10 Ordinary Household Items You Can Use in Extraordinary Ways

When most people think of food, it is because they are hungry or filling a grocery list. Not many consider that some of the foods in their homes can actually be used for other things. Whether you just want to save money or you prefer to use cleaner, more natural products for cleaning and household tasks, using certain foods offer a number of benefits. Here is a look at some common foods and some uncommon uses for them:

1. Bananas

Household uses of bananas

Bananas are great for a snack or a smoothie. We bet you had no idea that you could actually use them for cleaning. Take a look at what you can do with those leftover banana peels:

  • Polish – You can use banana peels to polish everything from your finest silverware to your leather shoes. Just remove any of the stringy material that may be inside and then just rub the inside of the peel on whatever you want to polish. After you have finished, simply buff with a soft cloth.
  • Houseplants – If your houseplants are looking a little worse for the wear, you can dust them and give them new life with banana peels. Just dust them off with the inside of the peel to remove all of the dust and debris and your plants will look and feel healthier.

2. Vinegar

Household uses of vinegar

Okay, so you probably already know that you can clean windows with vinegar and a brown paper back. There are many other uses for this common household item as well:

  • Odor – Vinegar is a great product for removing odors. In fact, it can rid your clothes of cigarette smoke. If you have ever been close to a smoker or if you smoke yourself, you know that your clothing can take on a terrible odor. To remedy this, simply fill your tub with hot water and add a cup of vinegar. Now hang your clothes on the shower curtain rod and leave them overnight. The smell will be gone in the morning.
  • Mildew – Vinegar is great for removing mildew, particularly in those hard to get to shower corners. Instead of using bleaching cleaners that can be costly and harmful to the environment, simply spray an equal solution of water and vinegar into those corners. It will eat the mildew away and then you simply rinse it off.

3. Baking Soda

Household uses of baking soda

Baking soda has a number of household uses. Women use it for everything from keeping the fridge smelling good to eliminating cat box odors. Here are a few other uses for baking soda:

  • Stovetops – Stovetops can get really greasy and gunky. If your stovetop is a bit less than clean, just sprinkle a bit of baking soda on it. Add boiling water, just enough to make a light paste, and let it soak for about half an hour. You can then just wipe away that greasy mess.
  • Coffee Mugs – Do you ever wonder how to get the coffee stains off the insides of your mugs? Baking soda will do the trick. Rub the inside of the mugs with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda. If you have really stubborn coffee stains, let the mug soak overnight in a mixture of baking soda and hot water.
  • Air Freshener – Instead of spending a small fortune on store bought air fresheners, just make your own. Place 2 cups of hot water in a spray bottle and add ½ cup lemon juice. Now sprinkle in 1/8 cup of baking soda and use it all over the house for a fresh scent and to eliminate odors.

4. Honey

Household uses of honey

Honey is tasty, sweet and has a number of health benefits. Who says all of these benefits have to be for the inside of your body? Honey also offers a few unique around the house uses:

  • Antiseptic – Honey contains a bit of hydrogen peroxide and can help wounds to heal. Just apply to the open wound and the sugar substance in the honey will get to work and disinfect, allowing your wound to heal much more quickly.
  • Moisturizer – Just mix 4 tablespoons of honey with 2 egg whites and 2 tablespoons of flour and you have a natural moisturizer that will really work. Because it is all natural and gentle, this is great for sensitive skin.

5. Citrus Peels

Household uses of citrus peels

Normally after you have finished peeling an orange or a grapefruit, you would simply throw those peelings away. There are however, better uses for them:

  • Clean Coffee Pots – You can use the citrus peels to clean the mineral deposits left in the bottom of coffee pots or tea kettles. Just add the peel, cover with water and bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat off and let it set for about an hour. For glass coffee carafes, just add the citrus peel with a bit of salt and ice to the pot and swirl it around for a couple of minutes.
  • Microwaves – Instead of using chemical based cleaners inside your microwave, take lemon or orange rinds and cover them with water in a microwave safe bowl. Cook this on high for about five minutes. The steam will clean the inside of your microwave and give it a nice fresh scent.
  • Clean Garbage Disposals – Lemon peels can be used to deodorize garbage disposals and help to clean way some of the gunk that may be stuck in there.

6. Salt

Household uses of salt

Even if you are avoiding your salt intake, you can find uses for this mineral throughout your home. Take a look at these unique uses for salt:

  • Polish – Salt can be mixed with vinegar and flour in equal parts to create a very effective polish for copper and brass. Forget about those expensive polishes, chances are you have what you need right in your kitchen cupboard.
  • Carpet Cleaner – Nobody likes to see those red wine stains on carpet, particularly on white carpet. If you catch it while the wine is still wet, you can just pour white wine directly on the stain to dilute the color and then dab with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle salt directly over the stain and let it sit for about ten minutes then just vacuum it away.

7. Coconut Oil

Household uses of coconut oil

Coconut oil is great when baking those scrumptious pies and cakes but there are other, more unique uses for it as well:

  • Clean Knives – If you have rusty knives or scissors in the house, just dab a small amount of coconut oil on them and let them sit for an hour. Rinse with warm water and watch the rust disappear.
  • Furniture Polish – You can add just a dab of lemon juice to coconut oil and use it to dust wood furniture. Not only is it effective, it will make your whole house smell like a Hawaiian vacation. You can use the oil directly on hardwood floors to remove scuffs and other marks as well.

8. Milk

Household uses of milk

Milk is good for you and packed with minerals and vitamins. Who says that you have to drink it to enjoy the benefits? Check out these unique uses for milk:

  • Remove Ink Stains – Milk is an excellent ink stain remover. Just soak those stained cloths in a mixture of milk and lemon juice for a few hours and the ink will just disappear.
  • Repair China – The proteins in milk are perfect for repairing broken and chipped china. Boil the china pieces in milk, making sure to cover them completely with milk and they will repair themselves.

9. Onions

Household uses of onions

If you can keep yourself from crying while you peel them, onions can be used for a number of purposes:

  • Deodorizer – If your basement smells a bit damp, cut an onion in half and place down there. Leave it until the next morning and it will eliminate those smells and you won’t smell the onion either.
  • Remove Rust – Onions can also be used to remove the rust from knives. Just stab the onion a couple of times until the rust is gone.
  • Eliminate Paint Smells – If you are painting and do not want that smell lingering, just put a few slices of onion in a glass dish and cover them with water. It will only take a few hours for the smell to go away.

10. Potatoes

Household uses of potatoes

Aww potatoes; so yummy and yet so starchy. The starch is actually what makes them the perfect choice for many housecleaning chores:

  • Remove Rust – If you have a cast iron skillet, you know how difficult it can be to get rust off. The starch in potatoes works perfectly. Just cut one in half and get scrubbing.
  • Compress – Instead of buying a hot and cold compress, use potatoes. Potatoes hold heat and cold for long periods of time so you can heat one up in the microwave for a hot compress or keep one in the freezer for when you need an ice pack quick.

Remember when Mom told you not to play with your food? Well, cleaning with it is perfectly acceptable.

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