11 Super-Smart Ways to Use Old Newspapers Around Your Kitchen

published Feb 4, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

They say print is dead. While we may be a digital media company, we do not agree. There’s just something about holding physical pieces of paper (with words on them!) that’s incomparable. But you don’t want to read your newspaper only to immediately toss it! That’s wasteful, and newspaper is especially good for cleaning. It can absorb spills and messes, and it’s lint-free so it won’t leave any fibers behind on glass. Hold onto old newspapers, and you’ll reduce waste, save money, and have a great cleaning tool on hand.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your stack of newspapers from the recycling bin, and put this surprisingly versatile product to use! Here are 11 smart ideas to get you started.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

1. Line produce bins in the refrigerator.

Line your fridge’s produce drawers with newspaper and it will absorb moisture and catch loose lettuce leaves and other debris. It’ll keep your produce fresh, your drawers clean, and will help absorb any smelly odors. When it comes time to clean your drawers, all you’ll need to do is replace the paper. 

2. Collect grease and grime on upper cabinets and the top of the fridge.

If you’ve ever cleaned dusty grease from the tops of your upper cabinets or the top of your exposed refrigerator, well, you know you never want to do that again! Lining these tricky tall areas with newspaper to catch the dust and greasy residue means you’ll never have to scrub those hard-to-reach places. Instead, just replace the dusty newspaper with fresh paper every few months. 

Credit: Kaitlin Flannery

3. Shine oven glass.

A sparkling oven door can make your entire oven look clean. Using newspaper gives you that streak-free, lint-free shine that makes it truly see-through. And you can toss the paper when you’re done instead of putting greasy rags through the washer and dryer. (Dirty, oily rags can be a fire hazard in the dryer.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Clean the microwave door.

Using newsprint to clean your microwave door gives you a crystal-clear result. Spritz a vinegar-and-water solution, and wipe with crumpled newsprint. Pretty soon, you’ll be looking at your reflection!

5. Line a table to protect from spills.

Sometimes you want to protect your table from spills and damage by covering it with a tablecloth. But spills can still seep through the fabric and get trapped, damaging the wood surface underneath. Line the table with newspaper before draping on the tablecloth to add an extra layer of protection. (Another idea: Take a page from elementary school teachers. Even without a tablecloth, newspaper is ideal for protecting your kitchen table during kids’ messy art projects.) 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

6. Protect cabinet shelves.

Oil or condiment spills in cabinets are a pain to clean up. Lining susceptible surfaces with newsprint means it will easily catch and absorb any spills. That way you’ll only have to replace the paper when a mess occurs. 

7. Catch muddy footprints.

If you have an entrance door in your kitchen, you know how awful it is when people and pets spread muddy footprints all around the kitchen floor. Spread a small pile of newspapers on the floor on a rainy (or snowy) day to save your doormat and absorb wetness. When you’re done, just recycle it. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

8. Soak up oil used for frying.

Pouring oil down the drain is just asking for plumbing trouble. Absorbing used oil from frying is one way to dispose of it safely and cleanly. Add crumpled newsprint to your pan and use tongs to lift out the soiled paper or just put some crumpled pieces in the garbage can before pouring in the cooled oil. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Polish windows.

Kitchen windows allow light to pour in, and let you gaze outside during mundane tasks like dishwashing or potato-peeling. Cleaning your windows with newspaper means you get crystal clear glass without lint to distract you from the view!

10. Absorb spills.

Kitchen spills happen. Putting newspaper on them is one way to absorb wet messes for quick, easy cleanup. 

11. Spiff up stainless steel.

One key to cleaning and polishing stainless steel is using a lint-free cloth. Newspaper will leave your stainless steel appliances with an unparalleled gleam. If you use oil to polish your stainless steel, buffing it in with newspaper means you can toss the oil-soaked material rather than washing and drying it. 

Do you have more clever uses for old newspapers in the kitchen? Tell us in the comments below.