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Alternative uses for household items

Thursday, 10 March 2016

It might come as no surprise that some household products have multiple uses and using these products can end up saving you money.

So the next time you’re out grocery shopping, stop wasting money on lots of different products that only do one job; you should rather take a look at filling your cupboards with items that can perform more than one task.

To get you started, we’ve scoured the internet and found some incredible household items that you possibly already have that can do more than one job. Some of these items can clean while they also can be used in cooking or elsewhere within the home, and the best part is, they’ll save you money and ensure that you stick to your budget thanks to their versatility.  


Every home has this seasoning. Apart from its ability to enhance flavours in food, it can be used to remove stains from clothing and other things.

Remove wine stains on clothes: To remove wine stains on clothes, clear off the spill and then cover the stained area with salt. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before washing away with cold water.

If the spill is on a carpet, you can wait for the salt to dry and then vacuum it up.

Make drip-proof candles: You can make drip-proof candles by soaking new candles in salt water for a few hours then letting them dry.


Because of their astringency, lemons have the ability to kill bacteria.         

Sanitise a chopping board: Simply cut a slice of lemon and rub on a chopping block to sanitise the surface.

Keep fruit from browning: You can prevent fruit such as apples, pears and avocados from going brown by sprinkling some lemon juice over them. This way, fruit will keep its colour for longer.

Decorate your space:  You can create a beautiful and effortless table centrepiece by filling a jar with water and putting in whole lemons – the room will look and smell fresh too.

Dustbins smell good: Keep dustbins from smelling by throwing in lemon peels as their freshness will mask the smell. 

Olive oil

Apart from cooking and dressing a salad, olive oil has a number of other uses too. 

Remove paint from your hands: Instead of using harsh paint removers, smear a little olive oil on your hands, take some salt and rub your hands together until the paint comes off, then rinse with water.

Shine leather shoes: Dab a little olive oil on a cloth and rub the shoe as you would do with normal shoe polish and cloth; your shoes will look as good as new.

Make your own shaving cream and moisturiser: Should you run out of shaving cream you can use olive oil instead. According to an article on Reader’s Digest, olive oil contains nourishing nutrients for your skin, so you could use it as a moisturiser also.  

Use as lubricant for creaking doors: Want to silence creaky doors? Take a teaspoonful of olive oil to the hinges, make sure the oil lubricates on the sides of the hinges too and voila, your doors will not squeak again.

Baking soda

Use as grease remover: Remove stubborn oil spills and greases from your garage floor by pouring some baking soda on the problem spot and scrubbing away with a wet brush.

Unblock your drains and pipes: Have a clogged drain? Pour ½ or a full cup of baking soda down the drain and pour in equal parts vinegar, then finish off with some boiling hot water.

Clean the microwave:  Give your microwave a thorough cleaning without scratching it and without leaving harsh chemical smells. Pour baking soda on a damp sponge and gently wipe the microwave inside as well as outside and then rinse well with water and a cloth.


Keep ants away: Keep your home ant free without spending money on expensive and smelly insect repellents.  Simply sprinkle some powdered cinnamon on the areas where you saw the insects and from where they’ve come through, you will never catch a sight of them. What’s more, your house will smell pleasant too.

Hair loss preventer and for thicker hair: To prevent hair loss and to get a thicker head of hair try the following mixture.  Warm1⁄2 cup olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder and 1 teaspoon honey, and stir. Work mixture into scalp and leave in for 15 minutes, then wash hair as usual.

Banana peels

Keep your silverware shiny: Banana peels work brilliantly as silverware cleaners. So the next time you’re eating a banana don’t just throw away the peel – first put it to work on your silverware and watch as it begins to sparkle.

It’s clear to see that it doesn’t have to cost the earth to keep your home clean and in tip-top condition. As long as you have a kitchen stocked full of items, you can put them to use elsewhere around the rest of the house. All it takes to save some money is looking around your kitchen cupboards, some research on the internet and you’ll be set to go.

Applying multiple uses to household items helps you save money in the long run; however remember to protect your precious household contents with household insurance and secure your beloved home with homeowner’s insurance from Auto & General.

Another way you could save money is by bundling your homeowners, home contents as well as your car insurance for lower premiums.   

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