7 Unusual Uses for Common Household Items

Updated January 5th, 2021

Multipurpose your household products and cleaning agents with a little creativity and the help of this article. We’re going to take the things already in your cupboards – or headed for the bin –  and find new, unusual, and interesting uses for them. Discover some “off-label” uses for things you probably have stocked up on already. Give them a try and pass on the good news. Let’s get started!

1. Liquid Laundry Detergent

You already know that liquid laundry detergent won’t have trouble dissolving in the same way powders do: no more funny white streaks on your clean laundry! But that’s not all liquids like Ajax laundry detergent can do for you. Use it as a hand cleaner for stubborn oil, grease, or paint on your hands – just mix equal parts of laundry detergent and vegetable oil, and you have a hand cleaner that’s as good as most specialized hand-cleaning solutions. Like that fresh smell? Take it through your house when you use that laundry detergent as a soap for mopping floors. Simply add it to water, and you’re good to go!

2. Alka Seltzer

If you have grimy looking deposits in the loo from water that’s high in tannins, getting them cleaned off can be a tough call. Even bleach doesn’t seem to do much. Hardware stores might recommend using pool acid, but if you’d like to try something milder first, drop a few Alka Seltzer tablets into the water and let it stand for half an hour or more. It might just help you to get rid of those stubborn marks that have been embarrassing you after you already scrubbed the toilet out with regular cleaning products.

3. Bread Tabs

Bread tabs are a great innovation that helps to keep sliced bread moist after you opened the packet – but there’s more to them than meets the eye. Sick of sorting through socks to match up pairs after you did the landry? Simply clip pairs of socks together before washing. Unless there really is a mysterious sock-eating monster in your washing machine, you’ll have no more orphaned socks and you’ll save a lot of time trying to match them into pairs. You can also use bread tabs to label cables so that you know which is which, or use one to help you keep track of  the end of a roll of tape.

4. Bobby Pins

Hairpins or bobby pins can be pretty useful if you’re into a bit of DIY. Although fiction stories recommend them for lock picking, most locks these days are far too complicated for that – but you can use them to spare your fingers when hammering in nails. If you’re inclined to bash your thumb with the hammer, or are working in a tight space, you can use a bobby pin to hold the nail for you. You might even decide it’s worth keeping a few in your toolbox for exactly this reason.

5. Paper Towel Rolls

Never throw away another empty paper towel roll. They’re way too handy for the bin. Apart from cutting them up and decorating them to make serviette rings – or letting your kids do that job for fun – there are tons of uses for them. For instance: storing plastic bags can be messy business – but not if you compress them into the paper towel roll. You’ll get a surprising number of bags into one – and getting them out is as easy as pinching an end and pulling.

6. Salt

There are tons of uses for salt that don’t involve eating it. One of the handiest is undoubtedly the fact that salt makes a great gentle scouring agent that won’t easily scratch glass or porcelain. So, next time you’re dealing with stubborn stains on crockery or glassware, break out the salt and use it to help clean them up without scratching. Salty water is also great for cleaning out the refrigerator and for cutting through grease stains on pots and pans. Dishwasher smelling bad? Use salt in the filter area to cut odors – that’s also why salt water is so handy when cleaning your fridge.

7. Dishwashing Detergent

Dishwashing detergent might just become a favorite of yours in the garden. Add a little bit to pesticide mixtures to help them spread and stick to their targets – or  use mildly soapy water as a non-toxic way of killing aphids on your plants. Just remember not to apply it during the hottest part of the day.  Having trouble re-wetting dried out compost or potting mix?  A teaspoon of dishwashing detergent to a watering can full of water helps to overcome the problem – and it’s a lot cheaper than buying commercial wetting agents.

Multipurpose to Save Costs and Reduce Waste

Finding new ways to use existing household products and new uses for items you’d ordinarily throw away makes your life easier and saves costs. So, before you invest in yet another product to sort out a common household bugbear, do look around for easy, cost-effective solutions like these. You’re sure to pick up a few handy hints along the way.

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