30 Unusual Uses for These 5 Common Kitchen Staples

5 Kitchen Staples

If you’re like me, there are a few things you make sure you always have on hand in your home no matter what—in my case, it’s toilet paper, soap, and band-aids. When it comes to the kitchen, I may not always have snacks for my kids’ lunch boxes, but I do generally have a few kitchen staples that, although they may have limited uses in the kitchen, have a plethora of uses for other things.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “the same water that softens the potato, hardens the egg,” which helps us understand the value of adding a little water to things (among other valuable life lessons). Today, I’ll share a few helpful tips just in time for summer using 5 common kitchen staples. Some just need a little water to transform into something magical.

30 Not-So-Common Uses for These 5 Kitchen Staples

Baking soda

  1. Keep your grill clean all summer long by putting some baking soda on a damp brush, scrubbing the grate, then rinsing.
  2. Add 1 cup of baking soda to your next load of laundry (along with your regular liquid detergent) to get clothes cleaner and brighter.
  3. For instant relief from bug bites, sunburn, and poison ivy, mix baking soda with a little water and apply it directly to the skin.
  4. Discourage weeds by sprinkling baking soda into the cracks on your driveway and walkways.
  5. Before you store your patio furniture for the season, scatter baking soda under chair cushions.
  6. Use a pinch in a gallon of freshly-brewed iced tea to remove bitterness and prevent cloudiness.


  1. No aloe? You can use mayonnaise as a substitute to soothe sunburned skin.
  2. Rub some mayonnaise on a hangnail, let sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off. The mayonnaise will smooth skin and help prevent new hangnails.
  3. Many doctors now recommend using mayonnaise to kill head lice—it’s cheap and less toxic than over-the-counter treatments. Massage into scalp, cover with a shower cap, and let sit overnight. Rinse out in the morning.
  4. Rub mayonnaise on any rough patches (target elbows, knees, ankles, and heels), and let sit for ten minutes. Then rinse off with cold water.
  5. For healthy, shiny hair, massage into your scalp as you would conditioner, then rinse out.
  6. You can also use mayonnaise to remove gum from your tresses.


  1. Keep pets out of the garden by sprinkling a mixture of coffee grounds and orange peels in the area.
  2. Diminish cellulite with this easy trick: Mix warm coffee grounds with any basic massage oil and rub onto skin. Caffeine (an ingredient found in many skin creams) may help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  3. The nitrogen in coffee grounds can help fertilize plants that require acidic soil, such as roses and hydrangeas.
  4. For smoother skin, mix coffee grounds into regular body lotion to make it exfoliating. Make sure you rinse off before answering the door. ????
  5. Rid stubborn smells from hands after cooking by gently rinsing them with coffee grounds.


  1. To remove light antiperspirant marks and stains on fabrics, rub gently with vinegar. Wipe with a clean cloth.
  2. Add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to your wash cycle. The acid reduces static and keeps dryer lint from sticking to your clothes.
  3. Don’t throw out cut flowers once they start to wilt. Instead, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and one teaspoon of sugar to a quart of water. Pour the solution into your vase, and the flowers will perk up.
  4. Before you apply your favorite polish, wipe your nails with a cotton ball soaked in white distilled vinegar. The clean surface will help your manicure last.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar to one pint of water. Use the mixture to wash fresh fruits and vegetables; then rinse thoroughly. The solution kills more pesticide residue than does pure water.
  6. Are your feet summer sandal ready? Soak your feet for 20 minutes a day in one part vinegar to two parts warm water. The vinegar removes dead skin, leaving your feet soft and smooth.


  1. Vodka attacks broad-leaf weeds, like dandelions and chickweed, by breaking down their protective coverings which leads to lethal dehydration. Fill a spray bottle with an ounce of vodka, a few drops of liquid dish soap, and two cups of water. Spray on weeds, in the sunlight, and they will wilt away.
  2. Use some of that vodka from your beach picnic to soothe a jellyfish sting, in case of emergency.
  3. Brew a cup of green tea and add ¼ teaspoon of vodka once it’s cooled. Dunk a cotton ball and use the concoction to really deep-clean your blackheads.
  4. Put ½ cup of vodka and ½ cup of water into a zip-close freezer bag, and freeze for an ice pack you can use over and over.
  5. Try this remedy for healthier, lush hair: Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo.
  6. Toothache? Take a swig of vodka and swish over the infected area. It doesn’t only help numb some of the pain, but it can also disinfect the area.

If you enjoyed these helpful tips on not-so-common-uses for kitchen staples, check back soon for the next article in this series on not-co-common-uses for spices.