By Imogen Blake
If you thought kitchen foil was only useful for roasting salmon and lining baking trays, then think again.
There are some very useful ways you can use aluminium foil around the house that you may have never discovered.
From a makeshift scourer and a useful tool for polishing silverware to even an aid for scaring birds away from your fruit trees, experts at Good Housekeeping Institute have revealed the handy household hacks that make use of the reflective metal wrap.
1. POLISH SILVERWARE
For a chemical-free way to keep silverware sparkling, line a plastic container with aluminium foil, the shiny side up.
Pour in boiling water and add two tablespoons of baking soda for every litre.
Pop in your silverware, and the liquid will begin fizzing and bubbling as the tarnish vanishes.
Rinse under a tap, dry and buff with a soft cloth. Repeat if heavily tarnished.
Remember, the silverware will be very hot when you take it out. And the experts at Good Housekeeping warn that you should only try this trick with sterling silver items, rather than any silverware that contains any turquoise or pearl, or is held together with glue, such as candlesticks.
2. SCARING BIRDS AWAY
Surprisingly, you can even use kitchen foil to scare away pesky birds who like to feast on fruit trees.
If you want to preserve your harvest, then try tying 30cm long strips of foil from twine in your garden to keep the birds at bay.
3. IRON CLOTHES FASTER
Kitchen foil can help remove stubborn creases in no time at all when ironing.
Try placing a sheet under your ironing board cover, shiny side up. The trick works because foil reflects heat, so it should speed up the whole process.
4. SOFTEN HARDENED SUGAR
How many times have you gone to the cupboard for some muscovado or brown sugar, only to find it has solidified into large clumps?
Amazingly, you can use kitchen foil to soften it again by placing a clump in foil and then heating in the oven on a high temperature for five minutes.
Remove with oven gloves and you should have softened sugar.
5. SCRUB DISHES
Don't have a scourer to hand? Use foil as a makeshift dishcloth.
A ball of foil will help remove hard-to-clean dirt off your dishes. Just don't use it on non-stick - only on glass or cast-iron.
6. GREASE CATCHER
Cooking on the stove often means grease, fat and whatever you are making for dinner will splash onto the surface of the cooker.
But if you lie a sheet of foil around the hob, with a hole cut out so the flames can still reach the pan, then all your splashes will be contained, making for an easier clean-up.
7. CLEAN A BARBECUE
Its scouring abilities means that foil also comes in useful for cleaning a barbecue.
Just scrunch some into a ball and rub across charred food stuck onto the grill. Then wash with warm, soapy water.
8. LINE CABINETS AND DRAWERS
Cabinet shelves and drawers can get dirty and dusty very quickly but we're often loath to properly clean them.
But lining them with kitchen foil will save you time on cleaning up the debris left on the shelves as it's wipe-clean.
Plus, the light that will reflect off the foil means you will be able to see even into the darkest corner of your cupboards.
9. MOVE HEAVY FURNITURE
One of the worst household tasks is moving heavy furniture around.
But you can make the task much easier if you use kitchen foil.
Wrap the feet of your furniture in a few layers of foil, and it will be much easier to scoot across the floor.
But be warned: only try this on carpet as foil can scratch wood floors or stone.