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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
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Use These As … (Uncommon Uses for Everyday Items)

Use These As … (Uncommon Uses for Everyday Items)

Whether you’re engaged in a little belt-tightening, have an eye on the environment by reusing and repurposing, or are just jazzed by the idea of multiple uses for everyday products, there’s no need to keep that tube of lip balm on the “occasional” shelf. And the same goes for many other products that you may already have on hand. Here’s a look at some creative new ways to use items that most of us already have around the house.

Lip balm to moisturize and heal rough cuticles and dry winter fingertips? You bet! Most lip balms are made of beeswax, Vitamin E, petrolatum and other ingredients that soothe and soften dry, chapped lips. Applying it once or twice a day to cuticles and fingertips compromised by harsh winter weather, housework, gardening, carpentry, etc. can make a big difference in a little time. The little tube is handy to carry around, and be sure to rub in well as it can be greasy.

Dryer sheets relegated to the dryer? No way, not when they add a subtle scent to your undergarment and sock drawers, repel mosquitos, dislodge soap scum, and more. To use against mosquitos, rub dryer sheets on your arms and legs (note: some brands may end up flaking when used in this manner, so you may have to experiment). It’s also best to opt for the unscented ones, as a perfume-y smell can attract rather than repel. To dislodge soap scum, use sheets on shower door, etc., to loosen by scrubbing. To deodorize smelly shoes and sneakers, place sheet inside and wrap in plastic bag overnight. To loosen baked-on food from a pan, place dryer sheet in pan with warm water overnight. Should be easier to clean the next day.

Hand and body lotion tames fly-aways and calms frizz. Very lightly coat your palms and smooth over hair.

Want to clean up a cracked egg? Reach for the shaker and pour on some salt, which will absorb it. Wipe it right up without a gooey mess. A pinch of salt will also make cream or eggs whip faster and higher. Sprinkle on plain paper and run a hot iron over it (no steam) to remove residue from the bottom.

Think aspirin is just for headaches and heart health? Among its many uses is to help treat breakouts: make a paste with one or two tablets and some water. Apply to breakouts for a few minutes and wash off. Repeat each day and pimples will begin to dry up faster. To help eliminate dandruff, crush two tablets into a round of shampoo and wash. Shampoo again without aspirin. As an anti-fungal foot powder, crush three pills into some talcum powder. Apply to feet twice a day until problem clears up.

Use the hook side of Velcro (the word is a combination of the French words for velour and crochet) to remove pills from a sweater.

White vinegar can be used in place of lemon juice in a savory recipe. A half teaspoon of vinegar will replace one teaspoon of lemon juice. A spray bottle of straight vinegar is said to kill weeds that crop up between sidewalk cracks and pavers, though it will also kill surrounding grass so take precautions.

Candle wax can solve the stuck lock and zipper problem just as it can a problematic door jamb. For a stubborn lock, rub wax on key and insert several times. For a zipper, rub wax on both sides. A door jamb issue may require a lot of wax, so save those stubs!

Hairspray can be used as shellac to preserve a child’s artwork (spray lightly), or with a little elbow grease to remove ink from walls if the art happens to be in the wrong place. Try spraying ink or lipstick stains on fabric with hairspray before washing. Polished metals such as copper and brass will retain their shine longer if coated with hairspray. Spray a cloth to remove pet hair from furniture; be sure to use while still damp.

Another pesky burn at the stove? If it’s superficial, apply toothpaste (paste, not gel) to the burn which cools and alleviates pain and lessens scarring. Be sure to let dry. Toothpaste removes tarnish from silver jewelry, making it really shine, and also helps eliminate yellowing on piano keys. Used with a scrubber in baby bottles, it removes a sour milk smell.

42 comments

1 martha sullivan { 09.09.14 at 4:30 pm }

If you have a new puppy or a mischeavous dog and you are afraid it will chew on an lamp extension cord, try this: measure the ext cord from lamp base to plug-in. Using those measurements ,then take an old garden hose, cut off the brass end. cut the length of the garden hose to the lamp cord measurements. then take an box cutter knife (or Exacto knife) cut a slit down one side of the hose. slip in the ext cord and tape it closed. It works !

2 shawna dahlen { 09.08.14 at 11:29 pm }

The dryer sheets in stored vehicles WORKS! Every year before we put our boat in storage (couple yrs was in a shed/ horse shelter on one end of it) I give it a good cleaning and put about 10-15 dryer sheets all over in it. I put everything “boat related” inside under the tarp. I have never had any mice (mice droppings) or any animal inside when pulling out in the spring!

3 Barbara { 09.08.14 at 11:24 pm }

Avon Bubble Bath…any scent..even unscented…removes just about anything from anywhere. Takes tar off of floor, lipstick off a shirt, etc. I use it as my go to stain remover for everything. I don’t use it in my bath. lol Works great to wash windows. Use 2 cap fulls in a pail of hot water.
Scrub the window completely and just dry with a paper towel…Never streaks ever! I use 1 cap full in laundry of socks..especially the extra dirty sport socks! It is Fabulous…

4 Linda Weston { 09.08.14 at 10:24 pm }

Yogurt applied to area helps alleviate many kinds of yeast infections … from female issues to athletes foot. Better to use plain yogurt for treatments.

