15 Ways You Can Use Baby Powder Around The House

Baby powder is a household staple most often used to keep skin soft and dry, but it shouldn't be limited to just that. This versatile product can be used in different ways around the house. It can be made with talc and/or cornstarch, plus tricalcium phosphate and fragrance, and some also include vitamin E and aloe vera. The ingredients can work together to make household items feel fresh and clean but can also absorb moisture and grease, prevent caking, and create protective barriers that mask scents. Talc also acts like a lubricant and besides all that, it's tough to deny the powder's pleasing, delicate scent.

When shopping for it, you will find that certain brands have other names for it like dusting powder, talcum powder, or medicated body powder. Some might have added ingredients like menthol so those will smell differently. But, across the board, you'll see that baby powder is pretty budget-friendly for a multi-use product. Here are some clever ways to use it in and around the house.

1. Eliminate musty odors in closets and drawers

Closed closets and drawers can become humid and moist when they aren't aired out often, leading to a lingering smell on the contents. To freshen up a closet, place some baby powder in a container to absorb excess moisture from the air. This also works for damp kitchen cupboards. For drawers, remove everything inside and sprinkle the bottoms. Then, cover them with drawer liners to protect the items from getting powder on them.

If there are concerns about the baby powder container spilling over, make a DIY sachet and that won't be an issue. It can be made with small squares of breathable fabrics like linen or cotton. Place a small amount of baby powder into a bowl and a few drops of essential oil if desired. Add cotton balls and mix them until they absorb the other ingredients. This can then be placed between two fabric squares and sewn all the way around.

2. Use it to groom pets

Certain dog breeds have long, thick, or wavy hair that never seems to smooth out no matter how hard pet owners try. This is where baby powder's lubricating qualities can make a real difference. A small amount can be sprinkled onto their coats to help untangle the fur. It will also absorb excess oil, working in the same way that dry shampoo works on humans.

Baby powder is safe for dogs but use it in moderation because too much can rob their skin of moisture. For grooming, start by sprinkling it onto your hands or cloth instead of onto the pet's fur. Stand a few inches away and rub it all over the coat, avoiding the ears, eyes, and nose. Then, brush gently until the powder is incorporated, and the tangles will magically loosen. Just remember to avoid scented baby powder to prevent a possible allergic reaction. 

3. Fix squeaky wood floors

The effects of time and constant use can cause wood floors to develop squeaks that can become quite irritating. The materials expand and contract as moisture levels change, and when things like feet, paws, and wheels create pressure on top the boards make contact with each other. If there is a serious structural issue the subfloor may need to be repaired but before going to that expense, see if some baby powder can soften the contact points and stop all that noise.

There might be just one squeaky spot or several in the house, so start by walking through the rooms to identify all the areas. Note each one with masking tape and return to the starting point. Sprinkle some baby powder into the board edges and work it well into the seams with a cloth. Wipe away the residue and see if it worked. If not, add some more and repeat the process.

4. Use it as an indoor and outdoor pest repellent

Insects like ants and aphids and certain four-footed creatures dislike baby powder, so it makes an effective pest repellent for homes and gardens. It's easy to apply but best of all, it doesn't have the toxic chemicals that can be found in some store-bought pesticides.

Ants leave pheromone paths wherever they travel and the scent alerts the rest of their colonies to food locations — like inside a home's kitchen. The fragrance of baby powder can help disrupt these trails. The ants also don't like how baby powder feels so sprinkling it on those paths and entry and exit points will deter them. 

Baby powder can also be sprinkled around plant bases to discourage aphid infestations and on plant leaves to ward off Japanese beetles. And when it's sprinkled on low-growing plants, rabbits and raccoons will look elsewhere for something to nibble on. Chipmunks and deer will also avoid plants that have been treated with baby powder and it even works on lawn grubs. Bear in mind that the powder gets washed away with mopping, rain, and watering, so it should be reapplied often.

