Sunday, May 29, 2011

The secret to frugal living: Extraordinary Uses for Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid: from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things
Originally published in Reader's Digest and here

Clean your dishwasher
Is the inside of your dishwasher rusty brown? The cause is a high iron content in your water. Dump a packet of unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid into the soap drawer and run the washer through a hot-water cycle. When you open the door, the inside will be as white as the day you bought the machine.

Clean rust from concrete
Nasty rust stains on your concrete? Mix unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid with hot water. Scrub and the rust stain should come right out.

Color wall paints
Mix any flavor of unsweetened Kool-Aid into water-based latex paint to alter its color. Or mix unsweetened Kool-Aid with water to create your own watercolors, but don’t give them to the kids — Kool-Aid stains can be tough to remove.

Make some tasty lip gloss
When little girls are playing dress-up, let them pick their favorite presweetened Kool-Aid flavor. Blend a package of the drink mix with 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, then microwave for one minute. Transfer to a 35mm film canister and refrigerate overnight.

Make Easy, Flavorful Kool-Aid Frosting
Use a can of Vanilla frosting and stir in a kool-aid packet for a delicious, creamy topping that everyone will love! If you need to make a tasty frosting for a gelatin cake, all you need to do is fold in a pack of Kool-Aid into a container of thawed Cool Whip®. If the frosting tastes a little tart, add in sugar, a little at a time until it tastes good to you.

Make Sand Art With Kool-Aid Brand Soft Drink Mix
Kool-Aid is perfect for the kids to make safe Sand Art with! All you need to do is provide them with plenty of paper and pencils. After they draw pictures on the paper, give them several different colors of dry Kool-Aid and Elmer's® Glue. Then, instruct them to spread a thin layer of glue over one item in their picture. It's better to start at the top of the pictures so they don't get their arms in the wet mixture. They can then sprinkle Kool-Aid on that area and press it down gently. After the kids shake the excess soft drink powder off, they can continue onto the next section. Once their pictures are done, let them set until the Elmer's Glue dries completely.

Temporarily Dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid
If you're going to a party, or, you just want a new look for a short period of time, use Kool-Aid! Choose the color you want to use and pour it into a glass container. Add a teaspoon of corn starch and just enough water to turn the ingredients into a paste. Apply the paste to your clean, dry hair and let it set for five minutes. Then, rinse the paste out. Your "new do" will last until you shampoo your hair once or twice.

Make Eerie Party Decorations
Another unusual use for Kool-Aid Brand Soft Drink Powder is to make an eerie Halloween decoration with it. Just place some dry ice- don't touch it with your hands!- into a glass, and pour a packet of any flavor Kool-Aid into it. Kids will watch with fascination as the dry ice and Kool-Aid bubbles and mists. Make up several of these glasses and set them around for an eerie effect at your next party!

Make Kool-Aid Clay for the Kids
You may already know how to make homemade clay for your kids to play with. But, did you know you can make clay using Kool-Aid brand soft drink powder as well? Mix together a cup of white flour, a fourth cup of salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and a package of Kool-Aid in a pan. Stir in a cup of water and a tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat the pan over medium heat on your stovetop. After several minutes, the mixture should clump together in the pan. When it does, remove the pan from the stove and let it cool slightly until you can touch it. Knead the Kool-Aid clay with your hands until it's not lumpy anymore. Place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until use.

Remove Chlorine From Your Hair
If you swim alot in a chlorinated pool, you may notice that, after awhile, your hair color will change. It's especially noticeable on people who have blonde or light brown hair. To remedy this problem, there are two things you can do. First, anytime you swim in a chlorinated pool, wet your hair with non-chlorinated water first before you get into the pool. This will help keep your hair from absorbing the chlorinated water. Second, to help change your hair back to its original color, use a pack of lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid. Pour a little Kool-Aid in your hand if you have short hair; use more if your hair is long, or if it's really changed color. Then, add a dab of shampoo and lather your hair up. Let the Kool-Aid set on your hair for fifteen minutes before you rinse it and the shampoo out well. Note: Try not to get the Kool-Aid brand soft drink powder in your eyes or it will sting.

Kool-Aid Brand Water Colors
Are the kids bored? Why not mix them up some Kool-Aid brand water colors? It's fun for them and safe to use as well. Even if the little ones stick their paint brushes in their mouths, this homemade paint won't hurt them! Pour several packets of different colored soft drink powders into individual glass bowls. (Don't use plastic or the Kool-Aid can stain them.) Stir a tablespoon of water into each bowl; stir until the powders are completely dissolved. Then, provide the kids with plenty of paper and some thick artist's paintbrushes, and they're ready to have some fun! Seal up any leftover Kool-Aid tightly and keep the containers in the refrigerator to use again.

Tie Dye an Old Tee Shirt
Because Kool-Aid brand soft drink powder contains artificial colors, it makes a great tie dye for an old tee shirt, or even a pair of cotton socks. Actually, your kids can dye most anything by using Kool-Aid. Curtains, bed sheets, towels, doll clothes and more can quickly change colors if you have some Kool-Aid and these instructions:

First, make sure the tee shirt you want to tie dye is clean and dry. Next, open up several packages of Kool-Aid. Pour each package into an individual glass bowl. Stir an ounce of white vinegar into each bowl; make sure the powders dissolve completely.

Take the tee shirt and twist the fabric up however you want. Hold it into place with several rubber bands. Before you begin to tie dye your item, you'd better put a pair of rubber gloves on so your hands don't get tie dyed too!

Now, grab the shirt at one side and dip into a bowl of Kool-Aid. Then, grab it at another place and choose another color to dip it into. Keep doing this until your creation is finished. Leave the rubber bands in place and set the tee shirt outside in the sun.

Once your tie dye tee shirt seems to be dry, remove the rubber bands. Then, spread it outside in the sun so it can completely dry. Then, pop it in the clothes dryer by itself and dry it on "high heat" for fifteen to twenty minutes. This will help set the colors in. Now, your new tie dye tee shirt is ready to wear!

Note: The colors can still run, so it's best if you hand wash your creation and hang it up to dry.

Use Kool-Aid to Check for Toilet Tank Leaks
Do you hear water running inside your toilet tank in between flushes? There's probably a leak in there that needs to be repaired. An easy way to detect a leak is to use Kool-Aid. The darker colored soft drink powder works the best because you can see it better.

Carefully lift the lid off the toilet tank and set it aside. Open up a pack of Kool-Aid and pour it into the tank. The test can take as little as ten minutes or as long as thirty minutes, depending on the size of the leak. Don't flush the toilet! Just watch the toilet bowl. If you see the colored powder float through from the tank, then there's a leak present. It's quite possibly the flapper piece. But, you'll have to investigate further to determine the exact cause.

Note: For all of these ideas, use unsweetened Kool-Aid only.


  1. that's really cool

  2. I never thought Kool-Aid would be that useful

  3. After reading this about cleaning hair, concrete, etc with the lemonade, I'm not sure we should be drinking it! LOL

  4. makes coool temp hair color too

  5. I was just thinking about this, Grandma Char. You took the words right outta my mouth! Ewwww. Think TWICE!!!

  6. Sailors have been using lemon-lime drink mix to shine brass for decades, and red to shine copper

  7. One more tip for Halloween. To make 'Goblin Punch' mix any blue Kool-Aid with orange Kool-Aid then add ginger ale. Put it in one of those old black & white speckled soup pots. To really make it fun I bought small un-powdered surgical-type gloves, filled them with water or red Kool-Aid, tied off the tops and hung them inside my freezer. 'Severed hands' floating in their midnight color punch were a big hit with 12 year olds.