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DIY: Uncommon Uses for Common Household Products

Updated on February 14, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to run to a store to buy just one thing when I need it for a project. And I especially hate doing so if I find out after buying that one item that I already had a product at home that would have worked just fine, had I only known it! And sometimes it seems that by the time you get everything together that you need for a project, you no longer have time to actually do the project Therefore, here are just a few products you probably already have around the house that can serve multiple uses of which you may be unaware:

Smeared Nail Polish

Use Woolite to remove nail polish that didn’t go on your nails, but instead ended up smeared on your skin. I don’t know how it does it, but Woolite cold water fabric detergent will take off the polish you got on your fingers, but leaves the polish on your nails untouched. After your nails are completely dry, simply wash your hands using Woolite and prepare to be astonished.

Stains on Teapots, Cups, and Even Toilet Bowls

Try any dishwasher detergent or denture cleaner to easily remove stains on porcelain—everything from tea stains to rust stains. I first discovered this trick when I submerged a vintage teapot that had a brown tea stain from its mid section down in a strong solution of denture cleaner and the stain disappeared. You will need to completely submerge the item, use a highly concentrated solution and leave it to soak for at least 24 hours—more time if the stain is intense. You can use this method to get old toilets looking fresh as well—mix the dishwasher detergent or denture cleaner into the water in the bowl and let it stand overnight.

Mugsy - As White As White Can Be

Make Your White Dog Sparkle Like A Show Dog

Did you know that regular Dawn ™ dish detergent will make your white dog’s coat shine? Try it the next time you bath your white or light colored dog and be amazed! But please, please use only No More Tears ™ baby shampoo on the head, especially around those sensitive big brown eyes!

Good advice on bathing your dog:

I Always Buy the Big Box!

A Quick Fix For Chipped Paint

Q-Tips ™ have a million uses outside of the ear, and one of the handiest is what terrific tiny paintbrushes they make for the application of just a drop of touchup paint. We all know how easy it is to put little chips in painted moldings, furniture and cabinets, but did you know that the ubiquitous Q-Tip ™ can quickly make the painted surface look new? Try it; it works great!

Do you have any favorite unusual uses for common products? Submit them using the Comments Box below and I may add them to a future article on this subject.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

When something needs to be fixed around the house, I:

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    • DIYmyOmy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Do you have an uncommon use for a common household product you would like to share?

    • DIYmyOmy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Jennifermdunn - Yes, thanks, we are in agreement, knowing this stuff is one of those cool little pleasures of life.....ah, but if only I could remember ALL of my mom's hints.....

    • jennifermdunn profile image


      9 years ago from Norwalk, CT

      Simply awesome. I love learning about common household items having multipurposes.


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