use this for that.

by Janetha on February 26, 2013

in tips

happy birthday to my sister. love you, ree!

sometimes i use things that are not what they were initially intended to be used for. and it works. and i thought i should tell you.


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…to remove eye makeup.

i learned this nearly a decade ago from my friend who was in beauty school. i have been using it since! simply saturate a cotton ball with saline solution (i wear contacts so i always have it on hand) and use it to remove eyeliner and mascara! it works like a charm. if you think about it, saline is basically tears.. and when you cry, your mascara runs like a river, so it makes sense that it removes your makeup!

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…to make guacamole and to mash bananas for banana bread.

momma b taught me these two tricks! i have never used anything other than a pastry blender to make guac or smoosh bananas for banana bread. in fact, it wasn’t until i was in my 20s that i learned that it was actually a pastry blender and not a guac maker/banana smasher.

oh, and i also NEVER use a pastry blender for its intended use! i am not a big pastry maker, i guess.

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…to get rid of nasty hard water stains.

i guess maybe this was one of the intended uses for bar keeper’s friend.. but not the main one. when i was trying to clean my shower doors on sunday, i turned to google and found an article that named this cleaning product as the best weapon against hard water stains.. so i put it to the test. lo and behold, it worked wonders!


…to wash your face.

i have blogged before about my love for the oil cleansing method. i use 1 part castor oil and 2 parts sunflower seed oil to wash my face. it’s a wonder that slathering your face in OIL actually makes it blemish-free and super-soft with clear pores. who knew?

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…to remove scratches from your white sink.

i learned this from a reader here on the blog, actually! i was bitching about my scuffed up sink and meg clued me in on this neat trick. you simply pour draino on the scratched surface, let it soak for a bit, then wipe it off. voilà! a white sink that looks perfectly polished.

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…for fresher laundry.

you don’t need to pay out the wazzoo for specialty clothing cleaners.. the best way to get the funk out of your laundry (specifically gym clothes and towels and anything you accidentally left in the washer overnight (not that i would know or EVER do that…)) is white vinegar! simply fill the “bleach” slot in your washer with white vinegar, add detergent, and run the cycle as usual. if you don’t have a bleach slot, you can just pour about 1/4 cup of vinegar straight into the wash water during the scrub cycle.

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…to remove scratches from CDs.

this is a super old school trick i used in high school and, granted, don’t use it any more since i mainly use my ipod. BUT—it works! you coat your CD surface with toothpaste, wipe it off with a clean, soft towel, and your CD will be good as new! no more skips in the track while groovin’ to your music.

that’s all i’ve got for now! do you do any of those things i listed above?

if you like this sort of thing, you should make sure to check out real simple mag every month. they have a page dedicated to new uses for household items, i love it!

well, i gotta jet. i have a workout to do and then some tacos to eat for taco tuesday!!  we are going to the garage to put their tacos to the test. i’m excited, i love trying new-to-me restaurants!


do you have any uncommon uses to share with the class?

xo. janetha g.

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natalie @ will jog for food February 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Great tip about the saline solution! I need to start doing that :)

Anne @ eatcleaneatreal February 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I use coffee filters to make greek yogurt….just strain regular yogurt through a colander lined with coffee filters and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.

But your pastry blender technique for guac and banana bread…lets just say you might have changed my life!

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles February 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I’ll definitely have to remember the saline solution thing – I never would have thought of that.

The Healthy Hostess February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm

These are great! So many I had forgot about or didn’t know!
Great post!

Elizabeth @ My Neon Running Shoes February 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

So helpful! Especially contact solution as eye makeup remover! Thanks for sharing :-)

melissa February 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I need to try the saline solution thing!

on the castor and sunflower oil face cleanser, do you mix it in a container first and use it that way?

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

Yep, and I also add a few drops of tea tree oil to the bottle to combat pimples :)

Danielle @ D. Sells Seashells February 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Ummm. Until right now I thought that the ‘pastry blender’ was in fact a potato masher. :S My boyfriend tried to convince me it was for making chopped salads. Maybe one of the most misunderstood kitchen tools!?

I love the oil cleansing method and adding vinegar to my gym clothes laundry load too :)

Linz @ Itz Linz February 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm

i use baby oil as eye make up remover (then promptly wash my face!). it gets off the toughest mascaras… even waterproof!

Kenzie February 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I use nipple cream on my lips. And by nipple cream, I mean the bottles of pure lanolin that you can buy in the baby section by all the bottles that is made for nursing mothers. I haven’t had chapped lips in years. They’re as smooth as…….nipples?

I also use rubbing alcohol mixed with water to clean my mirrors.

emily February 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm

You have such great skin, so I want to believe you about oil cleansing, but I just can’t accept it. I’ve spent too much time worrying about getting oil *away* from my face!

Here’s all I’ve got – a tiered hanging fruit basket makes for great storage outside of the kitchen; I use mine to store hair supplies and accessories.

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 9:35 am

You have to give it a shot! It eliminates oil!

