Uncommon Uses of Common Household Items

By Janice Antoniette Förster | Last Updated May 18, 2012

What are the two most common things we see in the kitchen? The answer would be salt and vinegar – and this is true regardless of financial status, race, culture and creed. Did you know that you can save a lot of money AND do your part for the environment with these 2 common ingredients? Find out how now.

Globally, we are at the stage where environmental consciousness is highly promoted, encouraged and implemented. For instance, we are all familiar with the term hybrid in the automotive industry. These are cars that essentially cut down on fuel consumption, thus lowering carbon footprints, by incorporating an electric motor to the engine. We have also heard of huge water treatment plants like that of Singapore that actually recycles waste water into safe drinking water. On the extreme, scientists have now come up with nano-technology. This has a huge potential for curing diseases and cleaning up man’s environmental abuses among others.

These are all very expensive acts for the sake of our environment that no lower to middle class family can afford. So how can we give back our long-standing overdue debt to the environment? The answer is simple: Go green!

We have all bought commercial cleaning products, plastics and personal hygiene items. These things contain chemicals that can be extremely harmful to nature. By going green, we not only help the environment we live in but we can actually save money as well. Now, that’s hitting two birds with one stone. How? Here are a couple everyday household items that you can start with:


There are at least 14,000 uses for salt but we’ll only be talking about a few good uncommon uses for it. 1


  • Mix equal portions of salt, vinegar and flour to make a paste. With a soft cloth, rub the compound on dull brass of copper items. Rinse the item with warm water and buff it. They will look just like brand new. 2
  • Save up on the soap for greasy woks or cooking pans. Just sprinkle salt on the grease, wipe it off and wash as usual. 3
  • Through time, glasses get stained and no amount of scrubbing can get rid of it. Try soaking them in a solution of a liter of vinegar with a handful of salt overnight. Simply wipe it off the following day. 4, 5
  • Equal parts of salt and hot water poured down a drain eliminate foul sewage odors. This also helps keep the drains clear because it dissolves grease and slows down any future build-up. 6

Insect repellent

  • For those who have ants invading places where they’re not supposed to, draw a line, literally, across their path with salt. This could be laid out as inconspicuously as possible across your front door, on shelves, in cabinets, around your trash bin and so on. 7
  • You know that when your dog has fleas, its kennel will undoubtedly be a sanctuary for them. Send them packing by washing it down with salt water every couple of weeks or so. 8

General/In and Around the House

  • Don’t feel like washing your stinky shoes all the time? After taking them off for the day, sprinkle salt on the inside and let it stand overnight. The salt helps absorb the moisture that the odor-causing germs like to thrive in. Don’t forget to shake it out in the mornings when you go to work. 9
  • Pulling out weeds does not guarantee that they won’t come back. You can’t get all the roots out and that’s what gives them the chance to regrow. Get rid of the ungainly weed easily by simply sprinkling salt on them followed by a little water. Another way is to let the salt stand overnight or whole day and then follow it up with hot water. Either method will dilute the salt and carry it down to where it matters most, the roots of the weeds. Naturally, the hot water simply hastens things along. 10


There are over 250 additional uses of vinegar aside from being consumed as a food ingredient. 11


  • Getting tired of serving cracked hard boiled eggs? Stop the cracking by adding 2 spoonfuls of vinegar to the boiling water.
  • Have you wondered how to put the shine back on your stainless steel pots, pans and utensils? After soaping and rinsing them like you usually do, wet a sponge or clean rag with vinegar and wipe it all over any discoloration on the stainless item. The effect is immediate. 12

Bath/Shower room

  • Corrosion is an ungainly sight and there are a lot of commercial products out there claiming to be the best solution. Don’t get me wrong, many of them do work well but at such a price that you normally end up trying to save it instead of using it. Go green and dampen a cloth with vinegar instead. Wrap it around the offensive sight overnight. Voila!
  • Toilet stains can be removed cheaply and naturally by spraying vinegar on them directly followed by some scrubbing. After flushing, add 3 cups of vinegar and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Not only is your toilet clean, it just got deodorized as well. 13


  • Get rid of mustiness in your lockers, cabinets or basically any humid area by either a half-filled bowl of vinegar or by soaking a piece of loaf bread in vinegar and placing it in the area where the smell is strongest. Leave it overnight.
  • Do you remember when you got chewing gum on your hair? To get rid of it, you’ll need to remove as much of the gum as possible. Later on, wet the remaining gum on your hair with vinegar and watch (at this stage, I assume you’ll be facing a mirror) as the vinegar dissolves the gum. If you heat the vinegar, it will work wonders a lot faster.
  • Add vinegar as an addition to your first aid kit especially when going to the beach. When you get stung by jellyfish, dampen the inflicted area with it and you’ll get a much needed relief from the sting. 14

There are many other uses of salt and vinegar as well as their combination. With only these two kitchen items, the annual savings you can make can be astounding compared to commercially available products. Furthermore, you’re helping out Mother Nature a lot since these ingredients are natural and completely eco-friendly. If you think something is more important than what is listed here, let us hear about it through your comments.


  1. This article is very knowledgeable and informative. i never knew that salt and vinegar could come in handy with household chores. indeed this would help lessen earth’s destruction. this idea conserves and saves, energy, time, and money! thank you for the info.

