Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time

Baking Soda
Use as deicer in winter: Salt and commercial ice-melt formulations can stain—or actually eat away—the concrete around your house. For an equally effective, but completely innocuous, way to melt the ice on your steps and walkways during those cold winter months, try sprinkling them with generous amounts of baking soda. Add some sand for improved traction.
Fill furniture scratches: Do your pets sometimes treat your furniture like…well, a scratching post? Don’t despair. Use a crayon to cover scratches on wooden furniture. Choose the colour most like the wood finish. Soften the crayon with a hair dryer or in the microwave on the defrost setting. Colour over the scratches, then buff your repair job with a clean rag to restore the luster.
Dental Floss
Remove a stuck ring:Here’s a simple way to slip off a ring that’s stuck on your finger. Wrap the length of your finger from the ring to the nail tightly with dental floss. Now you can slide the ring off over the floss “carpet.”
Nail polish
Clean vinyl shoes: Patent-leather shoes may not reflect up, but they do show off scuff marks, as will white or other-coloured vinyl shoes. To remove the marks, rub them lightly but briskly with a soft cloth or paper towel dipped in nail polish remover. Afterwards, remove any residue with a damp cloth.
Peanut Butter
Plug an ice cream cone: Ice-cream cones are fun to eat but a bit messy, too. Here’s a delectable solution: Plug up the bottom of an ice-cream cone with a bit of peanut butter. Now, when munching through the scoop of double chocolate fudge, you’ll be protected from leaks. And there’s a pea-nutty surprise at the end of the treat.
Machine-wash your delicates: Sweaters and pantyhose can get pulled out of shape when they twist around in the washer. To protect these garments during washing, toss them into a pillowcase and close with string or a rubber band. Set the machine on the delicate setting, add the soap and worry not about knots.
Remove makeup: All out of your regular makeup remover? Don’t fret: Just use a dab of shortening instead. Your face won’t know the difference.
Winterproof boots and shoes: Waterproof your winter boots and shoes by giving them a coat of WD-40. It’ll act as a barrier so water can’t penetrate the material. Also use WD-40 to remove ugly salt stains from boots and shoes during the winter months. Just spray WD-40 onto the stains and wipe with a clean rag. Your boots and shoes will look almost as good as new.
Kids Stuff:
Make watercolour paints for your kids using ingredients in your kitchen. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons each of baking soda, cornstarch and vinegar with 1½ teaspoons light corn syrup. Wait for the fizzing to subside, then separate the mixture into several small containers or jar lids. Add eight drops of food colouring to each batch and mix well. Put a different colour in each batch or combine colours to make new shades. Kids can either use the paint right away, or wait for them to harden, in which case, they’ll need a wet brush before painting.
Spies use it and so can you. Send a message or draw a picture with invisible ink. Here’s how you do it: Mix 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and water. Dip a toothpick or paintbrush in the mixture and write your message or draw a picture or design on a piece of plain white paper. Let the paper and the “ink” dry completely. To reveal your message or see your picture, mix 6 drops of food colouring with 1 tablespoon water. Dip a clean paintbrush in the solution, and lightly paint over the paper. Use different food-colouring combinations for a cool effect.
Making tie-dyed clothing is tons of fun for kids of all ages. Start with a few white T-shirts, then use as many colours as allowed by your local supermarket’s selection of unsweetened Kool-Aid powder mixes. Dissolve each package of Kool-Aid into 1 ounce vinegar in its own bowl or container. Use rubber bands to twist your shirts into unusual shapes, then dip them into the bowls (snap on a pair of rubber gloves beforehand). After drying, set your colours by placing a pillowcase or thin dish towel over each shirt and ironing it with a medium-hot iron. Wait at least 24 hours, then wash each shirt separately.
Science Fair Stuff
Use the gas produced by mixing baking soda and vinegar to blow up a balloon. First, pour ½ cup vinegar into the bottom of a narrow-neck bottle (such as an empty water bottle) or jar. Then insert a funnel into the mouth of an average-sized balloon, and fill it with 5 tablespoons baking soda. Carefully stretch the mouth of the balloon over the opening of the bottle, then gently lift it up so that the baking soda empties into the vinegar at the bottom of the bottle. The fizzing and foaming you see is actually a chemical reaction between the two ingredients. This reaction results in the release of carbon dioxide gas—which will soon inflate the balloon!
Scientists use optical illusions to show how the brain can be tricked. This simple experiment uses two coins, but you’ll think you are seeing three. Hold two coins on top of each other between your thumb and index finger. Quickly slide the coins back and forth and you will see a third coin! How it works: Scientists say that everything we see is actually light reflected from objects. Our eyes use light to create images on our retinas, the light-sensitive linings in our eyeballs. Because images don’t disappear instantly, when something moves quickly you may see both an object and an after-image of it at the same time.
Learn how all other colours are actually mixes of the primary colours: red, blue and yellow. Cut a paper towel into strips. With markers, draw a rectangle or large circle on one end of each strip. Try interesting shades of orange, green, purple or brown. Black is good, too. Place the other end of the strip into a glass jar filled with water, leaving the coloured end dry and draped over the side of the jar. As the water from the jar slowly (about 20 minutes) moves down the towel and into the colour clot, you’ll see the colours separate. This also demonstrates capillary attraction—the force that allows the porous paper to soak up the water and carry it over the side of the jar.

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wow, that's good advice...

I like the dental floss one, can't wait to retain some water and try it.
Great tips ta Sanctus.
Interesting. One of my own. If you are one of those people who work outside in difficult weather and develop painful cracks at the end of your thumbs or fingers,grab some super glue and glue them together. It is safe and works like a charm.
Baking soda can also be used as an effective cleaning agent, for anyone who wants an environmentally friendly cleaner.

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