When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or use that piece of citrus for something else altogether, like sanitizing a cutting board. When it comes to everyday objects, their purpose doesn’t have to stop at their day-to-day, typical use.
From using coffee filters as disposable snack bowls to repurposing the comics section of a newspaper as gift wrap, there are many ways to reinvent how you see household items to get the most use and value out of each one.
A Lemon As A Sanitizer To Clean Cutting Boards
The lemon you most likely cut on a cutting board is the same object you’re going to want to use to sanitize the board or block. According to What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel, Further Adventures in Kitchen Science author Robert Wolke, “Lemon juice is the strongest food acid in our kitchens, strong enough to make life unbearable for most bacteria.”
This means lemons are one of the best all-natural sanitizers, making it the perfect cleaning agent for a cutting board or chopping block.
Stuck Zipper? Use Olive Oil As a Lubricant
Olive oil might be great for cooking, but it’s not the only use for this cooking ingredient. In fact, olive oil can be used as a lubricant to unstick zippers. Just dap a little oil on a cotton swab and run it over the zipper’s teeth, avoiding the fabric!
According to Robert Wolke, author of What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel, Further Adventures in Kitchen Science, “Olive oil is a good lubricant because its molecules easily slide past one another, thereby helping solid objects to overcome friction.”
Cotton Swabs Can Clean Between Keys
Since the space between them is so small, it takes a special type of cleaning agent, or a nice can of air, to clean out between the keyboard keys. Thankfully, there is a nice everyday object lying around a lot of people’s homes that can be repurposed into a keyboard cleaner.
After lightly dampening them with rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs are both small and gentle enough to clean out the dirt, hair, and other grim between keyboard keys.
An Eraser Is Also A Shoe De-Scuffer
Erasers are good for more than erasing pencil errors. They’re actually good for erasing something else entirely, scuff marks on suede shoes. So, the next time a scuff appears on a pair of booties, dress shoes, or even a suede purse, instead of running to a leather specialist to clean them, run to a pencil case.
By running an eraser over the suede scuffs, any marks will begin to disappear and fade.
Nail Polish As An Adhesive To Keep Glasses Frames Together
People who wear glasses know that a loose frame can be very annoying. Even more so because it can cost a solid amount of money to get new frames. The good news is there’s an everyday household item that can put off a pricey purchase for some time.
Nail polish is actually quite a great adhesive! Dabbing a bit of clear nail polish on the frame’s screw will make sure it stays secure. Who knew!
Use Lemons To De-Brown Food Before It Turns Brown
When serving food at a party, nothing turns people off more than when something that isn’t supposed to be brown is brown. That’s why the next time apples, pears, or even some good old-fashioned guacamole is on the menu, make sure to pick up a lemon.
Sprinkle a little lemon juice over apple or pear slices or even stir it into a bowl of guacamole before serving. This way, if it sits out for a time, this lemon’s acid will make sure nothing will brown!
An Old Sponge Is A Great Manicure Tool
Instead of scrubbing old nail polish off with a tissue or cotton ball, try using this other everyday item, an old, coarse sponge. The fibers of the object are a great way to scrub old polish off fingernails, especially if this little trick is involved:
Soak the old sponge in some nail polish remover, roll it into a cylinder with a hole in the middle, and stick it into a tiny jar. When it’s needed, stick a polished nail into the hole and watch as the nail polish falls off easily.
Dryer Sheets As A Static Reducer Outside Of The Dryer
Dryer sheets don’t need to be placed in a dryer to be static repellants. If the air is causing your skin, hair, or clothing to have static cling, rub a dryer sheet on them!
According to Behnam Pourdeyhimi, director of the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center at North Carolina State University, “Dryer sheets contain positively charged…These ingredients bind loosely to any negatively charged fabric surface, such as a piece of clothing with static cling, neutralizing the charge and acting as a lubricant.”
Old Sponges Are Great For DIY Stamps And Crafts
While many people look at old sponges collecting dust under the sink and think there is nothing more they can be used for, they couldn’t be more wrong. A sponge has so much more potential than just cleaning dishes and countertops.
They can be turned into a fun time! By cutting fun shapes into old sponges, they go from something that should most likely be in the trash to a soft stamp kids can use for DIY crafts!
Tongs Can Be Used As A Citrus Juicer
Typically, people use tongs to flip steaks, burgers, and most things put on a grill. The thing is, this kitchen utensil has so much more to offer than being a mere patty flipper.
