The Surprising Uses For Everyday Household Products

Common household items aren’t just great for their intended purpose, but also because of their more versatile uses. For instance, floss not only cleans teeth, but it can also make eating cheese easier. Drano helps with not only sink clogs but also cement stains. Even duct tape has a super helpful use. Keep reading for some truly ingenious hacks using everyday products.

Use Ketchup To Clean Silver Jewelry

ketchup-silver
London Drugs/YouTube
London Drugs/YouTube

Cleaning silver jewelry doesn’t have to require a special product. While it may seem counterintuitive, ketchup can do the trick! Simply pour ketchup into a bowl and dump the jewelry right in.

Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the acid and vinegar in the ketchup to break down any dirt on the jewelry. Then, use a toothbrush to softly get off any stubborn bits of grime and wash it clean with warm water.

Use Baby Wipes To Moisten Envelope Seals

Kirkland Baby Wipes
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Whether you have a huge pile of invitations to mail out or just can’t stand the taste of envelope seal adhesive, baby wipes are a perfect alternative to licking the envelope.

Simply grab a single baby wipe and wrap it around your finger, then run it along the adhesive strip like you would your tongue. Try to avoid rubbing the wipe along the dry paper so the moisture doesn’t cause any accidental wrinkles or tears.

Use Aspirin To Eliminate Perspiration Stains

aspirin-for-laundry
Well Done/YouTube
Well Done/YouTube

Aspirin is commonly used for headaches, but it has a secret power that may come as a surprise. Aspirin can be used to eliminate stains, too! It’s especially helpful when it comes to perspiration stains on white clothing.

All you need to do is crush 2 pills worth into about 4 ounces of water. Soak the stained part of your clothing into the mixture for 2 hours and then toss it in the wash to reveal a clean shirt!

Use Dryer Sheets To Rub Out Deodorant Marks

dryer-sheet
Downy
Downy

It’s never fun putting on an outfit only to find deodorant marks on the side. Instead of changing into something else, grab a dryer sheet! The woven fibers in the sheet give it a texture that works well against fabric because it won’t tear or stretch it out.

Use the dryer sheet to rub away deodorant marks using short, quick strokes. Used dryer sheets are ideal because new ones can leave a noticeable residue on darker clothing.

Use Newspaper To Deodorize Small Areas

newspaper-in-shoes
Lifehacker/YouTube
Lifehacker/YouTube

Smaller areas, such as the fridge and inside shoes, have a way of holding on to lingering smells. A simple fix is to stuff some newspaper into the area until the smell clears.

The newspaper will absorb the odors, helping to restore the neutral smell! Stuff your shoes with it after a workout or put it in the crisper when a veggie goes bad. You can even put newspaper in a bag with books to get out any mildew smells.

Quiet Door Creaking With Cooking Spray

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Creaking doors can be a nuisance, especially when there’s a light sleeper in the house. Quieting them down can be as simple as spraying the hinges with cooking spray! The oils in the cooking spray will lubricate the hinges so that they glide more easily and make less sound.

Coconut oil and olive oil are some of the most effective, but any will work. The oil can attract dust and grime, though, so be sure to clean the hinges regularly to avoid build-up.

Cut Soft Cheese With Floss

cheese-floss
Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

Cutting soft cheeses like brie or ricotta can easily become a sticky mess. The cheese sticks to the side of the knife, making it impossible to create presentable pieces.

One way to make the perfect slices is to use floss! The floss is strong enough to slice through the cheese. It is also very thin so the cheese doesn’t have enough surface area to stick to. Floss can also cut through other soft items, like cake. Just make sure you don’t use flavored floss!

Use White Bread To Clean Walls

H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Before the days of the Mr. Clean magic eraser, white bread was used to get stains out of walls. The clever hack is still well-known today and works just as well.

To try it, cut off the crust and roll the bread into a ball. Dab the bread into wall stains to lift them out! The bread is absorbent and will lift dirt, dust, and oils from wallpaper, cabinets, picture frames, etc. It can even pick up tiny pieces of broken glass!

Use WD-40 To Get Gum Off Shoe Soles

wd-40-gum
DRACULA/YouTube
DRACULA/YouTube

Stepping in gum isn’t ideal, especially when you do it with a new pair of shoes! Before you go rummaging through all of your cleaning products, simply grab a can of WD-40.

The ingredients are highly effective at loosening gum’s grip, and the long straw enables you to apply the spray right into the base of the gum. Leave the WD-40 on the shoe for a few minutes before scrubbing the gum off. You can also use this technique for carpets!

Use Nail Polish To Hold In A Loose Glasses Screw

Timothy Dykes/Unsplash
Timothy Dykes/Unsplash

After some time, the screws in eyeglasses can become loose and become unscrewed easily. To avoid having to screw it back in all the time, try applying some clear nail polish to the area.

