13 Alternative Uses for Stuff You Have Around the House

Can’t get rid of that funky odor from your mudroom? Out of laundry detergent and paper towels, too? A trip to Walmart beckons…or does it?

As it turns out, you don’t need Lysol to freshen the air, nor do you need paper towels to clean your bathroom mirror. Dig through your cabinets and you’ll find some little-known (and in many cases, better) uses for something you already have.

Money Talks founder Stacy Johnson did a cool story about uses for vinegar; check it out, then read on for more…

Now let’s continue the list…

1. Ketchup

A little bit of ketchup removes tarnish and stains from pots and pans.

2. Aluminum foil

Believe it or not, aluminum foil is not only safe to put in the dryer, it’s also a good replacement for dryer sheets.

3. Coffee filters

Coffee filters are lint-free and typically work better than paper towels when it comes to cleaning your windows or mirrors. Obviously, filters aren’t cheaper than paper towels, but in a pinch they could save you a trip to the store.

4. White vinegar

As you saw in the video above, vinegar is practically a wonder-substance. Sure, it’s a great coffee pot cleaner, but it can relieve sunburn pain, athlete’s foot, a sore throat, and hiccups. It’s also a remedy for acne and body odor.

5. Rubbing alcohol

Did the kids get a hold of the permanent markers again? Don’t fret. Rubbing alcohol will remove those drawings from tabletops and walls.

6. Cat litter

Rice is commonly used to cure a wet phone, but if there’s none in the pantry, cat litter will also do the trick.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon acts as a natural repellent for mice and ants. Simply dip a few cotton balls in cinnamon and place them in problem areas.

8. Baking soda

Baking soda is commonly known as an alternative to toothpaste (though not one that should be used every day), but it also acts as an antacid. Simply mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda with a few ounces of water.

9. Coffee grounds

What do you do when the awful odor of leftover food won’t leave your fridge? You’ll obviously have to dispose of the culprit, but after it’s banished, stick some coffee grounds in a plastic container and punch a few holes in the top. Put the container in the fridge and after a few hours, the odor will vanish.

10. Grocery bags

Most of us have a stash of plastic bags from the grocery store, though we hate to admit it. Make use of the bags when you send a fragile package – they’re a great alternative to bubble-wrap.

11. Hair dryer

Hair dryers have a surprising multitude of purposes, including removing dust from your keyboard, stretching out your new shoes, and removing the Disney stickers that make it onto your toddler’s wall.

12. Nail polish remover

Ink stains on your skin or scuff marks on your patent leather shoes will go away with a cotton ball and some nail polish remover.

13. Bread

Break a glass? Bread will easily and safely pick up tiny glass your vacuum missed.

Have you tried any of these substitutes, or have ideas of your own? Talk to us below, or on our Facebook page!

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,249 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.