5. Neutralize carpet odors

Anyone who has ever dealt with spilled wine, pet urine, or other bad-smelling carpet stains will be glad to know that baby powder can neutralize those and other stubborn odors like smoke. For a particularly smelly area on the carpet, sprinkle a small amount on the material and work it in with a sturdy brush. That can be left undisturbed for a day or two before it gets vacuumed. To add a light scent to the whole carpet, sprinkle the powder over the entire area and then vacuum.

Be careful not to use too much powder because it will take more passes with the vacuum to remove it from the fibers. And just as importantly, too much powder could clog up the vacuum filter or stop its motor from working, so sprinkle lightly. If too much gets spilled onto the carpet by mistake, scoop up the excess with a dustpan before vacuuming.

6. Shine up a stainless steel sink

New stainless steel sinks look clean and pristine but over time they can become dull from culprits like hard water, food stains, and liquid residues. It's best to clean them with soap and water regularly to remove bacteria but that alone won't make them sparkle. Baby powder will absorb any grease that might be making the surface have a lackluster appearance. It can also help buff it to a glistening shine.

Sprinkle it on and work it into the surface with a clean sponge or cloth, buffing it until it shines. Be careful to work in the direction of the stainless steel's grain because going the wrong way might cause fine scratches to form. Also, try not to get too much baby powder down the drain when using it. Although it has a fine consistency, it doesn't disintegrate in water. You don't want to risk a clog, so wipe away as much as possible while buffing.

7. Freshen up the bedsheets

Bedsheets can become very uncomfortable once they have absorbed sweat and product residue from gels and lotions. The problem can get compounded by warmer temperatures that cause even more heat retention and stickiness. Cool, crisp linens are more conducive to deeper sleep and baby powder can magically make them feel this way. It's a helpful hack for people who have problems falling and staying asleep.

This can be done a few minutes before hitting the sack. Gently sprinkle a thin layer on your sheets and pillowcases and let it settle in. The baby powder will continue to work as you sleep, wicking away perspiration and giving you a drier, more comfy slumber. You can even opt for a lavender-scented baby powder for even more rest-inducing bliss. It's best to remove the sheets in the morning and either shake them out or toss them in the laundry bin.

8. Remove sand from skin

People who are lucky enough to own houses or condos on the beach. However, spending time on the shore gives you one unpleasant thing to contend with — sand that seems to get everywhere. Not only does the mess hitch a ride on the bottoms of feet but sand sticks to arms, hands, and other parts of the body. And aside from the floors, the particles can make their way into furniture and bedding. One solution is to install an outdoor shower to rinse off before coming inside, but that can be a costly and intense project.

A container of baby powder is an inexpensive item you can keep at the entrances to your beach house to help eliminate sand before going inside. Make sure that the skin is dry first and use the powder liberally. Don't forget to get in between the toes and fingers, where sand accumulates. The lubricating properties will help the sand rub right off.

9. Protect hands when gardening

Gardening gloves shield hands from moisture, and can also prevent cuts, blisters, and bruises. Not everyone likes to wear them as they tend to their plants. Baby powder can add an extra, lighter layer of protection to bare hands during yard work. Take the container to the garden and sprinkle some on the palms before getting to work, and then reapply as necessary. 

You can also do the same thing with the handles of the garden tools that will be used. This will prevent moisture from forming on both surfaces, so the snippers, spade, or rake won't slip out of the hand and cause an injury. That added protection also works to prevent the rough tools from causing blisters to form on hands as it works, just like the chalk that gymnasts use. Reapply the powder to the tools as needed, and remember to clean the residue from your tools when finished.

10. Sprinkle it on hands before putting on rubber gloves

Continuing on the hand theme, baby powder can make taking off rubber and latex gloves much easier. These are the kinds used for household chores like washing dishes and cleaning shower stalls. They can be hard to tug off when wet but it also happens when the rubber gets old and starts breaking down. These gloves also get stickier when exposed to oil and when they get hot. The companies that make them often put talcum powder inside to prevent the problem, but that also wears off over time.

