have metal pipes. For PVC pipes, use hot, but not boiling, water instead.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Remove stains.

Hot water is a no-no for protein stains, like blood and other bodily fluids, since it can set them in the fabric. But for certain food stains, like berries and grapes, boiling water can be a lifesaver (depending, of course, on the affected fabric). To use boiling water on a stained piece of clothing, dip the soiled portion into a pot of hot water until the stain disappears. If you got strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, or other fruit residue on upholstery or carpet, pour a bit of boiling water on the affected area and use a sponge to absorb excess water.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Descale kettles.

Over time, it’s normal for calcium and lime deposits to build up on your coffee pots and kettles. Easily descale them both by boiling equal parts water and white vinegar, then just allow the mixture to cool and rinse the mess away.

Got any other fun tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!