Tongs can actually be repurposed as a citrus squeezer. A solid amount of juice will be produced by putting a lemon, lime, or even an orange between the tongs and squeezing. It’s a great “new use” to have in the back of your head while grilling a salmon fillet that needs a bit of lemon in its life!
Remove Sweater Pills With A Razor
Instead of going out and buying a new sweater each time the fabric begins to pill, look no further than the bathroom. A great, everyday household item that is able to save the sweater, and some money, is a razor.
Gently glide the razor over the pilled fabric, and voila! The razor will remove the ruined, pilled parts of the sweater without completely ripping or ruining the fabric in the process.
Clean Utensil Organizers With Lint Rollers
A dishwasher gets forks, knives, and spoons squeaky clean. But that doesn’t mean the organizer they go in after the washer is clean. Ironically, these nifty organizers actually get quite dirty, even though objects go in them post-washing.
Thankfully, lint rollers can be used for more than getting dog fur off clothing. The sticky rollers are a great everyday tool to clean out utensil organizers. Just plop the roller into the organizer’s spaces and watch as dust, dirt, and crumbs become a thing of the past.
Cupcake Holders As Ice Pop Holder Prevent A Sticky Mess
On hot summer days, few things are as satisfying as a nice cold popsicle. Unfortunately, a hot day and an ice pop usually result in very sticky hands. Hey, things melt in the heat! The good news is, there is an everyday item that can be repurposed to bypass the sticky mess — cupcake holders!
By simply cutting a hole in the liner’s bottom and sticking the popsicle through, open side facing up, all of the sticky sugar will fall into the holder and not on hands or clothing.
Newspapers Make Great Wrapping Paper
While a lot of people no longer subscribe to a newspaper, they might change their mind after learning how to repurpose it. Instead of going out and buying wrapping paper for birthday presents or other gifts, a newspaper is a great alternative.
Using the comics section is a great way to wrap a present for a child’s birthday, while the wedding announcement section is perfect for an engagement present. Either way, the newspaper is being recycled and reused for something other than reading.
Erasers Make Great Earring Backs
If there is one piece of jewelry that always seems to go missing, it’s the back of an earring. They’re tiny, hard to keep a grip on, and, hey, some are even clear. It’s only human that they go missing every so once and a while!
Thankfully, erasers are a great everyday item that can be reutilized as an earring back. Cut off a tiny bit of eraser, stick it on the back of an earring, and be comforted in the fact that the earring is going nowhere.
Olive Oil Is A Great Substitute For Wood Polish
One common ingredient a lot of households have in the kitchen is olive oil. And while it’s a great component of many different dishes, olive oil is good for other things that have nothing to do with cooking.
One such thing is polishing wooden furniture. According to Robert Wolke, author of What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel, Further Adventures in Kitchen Science, “Its film also fills up microscopic rough spots in surfaces, making them look polished and shiny.”
Dryer Sheets Are The New Shoe Deodorizer
When it comes to dryer sheets, many people don’t look past using them in, well, the dryer. The thing is, these nifty everyday items have more than one good use, many of which have nothing to do with the actual dryer.
One way to repurpose dryer sheets is by using them as shoe deodorizer. Say goodbye to smelly running shoes, work shoes, and weekend clubbing shoes! Just place one dryer sheet inside each shoe, let it sit overnight, and be pleasantly surprised as that funky smell disappears.
Bars Of Soap Can Keep Folded Clothing Fresh 24/7
Bars of soap can be used for so much more than washing hands. They can be used for keeping drawers of clothing smelling fresh and laundered 24/7. By placing bars of soap inside dresser drawers, shirts, pants, socks, undergarments, and whatever else is inside will be freshly and lightly scented, even if they hadn’t been in the laundry recently.
Just make sure the soap is completely dry before placing it near clothing!
Coffee Filters Make Great Disposable Bowls For Movie Night
Who said coffee filters could only be used to filter much-needed morning bean juice? They can be used for an array of different things, including makeshift disposable bowls on movie nights.
Instead of dirtying a bunch of snack bowls, think about using some coffee filters. Fill a bunch up with popcorn, pretzels, chips, candy, and whatever else is needed for a fun night, and plop them all down on the coffee table. The best part is that after the movie, there is no cleanup!
Chalk Can Be Used As An Air Freshener
Before throwing away that chalk in the garage during the next spring cleaning sweep, throw it in a bucket and save it for later because chalk can be used for more than drawing on the driveway.
