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15 Surprising Uses for Bananas, No Monkey Business

Uses for bananas

If the only way you’ve enjoyed bananas is on your oatmeal or as an easy snack, then grab a big bunch of the yellow fruits and get ready. Here are 15 surprising uses for bananas, and not one of them is banana bread!

How will you use your bananas?

The following 15 suggestions are arranged by category: peels only, fruit only, and fruit formulas.

Peels Only

  • Whiten teeth. Rub a bananas peel (outside of the skin) against your teeth to whiten them
  • Treat insect bites: Rub a piece of banana peel against insect bites to reduce the itch.
  • Get rid of splinters: Bananas have enzymes that reportedly will help extract a splinter from your skin if you place a piece of banana peel against the injury.
  • Fertilize your plants: Chop up banana peels, dry them in a food dryer or in the oven or sun, and mix them with your soil as fertilizer for new plants. You can freeze your banana peels until you save up enough to dry them all at once.
  • Polish leather and silver: Banana peels are an inexpensive and effective way to polish leather and silver. Rub the peel on the item and then shine it with a soft cloth.
  • Combat aphids: Not everything likes bananas. If you bury pieces of banana peels several inches deep around the base of your plants, the aphids will stay away.
  • Purify water: An article published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research journal and explained on NPR reportedly noted that dried banana peels successfully filtered contaminated water in the Parana River in Brazil. The chemist who purified the water, Gustavo Castro, explained that carboxylic acids in banana peels may be the reason for the purification.

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Fruit Only

  • Dog treats. Bananas are a safe, tasty, and nutritious food for dogs. Use small slices of fresh, frozen or dried banana chips when training your dog or as a special treat.
  • Treat warts: A diet rich in potassium is recommended to help eliminate warts, and bananas are an excellent source of this mineral.
  • Treat bruises, cuts, and scrapes: Once again, the potassium in bananas can facilitate healing of these skin injuries.
  • Attract birds and butterflies: Both birds and butterflies enjoy the sweetness of bananas. Cut up the fruit (overly ripe bananas are good, too) with or without the peel and place in an area where you can watch the feeding frenzy.
  • Make “ice cream”: Here are two ways to enjoy pseudo ice cream. (1) Spear a banana with a popsicle stick or skewer and place in the freezer. In a few hours you’ll have a frozen banana pop. (2) Freeze several bananas, peel, and process in a blender for an instant “ice cream” treat. Add fresh berries or nuts.

Fruit Formulas

  • Treat damaged hair. Bananas are rich in B vitamins, which are helpful for repairing split ends and strengthening and moisturizing your hair. There are numerous recipes for banana hair treatments, and all include well mashed, blended bananas and at least one other ingredient. Choose the one that best fits your hair type.
  • Prevent wrinkles: This may be an old wives' tale, but there are a variety of formulas that claim a mixture of mashed banana and honey, applied as a facial mask that is left on for 30 minutes and then washed off, can help reduce or prevent wrinkles. The formulas vary as to the amount of banana and honey, but generally you can use ½ to 1 whole ripe banana, blended well with 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon honey. The mask should be applied one to three times a week. Here's another wrinkle-and-banana hint, but this one involves the peel. Some say rubbing banana peels on wrinkles and fine lines can reduce these signs of aging.
  • Exfoliate your skin: There are a number of formulas that include blended ripe banana, which helps moisturize and nourish the skin, and a gritty ingredient, such as granulated sugar, fine sand, used coffee grounds, or raw oatmeal. Use as you would a regular commercial skin exfoliant.

Do you have a bunch of bananas in your pantry? I bet you didn’t know there were at least 15 surprising ways you could utilize these fruits, and I challenge you to name some more!


Image: Pixabay