5 Dedria Mines { 09.08.14 at 6:51 pm }

Evaporated milk on a sunburn will soothe the pain. Just apply and let dry. It worked for me!

6 Dawn { 09.08.14 at 5:55 pm }

I use vinegar for a sunburn, takes the sting out and removes the redness.

Apple cider vinegar + few drops of dish soap = fruit fly death trap

Dryer sheets in a tub of hot water will remove the WORST baked on stuff from your oven racks (just tried this over the weekend – works brilliantly)

Straight vinegar will repel ants and destroy their scent trail. They won’t come back.

7 Thalia { 04.16.14 at 2:32 am }

Hi, its good article concerning media print, we all be familiar with media is a fantastic source of data.

8 Janis { 03.05.14 at 11:53 am }

Olive oil gets the gum out of your hair. Soak the gum in olive oil then comb it out. Voila! No more gum.

9 Iris { 03.05.14 at 11:20 am }

One thing I found out recently is you can use TEA for hardwood floors. I never cared for the vinegar and water on them because you’d often get the “vinegar” smell. With Tea, you can add a little lemon juice if you’d like. Also, can buy tea in different flavors. Just make sure it is the regular type tea. I know it works because I’ve tried it on mine. Couldn’t believe the difference!

10 Leslie Edwards Humez { 03.05.14 at 10:40 am }

We love bar soap with fragrance and stock up. For one thing, aged bar soap lasts longer! Not only can it be used in your lingerie drawers, but we store a bar in every shoe to keep them fresh and perfume our linen closet by tucking bars between towels and face cloths. It’s especially nice to wash your face with a scented cloth and you can tuck one in your pillowcase and sleep with it under your pillow.

11 Carm { 03.05.14 at 8:28 am }

I use vinegar in my dishwasher every load. No need for jet dry as this takes care of spots and keeps any build up from happening in the dishwasher. I use about a 1/2 cup per load. Just pour in the bottom.

12 chellemac333 { 03.05.14 at 6:34 am }

Love all the great tips! Thanks

13 chellemac333 { 03.05.14 at 6:33 am }

Yellow mustard works great on bee/wasp stings. Just dab a little mustard right on the sting and allow to dry. It takes the sting out immediately and will draw the stinger out if it is still there. Dryer sheets are good for static electricity in your hair. Rub the dryer sheet on your hair smoothing it as you go to control static in the winter.

14 Deanna Salmon { 03.05.14 at 6:32 am }

chap stick made to protect and heal sunburned lips works great for small kitchen burns takes pain away and no blisters

15 Nancy M { 03.05.14 at 4:36 am }

Hi all. Lotion works good for static electricity on clothes too, smooth on hands and rub on clothing. Don’t have time to wash your hair use a little baby powder to freshen and absorb oils, sprinkle little bit in hands rub together and rub through hair. If you ever get blood on cloths etc. poor on straight peroxide a little at a time until it quits foaming then add quarter of cup to laundry.

16 Roxanne { 03.05.14 at 12:40 am }

Vinegar in the washer makes your clothes soft, foil ball in the dryer takes out the static. And for sunburns, use mens antiperspirant the clear sticks, it will take the burn out the first use. Had to do this on a cruise after snorkeling looked like a lobster.

17 Pat { 03.04.14 at 9:06 pm }

Baby oil will remove oil base paints from the skin. This tip was given to me from a Dr. when my small child got paint all in her hair and face. Took it right off without hurting the child. Love all these good tips! Thanks!

18 Nancy { 03.04.14 at 7:54 pm }

Listerine after washing your hair and conditioning will get rid of dandruff, also to get rid of hair product buildup use a powdered laundry detergent (such as tide) to get rid of buildup. Rinse and condition as normal.

19 ctds2 { 04.03.13 at 9:13 pm }

If you get sticky stuff on your iron, from fusible interfacing or glue, fold up a dryer sheet and rub all over the iron plate while hot. Then iron with a little extra pressure onto an old towel/dish rag. Voila—-clean and smooth iron for the next project!

20 Barbara Kelley { 04.03.13 at 10:54 am }

Put a little Tea Tree Oil in the shampoo bottle & that should get rid of dandruff & also head lice. My granddaughter, years ago, kept getting head lice from school. After Tea Tree Oil in the shampoo weekly, no more lice! It is a good germicide, fungicide, antibacterial, & good to mix a little in water in a spray bottle & spray counter tops, etc. to disinfect & help clean. It leaves a pleasant, lingering, clean smell. I also use white vinegar in my laundry, on my floors, & everywhere. Since I raised 4 boys & a husband, I know what can happen around the toilet. Vinegar gets rid of the smell & poured into the bowl & allowed to sit after scrubbing with it will help get rid of stains (& odors).

