By Christopher Pataki,

Unless you’re a cat owner, chances are you don’t keep kitty litter around your home. But, if you think outside the box, litter has a number of surprising uses around your house and garden. Read why you may want to grab a bag of unscented, non-clumping litter from the pet store:

Road de-icer. Keep a bag of litter in your trunk during the winter. If you’re ever stuck in snow or ice toss a few handfuls under each wheel and go! You can also use it on icy walkways as an environmentally safe alternative for tread.

Grease gatherer. Sprinkle litter over fresh oil or grease spills, grind into the liquid, let sit a few hours, then sweep up.

Paint recycler. Wet paint should not be thrown in the trash or poured down the drain. But most garbage collectors allow paint to be thrown away once it is dried. Toss a large scoop of litter in paint to speed the drying process.

Bin refresher. A few tablespoons at the bottom of a garbage or diaper pail can keep the odor away.

Musty-scent reliever. Items like old books, vintage clothes or yard sale finds can smell musty, smoky or just not fresh. Seal these items overnight in a container with clean litter to dissolve the odor.

Shoe renewer. Replace shoe deodorizers with sachets of litter made from panty hose, and leave in overnight. Also freshen seasonal items like camping tents, suitcases, picnic coolers and other attic-kept items using the same trick.

Rodent ridder. Moles and mice don’t like the smell of cat litter. Pour a scoop down mole tunnels and into the entrances of mouse holes to move them along humanely.

BBQ tamer. Prevent grease fire flare-ups on the grill by placing a 2-inch layer of litter underneath the charcoal. Replace the litter after a few uses once it is soaked with drippings.

Soil moistener. Before planting, mix together equal parts of soil and litter. The clay will trap water and release it to plants over time, saving water and time.

Pond purifier. A pound of litter for every 2,000 gallons of circulating pond water will keep algae at bay without chemicals. (Note: It will cloud the water at first, but this settles quickly.)