Before searching for alternative uses for nonfat dry milk, I don’t know that I ever thought of using Carnation Nonfat Dry Milk (or any other brand, for that matter) for all that much aside from throwing it into a baking recipe when it was called for.
It turns out that Nonfat Dry Milk can be and has been used for all kinds of alternative purposes, some of which may actually surprise you:
- Paint the house
- Remove make up
- Thaw frozen fish
- Sooth Sunburn, Poison Oak/Ivy Rash, and Insect Bites
- Relaxing bath
- Rescue cracked dishes/plates
- Clean leaves on houseplants
- Whipped cream substitute
- Silver cleaning
- Shaving cream substitute
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #1: Painting the house
Apparently people have been painting their houses with milk since b efore I was born. Try mixing Nonfat dry milk with water until the substance is the consistency of store bought house paint. Then blend in any color you like, using another water based paint until your milk-paint is the color you want.
Change the consistency as you like with more powder or more water, and apply using a paintbrush as you would any other paint. Let the paint rest at least 24 hours before applying another coat. It is purportedly quite durable, but difficult to strip.
Why use nonfat dry milk as paint? Maybe you’d like to use fewer chemicals around your home, or save some $$. To be fair, I’m not sure that using dry milk is substantially cheaper than paint. You can get a gallon of cheap white paint for as little as five bucks in some places, while you might spent 5-6 bucks (or more) on a pound of dry milk which may not make as much paint.
But it is a novel idea and certainly more environmentally friendly.
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #2: Make up remover
Well, dry milk paint is tough to remove, and also a good remover of paint, face paint, that is. You can mix up a small amount of nonfat dry milk with warm water, and use it to wash off your makeup. Some of my research indicates that people use nonfat dry milk (mixed with water) as a lotion, so it can clean up your skin and also leave it soft and not all dried out.
After reading about painting with nonfat dry milk, I wouldn’t suggest that you let the mix dry on your face or anywhere on your clothing or counters. I am not sure how easily it would be to clean up.
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #3: Thawing frozen fish
This one is so interesting! Apparently you can mix up nonfat dry milk with water (about one part mix to 3 parts water), and then soak frozen fish in it. It is said that the nonfat dry milk reduces (or even eliminates the frozen fish taste) and returns the fresh caught flavor.
Hm. I’m not sure I know for sure what “frozen taste” means, but I’m guessing that is freezer burn flavor? And returns the taste of fresh fish? I’m sorry, I am not sure I understand how a bath of nonfat dry milk could do anything good for frozen fish, besides perhaps giving a dried out fish some more of its fluid back, sort of like covering a fish with mayo, oil, or other fatty substance before cooking it to keep it from drying out. It might help with the dryness but I cannot fathom how it does much for flavor.
Have you ever tried this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I am super curious, but not curious enough to freezer burn a piece of fish and then try to resurrect it with nonfat dry milk.
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #4: Soothing rashes, bites, and burns
Now this, I can believe. You can mix nonfat dry milk with water, then add ice cubes and some salt. You can apply to the ouchy area with a cloth, or perhaps even soak the bad spots in the solution. I can see how the milk would help sooth the irritation, how the salt might help dry it out (especially with poison oak rashes), and how the cold would help with the swelling and irritation.
I have been a devoted fan of using baking soda to handle poison oak rashes for 10+ years, but I’ve not found a good alternative for insect bites and sunburn. I mean, I use aloe vera on burns, but it seldom seems to do much to really alleviate the acute pain of the burn.
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #5: Milky, relaxing bath
Nonfat dry milk in the bath is a super hip thing right now, among people who are crafty and like making gifts. You can find recipes that combine nonfat dry milk with cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oils. Simple, and a fairly cheap recipe.
Those who love milk baths claim that taking regular milk baths leaves their skin looking younger and more refreshed, and that the practice goes back hundreds of years.
Certainly cheaper way to fight aging than bottles and bottles of Oil of Olay.
Alternative Use #6: Rescue cracked dishes/plates
We now know that nonfat dry milk is actually quite the tough substance, after it has been mixed with water and allowed to dry. For these reasons, it is a viable solution for saving dishes and plates that have small cracks.
Mix one part nonfat dry milk with three parts water in a pan that is big enough to fit the cracked dish. Place the dish in the pan with the water/milk, and slowly bring to a simmer for 45-60 minutes at a low heat. If you do this right, you may be able to completely delete/repair/vanish the crack.
Alternative Use #7: Cleaning houseplants
A mix of nonfat dry milk and water is said to be useful to clean the big broad leaves of houseplants (or even outside plants) that are dirty and need to be looking their best. Although, to be fair, it seems like water would do a fine enough job, but who am I to say what will work on houseplants? My kids destroy everything, so I haven’t owned a plant inside my house since I gave birth.
Alternative Use #8: Whipped cream substitute
Whipping nonfat dry milk (mixed in ice water) is a well known alternative for those who are looking to watch calories/sugar/fat. Watch out though, it can take as long as five minutes or more to get a satisfactory whip and you have to use the whip immediately. Others advise to add a little bit of cream or whole milk to this mix to get better results, which still seems better than just ALL the cream.
I think I’d just rather enjoy the dessert and go for a run instead.
Alternative Use for NonFat Dry Milk #9: Cleaning silver
Mix up a few ounces of nonfat dry milk with water and a little bit of white vinegar. Instead of scrubbing the silver, soak it in this concoction overnight, then rinse and dry.
I don’t own anything that is silver enough to warrant a milk soak. Maybe one day….
Alternative Use #10: Shaving cream substitute
Out of shaving cream, or desirous of a cheap and less chemically way to shave your legs? You can mix up the nonfat dry milk with enough water to make a paste, and then shave as usual. There should be enough fat in the milk to leave your skin somewhat softer than you would if you just shaved with water or with cheap soap.
Do you know of any other useful or even questionable uses for nonfat dry milk? If so, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear more about it.
EDIT/Update (several months later):
So…..I expected this post to do a lot better than it did (almost no traffic). There are a few reasons for this. One….this website is too new and there’s not enough authority to compete with the big sites that already have posts about using nonfat dry milk in all kinds of creative ways. Two….this post isn’t that great and of course, search engines will rank the others higher.
Or three…..y’all just aren’t that interested in using nofat dry milk like people used to in the olden days!!!
LOL, frankly, it cracks me up and bit, and its really hard to imagine people nowadays using nonfat dry milk powder to make paint to actually paint the house with, not when you can get a gallon of paint for relatively cheap and for only a few dollars more.
Are people just not as conscious of saving money as they used to be (think post-depression era grandparents now dying and leaving these generations to their own money spending ways).
Too funny. Either way, all you beautiful people, I appreciate you. And if you came this article and learned something, I really appreciate you.
Leave me a comment down below and let me know where you are in the world.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.