By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
Unless you drive a really big motorhome with an incredible amount of interior storage, you need to consider available space when stocking the coach. Back when we traveled in a 22-foot mini-motorhome, it was essential. Even with our current 35-footer, it’s still important. Here are several tips for using a roll of easily stored, nonrusting aluminum foil.
1. Eliminate static cling
When you’re on the road long enough to use the laundry away from home, here’s an easy substitute for fabric softener. Just tear off a sheet of aluminum foil; roll or crinkle it up a little; and toss it in the dryer with your clothes. It works! There is no static cling on the clothes. Even better, you can flatten and fold the foil and then crumple it a bit for the next load.
2. Cover your cookie sheets
When you’re in the mood to make some fresh-baked cookies, try this. Line the cookie sheet with a piece of foil and then place your cookie dough on top. When you’re through baking, toss the aluminum foil in the trash and all that’s left for you to do is to wipe down the cookie sheet and stow it. (If the cookies are of a sticky nature, it’s best to coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.)
3. Keep your biscuits oven-hot
If you enjoy eating freshly baked biscuits or muffins outdoors when the weather is pleasant, keep them hot from the oven by lining a basket or bowl with aluminum foil. Then, when you put the hot goodies in the basket, fold up the foil. Don’t seal it, though, or the baked goods will get soggy. By leaving just a little space for moist air exchange, most of the heat will stay in the food.
4. Re-adhere linoleum flooring
This is a task where you start easy, then do more if necessary. Put a piece of aluminum foil over the unglued/raised area of the linoleum, and then run an iron over the foil several times to melt the glue on the underside of the linoleum. Once you’re sure the linoleum is flat again, spread the used foil on top and cover it with several heavy books. Leave them there until the glue is thoroughly dry.
5. Speed up ironing
When you travel for several weeks or months at a time, you probably bring an iron along. You also may carry an ironing board. To speed up the chore of ironing, place a long piece of aluminum foil on the ironing board beneath the cover. This will reflect more of the heat from the iron back into the fabric you’re ironing.
6. Sharpen your scissors
We use this tip quite often. Begin by cutting off a 1-foot-long piece of foil; smooth it out if necessary; and then fold it so it’s approximately six layers deep. Now start cutting the foil into strips. This tip was easy to test, given that we had a very old, very dull pair of scissors in a kitchen drawer. It worked well.
7. Bees be gone
It’s been a long drive. After making camp, you’re ready to relax at your site and sip a well-deserved glass of orange juice or lemonade. Suddenly several bees arrive, drawn in by the scent of sugar in your drink. Keep those pesky insects away by tightly capping the top of your glass with aluminum foil. Carefully poke a straw through the foil, making the hole just big enough to fit the straw. Sit down, sip your beverage, and enjoy the view without bees buzzing around.
8. Clean your barbecue grill
The fact that you travel in a motorhome doesn’t keep you from barbecuing outdoors. And that means you’ve got to clean the grill before putting it back into storage. Try this cleaning tip. While the grill is still hot, place a sheet of aluminum foil on it. After you eat, peel the foil off the grill (once it’s cool), crinkle it into a ball, and scrub the grill clean.
9. Improve your outdoor lighting
It’s pleasant to relax outside sitting in a lounger, but late in the afternoon or early evening, there’s just too little sun to read that book you brought along, even using a lantern. Lighten up your surroundings by using a foil reflector behind the lantern. Tear off a good-sized piece of foil. (The heavy-duty kind works best.) Attach the foil reflector to the back of the lantern with strips of electrical or duct tape “” shiny side facing toward the mantle. This redirects the light that would go out the back of the lantern to the front where you need it. Now relax and go back to reading your book.
10. Need more light for photos?
Reflect on this idea. Professional photographers use commercially made reflectors to lighten up dark areas in their pictures. If you’re a creative person, you can make your own reflector. Cover a piece of heavy cardboard with aluminum foil, shiny-side out, using rubber cement or some other kind of glue if you like. Those who are really into photography may want to make three equal-sized panels and join them together with duct tape. This adaptation has several advantages. It can reflect light three times as well; it can stand up by itself; and it can be folded up easily for storage.
11. Keep your tootsies toasty
There are times when you can’t keep your feet warm, even when you’re sitting around a campfire. This will help. Wrap several stones in aluminum foil and lay them near enough to the campfire to get really warm. Then when your feet start complaining about the cold, carefully pick up the heated, foil-covered stones; wrap them in towels; and place them around your feet.
12. Keep your matches dry
When you’re building a campfire, it helps to have dry matches. Here’s a time-tested way to ensure it. Tightly wrap your box of kitchen matches with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep the moisture out.
13. Wallpaper your bathroom?
My sister-in-law reminded us that, years ago, Kaye’s mother decided her bathroom needed a new look. She roughly wrinkled large pieces of aluminum foil, and dabbed maroon and blue paint on it here and there to match the tiles in the bathroom counter. After the paint dried thoroughly, Mom spread the foil flat and then ironed it (more or less), and used it as wallpaper. Kaye was horrified when she heard about this exercise in art, but upon seeing the end result, there was no question that the technique produced a beautiful bathroom. We’ll keep this one in mind should we decide to redo the bathroom in our motor coach.