  2. Hey, I just found a cheap metal polish for my sword! Never knew how kitchen supplies can be used as house tools. But is all of this tried and true? hmm… Maybe I’ll do it when I get back home, but is vinegar really a deodorizer? I mean, it has it’s smell too.. rather a really strong, pungent, acidic smell too…

  3. WOW! I can’t believe that the things I usually take for granted in the kitchen has also other useful uses!

  4. I never thought I could have done so many things with plain salt and vinegar – besides cooking and condiments. Now i I can save a lot on cleaning materials for my room with this article.

  5. Awwweeeessssoome. Now I will give importance to salt and vinegar ! 😀 Especially to Salt because I have irritating invading ants in my room. Now I know how to stop them from getting in my toothbrush, cabinet, and my other stuffss. They really bums out my day when i see those pests especially in my cabinet. Darn. And I will also use salt in Truffles (my dog) because he has a lot of flees! Hahaha :”> Papaliguan ko yun, pagbalik ko sa Manila.

  6. Even if they are just common household items, it can really help us in saving money. This article is very informative other people. This should be advertise on TV to go green just by simply using common household items.

  7. I’m really amazed with vinegar when it comes to its ability to stop eggs to crack when hard-boiled. My mind’s blown. I will really try this when I go home to see for myself.

    I also do hope I can use vinegar for my locker in the dorm. I’m not that sure though; our lockers are made out of wood.

  8. Just a few weeks ago, I discovered another amazing use of vinegar: it’s actually used as an alternative treatment for diabetes and acid reflux. I learned about this because my dad underwent a severe bout of acid reflux just recently and his doctor prescribed only one thing: apple cider vinegar.

    Truly, it’s amazing to know that our seemingly ordinary items at home are actually super-objects! Thank you for this article and I shall try these as soon as I get the chance. 🙂

  9. really good stuff…
    i really need to read this article.
    here is the place where the words ants and moisture are so familiar. so the role of these two common Household is more important here.

    Thank you for this article.

  10. Those are some interesting tips right there. We used to have a problem with ants back in our old house. The salt tip could have been really useful because the ant-killer chemical we used was quite pricey. Thankfully, we live in an ant-free house now. ^^
    The many uses of vinegar seem quite interesting too. But i’m not so sure if it’s an effective deodorizer.. My parents tried using it to get the paint smell off our newly painted room, but it didn’t work as expected.
    Nevertheless, there are a lot of other tips i’ve read about here for the first time. Great article! I’ll definitely try out some of these when i get the chance. 🙂

  11. wow! i never knew salt and vinegar was this useful. awesome information. i shall try of these sometime. these tips can surely help my mother when she’s cleaning.

  12. I guess I have confined the uses of salt and vinegar to my gastronomic satisfaction. This article is nothing but a knowledge expander. I wouldn’t be looking at salt vinegar the same way again. All the mentioned problems are those I encounter often. Now I don’t need to worry about cracking my boiled eggs! Might as well bookmark this page.

  13. Collectively, when we speak of household items what comes in mind? Things for cleaning, eating, and maintaining ones home right? However, based on this article ordinary household items may be used beyond what we usually use them for. Salt and Vinegar for instance can be useful to remove stains, inhibit the growth of weeds to keep your garden neat, and can even become a deodorizer for bathrooms that wreak of foul odor. We merely see these items as simple tools that only have a minimal uses. What we fail to see are the various uses these items can provide. Just like an individual who judges another even without going to the extent of getting to know the other more we have to open our minds to the endless possibilities. Believe! God Bless. #16 (Hagedorn) 😉

  14. After reading this article, I just realized that I haven’t been a bad student because I haven’t applied what I learned in school to my life. I have been loving Chemistry since High School but I think that love is just mere fascination because I haven’t applied it in real life. After reading it, I quickly connected the chemical properties of salt and vinegar to the common problems we encounter in life and I realized that I could have applied what I learned and I could have learned more through experience. 🙂

  15. My lola’s do that and it’s kinda weird but when i read this, I realized that they are doing alot of good things in the environment and they can even save money. In what i’ve experienced and saw, mostly filipinos do this stuff especially the oldies in the falmily. Hahaha!

    The ants in our house are so annoying and they always bite me(I squish/crush them when they do that) so i tried to block the paths of the ants with salt and it did work. Now i can get rid of them..Thanks!

  16. Never thought vinegar and salt would be that much of use. I can only imagine these two for cooking. This would be a great help to lessen some worldly destruction.

  17. Now I know salt and vinegar is not only use in the kitchen it has many uses , i can’t imagine salt and vinegar will be gone in this world because we use it everyday for cooking.

  18. i agree this thing helps! all those condiments that we have in our kitchen usually we take it for granted, these tips helps us surely and make it improvise. i tried using vinegar and baking soda in washing my clothes, it helps removing stains. super effective.

  19. Some good tips! Who would have thought, that a simple, inexpensive household products would have so many useful uses.

  20. Will definitely try some of these tips. Who would have thought, that a simple, inexpensive household products would have so many useful uses.

  21. Who would have thought, that a simple, inexpensive household products would have so many useful uses. Will definitely try these tips.

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