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We canít in good conscience encourage you try any of these things at home.
You probably donít think of your pee as something particularly valuable. And why would you ó itís a gross waste product.

Yet, it can also be your bodyís liquid gold. For example, you probably know that urine can be a precious fertilizer.

But there are other uses for pee, as well. Throughout human history, weíve utilized our golden showers in many imaginative (and disgusting) ways.

Here are 8 strange use cases for pee from both humans and animals. Some are historical, while others are still in use today.

8. Making Leather

When we said urine can be liquid gold, we meant it. For centuries, tanners were willing to pay a pretty penny for pee ó yours, your horseís, they didnít care.

Urine was a valuable ingredient in the process to turn hides into leather. Soaking an animalís skin in a vat of urine softened it and made removing hair and stray pieces of flesh easy.

It wasnít just pee tanners craved, though. After the urine treatment, the skins would be rubbed with dung to make them even softer and more pliable.

As a totally unrelated fact, ancient and medieval tanneries were generally required by law to be built outside cities. Apparently, there were some odor problems.

7. Cleaning Things

You probably donít think about urine as particularly sanitary. But youíll be shocked to learn that people used to clean their clothes with it.

Urine contains urea (what a surprise) that will turn into ammonia if the pee is allowed to go stale. Ammonia is a caustic base that you can easily dilute in water.

Itís also a pretty fantastic cleaning agent since it dissolves organic material and removes grease and oil. So, pee used to be a valuable source of ancient Tide pod equivalent.

Oh, and the ancient Romans used to brush their teeth with pee. Say what you will, but weíre glad somebody invented toothpaste.

6. Dyeing Stuff

Not only can pee clean your clothes, but it can also dye them. And no, we donít mean peeing on them and letting the pee soak in.

While ammonia removes dirt and grease, it can also help dyes bind to clothing. A common method of dyeing cloth was to soak natural ingredients in stale urine and then stuff the fabric into the same vat.

But it wasnít just for clothes. For years, researchers puzzled over how the vivid purple color of a certain 6th-century Byzantine codex was achieved.

You guessed it. Chemical tests showed the color is a mixture of fungi and fermented urine.

5. Providing Power

Pee can also be a valuable power source. And it didnít take an expert team of first-grade scientists to discover that.

In 2012, a group of three schoolgirls in Nicaragua invented a pee-powered backup generator. It uses an electrolytic cell to break human urine into hydrogen that can then be used for power. A liter of pee can produce enough electricity for six hours.

Now, hydrogen is highly flammable so thereís a risk the generator could blow up. But not to worry ó the ingenious girls included a safety valve that minimizes the danger.

Speaking of pee explosionsÖ

4. Making Things Explode

Yep, pee can make things go boom. The main ingredient in early forms of gunpowder is potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter.

Back in the day, there were two ways to get saltpeter. You could import it from India at a tremendous cost ó or make it from pee.

People would store human and animal urine in giant vats and add lime and wood ash into them. After letting the horrendous concoction rot for roughly two years ó stirring occasionally ó it could be dried into saltpeter.

During wars, kings would sometimes implore their subjects to collect their pee for producing gunpowder. This continued up to the American Civil War, when the Confederate army urged women to preserve their pee for ammunition production.

3. Growing Teeth Implants

Nobody wants pee in their mouth ó if you do, we donít want to hear about it. But it can grow something that could go into your mouth.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have invented a way to extract stem cells from urine. They discovered a way to mix the cells with other organic matter and grow teeth-likeÖ Things.

Now, these would make for lousy teeth implants, since theyíre very soft, misshapen, and would be almost impossible to graft into the mouth. But what matters is that it can be done.

2. Disinfecting Wounds

Youíve already learned that pee can clean clothes. What you probably didnít want to learn is that it can clean your open wounds as well.

Doctors have used urine as an antiseptic for thousands of years. Like with cleaning, itís all thanks to urea, which inhibits bacterial activity.

The higher the concentration of urea, the better the pee works as a disinfectant. So youíd ideally want it from someone whoís severely dehydrated.

Hereís a fun story. A Renaissance-era Italian doctor once saw a soldier get his nose sliced off. So, he promptly opened his fly, peed on the nose, and then sewed it back on.

Weíre not sure if the soldier was thankful.

1. Building a House

Pee has so many uses, but whatís the logical endpoint for its practicality? Well, how about building your home out of it?

South African scientists from the University of Cape Town have figured out how to make pee bricks. After collecting urine, they removed valuable fertilizers from it and then mixed it with lime.

Once they had extracted all the water content, they mixed the pee-lime with sand and bacteria. And soon enough, you have a pee cement you can form into bricks.

The material is about as hard as limestone, so it works a s a construction material. And although they stink to high heaven during production, they are odorless once finished.