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Home / DIY Fixes and Tips

Unusual uses for ordinary household items

Many of the things already in your home can be used for tasks other than their intended purpose.

Below are 10 ordinary household items and unusual ways you can use them.

Ice Cube Trays

Use these to organise small items in your drawers like earrings, hair pins, safety pins, buttons, etc.


1. Clean your sneakers. Apply a bit of toothpaste to the discoloured rubber of your sneakers and scrub. This will get them white again.

2. Clean the iron. Remove dirt stuck on your iron by scrubbing it with toothpaste.

3. Clean bathroom sink. Scrub the taps, drain and sink basin with toothpaste to make the metals shine and the basin whiter.

Product containers

Use containers from condiments, foodstuffs like yoghurt, as storage of smaller items like stationery, make-up brushes, combs, cooking sticks, etc.


1. Dry electronics. When your phone falls in water, put it off, remove the battery and put it in a dish with rice. Ensure the phone is fully submerged in the rice.

2. Muscle relaxer. Put some rice in a sock, tie the end and heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave to treat muscle pulls and even cramps.

3. Check if oil is cooked. When heating oil for frying, drop a few grains of rice in the oil. If they pop back and begin to bubble, the oil is hot enough.

Shower caps

1. Organise your suitcase when you want to travel. Put shoes, belts, scarves, etc.

2. Protect your handbag from spillages by storing your make-up or toothbrush in a shower cap.

Baking soda

1. Antacid. Half a teaspoon of baking powder dissolved in half a cup of water is an effective antacid.

2. Household pest control. Mix one cup of white sugar with an equal amount of baking soda and sprinkle in problem areas.

3. Clean food containers. If you wash a food container and it still smells of the food that was in it, put three tablespoons of baking soda in it, fill with hot water and cover with a lid. Shake and then open the lid slightly and leave for two to three hours.

Petroleum jelly

1. Stuck drawers. Loosen stuck drawers by applying petroleum jelly on the sides.

2. Squeaking doors. Silence noisy hinges by applying petroleum jelly on them.

Baby oil

1. Eye make-up remover. Put some baby oil on a cotton ball and gently rub off your eye make-up. A clean cotton ball will remove excess oil. Baby oil also hydrates the skin around your eyes.

2. After-shaving moisturiser. If you shave any other part of your face except your face, use baby oil and your moisturiser of choice to keep that part of your body hydrated.

3. Treat cracked soles. Apply baby oil on the soles of your feet before bed and then put on some socks.

4. Remove chewing gum. When gum is stuck on the skin or hair, apply a little baby oil on the affected area, then use your fingertips to rub the oil in to soften the gum. This also works for removing Band-Aids.


1. Brush eyebrows and baby hairs. This is an inexpensive grooming tool.

2. To clean your nails. Wet the toothbrush and add some soap then remove the dirt from under your nails.

3. Clean appliances. A toothbrush is small enough to clean out those hard to reach places in your toaster or microwave.

Nail polish

1. Thread a needle. Dip the end of the thread in nail polish (just a little bit) to make it easier to thread your needle.

2. Jewellery. Apply clear nail polish to jewellery to keep it from tarnishing. Keep the layer thin.

3. Shoelaces. Keep your shoelaces from unravelling by coating them in nail polish.

Would you share a toothbrush with your partner?
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