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Ten Substitutions For Things We Use Everyday

Updated on September 29, 2017
bethperry profile image

Beth is a homemaker and professional author. She lives with her family close to the scenic Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

We all have those favorite products that are used on practically a daily basis. Whether it is a cleaner, a cooking ingredient or a toiletry, there are just some things we try never to do without. It is rare, however, that we don't at least occasionally run out of them. Since even the most staple of supplies cost money, there are also times when we just can't immediately replace these things.

Having faced frugal times in my life, I have learned a little about substitutions. These have often saved me from stressful situations, especially if my item of choice is one I use with regularity. In this post I will share some of the most valued substitutions I am grateful to have discovered. There are ten listed here, and if you decide to use any of them, I hope they work as well for you as they have me.

10. Substitute For Laundry Softener

For those times I have run out of liquid laundry softener, a gentle hair conditioner makes a fine substitute. I simply add 2 tablespoons during the clothes washer's final rinse cycle just as I ordinarily would with regular laundry softener. If you try this substitute, be sure to choose a tint-free variety of hair conditioner.

9. Substitute For Bleach-based Bath And Kitchen Cleaners

Bleach is the main active ingredient in all dishwasher detergents. I have frequently used dishwasher detergent when out of my preferred bath and kitchen cleaners. If you use dishwasher detergent in this way, be sure to regard it with as much diligent caution as you would any other caustic cleaning product.

8. Substitute For Mirror And Glass Surface Cleaners

Our moms and grandmothers knew the secret of cleaning with white vinegar! Not only does it make a substitute for store bought cleaners, I think white vinegar is superior for cleaning mirrors and windows and all glass surfaces. To use this way, simply douse a lightly dampened cloth with the vinegar and apply, then wipe the surface as you would a chemical cleaner. Be careful not to get any vinegar in your eyes, however, as it will sting.

7.Substitute For Brown Sugar

If you discover you are out of brown sugar, simply make your own by combining molasses with powdered sugar. For this purpose I use 3 parts molasses with 2 parts powdered sugar. Combine the molasses and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixed ingredients develop a brown sugar consistency.

6. Substitute For Duck Sauce

If your delivery of Chinese food ever arrives without duck sauce, you may try this quick-to-make alternative:

In a medium sized bowl combine 3 Tbsp corn syrup, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1-2 dashes of ginger, a splash of brown mustard and a few red pepper seeds. Stir about 60 seconds and use.

5. Substitute For Plant Food

A good alternative to OTC plant food is ordinary egg shells. Crush the egg shells until they are tiny pieces, then sprinkle these around the roots of the plant. Note: egg shells provide more nutrients if they have not been washed prior to crushing.

4. Substitute For Cucumbers In Relieving Puffy Eyes

Cucumber slices work well to reduce puffiness around eyes, but they are not always in season. Consider the tea bag alternative: take two regular-size bags of either black or green tea. Soak the bags for two minutes in hot water. Remove from the hot water (without squeezing) and immerse in ice water for two minutes. Very lightly shake or squeeze out the excess water. While sitting or lying down, place the tea bags over your closed eyes for 5-10 minutes.

3. Substitute For Sunblock Lotions And Oils

Vitamin C acts as a natural sunblock. Although this vitamin is eliminated from the body more rapidly than a lot of nutrients, moderate-to-high doses of C tablets can be counted on to provide temporary protection from harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. If you are about to go out in the sun but do not have chemical sunblock on hand, consider taking a 500-1000 mg. dose ten minutes prior to exposure. Take another C tablet or capsule no more than 60 minutes later if you intend on staying outdoors for a longer period of time.

For sunblock purposes, Vitamin C tablets may also be dissolved in ordinary tap water and this liquid then patted on the skin. If this is the route you go, remember to apply more C water after 60 minutes of exposure.

Consuming citrus fruit or juices with high levels of Vitamin C also provides temporary aid in blocking out UV rays.

2. Substitute For Breath Freshening Washes, Lozenges And Gum

Anise seeds release a pleasant fragrance (very similar to licorice candy) when moistened and heated. The fresh or likewise uncooked seeds can come in handy if you are out of breath freshening washes, lozenges or gums. Place one seed in your mouth and chew slowly for a couple of minutes before swallowing. If you have difficulty swallowing the seed, either chew on it for a few more minutes and remove, or swallow it down with a drink of water like one would a vitamin capsule.

1. Substitute For Paper Coffee Filters

As our family consumes a lot of coffee, there have been many times we have ran out of the paper coffee filters. White paper napkins and towels make for convenient alternatives during such times. For this, I generally trim the corners off the napkin or towel so they don't hang over or otherwise interfere with the brew basket. If your paper napkins or towels are thinly made, consider using 2-3 of them for this purpose.


©Sept. 29, 2017 by Beth Perry


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