The adhesive of the nail polish will act like glue, preventing the screw from easily coming out. Since nail polish is thin and dries clear and flat, it won’t be noticeable on your glasses. It may not be a permanent fix, but it’ll at least buy some time.

Use Ice Cube Trays To Portion Butter And Stock

stock-ice-tray
Thomas Ashby/Pinterest
Thomas Ashby/Pinterest

Many fridges nowadays have a built-in ice maker, but that doesn’t mean that ice trays are any less useful. One thing they can be handy for is portioning out and preserving butter and cooking stock.

Melt the butter and pour it into the trays for frozen squares you can pop in a pan later on. Pour the stock into the ice trays for the same benefit! It’ll prevent spoilage and make portioning all the more simple.

Use Windex To Free Up A Zipper

windex
Windex
Windex

Zippers are much faster than buttons, but they come with a catch, literally. Zippers easily get caught on fabric and can become harder to tug closed over the tip. That’s where Windex comes in handy.

Spray some Windex onto the zipper to help lubricate it and loosen it up. The Windex will do the job of oil without leaving behind any residue. Plus, it can help clean out tiny particles in the zipper that may be causing it to become stuck in the first place!

Use Borax To Clean Sticky Residue

borax-1
20 Mule Team
20 Mule Team

Whether you pulled an unsightly sticker off a product or something gooey got stuck to the counter, the residue left behind can be like a magnet for dust. To get off the grime, try using some borax!

Mix two parts of borax with one part water and apply the solution to the sticky residue with a washcloth. Scrub it into the residue and watch it dissolve! Rinse the area clean after to reveal a stick-free surface.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Wash Produce

washing-produce
Joern Pollex/Getty Images
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Clean produce with water can get off any lingering dirt, but if you’re looking for something a little stronger, throw some hydrogen peroxide into the mix! Place your produce into a large bowl of cool water and add in half a cup of hydrogen peroxide.

Let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse it clean! Another option is to put the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz the produce, let it sit, then rinse.

Use Dawn Dish Soap To Enhance Manicures

Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The first thing they do at the nail salon is have you soak your fingertips in soapy water. That’s because it helps loosen the cuticles and break down any oil on your nails.

It turns out that Dawn dish soap is one of the most effective products at doing just that! For stubborn cuticles, skip the water and soak your nails in a dish full of Dawn. The grease-fighting power will also create a clean surface that nail polish will better adhere to.

Use Car Wax To Prevent Mirrors From Fogging Up

Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/Getty Images
Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/Getty Images

After taking a shower, foggy mirrors can get in the way as you finish getting ready. Instead of having to wipe them down every day, try layering them with car wax!

Apply a small layer of car wax to the mirror and let it dry like you would your car. Wipe it off afterward with a soft cloth. The wax will act as a barrier, preventing condensation from clinging to the glass and fogging the mirror.

Use Baking Soda To Freshen Carpets And Trash Bins

NatureFriend/Pixabay
NatureFriend/Pixabay

Baking soda is a household staple for many reasons, including keeping things fresh-smelling. Two areas that can greatly benefit from baking soda is the trash can and the carpet.

Throw a handful of baking soda in the trash to stop odors in their tracks. For the carpet, spritz baking soda over the ground or on a rug and then vacuum it over. The baking soda absorbs moisture to help eliminate and prevent smelly bacteria.

Use Drano To Eliminate Concrete Stains

cleaning-concrete
Walt Barrett/YouTube
Walt Barrett/YouTube

Many things can stain the concrete around your home, including rust from outdoor furniture or watermarks from a welcome mat. To make your concrete spotless again, try using Drano.

Pour the Drano onto the concrete and use a stiff, nylon brush to scrub it as hard as you can. Then, use paper towels to clean up the product and further lift the stain. Lastly, use a hose to thoroughly wash down the area and reveal now spotless concrete!

Use A Razor To Remove Sweater Pilling

razor-sweater-pilling
Amizadai/YouTube
Amizadai/YouTube

Sweaters, leggings, and other clothing items can be subject to pilling depending on the material they’re made out of. It’s a result of the fibers breaking down and clumping to form little balls.

To restore your clothing to its former glory, simply use a razor to remove the pills. Opt for a dull razor that’s been used and gently run it over the item. The razor will collect the pills without damaging the rest of the fabric.

Use Tongs To Juice Lemons

Caroline Attwood/Unsplash
Caroline Attwood/Unsplash

Squeezing lemons can go from tedious to downright painful if the juice gets into a tiny cut you didn’t realize was there. There’s no need to go out and buy an expensive juicer to avoid putting your hands at risk.

Instead, just grab a pair of tongs! Use the tongs to squeeze the lemon over salads or into water, especially when making lemonade from scratch. It’s a simple solution to a nuisance that’s often overlooked.