21 Jlaine { 03.29.13 at 9:15 am }

An old wivestale works if you get an earache, put a dab of vicks sauve on a cottonball and place in the ear. It works for my family…..

22 Lorraine { 03.27.13 at 9:58 am }

Use dryer sheets to remove the Love Bugs, we have here in Fl, off the front bumper on your car.

23 Joyce { 03.25.13 at 9:58 am }

Lavender Oil:
1. Use on burns in the kitchen. Pain goes away instantly, leaves no blisters or scars and heals the burn area.
2. Use a few drops in a spray bottle and spray your clothes hamper with it. Also good for
spraying matresses and pillows. It acts as an antiseptic. room freshner, car freshner, etc.

24 giginc { 03.17.13 at 1:22 pm }

Dryer sheets for the garbage can. I have tried several of they’d tips and confirm they worked for me. The lipbalm for the cuticles.,

25 Marsha Ament { 03.17.13 at 3:19 am }

Another way to keep mice out off unused vehicles is to put moth balls in to glove box works great.

26 Rita Marshall { 03.16.13 at 8:01 pm }

I am definitely going to try the aspirins for my daughter’s hair. She has a lot of dandruff

27 Mel { 03.15.13 at 3:02 pm }

I will try the lip balm on my cuticles and also the vinegar in a spray bottle for weeds that grow between the bricks on my patio. thanks

28 Connie Nelson { 03.15.13 at 8:17 am }

I put a fragrant dryer sheet in my vacuum cleaner bag: when I can no longer smell the fragrance I know the bag is full enough to change.

29 Becky { 03.14.13 at 2:53 pm }

Yellow mustard also works on burns, been there done that many times.

30 Marlene { 03.14.13 at 12:16 am }

If you have a problem with “static cling”, rub a dryer sheet over the problem area(s). It helps to tame pant legs or skirts from sticking to you as you move around.

31 Andrew Camacho { 03.13.13 at 10:12 pm }

I don’t know if it has been mentioned before, but Baby Oil ( I use the one promoted by the family company ) is the best (cheapest) cleaner for wooden surfaces, plastic,vinyl, nickle, almost any surface. It is safe environmentally friendly and leaves a nice smell

32 Di. Tucker { 03.13.13 at 8:45 pm }

I use chapstick for dry/cracked heels and cuts, both..fill in the cracks, or cuts, with the chapstick and it will relieve the pain while it heal’s..(any kind of petroleum gel stick works for this, it doesn’t have to be a brand name ex. chapstick)

I use Listerine mouth wash for burns and cuts..if used for a burn, it quickly takes the *fire (painful burning sensation) out of the burn and its an antiseptic for a cut, when poured over the cut it soothes and helps it heal..if you don’t have any Listerine handy, you can use spray perfume or men’s aftershave, either works well for burns and cuts.

I use Bounce softner sheets in the bottom of my clothes hamper to keep the hamper from having an odor of dirt and sweat.

33 dede51 { 03.13.13 at 5:11 pm }

thanks for ideas on dryersheets. another idea put dryer sheet in bottom of your clean trash can.keeps order away.

34 ERROL TURNER { 03.13.13 at 4:53 pm }

I LOVE YOUR COMENTS SECTION–THE IDEAS ARE GREAT

35 Cora Beth { 03.13.13 at 4:22 pm }

Another hint for those burns at the stove; is pickle juice. Just pour all over burn straight from the jar. Enough to stop the burning. Chef’s use this one. It works! That’s why I want to share.

36 Linda { 03.13.13 at 3:25 pm }

If you have any type of surgeries or just feeling sick to your stomach just suck/lick a lemon with a little salt, works wonders. I know I’ve done it all the time.

37 Ali { 03.13.13 at 12:28 pm }

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.
Get rid of water ring stains on furniture by rubbing in some mayonnaise, leave on and wipe off later.

38 Ali { 03.13.13 at 12:19 pm }

-bounce will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.
-bounce will also repel mice… spread sheets around foundation areas, in trailers, cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.
-bounce repels mosquitoes, bees, wasps when rubbing a non-scented sheet on skin or tie a sheet thru a belt loop
-place a sheet in vacuum cleaner

39 Nancy { 03.13.13 at 11:18 am }

When traveling, have a dryer sheet hang off the mattress. You will see no bugs.
Also, when someone falls, to keep the bump from swelling, crack an egg and use the white to keep it from turning that bruise color and keeps the bump from swelling. Have been using them for the kids, and now the grandkids when they fall.

40 Janet { 03.13.13 at 9:53 am }

I will try the lip balm on my cuticles. My job requires gloves, which really dry out the cuticles. Thank you!

41 Jim { 03.13.13 at 9:08 am }

Another use for dryer sheets. My dog likes to go out in the yard during the winter and roll in the dead grass. When she comes back in the house, she is covered with grass and the static in her coat prevents it from coming out. We get a used dryer sheet and take her on the porch and rub her all over with the dryer sheet. The grass then falls off of her.

42 Marilyn Jones { 03.13.13 at 8:46 am }

Great ideas to get more use out of everyday products! Thank you!

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