7 Surprising uses for common household items

Save money
with these tips & tricks

You've curled that tube of toothpaste down to the tip and you're desperately trying to squeeze out more. You're scraping the sides of your mascara tube with your wand, praying you have enough to coat your lashes one last time. Been there, done that?

To help you minimize these panicked efforts, check out the following tips and tricks.

All-purpose tip: This technique can be applied to any item you have, such as toothpaste, body and face creams, foundation, shampoo and conditioner, etc. Simply take a pair of scissors and cut along the bottom of the tube and squeeze from the top. Use an appropriately sized binder clip to close the end when you are finished.
1

Mascara

If your mascara has dried out, add a few drops of saline solution to the tip of the wand. This will sanitize the wand and add moisture to the product.

2

Silica gel packets

Ever wonder about those little silica gel packets that come in new purses, boxes of shoes, vitamin bottles, etc.? What's their purpose? The answer: They're in there to absorb and hold moisture that can cause these items to spoil, break down and grow mold. What you probably didn't know is these little gel packages have some other handy uses.

  • Gym bag deodorizer: Toss a packet inside your gym bag to minimize the odors and bacteria from forming from sweaty socks, sneakers and clothing.
  • Silver jewelry protector: Moisture can lead to tarnishing, so place a gel pack in your jewelry box to minimize silver jewelry from turning that lovely shade of gray!
  • Herb freshener: Tape a packet to the top of your favorite spice and herb jars to keep them fresh and free from clumping.
  • Dry flower aid: Slip a few packets in a paper bag with flowers that you are trying to dry out to speed the process.
  • Storage saver: If you are storing books and paperwork in your basement and attics, place a few of these items in a zip-lock bag to keep mold and moisture from forming.
3

Banana peels

Who would have thought banana peels could come in handy? Turns out, they're terrific for dusting and shining the leaves of your houseplants. Simply remove the stringy strands from the inside of the peel and thoroughly wipe the top and underside of each leaf. You can also use the peel to shine leather!

4

Eggs

Even though the carton has a "best if used by" date, that doesn't mean you should toss your eggs as soon as that date arrives. Instead, do a quick safety check to see if they're still OK to eat. Fill a bowl with enough water to submerge the eggs and carefully place them in the bowl. If the eggs sink, they're safe to eat. If they float, you'd better go out for breakfast!

5

Egg shells

Note: If you have lemon, orange or grapefruit rinds, toss them into the garbage disposal and let it run for another 10 seconds. This is an easy, natural way to freshen your garbage disposal.

Whether your eggs are good or bad, their shells can be used to sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal! Crack your eggs and push two shells down into the disposal (use a tool, not your fingers!). Flip the switch and let it chop for 15 to 20 seconds. You do not need to run the water while you do this.

6

Coffee grounds

This is where being a two-cup-a-day coffee drinker pays off. Utilize used coffee grounds as:

  • A fireplace dust stopper: Sprinkle wet grounds on the ashes to keep them from flying everywhere when you clean your fireplace.
  • A wood furniture scratch filler: Make a paste by mixing 3 tablespoons of used grounds with one teaspoon of water. Gently rub the paste into the scratch with a cloth. The grounds will fill in the scratch and minimize its appearance.
7

Wine corks

If you're like me, you have tons of wine corks lying around. Here are a few ways to uncork their other uses.

  • Organize, stick and store your post earrings.
  • Clean high-carbon knives: Use a cork instead of an abrasive pad with cleanser.
  • Protect your floors: Cut circles in the corks and glue them to the bottoms of your chair legs and end tables to avoid scuffs and scratches.

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