11 Ingenious Uses For Common Household Items

I was sold on the mayonnaise trick by AleksWolff Shutterstock.My grade-school daughter isn’t always the most careful when it comes to using coasters on our wooden coffee table.Let’s also pretend that we don’t have the financial means to go out and buy a new coffee table just because her glasses of ice water left those unsightly white circles.

So I did the 2017 equivalent of calling your mother for help: I looked for a solution on the internet.There were a lot of home remedies that came up, but for some reason I was drawn to the one that used mayonnaise and promised great results.It worked, and it inspired me to share my top 11 cleaning and repair hacks, or as I like to refer to them, You used WHAT to fix WHAT.

Mayonnaise can be used to remove water stains.

Glasses on wood surface.


What happened was that someone smashed a sweaty icy glass of mineral water right on your best wooden table, leaving a nasty white ring.

What to do: Spread a generous amount of mayonnaise on the ring.I’d read that you shouldn’t leave it for too long, but I tried wiping it away in less than 10 minutes and had to reapply.I had forgotten about it for over a half-hour, and when I went to wipe it off, there was no unsightly ring.

Rubber bands can be used to open a stuck jar.

Jars with pickled veggies inside.

What happened? That new jar of pickles, olives, or whatever it is you’re trying to open just won’t let you unscrew the top and get to the goodies inside.

What to do I usually get impatient and slam the jar upside-down on the counter, but I’m going to break it and/or damage my tile one day.Here’s how to do it: Take a large rubber band and wrap it around the edge of the lid where you’re twisting it.It provides a firm, non-slippery grip, and the jar usually opens with ease.(If it doesn’t work, try soaking it in hot water.)The counter-slam technique is not one I recommend.)

Using a crayon or pencil, unstick a zipper.

Purse zipper detail.

What happened to your brand-new boots, favorite purse, or anything else with a stuck zipper that refuses to track correctly? topimages Shutterstock

What to do Rub a crayon or a regular graphite pencil up and down both sides of the zipper (in a color that matches the item).You should definitely test it first to see if any goofs will show up, depending on the color and material – 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 recommended, but crayons have proven to be the most effective for me so far.

Freeze or salt a candle to make it last longer.

Three burning candles

Shutterstock/Ramona Edwards

What happened? Those expensive scented candles with scents like Southern Cotton or Angel Food Cake seem to melt into a puddle of wax in the time it takes to relight a match.

What to Do Bob Vila deserves credit for these two unusual but effective tips.Place your candle in the freezer overnight, then remove it just before you want to use it.Once lit, allow a small puddle of wax to form around the wick, then blow it out and sprinkle table salt into the liquid wax.Both techniques help to slow down the melting of wax.

Using melted Crisco, remove rust from cast-iron pans.

Rusty cast iron skillet.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

What happened: Despite the fact that you adore your jack-of-all-recipes cast-iron skillet, you left it wet for far too long, causing it to rust.

What to do: Believe it or not, Lodge Cast Iron recommends simply seasoning the pan as you normally would.Wash with soap and a stiff brush (soap that isn’t normally used on cast iron is fine because you’re about to re-season it).Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.Now, melt some Crisco (or any other brand of vegetable shortening) and spread it out thinly.Set your oven to 350-500 degrees F and place foil on the bottom rack (not the oven floor), then turn the pan upside-down on the top rack and bake for an hour.Before removing the pan from the oven, turn it off and let it cool. RIPrusted

Jeans can help you extend the life of your razor blades.

Man looking in mirror, shaving.

Shutterstock/Ekaterina Simonova

What happened? You’re tired of having to buy new razor cartridge packages all the time.

What to do This one may sound strange, but it has been endorsed by a number of sources, including Gizmodo.Get a pair of old jeans (not your favorite designer pair) and put them on.Instead of putting them on, lay them flat and run a clean, dry razor up and down the pants leg several times, then repeat the process.Don’t shave the jeans; instead, hold it for the stroke in the opposite direction you’d shave it, and use short, quick strokes.The threads on the jeans sharpen the blades in a similar way to traditional stropping, and if done correctly, can keep them sharp for months.(Many readers pointed out to Gizmodo that you can also use your arm, but with jeans, there’s less risk of injury if you slip.))

Using peanut butter to remove gum

Tennis shoe with gum on the heel.

Shutterstock Africa Studio

Ugh, you stepped in someone else’s chewed and discarded gum.

What to do Pretend your shoe’s sole is an English muffin, and spread a generous amount of peanut butter all over it and on your gums.Allow it to sit for ten minutes.The PB will dissolve the gums.Then, using a good scrub brush and some cold water, scrub it clean.Only Sherlock Holmes should be referred to as a detective.

Using toothpaste, remove the crayon from the walls.

Girl drawing on wall with crayon

Shutterstock AleksWolff

What happened was that your preschool Picasso drew you a lovely picture and hung it on the wall.

What to do: Get a glob of white toothpaste – make sure it’s paste, not gel – and apply it to the affected area.Rub it in and rub it in some more.It may not work on all types of walls, but it’s the most effective home remedy we’ve found.Probably keeps your walls free of cavities as well.

Yogurt can help you recover from a sunburn.

Bowl of white yogurt.

DONOT6_STUDIO ShutterstockSo you soaked up the sun and now you’re suffering from it?ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow

What to do Take a cue from the cosmetics companies that now sell Greek yogurt as an after-sunburn gel.The real deal is a lot less expensive.Get a cold carton of plain yogurt and spread it thinly on your burn.After 10 minutes, use a cold cloth to gently wipe it away.ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ah

An onion can be used to clean your grill.

Skewers of veggies on grill.

Shutterstock / Kamil Macniak

What happened was that after making those melty cheeseburgers last week, you forgot to clean your home grill.Or you’re at a public beach and don’t want to use a grill that someone else used to cook who knows what.

What to do: Using a barbecue fork, pierce half of a peeled white onion and rub it all over the grill grates once it’s hot.It removes residue (and even rust), seasons the grill, and smells fantastic.(You can see it in action here.))

Buttermilk can be made at home using milk and vinegar.

Buttermilk bisquits

Shutterstock Jewjewbeed

What happened? That delicious biscuit recipe calls for buttermilk, but you don’t have any on hand and don’t have time to go out and buy some.

What to do: For each cup of buttermilk in the recipe, pour a scant (not quite full) cup of milk.Add a tablespoon of white vinegar (lemon juice also works) per cup of milk to sour it yourself.Wait 10 minutes before substituting it for buttermilk in your recipe.Also, powdered buttermilk is now available and can be stored in your pantry for a long time.

What are your favorite household hacks and tricks? Share them in the comments section below or on our Facebook page with other readers.

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