Using every day household items for a variety of purposes can save you a whole lot of money in the long run. These double-duty products also save you time, money, effort and sanity. If you have these five multi-duty items anywhere in your home, you can take care of your cleaning, cooking, gardening, laundry, health, beauty and home needs -- all for under $6.
White Distilled Vinegar: Commonly used in many food recipes, this type of vinegar also has many other purposes in and around your home. For the garden, you can kill weeds by pouring vinegar on them and you can also keep your hydrangeas and gardenias growing nicely by watering it with one cup vinegar mixed with one gallon of water. In the home, it is virtually your miracle cleaner and probably the safest. It removes stains, takes away bad odors and cuts down on the grime on your refrigerator. You can also use it to remove stains on your clothing and to stop insect bites and stings from itching. (Visit vinegartips.com for more vinegar recipes). Price: Less than $6 for 128 fluid ounces.
Baking Soda: Growing up, I use to remember the orange Arm & Hammer box sitting at the back of our refrigerator. Little did I know at the time, my mom had strategically put it there to neutralize odors. The great thing about baking soda is that it's cheap and can be used for a variety of things. You can make your own toothpaste by using baking soda and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. You can also mix three parts baking soda to one part water to make a facial scrub or body exfoliant. On top of that, you can use it to clean virtually anything including your bathtub, microwave oven, shower curtain, cars, fruits and vegetables and more. It's probably one of the best deodorizers out there. Price: Under $2 for 16 ounces.
Hydrogen Peroxide: I have hydrogen peroxide in my home at all times. It's my little miracle worker when I am in the state of panic or emergency. Last year, I got new Carrera marble tops on our kitchen island and within days it was stained from food that we had cooked. Panicked, I went online to find a simple solution and spot treated with hydrogen peroxide, baking powder and plastic wrap (this technique might not work for you, so be sure to test it first). The great thing about 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is that is safe and easy to use. You can use it as a mouthwash to keep your teeth white or even get rid of canker sores and you can even clean your countertops and cutting boards to kill germs and bacteria with it. Price: Under $2 for 32 ounces.
Petroleum Jelly: Every woman should have a jar of petroleum jelly in her purse at all times. From beauty magazines to DIY websites, Vaseline is the cheapest beauty fix you will come across. You can apply it on your eyelashes at night to have them grow longer and thicker and you can also use it to remove makeup or prevent hair dye stains on your forehead. My mom would always put it on my chapped lips and dry winter face. Beyond your beauty regimen, you can use it on your shoes for shine, on your furniture for scratches and on your window casters to easily open your windows. If you look up Vaseline online, there are probably over 100 uses for it. Price: Under $6 for 13 ounce container.
Dental Floss: It might sound weird to you, but floss has a variety of purposes other than making sure food stays out of the little crevices of your teeth. You can actually use it to sew buttons, repair wood, hang pictures on your walls, cut cakes, remove cookies from the sheet, tie down trunks and even replace broken shoe laces. My husband also uses it to replace broken fishing lines because it holds up very well. And for any DIY projects that require ties, strings or ropes, I use the floss in place of it because it's a lot stronger and doesn't break easily. Because dental floss comes in a compact case, I always have one in my purse just in case I need it for any sudden emergencies. Price: Under $2 for 100 yards.
Susan Yoo-Lee is the editor of Savings.com personal finance blog and founder of Mommas in the House blog.
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