If you have any experience at all with dehydrators, then you probably already know that the intended purpose is to dry food. However, there are plenty of other uses for your dehydrator. Dehydrators are not just for food! Sure, you can raise yeast breads, proof sourdough starter, and speed up the fermentation process. You can even use it to lightly dry blanched fruits and veggies prior to freezing so they don’t stick together in the freezer … but that is all FOOD related. You spent all this money on this wonderful little appliance and yet … it sits empty a lot of the time. So … what else can you do with it? Here are 23 practical ideas to get more out of your dehydrator.
- Dry the inside of salt and pepper shakers or sugar bowls to remove all moisture before refilling. Nothing’s worse than clumpy salt & sugar.
- Dry wet shoes so you don’t have to hear them thumping around in the dryer or risk melting the soles because you put them a little too close to the fireplace or wood stove.
- Dry delicate clothing like bras, panties, anything with spandex in it, and anything that says “flat dry” on the tag (assuming it will fit on a tray). Use the lowest heat setting, turn the garment over often, and there will be no shrinkage or warping of the fibers.
- Dry freshly washed children’s toys. Face it, some things just do not go in the dishwasher or the laundry. Sanitize toys using your preferred method and then pop them in the dehydrator for a few minutes. Then they can go back into your baby’s hands … and mouth.
- Dry delicate handmade scarves and hats. They tend to shrink and lose shape in the dryer so lay them flat in the dehydrator.
- Dry shower caps, shower & pool shoes and galoshes… anything made with plastics or rubbers that you cannot allow to get too hot.
- Dry those expensive cloth baby diapers that have the built in plastic liners (my kid is grown so I don’t know what they are called nowadays, but they look like this).
- Dry damp (but clean) paper towels for reuse.
- After cleaning wall switch plates & outlet covers, stick them in the dehydrator for a few minutes to ensure they are moisture free before reinstalling them.
- Dry wet or damp matches so they can still be used.
- Dry paper mache projects, craft glues, artist brushes, etc, or the glue on minor repair jobs.
- Dry personal care items after cleaning. This includes make up brushes, hair brushes, and contact lens cups.
- Warm potpourri (homemade or store bought) to make the house smell good.
- Did you run out of dry kindling for the fireplace? Throw it in there for an hour or so … then it should burn nicely.
- Dry out used coffee grounds and eggshells that you plan to use in the garden later. That way they don’t get all moldy & smelly before you get to it.
- Someone spill something on an important piece of paper, a book, or your child’s homework? Pat with a dry towel to get the worst of it, then put it in the dehydrator.
- Do you use a vacuum cleaner that has hepa filters? Wash them in warm, soapy water and toss them in. You can get a lot of life out of a hepa filter that way!
- Gently dry out a cell phone, camera, iPod, watch, or other small electronic device. Don’t turn the heat up passed 90-100 though. You do not want to cook it. Putting it in a bag of rice also works but it takes longer.
- How about seeds that germinate best at 80+ degrees? This is often true of tropical fruits like citrus and mango. Wrap them in wet paper towels and put them in a baggie to prevent them from drying out. It is the warmth they want, not the dryness. Check on them often. Once sprouted, get them out, plant them, and get them into the sun.
- Ever accidentally run your wallet or cash through the washer? Dry without damage in the dehydrator.
- When you come in from working and playing in the snow, are your gloves are at least damp? Quickly get them ready for the next round outdoors in the dehydrator without any shrinkage.
And a couple more I found on the internet:
- Make fire starters.
- Make homemade dog treats.
Before you go, here are two great tips for using the dehydrator for non-food items:
1) When drying things that are light weight, such as wet paper towels, sandwich the item between two screens to keep the item in place. This also works great for light weight food items such as parsley which will otherwise be blown off the tray and into the bottom of the unit.
2) If using a round dehydrator that does not have adjustable shelves, you may find some of the items in this list do not fit and still allow you put the lid in place. In this case, rest the lid on top anyway and then invert a large pot (just big enough to fit the entire dehydrator) over top. If you don’t have a big enough pot, look around at what you do have and improvise. It will take a little longer, but it will still work.
If you do not own a dehydrator and are considering one, I recommend the Excalibur 2326TB (affiliate link). It has 9 adjustable shelves and does a great job. I have had mine for two years and I love it, but mine is the lesser expensive model (3900B) that does not have a timer (I regret now getting the cheaper one and wish I had the one with the timer – just FYI). For more information on our Amazon Affiliate status, see our Disclosures page. Start thinking of the dehydrator like a flat, mini-dryer that uses a lot less energy and does small jobs quick without damage. Can you think of any other new uses?
Thank you to my blogger friends Krystyna at Spring Mountain Living and Erica at MomPrepares for the photos they contributed to this post. I did not have all the items needed and they graciously grabbed their cameras and went to work! Their contributions are noted in the captions and used with permission. Nonetheless, they are still copyrighted and our terms and conditions apply. Thank you so much Krystyna and Erica. Visit their blogs at the links above for more wonderful ideas for the home, garden, farm, and family!
This post was shared on the Simple Saturday Blog Hop – February 1, 2014