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10 Unique Uses for 10 Everyday Household Items

POSTED UNDER Home & Garden

What do soap, olive oil and rubber bands have in common? Like many everyday items in your life, they have numerous uses other than washing your hands, sautéing vegetables or holding a few sheets of rolled paper together. 

Below are 10 unique ideas on how you can use 10 everyday household items to make your life a little easier and a lot greener. When life gives you a few too many lemons, do more than just make lemonade! 

Wine Corks

  1. Add it to your mulch. Chop or grind corks into small bits and add them to soil as moisture-retaining mulch.
  2. Create home accessories. Make a trivet, bulletin board, picture frame or coasters.
  3. Make stamps. Carve the ends into letters or shapes and stamp in ink or paint.
  4. Create Christmas decorations. Make a wreath or an ornament.
  5. Create some quiet. Slice a cork into thin circles and glue the pieces to the inside corners of cabinet doors to quiet them when closing.
  6. Prevent a chair from wobbling. Slice into discs and use to even out uneven chair legs or tables to keep them from wobbling.
  7. Protect your floors. Keep your chair legs from scratching the floor, slice off discs and attach to the bottom of each chair leg.
  8. Use one as a pin cushion for pin needles.
  9. Go Fishing. Create a make shift bobber.
  10. Create trendy jewelry. Incorporate slices, pieces or entire corks into jewelry crafts to create pendants, earrings, necklaces or bracelets.

    Not the creative type? Recycle them. You can send used corks to ReCORK by Amorim. The corks are recycled into flooring tiles, building insulation, craft materials and more. Check it out at

Rubber Bands

  1. Keep clothes on hangers. No more worries of camisoles, sundresses, and other slippery garments slipping off hangers when you wrap the ends with rubber bands.
  2. Open jars with ease. When a small lid won’t budge, wrap a rubber band around it several times to give you a better grip.
  3. Traveling more cleanly to a potluck. Secure your casserole dish lid in place with a few criss-crossing rubber bands.
  4. Bring order to your dishwasher. Tether stemware and other delicate, wobbly items to the rack.
  5. Wrap a gift. Use multiple colored rubber bands instead of ribbon to add modern flair to a small present. (Particularly handy when you can’t find the tape.)
  6. Create a quick eraser. Grab a few rubber bands and create a small rubber band ball and watch the pencil marks disappear.
  7. Keep chips, cereal or other bagged food fresh. Fold over the top of the bag and wrap a rubber band around the entire thing.
  8. Melt and use as an adhesive. It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band does make a great adhesive.
  9. Prevent your spoon or utensil from falling in the bowl. Wrap a rubber band around the upper part of the utensil handle just above where it rests on the rim of the bowl.
  10. Create a stress reliever. Collect a bunch and create a ball that you can squeeze.

Table Salt

  1. Dust a wreath. Place a wreath of pinecones or faux evergreen in a paper bag with a 1/4 cup of salt. Fold the top of the bag over and gently shake.
  2. Remove tea stains. Sprinkle salt on a lemon peel then rub it on a tea-stained cup.
  3. Shine brass and copper. Make a paste of a few tablespoons of white vinegar with equal parts salt and flour. Apply with a soft cloth, rinse and dry.
  4. Prevent frost from accumulating inside car windows. Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car's windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.
  5. Remove red-wine stains from your clothes. Blot up as much of the wine as possible. Cover the stain with salt to absorb the remaining wine then rinse with cold water.
  6. Remove perspiration stains. Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and soak the affected area until stains disappear. Not working? See # 4 under Vinegar!
  7. Remove mildew or rust stains. Try moistening stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt and spread the item in the sun for bleaching then rinse and dry.
  8. Clean up a broken egg. Cover the mess with a handful of salt, and then wipe up with ease.
  9. Brighten and clean your silverware and jewelry. If your silverware and jewelry are looking a little dull, line an appropriate sized container for what you are cleaning with aluminum foil. Fill it with water and dissolve a few teaspoons of salt in the water. Soak your jewelry or silverware for a few minutes, then remove, rinse well and dry. This technique makes use of a process called ion exchange initiated by the foil.
  10. Improve the flavor of coffee. Did you purchase a bag of beans that are less than impressive or taste a little burnt? A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-roasted coffee.


