It pays to keep some common household multi-taskers around. You know, those useful kitchen and bathroom supplies that can fill in for other stuff in a pinch. You can simplify your life, save money and go greener by using some inexpensive, all-purpose products for common tasks.
10. Baking soda. From taking a little as a makeshift antacid to deodorizing your sink drain with it, baking soda is a nice item to have on hand. Some other uses you might like: wipe it on your windshield as a rain repellent, add a little to your scrambled eggs for a fluffy texture or use it to deodorize your carpet.
9. Distilled water. Water that’s been evaporated to remove bacteria and minerals, distilled water is a useful additive that can save you money. Dilute your liquid soap with it to increase the volume and make it less viscous. Use it in your homemade cleaning or beauty products to increase their useful life too. Put it in your iron for steam that won’t leave mineral deposits behind. Oh, and you can always drink it.
8. Lemon juice. A mild acid that makes a great garnish or fabric bleach, lemon juice will also polish your silverware, remove garlic odor and freshen your dishwasher. It’s tasty on fish too.
7. Hydrogen peroxide. This dandy first aid anti-bacterial liquid may be languishing in your medicine chest. Use it as a mouthwash, skin astringent or fabric bleach.
6. Toothpaste. As abrasives go, toothpaste is very mild. Use it to remove water marks from your wood furniture and scuff marks from your vinyl floors. It’s also a great polish for jewelry.
5. Petroleum jelly. An inexpensive lubricant, petroleum jelly also makes an effective shoe, briefcase or handbag polish. Coat your battery cables with it to keep them from corroding, or put it on your newly opened super-glue cap to keep it from sticking.
4. Aluminum foil. Use crinkled aluminum foil with a little water to remove rust from metals like chrome. Hang strips of it in your fruit trees to repel birds. Sharpen your scissors periodically by cutting into seven or eight sheets of foil with them. Line the bottom of your oven with it to catch spills.
3. Clothespins. These inexpensive implements make great grabbers for bags of all sorts, like chips, crackers and candy (they’re really inexpensive too). They’re also handy organizers for holding pairs of mittens, slippers or other duos that are inclined to get separated. They can be made into useful homemade refrigerator magnets (with the addition of the magnet and some superglue), or used as picture hangars, literally. Prefer wood over plastic.
2. Newsprint. Don’t throw out those old newspapers either. You’ve read them, now it’s time to make them do double duty. You may already know that newsprint does a great job of cleaning glass and mirrors, but it can also help dry wet shoes if you stuff wadded newspaper inside the foot opening overnight. In the garden, newspaper can be folded into plant pots, shredded into inexpensive mulch, or placed in sheets on seed beds to protect them from cold overnight temperatures.
1. Vinegar. A great organic antibacterial preparation around pets and children, just spray a half-distilled-water and half-vinegar solution on countertops, plastic chairs or around food bowls. You can use it to remove lime deposits on your faucets and showerheads too.
That isn’t all. There are literally hundreds of uses for vinegar. Some other favorites: removes rust from bolts, cleans coffee and tea stains from mugs, absorbs smoking odors from furniture (in a dish nearby), and dissolves gum residue.