Use Nail Polish To Stop A Stocking Run

nail-polish-stocking
Pinterest
Pinterest

Since stockings consist of such thin material and are constantly being stretched out, it’s only a matter of time before they get a run. But before you toss the stockings, it may be worth applying a little nail polish to the area.

Clear nail polish won’t be noticeable on the stocking and it’s just sticky enough to stop a run in its tracks. This can be a great way to prevent a run from progressing far.

Use Cupcake Liners To Prevent Popsicles From Spilling

Use cupcake liners to eliminate popsicle mess 0-27 screenshot
Smart Shopper Daphne/YouTube
Smart Shopper Daphne/YouTube

Popsicles are a childhood favorite, but they’re also one of the messiest foods you can hand to a kid, especially when it’s hot out! To avoid a melty mess, grab some cupcake liners!

Make a slit in the center of the liner that’s just big enough to fit a popsicle stick through. The liner will catch the popsicle juice as it melts. This way, it doesn’t trickle down arms and get onto clothes, furniture, and floors.

Use A Paper Clip To Put On Bracelets By Yourself

paperclip-bracelet
Midwest Beads/YouTube
Midwest Beads/YouTube

Bracelets can be a hassle to get on by yourself since you only have one hand to do the job of two! Instead of wasting time and effort bending over backward to get it on, try the paperclip method.

Simply attach the paperclip to the loop end of the clasp and keep hold of it with one hand. Then, use the other hand to secure the clasp! Detach the paperclip and just like that, the bracelet is on.

Use Tape To Remove Splinters

duct-tape-on-finger
FriedSpy/Reddit
FriedSpy/Reddit

Splinters can be a nuisance, so getting them out as quickly and painlessly as possible is ideal. One of the most popular methods is to use tweezers, but those can be intimidating to kids and can irritate the skin around the splinter.

Instead, try using some tape to get the splinter out. Simply apply duct, scotch, or masking tape to the splinter and then rip it off! The splinter should come right out without any pain.

Use Socks To Create Scented Sachets

Katherine Hanlon/Unsplash
Katherine Hanlon/Unsplash

Many of us have fallen victim to missing socks, leaving us with tons of strays that don’t match. These are the perfect socks to turn into scented sachets for drawers!

Simply cut the sock in half and fill the toe portion up with potpourri, scent beads, dried fruit peels, or anything else that smells amazing. Tie the sock closed with a ribbon or yarn and place the pouch in a drawer for fresher-smelling clothes.

Use A Clothespin To Hold Nails Secure While You Hammer

clothespin-nail
Jorgzs/Reddit
Jorgzs/Reddit

One of the most dangerous parts of hammering isn’t the act of swinging the hammer itself, but having to hold the nail there while you do it! A simple solution is to hold the nail with a clothespin instead.

Just place the clothespin around the nail and hold the far tip of the clothespin to keep the nail steady. This will create enough clearance to reduce the likelihood of accidentally hammering a finger, making it a less anxiety-inducing task.

Use Shredded Paper Bags As Packing Material

packing-paper
eBay
eBay

If you’ve gathered a large collection of paper grocery bags and aren’t sure what to do with them, consider using them as packing material. All you’ll need to do is shred the paper bags.

The material is soft enough to not harm fragile items but strong enough to act as a buffer to keep them protected. If you’re about to move and don’t have any packing material, just ask for paper bags during your next grocery trip!

Use Coffee Filters As A Spice Sachet

Tyler Nix/Unsplash
Tyler Nix/Unsplash

Coffee filters are made to allow the flavor to pass through them while holding back the unwanted ingredient. That’s why they work perfectly as a spice sachet! Place items like bay leaves, rosemary twine, or hot peppers at the center of the filter.

Then, tie the filter closed with a piece of string. Drop it into boiling water with the other necessary ingredients and the flavor will infuse into the dish. This way, you taste everything but only ingest the desired ingredients.

Use A Can Opener To Open Hard Plastic Packages

can-opener-hard-plastic
Destinee Bennett/Pinterest
Destinee Bennett/Pinterest

In this day and age, you’d think there would be a better way to keep products protected without having to wrap them in a thick layer of hard plastic. Prying them open can be a challenge, even with scissors.

That’s where can openers come in handy. Use a manual can opener to slice along the edge of the package. If you go all the way around the perimeter, the package should come apart quite easily.

Use A Hairdryer To Remove Stickers

Using a Hair Dryer to remove a New Car Decal 0-29 screenshot
Peter Nobbs/YouTube
Peter Nobbs/YouTube

Stubborn stickers can be a pain to get off, especially if it’s coming off a visible surface or is the price tag on a gift. To make the task a little simpler, try using a hairdryer.

Put the hairdryer on its hottest setting and then place it over the sticker for 45-second increments. The heat will loosen the adhesive enough for you to peel back the sticker. For best results, pull from the corner of the sticker.