  1. Sanitize and remove stains from plastic or light-colored wood chopping block. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing. The best part? You'll have a house that smells like a lemon grove rather than chemicals.
  2. Eliminate browning of food. Many fruits and vegetables begin to turn brown once they are cut or sliced. Sprinkle things like apples, pears and avocados with lemon juice before serving.
  3. Use as an all-purpose cleaner. Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and smells great.
  4. Remove soap scum by rubbing the surfaces with lemon halves.
  5. Brighten white laundry. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load. It will also help your clothes smell fresher.
  6. Remove garlic, onion and fish odors from your hands. Just rub them with a half of lemon dipped in salt.
  7. Clear up blemishes by dabbing them with lemon juice a few times a day.
  8. Treat eczema with a mixture of lemon juice and olive or almond oil.
  9. Soothe a sore throat with a mixture of 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey mixed into a glass of water.
  10. Create a buttermilk substitute by adding 2 tablespoons lemon juice to a measuring cup then adding enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 15 minutes.


  1. Deodorize. Place crumpled newspaper in food containers, refrigerator drawers, suitcases and shoes overnight.
  2. Keep your vegetables fresh by lining the drawer in your refrigerator with newspaper. It will absorb odors and excess moisture.
  3. Bolster your compost pile. Add shredded newspaper to your compost pile as a “brown composting material” to add carbon. But make sure you add an equal amount of green compost material to offset the newspaper.
  4. Clean your windows. When you use newspaper instead of rags or paper towels, you’ll be left with streak free windows.
  5. Creatively wrap a gift. Think past the funny pages. Use wedding announcements to wrap wedding gifts. Create your own gift bag by cutting the top off an empty box, wrapping it with newspaper and attaching handles made of ribbon. Shred the colorful ads and use as gift bag filler instead of tissue paper
  6. Help your garden. Protect your garden from weeds while you help it retain moisture. Before you spread the mulch, lie down and soak a layer of newspapers.
  7. Use as animal bedding. It's warm and resists bacteria. If the pet decides to eat it, its non-toxic which is the most important part.
  8. Help your shoes dry by placing crumpled sheets inside overnight.
  9. Protect your floor when painting.
  10. Moving Basics. Use newspaper to wrap fragile items in a move. These packing materials are free - because you already paid for it - and it's a great and simple reuse. 

Olive Oil

  1. Use as a shaving cream substitute. Olive oil can provide a closer shave and will naturally moisturize your skin.
  2. Shine stainless steel. Many cleaning standbys, such as ammonia, can dull and even corrode chrome and stainless steel. Olive oil, however, is a safe and effective shining agent.
  3. Remove eye makeup with olive oil by dabbing a little on your eyes and gently rinsing off with a washcloth.
  4. Prevent wax from sticking to a candleholder by rubbing a thin coat on the base of the holder before inserting a candle. Dripped wax should peel away easily.
  5. Care for your pet by adding 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs.
  6. Moisturize your cuticles. Rub a small amount of olive oil on your cuticles and nail beds.
  7. Treat dry skin. Rub a thin layer over your skin after a shower.
  8. Dust wooden furniture. Rub furniture with a little oil applied to a cloth.
  9. Make soap with olive oil. Use olive oil in any soap recipe that calls for oil.
  10. Moisturize your hair. Apply olive oil to dry hair and comb through. Leave on your hair for an hour then wash your hair like normal.


  1. Clean and deodorize your house. You may not like the smell of the vinegar, but as the smell dissipates you will be left with a cleaner, fresher home. Mix one part vinegar to one part water for cleaning bathrooms, no-wax floors and more.
  2. Unclog a drain with baking soda. Pour ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down a clogged drain, cover it tightly and wait 5 minutes. Uncover and flush with steaming-hot water.
  3. Clean your automatic coffee maker. Fill the reservoir of a coffee maker with a mixture of vinegar and water and run it through a brewing cycle. Follow this with several cycles of water to rinse thoroughly.
  4. Remove perspiration stains by lightly rubbing the area with white distilled vinegar and launder as usual.
  5. Remove stubborn price tags or stickers by painting them with several coats of vinegar, let the liquid soak in for five minutes and wipe away the residue.
  6. Kill weeds between cracks in paving stones and sidewalks. Spray weeds with full-strength vinegar. (Be careful where you spray, it will kill grass too.)
  7. Help prevent bright colored clothes from fading by soaking brightly colored clothes for ten minutes in white vinegar before washing.
  8. Help keep ants and fruit flies away. Cleaning your home with vinegar solutions can help keep ants from trying to come in. A bowl filled with ½ quart water, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap on the counter will attract the fruit flies.
  9. Clean off the gunk from inside your microwave more easily. Heat a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave until it boils then wipe clean.
  10. Remove water marks from wooden furniture. Get rid of those stubborn rings left behind by wet glasses by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.