Jessie February 26, 2013 at 10:30 pm

not so sure you want that barkeep stuff going down the drain and ultimately into the water system/environment…it may not be so enviro-friendly since it’s not designed for that kind of use. Also- draino- nasty, harsh chemicals that you probably don’t want to use on the regular when it’s going down the drain. you seem like a generally health/enviro conscious lady; maybe you should investigate some more environmentally friendly cleaning products, or even better make your own! it’s super easy (lots of recipes on line) and really inexpensive and you know what you are exposing yourself (and your environment) to!

Stacey February 27, 2013 at 7:59 am

Jessie, I use Bar Keepers friend and it is made to clean sinks, showers, faucets or anything else that is stainless steel, porcelain, etc. I realize it is a strong chemical, but she’s not using it in any ‘wrong’ way according to the manufacturer’s label/directions/uses.

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thanks for the comment, Jessie! Do you happen to have any recipes for the two things in particular–getting rid of scratches in white sinks and removing hard water stains? I only ask because I’ve done a LOT of trial and error with recipes found online and with stuff like Norwex, but nothing has worked (except the things I listed.) I would love to hear any you may have.

Maren February 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Shaklee has a product called “Scour off heavy duty paste” that is environmentally friendly and works wonders on tubs and shower doors. You have to scrub, but it works really well. I wonder if that would work on your sink too? Doubt it, but hard to say. Nate’s mom had it when I lived there and I always used it!!

RainStorm February 27, 2013 at 1:18 am

Genius :) I don’t think I have any clever substitutions. But in very intrigued by the pastry blender – I’ve never seen one before and I make pastry relatively often! Looks very useful.

RainStorm February 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Erm… Have now bought a pastry blender! Popped into amazing baking shop (called Lakeland) and hunted one out! Am excited to try it – may be eating pie a lot in the coming weeks.

Erica February 27, 2013 at 2:45 am

so cool! Thanks for all of the tips! I have used bar keepers friend for the same purpose- great stuff.

Jodie February 27, 2013 at 4:48 am

Thanks for sharing this. Great info to keep.

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance February 27, 2013 at 5:46 am

Great tips! I’ve used toothpaste to clean silver jewelry when traveling. :)

Stacey February 27, 2013 at 8:03 am

– I use Bar Keepers friend for my porcelain sink and to clean the stainless steel faucets. Love it! I can’t wait to try it on the shower; can’t believe I never thought of that before?!
– I use toothpaste on zits; it dries them up and since it’s a bleaching agent it helps with the scarring IMO.
– Vaseline is what I use to remove my eye make-up. I had been using a baby shampoo/water mixture I made, but since I buy big tubs of vaseline for lip gloss I figured I might as well get 2 uses out of it.
– I’m also a vinegar in my work-out laundry girl. Works great!
Thanks for the additional ideas :)

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

Love all these tips!

Lindsay February 27, 2013 at 9:24 am

I mix sugar and honey to exfoliate my legs, knees, feet, and elbows. I’ve used olive oil to grease a squeeky sliding glass door, to hide scratches in my wood floor, and to shine up my stainless steel sink.

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

Nice tips, Lindsay! Thanks!

Nicole @ Fruit 'N' Fitness February 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

I had been wondering if you were still using and liking the oil cleaning method. My face has been having some attitude recently and I have been thinking about giving it a try.

Yana February 27, 2013 at 10:09 am

I use the tube for pushing things down the food processor chute as potato masher. A friend saw me do that, felt sorry for me, and gave me a real potato masher. I still use the food processor thingy. It works much better than the real masher and is much easier to clean.

Annette@FitnessPerks February 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

These are SUCH good tips! Thanks girl :) I swear, you’re full of so much great info!

Don’t know if this counts, but I use my foam roller for my ‘massage’ time. :) hehe

cathy February 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Do you know if the toothpaste trick works on DVD’s also?

Maren February 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

You can also use toothpaste on your headlights when they get foggy-looking! Not sure if you know what I’m talking about, but mine are really foggy and my boss told me to use toothpaste! Haven’t tried it yet. Also, my mom is like the grandpa on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Except she uses vinegar for everything instead of windex haha

Heather @ Better With Veggies February 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I’m going back to read your oil face washing post again, I’ve considered it before, but maybe it’s time to try it?

Christina W February 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I wanted to come out of stalker-dom today to tell you that you have the best blog! You are real, and interesting, and I love how you talk about a large variety of things! That is all, have a great day!

Janetha February 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I needed this comment today! So, THANK YOU!

Kelly @ Leafy Not Beefy February 28, 2013 at 5:42 am

Awesome tips! :) I’ve been doing the oil-cleansing method for almost a week now, and am amazed by how soft and fresh my super dry skin has become (I don’t use castor oil, though, just jojoba oil as it’s what I had).

The only tip I can think of off the top of my head is to use hairspray to get out pen stains. I know back when I was in school, I would always be coming home with mysterious pen marks on my clothing – apparently when I didn’t realize I had the cap off; but a spritz of hairspray later, they were all gone.

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I love any of these kinds of tips- and I definitely need to try the Drano one. We have a white sink in our kitchen. I HATE IT. It always looks dirty and gross, no matter how much I clean it.
I totally have writer’s block for sharing tips… but I KNOW I have some. If I think of them, I’ll come back…

marisa February 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Love you, too! And it was great to chat. Thanks for these tips… I can’t wait to try them all!

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