Consider using that old chalk as a way to freshen up the closet and maybe even the hamper, as they’re a great way to eliminate and absorb funky odors. Pro tip: Add a few drops of essential oil to the chalk for an extra clean scent.
Use Vinegar As A Garbage Disposal Deodorizer
According to the director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, Michael Doyle, “[Vinegar], it’s also a good deodorizer―the acid neutralizes basic compounds, such as those found in degrading meat, that can be volatile and unpleasant.”
With that blurb in mind, it’s time to use vinegar for something other than a teaspoon for that one wayward recipe. Instead, pour some down the garbage disposal, or even rinse out the trashcan with some vinegar to deodorize any funky smells.
Unclog Drains Using Baking Soda
Clogged drains seem to pop up at the worst times, like in the middle of a dinner party. Thankfully, there’s an everyday item that will save the day and allow you to breathe easier, knowing you don’t have to run to CVS for some draino.
Accord to chemistry professor Robert Wolke, “[baking soda] attacks grease by turning it into―believe it or not―soap.” Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda into the clogged drain, slowly pouring in some white vinegar after it, and watch as the drain unclogs itself.
Fill A Zip-Lock Bag With Ice For Easy Gum Removal
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to remove chewing gum from a surface. It pulls, sticks, and seems to be a never-ending strand of the worst substance imaginable. Thankfully, zip-lock baggies can be used for more than holding sandwiches or chips.
They can actually be used as a tool to get rid of pesky gum. Fill a baggie up with some ice, rub it over the gum until it hardens, and then break the gum with a blunt object. It’s that easy!
Salt Can Eliminate Sticky Residue On A Hot Iron
Salt can be used for a load of things that don’t include cooking. And one of those things might come as a total surprise. Coarse salt can be used to get sticky residue off an iron.
Before ruining a shirt or pair of pants, think about cleaning the iron using some salt. Just sprinkle some salt on a piece of paper, heat the iron, and run it over the paper without steam. Any sticky residue that was on the iron will have vanished!
Can Openers Can Open More Than Cans
Obviously, the normal thing to do with a can opener is to open, well, cans. The thing is, soup, sauce, and bean cans aren’t the only things a can opener is good to open. They’re actually quite useful in opening another pesky object.
Hard plastic packaging is probably one of the more annoying things to try and open, especially if the item inside the packaging is a pair of scissors. That’s where a can opener comes into play. Running a handheld can opener along the hard packaging will open it right up!
Save Your Fingers By Holding A Nail In Place With A Clothespin
Many of us don’t think twice when holding a nail in place with our fingers. There might be a 50/50 shot of nailing those fingers with the hammer, pun intended, but we do it anyway, not really thinking any better.
Next time you go to hang a picture, bypass the who “will I or won’t I hit my fingers” by repurposing a clothespin. Instead of holding a nail with your fingers, think about clasping a clothespin around the nail to steady it on the wall.
White Craft Glue Can Fill Holes Just As Well As Spackle
For those people who don’t have spackle lying around their house or in their garage, there is another way to fill pesky nail holes in the wall. The best part is, the spackle substitute is something that is found in a lot of households, white craft glue.
Putting a bit of the craft glue on a hole and spreading it with a putty knife or even a finger will have about the same result as if spackle was used.
Zip Ties Can Easily Snake A Drain
Zip ties are great for many things, most having to do with keeping things in place, such as securing a banner on a fence. This particular household item has so much more potential, though, and can be repurposed as something very useful, a drain snake.
By cutting little grooves into each side of a zip tie, it turns into a fancy DIY snake. Just stick it down the clogged drain and marvel, or get disgusted, at what it pulls out.
Pipe Frosting Using A Plastic Freezer Bag
Big gallon zip-lock bags are great for storing things in the freezer. But that’s not their only benefit. These particular types of bags are actually great for bakers who find themselves out of pastry bags.
Freezer bags are actually a great substitute for pastry bags. Just fill the gallon baggie with frosting, snip off a bit of one of the bag’s corners, and, voilà, a homemade pastry bag that will do the job just as well as an actual pastry bag.
Pack Delicate Items With Newspaper (Extra Box Space, Too!)
When packing delicate items into boxes, one concern for many people is how to make sure nothing breaks. The answer no one really thinks about is simple: newspaper.
Whether it’s wrapping delicate items like a glass vase in the classifieds sections or crumpling up the sports and self-help columns to fill in extra space in the box so nothing moves, using it as packing paper is a great way to repurpose the reading material.