The powder can be sprinkled into the glove's fingers before use, but putting it on your hands works better because it ensures better coverage. The gloves will slip on and off like butter, even after a heavy-duty cleaning task. Keep the powder under the kitchen sink for ease of use but if more powder constantly needs to be added to the same pair every time, it's time to buy new gloves.

11. Shield plant bulbs and roots

Baby powder is also a gardener's friend because of its ability to add a valuable layer of protection to plant bulbs and roots. It takes months for plants like tulips to sprout from bulbs. During that time in the ground, they can be vulnerable to bad weather, poor soil, and hungry invaders. Squirrels, groundhogs, and other rodents eat those tasty young flower bulbs, but the powder will help keep them away.

Give those bulbs some TLC by placing them in a Tupperware container right before planting. Add enough baby powder to cover them and shake until the ends have a light white coating. Feel free to rub a coating on the roots of flowering plant seedlings before putting those into the ground as well. The protective layer will help absorb any excess moisture in the soil and that goes a long way towards preventing deadly root rot. 

12. Remove grease stains

Oil and grease stains can ruin clothes, and regular washing isn't usually enough to tackle them. Pretreating them is an important step in saving your favorite garments. And baby powder and its absorption properties can help remove tough stains like stubborn oil.

To try this hack, first blot away as much excess grease as possible with clean paper towels, taking care not to rub. Then, lay the fabric on a level, protected surface and cover the stain with the powder. Give it about 10 minutes, scrub gently with a soft brush, and shake off the residue. Repeat the process if needed, and clean the item on a cold water cycle. If the stain's still there, work in a fabric stain remover. 

Baby powder is also effective at removing greasy fingerprints from wallpaper. Apply it with a soft toothbrush and give it about half an hour to work before wiping it away. 

13. Remove mildew from books

Even though many people prefer electronic reading devices, diehard paperback and hard-cover book fans claim they would rather have the feel of a real book in their hands. And while Kindles might not be perfect, they aren't prone to mold and mildew growth. However, this icky stuff can form on damp surfaces like book pages. It can even grow on expensive leather covers but when that happens, they may need to be professionally restored. Baby powder can dry out books and make the inside pages easier to turn.

If a mold-infested book is still readable, open it up, separate the cover and pages without tearing them, and let the inside dry out. Stand it on top of old newspapers or something else that will catch the excess powder, and start sprinkling away. Turn the book to an upright position and let it rest for a few hours. Then, carefully brush away the powder.

14. Tackle shoe odor

Stinky feet can be washed with soap and water in tubs or showers, but a pair of smelly shoes can be handled differently. Baby powder does double duty here because it absorbs dampness and removes odors. Sprinkle a small amount in shoes or cleats after taking them off. You can leave the powder there until they have to be worn the next time, but remember to shake them out first. Sprinkling a bit of baby powder straight into socks before pulling them on serves the same purpose and also keeps feet drier. 

Be careful when shaking out footwear because the powder can also leave white streaks on shoe fabrics. That can be particularly noticeable on darker colors. Try using a handheld vacuum with an attachment tool to make the cleanup easier. The powder can also be placed inside a coffee filter instead of right inside the shoes which makes cleanup easier.

15. Prevent pool toys from tearing

Inflatable swimming pools and beach toys are usually made from PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride. This a flexible and synthetic material that's also designed to be durable. But when the items are stored close together, the tacky surfaces can stick to each other. Trying to pull them apart gently but accidentally using too much force can tear the plastic.

To prevent this problem, sprinkle baby powder over the surfaces after deflating the toys. It will dry the plastic and make the toys slippery enough to prevent sticking. Then, they can be folded and stored on top of and next to each other. If it's easier to roll them up that's just as well, because the powder will also keep the plastic toy from sticking to itself on the inside. And feel free to dust baby powder onto deflated PVC swimming pools and pool covers as it makes storing them easier, too.