Potatoes are delicious and nutritious. They are the base for many hardy meals, and they are delicious in their own right. You can use them to make many favorites, such as potato chips, mashed potatoes, and twice-baked potatoes. Potatoes aren't just for eating. They have many uses that extend far beyond the kitchen and the dinner table.  Here are 5 ways that you can use a potato outside the kitchen:

Photo by Scott Bauer

To Remove Rust

Simply cut open a raw potato and rub it on a rusted area. The acid in the potato's juice dissolves the rust, and the coarse skin of the potato flesh helps to remove it. For tough jobs, you can add a little soap or salt to increase the potato's power. Use it on pans in the kitchen or on surfaces like your bathroom sink, tools, or car parts.

To Clean

Potatoes can clean more than just rust. You can use them to polish shoes, remove tarnish from silver, and even clean up stains. Just rub a raw potato across your shoes to get a clean and shiny finish. To remove tarnish from silver, soak items in potato water after cooking. Let the silver soak, and it will come out shiny. For tough stains, try rubbing a raw potato on the spot or dabbing with a little potato water.

To Cure Ailments

Potatoes can help you to treat many minor ailments, such as skin burns, back aches or headaches. It is even said to be able to help alleviate symptoms of more serious ailments, such as ulcers, gout, and sciatica. As a topical relief, you can rub a raw potato on your temples for a headache or make a paste of raw potato and water to put on your skin to soothe a burn. For internal ailments, you can drink the juice of a potato (made from a mechanical juicer). Add other juices to the mix if you want to balance out the flavor!

To Care for Skin

Potatoes are said to be able to do many amazing things for the skin, including clearing up acne and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, according to "Alternative Cures: More than 1,000 of the Most Effective Natural Home Remedies." You can rub a raw potato over problem areas on your skin to clear up acne and minor rashes. Or you can make a face mask from a paste of raw potatoes and water and leave it on your face for 30 minutes. You can also wash your face with potato juice daily.

To Create Art

The simple potato is a powerful tool. If you cut a potato into slices, you can dip them into paints and create an effective stamp. Carve your potato into fun shapes for a variety of stamps. This is an easy way to enjoy craft time with kids, and when you're done, you can just throw the potato away and not have to worry about cleaning up brushes.

What other ways have you used a potato around your house (besides eating)? Share your tips in the comments!

This post is contributed by Bridget Sandorford, a freelance food writer who's recently been researching culinary schools in Hawaii. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook!

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