10 Unexpected Things to Put in Your Freezer—And Why

While many of us think of the freezer as the home of our favorite cool treats and last-minute meals, we don't often realize the range of possibilities this underappreciated appliance has to offer. Here are a few surprising freezer feats, from prolonging the life of your batteries to cleaning your favorite pair of jeans, that prove that this workhorse's frigid temps are good for a lot more than storing ice cream.

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  1. Power Play


    Freezing can help prolong the life of NiMH and NiCd batteries, which start to deteriorate if left on the shelf. According to industry studies, storing NiMH batteries in the freezer can boost their effective lifespan by 90 percent; NiCd batteries will retain their charge longer too. Keeping common alkaline batteries cool will prolong their shelf life by anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. For best results, store batteries in a sealed zip-lock bag.

    Related: 12 Ways to Put Your Home on an Energy Diet


  2. Long-Lasting Light


    When you get a new candle, or if you're hoping to extend the life of your current favorite, stash it in the freezer for a few days before lighting. The cool temps will harden the wax and prevent it from burning down too quickly. While this trick works for all types of candles, it's particularly helpful for fast-burning, ultrathin tapers.

    Related: 10 Easy DIY Candles for a Festive Season


  3. Cool Cubes


    Don’t let leftover wine go to waste! Make your own wine cubes for cooking or mixing instead. Simply pour any excess into a plastic ice-cube tray, and when a recipe calls for wine, pop in a frozen cube or two. You can use the same approach with broth, fruit juices, tomato sauce, and even coffee. Try this versatile trick with herbs, too, so you'll always be able to add a punch of fresh flavor to soups or stews: Chop up herbs, place them in ice-cube trays, cover with water, and freeze. When you're ready, simply slide some cubes onto your skillet to melt the ice, then retrieve the herbs to fill your dishes with deliciousness.

    Related: 10 Life-Changing Buys to Help You Survive Winter Mornings

    instructables.com via TM7

  4. Denim Defender


    If you want to keep your jeans looking spiffy and well fitting, ditch the washer and dryer and turn to your freezer instead. Place a pair of jeans in a heavy-duty sealable bag, and stash them in the freezer for a week. The prolonged exposure to cold will kill bacteria, remove odors, and keep your denim crisp and looking like new. As a bonus, the freezer won’t shrink your jeans the way the dryer will!

    Related: 21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally


  5. Vintage Reviver


    If you were lucky enough to find the perfect wooden bowl or accessory at the local flea market, you might want to put it in the freezer before adding it to your prized collection. Many antique wooden items are infested with woodworm, a voracious pest that lays eggs in and chews through wood, leaving a surface riddled with holes. Make sure that your natural finds will be pest-free by placing them on ice for a few weeks to kill any woodworms and their eggs.

    Related: 10 Tips for a Money-Making, Hassle-Free Yard Sale

    etsy.com via PickersWarehouse

  6. Data Retriever


    In the event of a computer failure, you might be able to use the freezer to revive a hard drive long enough to retrieve important files. Carefully remove the drive from your PC, seal it in a zip-lock bag, and place it in the freezer for 24 hours. The change in temperature can help by causing the metal parts to slightly contract, allowing you temporary access to the drive. One note of caution: If your files are truly irreplaceable—business records or treasured family photos, for instance—you may be better off sending your drive to a professional data recovery company.

    Related: 10 Astonishing Feats You Can Accomplish with Kitty Litter

    flickr.com via Ivan

  7. Fuss-Free Film


    How many of us have been defeated by a sheet of plastic wrap that gets maddeningly stuck to itself? Next time you find yourself in this sticky situation, place it in the freezer for a few minutes. The cold will eliminate some of the cling and prevent the plastic wrap from bunching up, but the wrap will retain enough hold to effectively cover your bowls or plates. 

    Related: 11 Clever Other Uses for Plastic Wrap


  8. Seed Saver


    If you went a little overboard buying seeds for this growing season, don't toss the extras—store them in the freezer to preserve them for next year. Make sure the seeds are thoroughly dry, then package them in an airtight container or zip-lock bag to be placed in the freezer until you're ready to garden again. Give the seeds plenty of time to thaw before planting.

    Related: Pro Tips: Square Foot Gardening


  9. Pest Protector


    For dust mite-ridden belongings that aren't easily washable—like pillows or your kids' stuffed animals—stash them in the freezer to render them pest-free again. Just place the item in a plastic bag, squeeze out all the air, and then let it chill for 48 hours to return your bedtime essentials to like-new status.

    Related: Pests, Be Gone! 10 Natural Ways to Make Your Home Critter-Free


  10. Food Fix


    The freezer is a preservation station that can save you money on groceries and keep you from unnecessarily wasting food. For example, if you can't use all your herbs right away, pack them in zip-lock bags and store them in the freezer to keep them fresh for next time. Bananas, avocados, potatoes, and many other types of produce can be frozen for months and defrosted later for use in a variety of recipes. You can even extend the shelf life of dairy products like butter, egg whites, and milk by freezing them for future use. 

    Related: 11 Seriously Surprising Uses for a Zip-Lock Bag


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