You buy things usually for a singular purpose, but you could be missing out on hidden benefits. Here are the 10 best everyday objects you didn’t know had alternate uses.
10 Soda Pop Tab
Craving a cold can of soda? Just grip the tab, pull forward, push back, and you’re on your way to fizzy satisfaction. If you’ve noticed, your soda can tab not only moves forwards and backward but spins around, too. This is because it has a secondary purpose, one you may not be aware of. The larger hole on the tab lines up with the opening of your soda can. Take your straw and slip it through! The tab will keep the straw in place.
You can also use your soda can tab to add a hanger to photo frames. You may not be able to hang the heaviest frames; if you have something lighter, just screw the soda can tab in place through the smaller hole so the larger hole can catch the nail in the wall.
9 Frame Loops in Grocery Cart
Grocery carts are great for toting around your groceries, obviously, but their design has more purpose than simply carrying around your soon-to-be-dinner. When you pop out the seat usually reserved for more fragile products, your child, or your purse, you may notice that the front and back are made of metal loops. These loops are so you can hang your bags once you’ve gone through checkout. Hanging your bags means more space in your cart for heavier, bulkier items.
Outside of the practical, grocery carts are great for when you need to think outside the box. You can use them as planters, repurpose them for art, or even flip them on their backs for barricades. Then there’s the traditional grocery cart as a scooter alternative. That could be potentially dangerous, though, so scoot with caution.
8 Disposable Cup Plastic Lid
The lid of your fast food soft drink has a very clear purpose: keep your soda inside the cup. But should you want to take the lid off your soda—and we hope you’re not in motion—you can use the lid as a cup holder. The indented ring around the lid should perfectly fit the bottom of the cup. Now before you go throwing that lid away once you’re done with your drink, consider recycling it for something else instead.
You can string yarn through the center of the lid to prevent yarn from tangling while you’re knitting or crocheting. If you slide a popsicle stick through the lid, you can use it as a drip catch for melting popsicles. Disposable plastic lids also make good arts n’ craft supply holders. Simply tape the hole in the lid shut, and then place glitter, sequins, beads, or anything small that you could easily drop on the ground in them.
7 Dental Floss
Your dentist recommends it, and your teeth and gums thank you for it. Flossing your teeth helps remove food particles from between your teeth and improves your overall oral hygiene. And outside of being a part of your routine, dental floss serves many other purposes as well.
Floss is a very strong material, so anything you need a strong string for, look towards dental floss. You can hang things using it, use it as twine, sew buttons back on shirts if you’ve run out of thread, and even use it as a fishing line. You can use floss as emergency shoelaces, as a camping clothesline, and, for cheese lovers out there, cut through soft cheese. And because floss is so good at getting in between things, you can slide the floss between a baking tray and a stuck cookie to get it unstuck! The same goes for a photograph. If you need to remove a photograph that has gotten itself stuck to old photo album pages or a glass frame, carefully slip the floss between the photo and the surface to which it’s stuck.
6 Coffee Filters
A coffee filter’s job is quite the important one: filter out the coffee grounds and let the wonderful drink pour into the pot. If you’re a restaurant employee, you may also understand the usefulness of a coffee filter in another way. Coffee filters work great for shining glassware. If you need to buff out water stains but don’t have a microfiber cloth handy, reach for a coffee filter. They won’t leave a residue, either (unless you’ve used it one too many times). On the same note, you can clean your windows or other glass features in your home with coffee filters.
Wiping and cleaning aside, you can use a coffee filter at the bottom of a colander to catch smaller bits of food your colander holes may let through. If you place one at the bottom of a flowerpot, you can water your plants without worrying any of the dirt will escape through the hole. The filter will filter the water out and keep the dirt in. You can also place a coffee filter between plates to protect expensive china.
5 Baking Soda
Baking soda is so diverse in its uses it’s sometimes hard to pin down what people use it for mainly. Here are a few of its more popular applications: deodorizer, a leavening agent in baking, and volcano foam for science projects when you mix it with vinegar.
Because it is mildly abrasive but safe for consumption and contact, you can use baking soda for a myriad of other things, as well. If you have heartburn, baking soda can help! Dissolve no more than a teaspoon of baking soda in a full glass of cold water. Drink it slowly. The baking soda’s alkalinity will counteract the acid in your stomach. You can mix baking soda into a paste with a little less water and use it as toothpaste. The mixture should also whiten your teeth!
If you run out of deodorant, pat a little baking soda underneath your arms. It’ll capture bad odors in your refrigerator, why not in your armpits, too?
Need a little shine in your kitchen? Sprinkle some baking soda on stainless steel surfaces and with a sponge and some water, gently scrub the surfaces. Rinse, and it’ll leave sinks and countertops looking brand new.
Perhaps the most important alternate use to baking soda, however, is as a flame retardant. If you ever accidentally start a grease fire (oil catches on fire) while you’re cooking, do not pour water over it. Water will spread the fire! Instead, pour baking soda over it. Most chemical-free fire extinguishers contain baking soda; you have a key fire fighting ingredient in your cabinet already! Baking soda does not wholly replace a fire extinguisher’s usefulness, nor does it work for larger house fires.
Tongs make cooking easier in more ways than one. Yes, it can reach into boiling pots of water and flip food on a tray and in a skillet—it is our extended kitchen claw—but it can also juice lemons. If you don’t have a juicer handy and are working with a particularly dry or hard lemon, place a lemon half in between the arms of the tong, and squeeze!
For anyone looking for an alternative to a mop, a Swiffer Sweeper may be just the thing for you. With disposable dry and wet pads that pick up dirt and clean up stains on hardwood floors and tile, it is a no muss-no fuss cleaning tool. But there’s no need to always look down at the floor. With a Swiffer, you can look up a little more. Just apply your floor mopping skills to your walls and ceilings. A Swiffer works as a great duster for those stubborn cobwebs on ceilings and walls. You can even give your walls a good scrub down with the Swiffer wet pads.
How do you take your eggs, on a plate or in your hair? What—in your hair? That’s right. Eggs are not only for eating but for treating as well. Because of the nutrients and proteins in eggs, like lutein and albumin, eggs are great for your skin and hair. You can mix egg whites with water to create a face mask or combine the egg yolk with olive oil to make a hair conditioner. Just be careful not to rinse out the conditioner with hot water, or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your hair.
If you’re left with eggshells, don’t be afraid to add them to the compost pile. You can also break up the shells and sprinkle them directly on the soil’s surface. This keeps snails and slugs away because of the rough texture. Go one step further with your eggs and save the water you boiled the eggs in to water your plants. Those nutrients won’t go to waste.
1 Nail Polish
A bottle of clear nail polish can go a long way while also giving your nails that natural-looking shine. If your tights are starting to rip or the edges of your clothes are fraying, apply some clear nail polish to prevent further damage. You can also cover the bottom of metal cans like shaving cream cans to keep it from rusting and coat jewelry with it to prevent it from turning green.
The genius who discovered these uses has certainly made our lives easier. The next time you need a quick alternative to sewing thread or toothpaste, just remember that you may already have the solution.