12 Out of the Box Uses for Ordinary Household Items

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Think twice before you dash to the store for a quick fix! Your home is a goldmine of simple solutions for those everyday annoyances, from cleaning mishaps to minor scrapes. Get ready to uncover the secret second lives of the items you have lying around — it’s all about making life easier and your wallet happier.

1. Aluminum Foil: The Pot Scrubber Extraordinaire

aluminum foil
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Ever found yourself without a scrub pad while battling stubborn stains on your pots and pans? Aluminum foil will save the day for you. 

Simply crumple a handful of it and wield it as a formidable scouring tool, ideal for polishing stainless steel pots. Just exercise caution, as aluminum foil might harm nonstick cookware.

Even more interesting, used aluminum foil will scrub your stainless steel pots equally well. 

2. Vinegar: Banishing Sweat Stains from Clothes

Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Svetlana Evgrafova

Sweat stains on your favorite garments can be a real downer. However, a simple solution awaits. Mix one part vinegar with four parts water, then apply this magic elixir to the offending sweat stain. Let it soak for a minute, then toss it into your regular laundry cycle. Witness the transformation as those unsightly stains disappear.

3. Paper Towels: Guardians of Fruit Freshness

paper towels
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Henadzi Pechan

Ever wondered how to extend the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables? Line the crisper drawer in your refrigerator with trusty paper towels. They work tirelessly to absorb excess moisture, the silent culprit behind premature rotting. When they’ve served their purpose, simply dispose of the soiled sheets and replace them with fresh ones.

You will have your fresh produce for longer using this simple hack. 

4. The Colander: Keeping Your Berries Fresher For Longer

The Colander
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Here’s another idea for you if your beloved berries and grapes succumb to mold before you can eat them. A colander is the savior you need! 

Ditch the closed plastic containers and opt for an open, airy colander in your refrigerator. Its perforated design allows the cold air to weave its magic, ensuring your fruits stay fresher for days on end.

5. Ammonia: A Respite for Your Oven

Ammonia To Clean The Oven
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Cleaning the gunk in the oven can be a difficult and time-consuming chore. Luckily, ammonia will help you forget about those daunting oven-cleaning sessions. 

Fill a bowl with ammonia and place it inside your unheated oven overnight. By morning, the ammonia’s fumes will have effortlessly loosened the gunk, making it a breeze to wipe away with a wet sponge or paper towel.

6. Lemon Juice: Ink-Stain Avenger

Wash clothes with lemon juice
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Ink stains can wreak havoc on your clothing, but lemon juice is your secret weapon. Soak the ink-stained fabric in lemon juice for five to ten minutes before running it through a regular laundry cycle. 

The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural stain warrior, ready to loosen even the most stubborn ink blemishes.

7. Pillowcases: Guardians of Delicate Laundry

Pillowcases washing machines
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Our washing machines can sometimes be too harsh on delicate items like sweaters and underwear.

Shield them from the damage by placing them inside a pillowcase, securing them with a rubber band, and letting your washing machine run its cycles normally.

8. Tennis Ball: Effortlessly Unclog Your Toilet

Tennis balls can help unclog the toilet
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Don’t call your plumber yet; a tennis ball can help you unclog that toilet in seconds. 

If you don’t have a toilet plunger, all is not lost. Trim off the top third of an old tennis ball and place the remaining portion over the clogged drain. Seal the overflow hole with a damp cloth and add a small amount of water to create a seal with the ball. Then, use the palm of your hand to plunge vigorously and fast.

9. Milk: Surprising Way To Give Your Leather Items A Gloss

clean your leather items with milk
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Snowdrop

Give your patent leather accessories, be it belts, shoes, or purses, the royal treatment they deserve with a surprising solution: milk. Dip a soft cotton cloth into milk and gently buff your leather goods in circular motions. The milk’s enzymes and fat will work their magic, moisturizing and polishing your items. Finish by using a clean, dry cloth to remove any residual milk.

10. Pencil Erasers: Screen Scratch Healers

Gently rub the mobile scratch with a soft pencil eraser
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Those pesky scratches on your phone screen need not haunt you any longer. Begin by meticulously cleaning the affected area with a fresh, lint-free cloth dipped in water and then drying it with another lint-free cloth. Now, gently rub the scratch with a soft pencil eraser, following its direction. Repeat as necessary until the scratch disappears.

11. Nail Polish: A Temporary Windshield Saver

Nail Polish A Temporary Windshield Saver
Image Credit: istockphoto.com/Aleksandr Potashev

When faced with a small crack in your car’s windshield, clear nail polish can provide a temporary solution. 

Carefully brush nail polish on both sides of the crack to halt its progress. Bear in mind that this solution is only a temporary fix; seek professional windshield replacement as soon as possible.

12. Baking Soda: First Aid for Minor Burns

Apply baking soda to the body burn area
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For minor skin burns, baking soda can provide a quick and soothing remedy. Prepare a solution by dissolving baking soda in ice water, then soak a cloth or gauze pad in it and apply it to the burn. Continue until the burn’s heat subsides. Not only does this provide relief, but it can also prevent many burns from developing blisters. Alternatively, consider applying vanilla extract, which cools the burn through alcohol evaporation.

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I am deeply passionate about making money online, saving money, investing correctly, traveling affordably and living frugally.