10 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money
These are straightforward solutions to some of life’s annoyances. It was the mayonnaise trick that clinched the deal for me.
My daughter is in elementary school, and let’s just say she isn’t always the most conscientious about using coasters on our wooden coffee table.
Additionally, let us state that we do not have the funds to go out and purchase another coffee table simply because her glasses of ice water left some unsightly white circles.
As a result, I did the modern equivalent of calling your mother for advice and sought help from the internet.
Numerous home remedies were suggested, but for some reason, I was drawn to the one that included mayonnaise and promised great results.
1. Use salt or freezing to extend the life of a candle.
What happened: In the time it takes to relight a match, those expensive candles in the scents of Southern Cotton or Angel Food Cake seem to melt to a puddle of wax.
How to proceed: Bob Vila is to be credited for these two unconventional but effective tips:
Overnight, put your candle in the freezer. Then, remove it before burning it.
Allow the candle to melt a small puddle of wax around the wick after it has been lit. Blow it out, then add salt to the waxy liquid.
Wax melts more slowly using both methods. A combination of the two can yield better results.
2. Remove rust from cast-iron pans with melted Crisco
What happened: Even though you love your jack-of-all-recipes cast-iron skillet, you left it wet for too long — and it rusted.
What to do: Believe it or not, Lodge Cast Iron says you should just treat the pan the way you normally would to season it:
- Wash using steel wool. Soap is optional. Rinse and dry.
- Melt some Crisco or any brand of vegetable shortening. Apply a thin, even coating.
- Put foil on the bottom rack of your oven — not the oven floor — and set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Turn the pan upside-down and put it on the top rack. Bake for an hour.
- Turn off the oven and let it cool before taking the pan out.
3. Extend the life of razor blades with jeans
What happened: You’re sick of constantly buying new packages of razor cartridges.
What to do: This one sounds weird, but multiple sources, including Gizmodo, swear by it.
Get an old pair of jeans, not your favorite designer pair. Don’t put them on! Instead, lay them flat, and run a clean, dry used razor several times up the pants leg. Then, repeat, running it several times down the pants leg.
Don’t shave the jeans — be sure to hold the razor in the opposite direction you would to shave. (As Gizmodo says, “Point the top of the razor in the direction you are rubbing the shaver on the pants.”) The threads on the jeans sharpen the blades, sort of like using an old-fashioned razor strop. And done right, it can keep your blades sharp for months.
4. Remove gum with peanut butter
What happened: Ugh, you stepped in someone’s chewed and discarded gum.
What to do: Pretend the sole of your shoe is an English muffin, and spread a decent amount of peanut butter around and on the gum. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The PB will break down the gum.
Then, get a good scrub brush and scrub it off, with the aid of some cold water. Only Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade should be called a gumshoe.
5. Remove crayon from walls with toothpaste
What happened: Your preschool Picasso drew you a beautiful picture — on the wall.
What to do Get a glop of white toothpaste — and be sure that it is paste, not gel. Rub it on the crayon marks and keep rubbing. It may not work on all wall surfaces, but it’s the best household remedy we’ve found. It probably prevents your wall from getting cavities, too.
6. Soothe your sunburn with yogurt
What happened: You soaked up the sun, and now you suffer from your excess. Ow, ow, ow!
What to do: Get a nice cold carton of the plainest yogurt you can find, and spread it thinly on your burn. After 10 minutes, gently wipe it off with a cold cloth. Ahh, ahh, ahh!
7. Remove water stains with mayonnaise
What happened: Someone ignored your fancy coasters and put a sweaty, icy glass of soda right smack on your best wooden table, leaving a nasty white ring on the wood surface.
What to do: Glop a good-sized scoop of mayonnaise right onto that ring.
I’ve seen warnings that you shouldn’t leave it on too long, but when I tried wiping it up in less than 10 minutes, it didn’t work and I had to reapply. I forgot about it for more than a half-hour, and when I went to wipe it off, no unsightly ring!
8. Open a stuck jar using rubber bands
What happened: That new jar of pickles just won’t let you unscrew the top and get at the goodies inside.
What to do: Admittedly, I usually get impatient and slam the jar upside-down on the counter, but one day I’m going to break the jar or damage my tile.
Here’s the trick: Get a fat rubber band and run it around the lid’s edge, right where you’re twisting it. This gives you a solid, nonslippy grip, and you can usually open the jar.
If not, try soaking the lid in hot water.
9. Unstick a zipper with a crayon or pencil
What happened: The zipper on your brand-new boots is stuck and refusing to track correctly.
What to do: Get a crayon in a color closest to the item, or a regular black graphite pencil, and rub it up and down both sides of the zipper. The zipper will come unstuck!
Depending on the color and material, you might want to test this first to see if any goofs will show up. It’s not a big deal on a pair of big black rain boots, but on a white satin dress, the fix could be worse than the original problem.
I’ve seen soap, candle wax and even Windex also recommended. But so far, crayons have worked best for me.
10. Clean your grill with an onion
What happened: You forgot to clean your home grill after making those melty cheeseburgers last week. Or you’re at a public beach and are wary of using a grill someone else cooked who-knows-what on.
What to do: Spear half a peeled white onion with a barbecue fork, and once the grill is hot, rub it all over the grates. The raw onion cleans off residue and even a little rust, and seasons the grill while smelling delicious.