8 Unexpected Uses for Household Items


household itemsThere are kitchen gadgets for almost any task and cleaning supplies for the most specific need. While they may get their unique job done well, all these household items can start piling up, taking up both space and your hard-earned money!

Fortunately, the basic items in your kitchen are all you need to solve most problems you’ll come across. Read on to find out hot to get the most out of all the multipurpose household items currently in your pantry!


Coffee Filters

Think coffee filters are only for helping brew sweet relief on Monday mornings? Think again! Coffee filters are one of the most versatile items in your kitchen. Here are just a few things you can use them for:

  • Buffer for pots and pans: While stacking your cookware is efficient for storage, it can potentially damage pans with special non-stick finishes. If you must stack, put a coffee filter in between as a low-cost buffer.
  • Snack bowl: In place of disposable bowls — which sometimes can be too shallow and messy — use coffee filters to hold popcorn, crisps, etc.
  • Taco jacket: Tacos are delicious but messy. Wrap your taco in the filter for a quick catchall for easy clean up.
  • Drip catcher: Poke a hole through the middle of a coffee filter and slip it up the base of a popsicle or ice cream cone to help catch any runoff from a melting treat.
  • Glass cleaner: Clean mirrors, windows and other reflective surfaces using a filter.
  • Flowerpot liner: Place the liner inside a small pail when repotting.


Fabric Softener Sheets

Pleasant smelling and cheap, fabric softener sheets can accomplish a lot outside of your laundry room:

  • Odour guards: Slip a sheet in stinky shoes or under the seat of the couch for a fresh smell.
  • Static cling remover: If you’re struggling to keep your static-filled clothes in place, wipe them with a sheet to tame them.
  • Bug repellent: Rub your skin with a sheet before heading to the woods. This is also an easy way to get bug repellent on your dog!


Nut Butter

Creamy and delicious, nut butter is great on toast and apples — it’s also great for some common problems you have around your home! Peanut butter is the densest and the least likely to separate, but it may not be something you regularly stock, so you can also try almond, sunflower or cashew butter.

  • Get gum out of hair or carpet: If you have children, this is probably a common problem for you! The nut butter helps loosen it so you don’t have to cut it out.
  • Ice cream cone stopper: If you take the time to enjoy an ice cream cone, you may end up with a soggy bottom and dripping ice cream. Plug the bottom on the cone with a dollop of nut butter to help stop it.
  • Clean leather furniture: Have a mark or scuff you want removed from your leather furniture? Rub a small amount of nut butter on the spot and rub it in circular pattern. Remove the nut butter with a cloth and then use a non-bleach-based cleaner to remove the nut butter smell.


Packing Peanuts

If you love online shopping, you probably have access to tons of packing peanuts. Don’t throw them in the bin right away! Here are a couple ways they’re useful!

  • Travel bumper: Fill a small plastic bag with packing peanuts and wedge it in your suitcase before you travel to cushion any fragile items you might need to protect. Use long newspaper bags to create bumpers for the trunk of your car to help prevent things from sliding and rolling around.
  • Pet bedding: Grab an old pillowcase and stuff it with packing peanuts for a cushy nap spot for your pet! Seal the case by sewing it or installing a zipper.
  • Flowerpot drainage: Sprinkle the peanuts in the bottom of a flowerpot to help with drainage.
  • Air freshener: Spray a handful of packing peanuts with your favourite deodorizer to help perfume your space.


Shower Caps

A simple plastic shower cap has a variety of uses besides keeping your hair sheltered from water. The waterproof property makes it great for a few things:

  • Travel shoe protectors: Keep the bottom of your shoes from dirtying the clothes in your suitcase by slipping them into a shower cap.
  • Floor protectors: Slip the cap over the base of a plant to help prevent any of the water from damaging your floor. This also works for hanging plants!
  • Bowl cover: If you’re out of cellophane or want to make a more eco-friendly choice, shower caps work great as a reusable cover for mixing bowls.



Toothpaste accomplishes many useful tasks far beyond oral hygiene! For these tips, regular white toothpaste tends to work best over the gel variety.

  • Chrome cleaner: Sink looking shabby? Rub toothpaste over your faucet with a wet sponge for a nice shine.
  • Deflate a pimple: The baking soda in toothpaste helps to dry out oily, painful pimples. Dab a little on before bed and let it work its magic overnight.
  • Sooth your skin: Itchy and irritated mosquito bites can be calmed by a quick dab of toothpaste.
  • Odour removal: If the smell of fish or garlic is still lingering on your hands after washing them, rub some toothpaste on your hands and rinse.


Vinegar is a great multipurpose tool just sitting amongst your cooking products. For the below tips, use white or apple cider.

  • Shower head cleaner: Fill a plastic baggie with vinegar and slip it over the showerhead. Secure it in place with a rubber band and allow it to sit for an hour, allowing it to oxidise with the build-up and make it easier to break down.
  • Eliminate paint odours: If you’ve recently brightened up a room, eliminate the evidence by placing a bowl or two of vinegar to help dispel the odour.
  • Shiny hair: After shampooing, rinse your hair with 240 mL water and one tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Crispier bread crust: Before you place a loaf of bread in the oven, brush the top with vinegar for a better crust.



There is nothing sour about these great alternative uses for lemons. Lemons have a high concentration of acid, which is why it’s so common in cleaning supplies.

  • Sanitise a chopping block: The acidity in lemon helps to break down and kill bacteria. Rub a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.
  • Keep avocado from oxidising: Squeeze a lemon over a bowl of guacamole or rub the green face of a cut avocado with a lemon slice to keep it from browning.
  • Whiten your fingernails: Rub a lemon wedge on the surface of your nails to brighten them.
Barbara Davidson


Babs is a Senior Content Writer and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!