Don’t you just love it when you find out you can use something for more than its intended purpose? Not only does it make you feel creative and somewhat adventurous, but it also saves money (yea!) and cuts down on the amount of space you need to store all those little bottles, boxes, and cans for every little stain, situation, and predicament. Plus you use less chemicals in your home!
WARNING: You CAN try these at home. In fact, we want you to.
Toothpaste. Toothpaste is so much more than just a way to get your teeth clean and make your mouth feel and smell minty fresh. Toothpaste can be sued to remove Kool-Aid stains from your countertops as well as your children’s upper lip. Toothpaste makes a dandy scuff remover for shoes and boots. Even your white shoes will sparkle like new. Are you ready to move and your landlord says he will deduct from your deposit the cost for fixing those little nail holes in the walls where your pictures hung? No problem! Use some white toothpaste to fill in the holes. Just rub it in, smooth it out, and you’ll have a pretty good chance of getting your deposit back. There’s no need to buy expensive acne creams for those occasional breakouts. Just rub a bit of toothpaste on to dry up pesky pimples. Toothpaste can remove crayon marks from walls as well as remove odors from your hands, too.
Baby Powder. Baby powder is more versatile than most give it credit for, to say the least. Ants refuse to walk through it, so sprinkle some baby powder around your windowsills or anywhere else the little buggers try to get in. Sprinkle baby powder into the cracks and crevices where your wooden floor squeaks. It will stop. Baby powder makes a great dry shampoo for you and your dog. Sprinkle your children (and yourself) with baby powder before you get in the car at the beach. The wet sand will disappear quicker than you can say “beach ball.” Baby powder keeps shoes smelling fresh; cools bed sheets on hot, sticky summer nights; and makes getting latex and rubber gloves on and off a breeze by dusting your hands with baby powder before putting them on.
Coffee Maker Filters. These lint-free filters are great for several household jobs. Clean windows and mirrors with the filters then toss. No lint bunnies will be left behind. You can also use the lint-free material to remove fingerprints from scanners and DVDs. Cover food you put in the microwave with a coffee filter to avoid those messy splatters that muck up the walls and turntable of the microwave. Use coffee filters as a holder for tacos & chili dogs to cut down on spillage and mess. Line the bottom of flowerpots to keep the soil from sneaking out of the drainage holes without preventing proper water drainage. Stop the drips that come from eating popsicles and ice cream bars by poking a hole in the center of the filter and slipping it onto the stick to meet the bottom of your treat. You can also entertain your children with the fun and creative coffee filter crafts.
Tea Bags. Tea bags can do so much more around the house than quench our thirst. Cooled, wet tea bags placed on your eyelids for fifteen minutes will take away the puffiness away and relieves eye strain. Adding a cup or two of strong tea to your broth tenderizes meat. The tannins in the tea are natural tenderizers. Plants love a good cup of tea. Give your potted plants a drink of weak tea once a week to give them a boost. If you are a brunette or a red head, rinsing your hair with brewed tea will add highlights with a sunny glow. Drinking tea (hot or cold) relieves diarrhea and hydrates you. The tannins are soothing to the stomach.
Dental Floss is the go-to kitchen gadget. You can use dental floss to slice block cheese and cut a layer cake into nice, neat slices. But that’s not all dental floss is good for. Besides using it on your teeth and in the kitchen, you can sew a button onto a coat and know it won’t be coming off again anytime soon. Weaving floss through the mesh in a playpen, laundry bag or screen door/window works to repair minor tears without looking conspicuous. If you or your children are into jewelry making, using dental floss to string beads is cheaper and just as durable than using the thread they sell in the craft department.
Aluminum Foil. We may have snickered at how Grandma saved all those little scraps of foil because she couldn’t stand to waste it, but it turns out Grandma knew what she was doing. There are lots of tasks that can be accomplished with a little piece of foil. Crumpled foil makes an excellent pot scrubber when you are camping or don’t have a traditional one on hand at home. Clean your grill by rubbing crumpled wads of foil across the racks to remove charred on food and sauce. You can also use foil to cover a piece of cardboard when you need an impromptu serving tray for cookies or cake. Cover the bottom of your baking pans with foil to speed cleanup and avoid stuck-on food. A layer of foil placed in the bottom of your oven will keep spills from casseroles and pies from mucking up the oven. Polish chrome by using crumpled foil dipped in cola. Polish tarnished silver with foil, water, and baking soda. Here’s how: line a metal cake pan with foil and place the silver in the pan. Heat just enough water to cover the silver to NEAR boiling. Do not let the water boil. Add two tablespoons of baking soda, mix. and pour over the silver. The hydrogen from the soda will mix with the aluminum in the foil and the sulfur in the tarnish to polish the silver nicely.
Bread. We all know bread makes a dandy PBJ or bologna-and-cheese sandwich. But did you know that by placing a slice of bread into your cookie jar, you’ll keep your cookies from getting stale? You can also keep your brown sugar from getting hard by adding a slice of bread to the bag or canister. A slice of white bread is the perfect eraser for oily, greasy stains and handprints on your walls.
It’s amazing how many uses there are for the simple, everyday things we use. Can you think of a few?