10 Unexpected Uses for Common Items

The website AltUse aims to be a handy collection of green household remedies.

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Here's a brand-new website that combines good financial and environmental sense: AltUse, a social-media-inspired repository of home remedies and household tips that are all-natural, and can also save you money. Many home uses are handed down from previous generations, before we could buy products to solve all of our household needs. Back then, if we had puffy eyes, people wouldn't head for the beauty counter - they'd put tea bags or cucumbers on them. Dirty kitchen surfaces weren't cleaned with a multitude of chemicals - they were scrubbed down with vinegar and some elbow grease. Users can turn to the site for natural alternatives to traditional cleaning and household care solutions, many of which will save them money, or for quick help when they're in a bind with a certain type of stain. The site isn't just useful for housekeeping, though - you can learn lifehacks for pet care, beauty and fitness, as well.

Since the site is brand-new, the design is a little clunky, but the idea is solid: Allow anyone to submit their home remedies, and rate others'. That way, only the most effective alt-uses will get a mark of approval from the site.

Check out 10 unexpected uses for common household items submitted by users, below. Think you have a better one? Sign up for the site and rate the solutions, or add your own.

  • Chili peppers, when crushed or brewed in water, can be used as ant repellent.
  • Out of eyeglass cleaning solution? Use germ-killing rubbing alcohol or vodka, and a soft cloth.
  • Use olive oil on a cotton ball to remove gummy residue from stickers left on items.
  • Wipe your pet down with a fabric softener sheet to remove odors.
  • Tie old, orphaned socks together in several big knots to make a chew toy for a small dog.
  • Both apples and aluminum foil can be used to soften old brown sugar.
  • Olive oil has a multitude of uses - among them, healing chapped lips, softening frizzy hair, making it easier to untangle necklaces, and shining up stainless steel fixtures.
  • Instant mashed potatoes work as a natural rodent repellent.
  • Store a cake with a few apple slices, and it will stay fresh longer.
  • Instead of drain cleaner, use three or four tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar to keep sink drains clear without damaging your pipes.

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