Everything You Can Do with Newspapers — the Magic Multi-Tool
It’s a shame print journalism is dying, if for no other reason than the fact that newspaper is amazing. That’s not a grammatical error.
Maybe newspapers are pretty cool, but newspaper – the physical material – is an amazing thing. We’ve mentioned before a few of the cool things you can use newspaper for, but we decided there ought to be a definitive list. Here is that list:
How to Clean Everything
Something about the consistency of newspaper makes it some wonderful hybrid of a paper towel, a rag, a sponge and a steel wool pad.
If you need to clean glass, such as a window or a mirror, newspaper won’t leave streaks. If you’re worried about ink bleeding, that shouldn’t be an issue as long as you aren’t pressing too hard and the paper isn’t over-soaked.
If you need to clean up broken glass, use dry newspaper for the big pieces and use wet newspaper to sop up the shards.
Similarly, if you need to remove a cracked lightbulb, a newspaper can help you gently grasp it without cutting up your hands. It can also help if you have to remove a bulb you can’t turn off – which sounds like an odd thing to need to do if you’ve never had a light-switch stop working while in the “on” position.
Newspapers can also make cheap alternatives to doormats if you need reinforcements to keep people from tracking mud and dirt in your home. If you want to keep your car just as clean, simply use them as floormats.
Perhaps there’s more than dirt you’re protecting your floors from? Try newspapers as a paint tarp while giving your walls a fresh coat. Or just use them as rags to clean the paintbrushes with – or to clean anything you might clean with a rag.
They’re also good for cleaning grills and barbecues, as well as ovens. Will it make your food taste like yesterday’s news? Not if you’re using it correctly.
Newspapers also absorb odors like magic. Use them to line trash bins and litter boxes to not only reinforce them and prevent leaking, but to also soak up smells before they find their way out.
You can use them in the same way in refrigerators; use them to cover fish or line the vegetable crisper so the whole fridge doesn’t reek of onions. Actually, while you’re in the produce drawer, that newspaper can keep apples and pears fresh, along with other fruits and veggies.
Newspaper can also perform double duty in shoes: it can not only absorb their scents, but it can help the shoes maintain their shape.
At Your Greater Convenience
Even if newspaper isn’t being used actively, it can still work for you passively. For example, if you need to send a fragile package, use newspaper instead of going out and buying packing peanuts – it’s certainly better for the environment.
If you want to showboat a bit about your repurposing skills, use newspaper as gift wrap.
Likewise, if you need to protect a hardcover book, consider newspaper; even if you’re fine with your books getting a little dirty on the outside, there may come a day when your child comes home from their first day of middle school with a newsletter saying all textbooks need to have covers, just… because. You’ll be glad you don’t have to fight for the twelve textbook covers they have in-stock at Target.
But when school does start, that means it will get cold soon. Drape a newspaper over your car’s windshield to prevent it from freezing over.
While you use newspaper to keep the cold off your car, you can also use it to keep the warmth inside your house. You can use it to reinforce insulation or, if you’re really in a bind, use it as insulation itself.
What if you’re not at home tonight, or not in any building for that matter? When you’re out camping, put newspaper under your sleeping bag. This will not only keep the sleeping bag from getting dirty, but it can add an extra layer of warmth by sucking it up from the earth. Oh, and while you’re making your campfire, newspaper makes great kindling.
If it’s just a quiet night in, though, line your tables with newspaper, adding a layer under the tablecloth, so that if anything spills and leaks through the cloth, it’ll have a tough time getting through to the actual table surface.
If you’re looking to protect other surfaces, newspaper does a great job as shelf lining. Maybe it can also protect other surfaces we’re not even thinking of!
Destruction and Rebirth
If you’re in the mood to defy Mother Nature, newspaper can be used to kill weeds: place it over the affected areas of your garden and soak it, and then place a few layers of soil or compost on top of that. After a while, you can just incorporate it into your new weed-less dirt. While we’re at it, if you’re into composting, newspaper is often a nice ingredient to add.
Perhaps you’re joining the craze of removing your lawn to save the environment (and money). Lay it down, soak it up, and let the smothering begin.
To end on a less dramatic note, when you’re done converting your lawn into a weed-free garden, you may find yourself growing some tomatoes. If those green tomatoes won’t turn red, there’s a trick you can try: ripen those tomatoes by lining a small box with newspaper, adding layers of tomatoes (with newspaper in between), and seal the whole thing with newspaper. Give them some time, and they’ll turn red.
What else can newspapers do? That’s for you to discover. Be sure to let us know what you find by telling us on our Facebook page!