Iron Clothing Hems With A Hair Straightener
Contrary to popular belief, hair straighteners can be used for more than styling hair to look like it was from the ’90s. These appliances are actually good for something else that has absolutely nothing to do with hair — a substitute iron.
If you’re dressed and ready to run out the door but notice a bad wrinkle in your shirt, don’t both plugging in the iron. Set the straightener to its lowest setting and clamp it over the wrinkle, smoothing it out as you go.
Treat Dry Skin With Olive Oil
For people who are prone to dry skin, put the moisturizer away! Well, maybe not away, but think about replacing it with this other everyday household item. Instead of grabbing lotion after a shower, run into the kitchen for some olive oil.
Olive oil is a great, natural moisturizer that can better penetrate the skin than the typical lotion found at CVS. Just put a little oil in your hands, and massage it into your skin.
Tennis Balls Are A Perfect Way To Prevent Floor Scuffs
Furniture, particularly chairs, has a pesky tendency to leave scuff marks on the floor when they’re moved. The good news is there’s an everyday item that can be repurposed to save not only the bottom of the chair legs but the floor — tennis balls!
Cut holes into the tops of tennis balls and slide them onto the bottom of the chair legs. Your floors will thank you for the protection while your dog will glare at you, wondering why they’re not allowed to play with the balls.
Old Jar Lids Are Handy When It Comes To Moving Furniture
If tennis balls aren’t lying around the house, there is always the good old-fashioned jar lid. While an old lid might look like nothing more than trash, they’re actually quite useful when it comes to moving, sliding, and rearranging furniture, so the floors don’t get ruined.
Just place a lid underneath each of the four legs of the table, chair, or couch. This “new use” is especially great with larger, heavier pieces that are very prone to leaving marks along the hardwood floors.
Baby-Proof Furniture Using Pool Noodles
Sharp corners of tables are one of many things parents have to think about when a kid comes into the picture. But on top of everything else that needs to be bought, baby-proofing apparatus isn’t something to break the bank over, especially if there is an everyday item that can be repurposed.
That item, a handy-dandy pool noodle that can be found at a local dollar store! Just cut the noodle to the appropriate length, cut it vertically from end to end, and fit it directly of the table edge.
Exfoliate With Some Baking Soda
If you ever find yourself without exfoliating face wash, have no fear. There is an everyday item that can 100% be repurposed as a lavish exfoliant, and it’s most likely sitting right in the kitchen!
Using three parts baking soda and one part water, massage the resulting paste gently into your skin. Avoiding your eyes, rinse the paste off with some warm water. Honestly, this mixture can be used for your face, hands, and even legs!
Add Nail Polish To A Stocking Run To Make It Stop
Have it be a splinter on the underside of a wooden table, a fingernail, or a dog jumping up to say hello, a stocking run is inevitable. And since it’s a matter of when and not if a run will happen, it’s a good idea to be prepared.
The good news is that nail polish can be used not only for painting nails but for stopping runs in their tracks. While dabbing on clear nail polish or the top and bottom of a run won’t fix it, it will stop the run from getting worse.
Plastic Water Bottles Make Great Sprinklers
While a lot of people are foregoing the purchase of plastic water bottles, there are still some who do. And for those people, there is a way to reuse the bottles after all of the water is gone.
Instead of throwing plastic water bottles directly into the recycling bin, repurpose them as sprinkler heads. First, secure the mouth of the bottle to the watering hose with some duct tape. Then, carefully puncture the bottle a few times with a knife. Turn the hose on, and you have yourself a DIY sprinkler!
Clean Up Minor Oil And Grease Spills With Baking Soda
According to University of Pittsburgh professor Robert Wolke, “Not only does baking soda neutralize odiferous fatty acids, but it also attacks grease by turning it into―believe it or not―soap.” So, if there is ever a minor oil spill on the garage floor, give this new use for baking soda a try.
Sprinkle some baking soda directly on the spill. Then, with a wet brush, scrub the baking soda into the spill. The oil will pretty much be turned into soap, and the group won’t have an oil stain.
Socks Make The Best Sachets
Instead of throwing away that lone sock whose pair was sucked away into the ether of the dryer, think about reusing the sock for something else altogether. Turn those mismatched pairs into sweet-smelling no-sew sachets.
Sachets are small cloth pouches filled with good-smelling herbs and dried flowers and the perfect thing to keep your dresser drawers smelling fresh around the clock. Just fill the sock with the herbs and dried flowers of your choosing, secure it with a rubber band, and place it in the drawer!