Save Money with Multiple Uses for Household Items

by cecollie

Many household products have multiple uses that can save a lot of money

We all want to save money. One of the easiest ways is utilizing some common, inexpensive household items for multiple tasks. Often these come with better results than the more traditional and expensive products. Items such as baking soda, vinegar, lemons or lemon juice, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, dryer sheets, coffee filters, junk mail and newspaper have many uses for cleaning, crafting and beauty products. Many of these products are available for $1 or less.

Typical Household Products That Have Many Uses

While using fewer dangerous chemicals

Everyone wants to save money and have a healthier environment for their families.  Both can be accomplished with a few simple, inexpensive household items most of us already have on hand.  Best of all, these items don't require your kitchen become the equivalent of a chemistry lab nor do they take much time to re-purpose and the results are often better than the high priced, chemical containing products you usually purchase.

1. Lemons/lemon juice

I don't often have actual lemons in my house, but I do have large bottles of real lemon juice I       buy at Sam's Club or the bulk section at the grocery store.  Typically, these are not very expensive and the acid in lemon juice makes them a great product to have on hand.  

Acetic acid is a great antibacterial agent.  This makes it perfect to clean cutting boards, especially if they have been used to cut pork or chicken.  It's also a fabric whitener.  Adding a 1/4 - 1/2 cup (depending on the size of your load) to a load of whites will brighten them up.  It can be a great grease cutter on your stove or that side of your microwave that sits next to it.  And for your skin, lemon juice is a great toner.  


2.  Baking Soda

I love Baking Soda.  Brand names only raise the price, so I generally buy the 50 cent boxes at the dollar store. It does so many things that I keep a shelf full of the stuff.  I put a new box in my freezer and one in my refrigerator every month.  When I replace them I use what was in the fridge.  A little added to the litter box keeps down odors.  A 1/2 cup in your laundry will get rid of the stinky from work out clothes, factory uniforms or just wet things that sat in the hamper.  A little paste of water and baking soda make a great cleaning agent for stainless steel appliances or porcelain sinks that won't scratch.  Use straight on carpets for a deodorizer that isn't dangerous to kids or pets.  I use baking soda and water paste to wash when I want to exfoliate my face or body.  Baking soda is also a great whitener for your teeth.  I add a drop of food grade peppermint or cinnamon oil to improve the flavor as it doesn't taste very good.  Dust a little under your arms after your deodorant if you are a heavy sweater to help absorb moisture and odor.  A little on your feet can also help alleviate foot odor.  I also put a little in an old sock and pack it with seasonal clothing to help prevent that musty smell.  I even dust a little on my mattress and vacuum it every few months to keep my bed smelling fresh.  Add 1/2 teaspoon to a glass of water and it will calm your stomach, also.  There are almost no end to the uses of this product.


3.  Vinegar

My love for vinegar is equal to my love for baking soda.  Follow 1/2 cup of baking soda in a slow drain with vinegar and then with boiling water and things will run much more smoothly.  Vinegar, straight, is a great glass cleaner that doesn't leave any residue.  In fact, I finish off almost all of my cleaning by wiping everything down with vinegar.  It takes away any left over residue and leaves everything shiny.  Dishwashers can be cleaned by running an empty dishwasher with vinegar in the detergent cups.  I also use vinegar directly in the rinse agent compartment to get sparkly glasses without streaks or water spots.  It's a great replacement for fabric softener and will brighten up whites, as well.  It cleans virtually any surface, including wood.  If you have oily hair, it's also a good conditioner.  


4.  Dryer Sheets

I don't have any skin sensitivities, so I purchase dryer sheets based on price and scent alone.  I usually buy them for $1 at the dollar store unless I can get them free by using coupons at a retail store.  I usually cut my sheets in half when I open the box.  I found that half a sheet works just as well as a whole one.  After I use them for laundry, I use them in the bathroom to wipe down porcelain where I find hair.  It is like a magnet for hair.  I also use them on my microfiber couch to pick up the hair where my cat chooses to nap.  If you choose to keep them whole, the are the perfect fit for a Swiffer sweeper.  Again, they pick up hair and lots of little particles of dirt and dust that a regular broom will miss.  As a quilter, I keep a box just to use as stabilizer.  They work great, are cheap and they smell so nice.  If you don't like the loose powder with baking soda, dryer sheets are wonderful to put in drawers, stinky shoes, chests and even between pages on books being stored to keep away the musty smell.  


5.  Coffee Filters

Because I am not a coffee drinker, I only recently came to know about the uses for these little beauties.  Again, I purchase them at the dollar store for about $1.  I don't know if these cheap ones work as well as filters because I never make coffee, but they are perfect for other things.  They can be used to wipe down glass and stainless steel.  They leave no lint or streaks behind.  A coffee filter is a great little disposable bowl for popcorn or chips. Poke a popsicle stick through to prevent drips on your clothes.  They are good for soaking up excess oil from food.   They can also be used for paper crafting, particularly for making homemade papers.  Coffee filters are great to use in mulch, especially if you used them for coffee.


6.  Rubbing alcohol

Aside from using to clean wounds, alcohol can be used remove sticky price tag residual.  It is also good at removing gum from carpet, although it is best to test it in a small area first to make sure it will not affect the color of the fibers.  Dilute with water and add a few drops of essential oils, shake and pour into a spray bottle and you have a good air freshener.  A little straight alcohol dabbed under the arms or on the bottoms of your feet and then allow it to dry before adding deodorant can help lessen odors of those prone to heavy sweating.  Again, this is a dollar store purchase.

I love finding different ways to use simple things I regularly keep in my house.  I especially love that I can introduce fewer harmful things into my home and still keep things clean and shiny.  Saving money, too, is just the icing on the cake.     






Updated: 12/22/2012, cecollie
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