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8 Everyday life hacks for egg whites

Merry has more than 25 years of experience as a professional journalist including stints with PBS and CBS. As a writer and blogger, she engages her lifelong passion for sharing inspiring, creative stories. While raising a teenage son and...

Don't toss those egg whites, put them to work instead

So, it's finally fall, and to celebrate you've just made a delish pumpkin pudding, which called for four egg yolks. Yum. However, now you have a bunch of egg whites.

You know that egg whites are full of protein, but did you also know they have antibacterial enzymes, antimicrobial properties and many qualities that come in handy for other applications? Before you start whipping up a gigantic egg-white omelet, here are some cool ways to use this clear, viscous stuff.

1. Egg whites clean leather

Don't toss those egg whites, put them to work instead

Use egg whites on your leather handbag, jacket, shoes, furniture, gloves and anything else made of shiny tanned hide and it will be clean as a whistle. You can use a cotton cloth to rub undiluted egg whites onto your leather items and wipe off with a clean, soft, slightly damp cloth. Your leather goodies will be clean, shiny and protected.

2. Natural craft glue

We all remember that kid in school who ate the paste. Gag. Here is one adhesive that is made of foodstuff but isn't for eating. Egg whites are non-toxic, very sticky and they dry fast and clear. That makes them great for crafts and paper mache. Just paint this natural glue on with a brush and stick away. The egg whites work best when used for gluing lightweight items, like tissue paper and glitter.

3. Home decorating

Historically, egg whites have been used to make an adhesive called glair, which was used for bookbinding and gilding with gold leaf. You can mix egg whites or yolks with colored pigments to create egg tempera paint. Best for using on walls or other sturdy surfaces rather than flexible materials like canvas. Some artists report that the colors last longer than water-based paints.

4. Shine houseplant leaves

Don't toss those egg whites, put them to work instead

Having loads of fake ficus trees in every corner is def passé in home decorating, but a few well-placed plants in your living spaces, entryway or patio will always be classic, beautifying and healthy household accents. Dust your smooth-leaved plants first, then mix the egg whites with lukewarm water and moisten a cotton ball with the mixture. Use gentle downward or outward strokes on the tops of your plant leaves (avoid the underside) to create shine and protection.

5. Temporary radiator fix

While debatable and debunkable, Tom and Ray of Car Talk say it's a good potential old mechanics trick for an emergency when your vehicle's radiator is leaking due to small cracks. Egg yolks can plug up the heater core, so stick to the whites only. Use extreme caution! When the water is still very hot but the radiator has cooled enough to take the cap off, use a large towel or shop rag to remove it. Pour the egg whites right into the hot radiator water, cap it and go. As the egg whites solidify, the pressure forces them into the cracks and seals the leaks temporarily. MacGyver would be proud.

6. Healthy pet food

Don't toss those egg whites, put them to work instead

We are forever warned against giving our pets people food, but this is one that is really OK. After a quick scramble and cook, your leftover egg whites make a healthy addition to your pup's or kitty's kibble. They are a great source of easily digestible protein, vitamins and minerals. Your dogs and cats will thank you by devouring their dinner and showing off a super-shiny fut coat. Again, cook eggs for consumption or use pasteurized eggs to avoid salmonella.

7. Oxidizing silver or copper

You can give your silver or copper jewelry an awesome, textured, antiqued look by using eggs in a quick and easy oxidization process. This works best with clean jewelry that is not sealed or lacquered. Boil an egg for about 10 minutes. Fish it out with tongs, place it warm into a plastic zipper bag and crush the egg along with the shell. Place your jewelry into the bag, mix it and leave it. You will probably start to see results in just a few minutes. The longer the jewelry "marinates" the more oxidization you will get. Wash and wear or use for beading and creating your own unique pieces of cool, rustic looking jewelry.

8. First aid

While urban myth says we can use egg whites on burns, the Mayo Clinic says don't do it. However, the National Center for Biotechnology Information says the thin membrane between the egg white and the shell can be used in a pinch to replace a Band-Aid. This is obviously only good for minor scrapes or scalds with no broken skin.

In addition to covering the boo-boo, egg whites might even help to promote healing, relieve pain and prevent scarring. Another first-aid use — if you have to splint a sprain and can't get to a doctor right away, you can layer egg whites with bandages to make a stiff temporary cast to immobilize a twist or strain until you can get more help.

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