Baking Soda

  1. Exfoliate skin. Wash your face, and then apply a soft paste made of three parts baking soda and one part water. Massage gently with a circular motion, avoiding the eye area; rinse clean.
  2. Remove styling product residue from your hair. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo when you shower and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Erase crayon, pencil, ink and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces. By dusting a small amount of baking soda on a damp sponge, rub clean and rinse.
  4. Unclog a drain with baking soda. Pour ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down a clogged drain, cover it tightly and wait 5 minutes. Uncover and flush with steaming-hot water.
  5. Scrub pans. Sprinkle baking soda on crusted casserole dishes and roasting pans and let sit for five minutes. Lightly scrub and rinse.
  6. Fight class-B fires (flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil and grease). Baking soda can be used to smother only a small flame.
  7. Clean up minor oil and grease spills on a garage floor or driveway. Cover the spot with baking soda and scrub with a wet brush.
  8. Treat insect bites and itchy skin. Make a paste out of baking soda and water and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.
  9. Freshen and disinfect sponges. Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water) then microwave for 4 minutes.
  10. Clean the oven without toxic chemicals. Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven then spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse

Aluminum Foil

  1. Brighten and clean your silverware and jewelry. If your silverware and jewelry are looking a little dull, line an appropriate sized container for what you are cleaning with aluminum foil. Fill it with water and dissolve a few teaspoons of salt in the water. Soak your jewelry or silverware for a few minutes, then remove, rinse well and dry. This technique makes use of a process called ion exchange initiated by the foil.
  2. Keep the oven clean. Are you baking a bubbly lasagna or casserole? Keep messy drips off the bottom of the oven by laying a sheet or two of aluminum foil over the rack below. Do not line the bottom of the oven with foil; it could cause a fire. Already have baked on food? Repurpose used foil, just crumple it in a ball and scrub the oven rack.
  3. Improve radiator efficiency. Make a heat reflector by taping heavy-duty aluminum foil to cardboard with the shiny side of the foil facing out. The heat waves will bounce off the foil into the room instead of being absorbed by the wall.
  4. Sharpen dull scissors. Smooth out pieces of lightly used foil. Fold the pieces so you are left with several layers and start cutting.
  5. Protect plants and trees from pesky insects and small animals. Mix small strips of aluminum foil into the mulch in your garden to keep hungry pests away from your vegetables while reflecting sunlight back on to the plants. Or wrap a double layer of heavy-duty foil around tree trunks in the winter to prevent small animals from eating off the bark (make sure you remove it in the spring).
  6. Clean your barbecue grill. After you are finished grilling but while the coals are still red-hot, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the grill to burn off any remaining food. Before you grill next, loosely crumple the foil and scrub off the burned food.
  7. Keep matches dry. Wrap matches in foil to keep them from getting wet on camping trips.
  8. Re-attach a vinyl floor tile. Reposition the tile on the floor, lay a piece of aluminum foil over it and run a hot iron over it a few times until you can feel the glue melting underneath. Put a pile of books on top to weight it down while the glue resets.
  9. Remove static cling and make clothes softer. Next time you run out of fabric softener, roll a piece of foil into a ball about 2 inches in diameter and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. It will get rid the static build up and help keep the clothing soft enough to wear until you can buy more fabric softener.
  10. Create a cat toy. Crumple up a piece of foil to approximately the size of a golf ball and toss it towards your feline friend. It’s lightweight and easy for them to bat across the floor.


  1. Remove wallpaper glue easier. Scrub walls with a sponge soaked in a solution of liquid dish soap and warm water. Your old wallpaper will come off easily
  2. Drive away garden bugs by mixing liquid soap and water and spray it on the leaves’ undersides.
  3. Unscrew a broken light bulb. If a bulb breaks while it is still screwed in, do not attempt to remove it with your bare hands. First turn the power off. Insert the corner of a large, dry soap bar into the socket. Give it a few turns and that bulb will unscrew in no time.
  4. Use it as car freshener. Place a little piece of your favorite smelling bath soap in a mesh bag and hang it from your rear view mirror
  5. Keep your clothes smelling fresh. Place a bar of your favorite scented soap in your closet to keep clothes smelling fresh or tuck it in your luggage when you travel.
  6. Keep your fingernails clean while working in the garden or potting plants. Scrape your fingernails over a bar of soap to collect slivers underneath them. This will prevent dirt from caking under your nails and the soap washes out easily.
  7. Detect gas leaks. Mix soap with water and rub it on suspect pipe joints. If bubbles form, you found a leak.
  8. Rid your house of fleas. Place some liquid soap in a bowl mixed with water under a light. It will attract fleas and they will drown.
  9. Loosen or quiet sticky or noisy drawers. Run a bar of soap along the metal rails.
  10. Mark fabric for hems. Use those little leftover scraps of soap, it washes away when your project is done.

References: The Salt Institute, The Vinegar Institute, Real Simple,, This Old House, DIY Network,,