No-one thinks much about peeling a banana and throwing the skin straight into the compost bin. But we’re throwing away a powerful beauty and cleaning tool! Banana skins are full of minerals – potassium, manganese, lutein, calcium, iron, carbon and tannin – which give the skin some very handy uses in the most unusual ways.
Here are 12 reasons why you should think twice before disposing of your banana skin:
Get rid of acne
Rubbing your skin with a banana peel each evening and washing it off in the morning should reduce the signs of moderate acne and clear mild cases.
- About an hour before bed, take a strip of banana skin from a very-ripe, but not black, banana and rub the flesh-side over your face.
- Make sure you rub the peel into the skin for a good 5-10 minutes.
- Do not rinse off straight away, keep the solution on your face until bed time.
- Rinse with plain water just before bed. Use a light, plain moisturiser if you need to (you probably won’t as banana makes a good moisturiser too!).
- Repeat nightly until your acne clears up.
Brighten your smile
People have credited banana skins with whitening their teeth just as well as commercial (and expensive) whitening agents. You’d be nuts not to at least try it, right?
- Take a picture of your teeth right now so you have something to compare to at the end of your experiment.
- Peel a very ripe banana from the bottom to the top. You want the banana to be ripe so it contains more minerals and you want to peel it from bottom to top like a monkey so that more stringy flesh stays attached to it.
- You only need a thin strip, so peel only what you need and keep the rest on the banana to peel over the next few days.
- Take the banana skin and rub the flesh-side (not the yellow side) across your teeth, both top and bottom. Make sure they are completely covered in banana-skin paste.
- Leave on your teeth for 10 minutes, keeping your mouth open and your lips away from your teeth (the mouthpiece from ‘speak out’ would be perfect for this!). It may feel weird and uncomfortable, but that’s the price of white teeth!
- Once you’ve let the air circulate over your teeth for 10 minutes, use a dry toothbrush to brush your teeth in circular motions for two to three minutes. Make sure you brush every tooth, every side.
- Rinse with plain water and you’re done. You might like to brush your teeth with your regular toothpaste at this point.
- Repeat the banana skin treatment daily for at least 14 days. Compare your new teeth with the photo of your old teeth. Any brighter?
Bananas are full of potassium and so is shoe polish … it’s true! Potassium nourishes leather so it makes sense that a banana skin will do a great job of caring for your shoes.
What you do:
- Peel and eat your banana, setting the skin aside.
- Take a strip of banana skin and lay it flesh-side down on your leather shoe.
- Briskly rub the banana skin back and forth across the leather, just as you would a brush with shoe polish on it.
- The banana skin will leave a waxy, gooey whitish coating on the shoe. Leave this for a few minutes.
- Buff off the coating with a soft cloth, using gentle circular motions to bring up a good shine.
More beauty uses
With all those handy minerals, banana skin is a useful beauty tool to have around. Try some of these remedies:
Using the same technique as explained above for acne, massage the banana skin into areas prone to wrinkles – beside your eyes, above the lip, around your neck. Using banana skins this way is said to tighten and lift the skin.
Massage the flesh of a banana peel into skin affected with psoriasis two or three times a day. The peel will both moisturise the skin and help the skin to shed.
Lying down with a banana skin on your head is said to take the pain away from a throbbing head. You might like to turn the lights out as well …
The enzymes in a banana skin will lift a pesky wart, including plantar warts.
What you do:
- Take a ripe banana and peel a small strip of skin (preferably from bottom to top to ensure that lots of the stringy bits stay attached to the peel).
- Rub the wart with the flesh-side of the banana skin in a circular motion.
- Tape the small strip of banana skin around the wart, flesh side down.
- Go to bed and dream about a wart-free life.
- In the morning, remove the banana skin and give the area a quick clean with plain water.
- Repeat daily until the wart disappears. This treatment is generally effective in a few days, but may take up to a week.
Other first aid jobs
Warts aren’t the only reason why a banana peel makes a great first aid kit. They are also useful for:
Tape a small piece of ripe banana peel skin-down over the area and leave for a few hours. The enzymes in the banana skin act as a drawing ointment to draw the splinter out of the skin.
In much the same way, small slivers of glass can be brought to the surface using a banana skin. You may need a few applications to bring the glass chips to the surface, but it does work.
Soothe minor burns
After immersing the burn in cold water to take the heat out, put a banana skin flesh-side down onto the affected area to further soothe and treat the burn. If you’ve got enough banana skins, this is an effective way to soothe bad sunburn too.
Remove skin tags
A small piece of banana skin taped flesh-side down over a skin tag should remove the tag within a day or two.
Stop the itch
If you’ve been bitten by a mozzie or ant, rubbing the bite with the flesh-side of a banana skin will quickly remove both the sting and the itch. This also works on most plant rashes, including poison ivy, as well as heat rash.
Take the colour out of a bruise
Lay a banana peel over the bruised area, tape and leave on overnight. The bruise (and a lot of the pain) should be significantly reduced by morning.
Cure your haemorrhoids
It’s a bit of a delicate operation, but rubbing a banana skin over external haemorrhoids will provide relief and help cure them.
- Remove the skin from a ripe, but not black, banana. Try to remove it from bottom to top so that you keep as much stringy-flesh attached to the banana as possible.
- Scrape the flesh from the inside of the skin and mash.
- Add the mashed flesh to a little petroleum jelly and apply to the affected area a few times daily.
Polish your silver
Polish and brighten your silver cutlery and jewellery with the inside of a banana skin.
What you do:
- Peel a very ripe, but not black, banana and use the flesh side to rub around your silver.
- Use a gentle circular motion and really get the flesh into cracks and crevices.
- Leave to absorb for a few minutes.
- Buff off with a dry cloth and polish to a shine.
Make a banana skin cake
Oh yes, banana skins! This one is for the especially thrifty! You need to soak them in water for a few days, making them very soft before pulverising in the food processor and using them to bake your cake. You could try them in any banana loaf or cake recipe. Please do report back what it tastes like!
Around the house
- You can polish your wooden furniture using banana skins – the flesh leaves a waxy sheen that is perfect for buffing to a high shine.
- Your leather couches will appreciate a rub with ripe banana skins. Rub in a circular manner before wiping away with a dry cloth.
- Banana skins remove ink from wooden or painted surfaces. Rub the mark with the flesh-side of the skin until it disappears. Works on inky hands too.
Write magic notes
If you pack the lunches for others in your house (children or hubby), you can leave a secret message on their banana. Prick your message in with a pin or toothpick. It will look like nothing until lunch/break time, when the message will appear in brown. This works best on just-ripe, but not green, bananas.
Treat your garden
After using your banana skins for any of these ideas, don’t throw them away. Your garden still has use for them.
- Bury banana skins straight into the soil about 10cm down for a fast, natural soil enricher.
- Cut banana skins into small 1cm pieces and bury them 2cm deep around any plant affected with aphids. The aphids stay away.
- Soak banana skins in water to make a liquid tonic. You can leave them for as long as you like – having a closed bucket always on the go to throw your skins into is a good idea.
- Feed them to your worm farm.
- Use the flesh-side to polish indoor plants such as peace lilies, prayer plants or Zanzibar gems.