There’s nothing more refreshing than a cool drink on the rocks—but a cup of ice cubes can do a lot more than quench your thirst. These versatile drink chillers work in a pinch to treat any number of household dilemmas, whether you’re looking to improve your gardening game or simply to polish up an at-home fix-it job. So, go on; refill that ice cube tray. While you wait for its contents to freeze, check out these five incredibly useful ways to repurpose ice cubes outside the glass.
1. FRESHEN UP THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL
There’s nothing worse than a stinky garbage disposal, especially when you’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes to do. To clean the blades and remove odor-causing food particles that may have gotten stuck, place 2 cups of ice cubes and a cup of rock salt in the garbage disposal, then run the cold tap for a minute or two. Freshen further by tossing in a few lemon peels, turning the cool water back on, and running the machine.
2. TEND TO THIRSTY HOUSEPLANTS
If you’re worried about over-hydrating your orchid, skip the watering can and reach for an ice cube instead. This temperamental houseplant hates to stay constantly wet, which makes an ice cube the perfect solution because it melts slowly, giving the soil time to absorb the water it needs without harming the roots. Depending on the size of your orchid, two to three ice cubes (about a quarter-cup of water) per week should be enough; when one melts, place the next in its empty spot. Similarly, ice cubes can deliver H2O to hanging houseplants that are just out of reach.
3. REMOVE A CARPET DENT
You decided to rearrange your furniture, but that improved feng shui came at a price: carpet indentations right where the sofa used to be. For a quick fix, place an ice cube in each carpet dent (or several down a line) and let it melt. After 12 hours, use a paper towel to blot up any excess water, then gently lift the carpet fibers with a fork so they’re back in place.
4. SMOOTH UNEVEN CAULKING
It’s not easy to lay down the perfect bead of caulk! The next time you’re re-caulking your bathtub, use an ice cube to smooth the finished line. Simply run the chunk of ice along the joint (that space between the tile and tub, now fresh with new caulk) and even out the surface as you go. The ice cube won’t stick to the caulk; rather, it will melt to fit the shape of the joint, turning into the ideal custom tool for your DIY job.
5. CLEAN YOUR FAVORITE VASE
For vases with slender necks, it can be very tough to scrub away flower residue and grime. Ice cubes make it easy: Toss a few cubes in the vase (you may have to crush them into smaller pieces to fit, depending on the size of the neck) and add 1/4 cup of salt. After that, swish the vase vigorously and watch as the ice and salt combine, forming a gentle abrasive that will quickly clean the glass.