11 Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Household Items
We find genius uses for ordinary household items you've never before considered.
By Juliana LaBianca and Kelsey Kloss
Reader’s Digest thoroughly vetted these genius tricks so you can finish chores, make repairs, and clean messes in a breeze.
1. Aluminum foil scrubs pots clean
No scrub pad? Use aluminum foil as a temporary replacement.
Crumple a handful and scour to polish stainless steel pots (foil may damage nonstick pots).
2. Vinegar removes sweat stains from clothes
Mix one part vinegar with four parts water. Pour on the sweat stain and soak for one minute.
Wash in a regular cycle.
3. WD-40 removes glue
To loosen stubborn glue dried on scissors or a counter, cover it with WD-40.
It can dissolve the adhesive components of even strong glue to make it easier to remove.
4. Alka-Seltzer cleans coffeemakers
Fill the chamber of a drip coffeemaker with water.
Drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets. Once they dissolve, run a brew cycle to wash the machine’s tubes.
Rinse the chamber two to three times, then run another brew cycle with plain water.
The sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid in the effervescent heartburn aid make it a powerhouse cleaner.
5. Cooking spray removes shower soap scum
Conventional cleaners don’t dissolve stubborn soap buildup on shower doors. Spray the glass with cooking spray and leave for 30 minutes. The oil slides between the glass and the soap scum, making it easy to wash. Wipe off with soapy water (use a wet sponge with a drop of dishwashing liquid).
6. Sponges remove pet hair
Fido leaving your furniture furry? Lightly dampen a sponge, and rub it across upholstery. It will easily lift pet hair from the surface.
7. Sugar removes grass stains
Enzymes in sugar help break down the chlorophyll that causes green stains.
Mix ¼ cup sugar with just enough warm water to create a paste.
Apply to the stain.
Let sit for 30 minutes before washing.
8. Milk polishes leather
To clean patent leather (the glossy type used for belts, shoes, and purses), dip a soft cotton cloth into milk.
Gently buff the leather in circular motions to moisturize.
The milk’s enzymes and fat soften and polish the leather.
Buff again with a clean, dry cloth to remove remaining milk residue.
9. Vaseline prevents rust
Apply a thin layer to the surface in question (e.g., outdoor machinery, nuts and bolts, and chrome on bikes). The petroleum jelly will protect the metal from moisture and air, both of which encourage rust.
10. Banana peels polish silver
Finishing a banana just as you’re starting the weekend chores? Run the peel through the blender with a little water, and dab a washcloth in the paste to use as polish for your silver. (You’ll love the tropical smell!) Dip the piece in a water bath to wash off the paste. Have leftover bananas?