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Life Hacks

By Jane Fusco

As consumers, we tend to purchase a product for a specific or intended use. Yet, many household items can be used in various ways that could save you time so you won’t have to run out to the store, and money by not having to purchase a more expensive item when something in your cupboard can do the job.

Here are a few common household products that lead a double life.

Marshmallows

This favorite topping for hot chocolate and s’mores ingredient can also be used to keep brown sugar soft. Just add a marshmallow to the bag or container of sugar, and the moisture from the marshmallow will do its magic. Melted marshmallows also make a quick icing for cupcakes if you run out of frosting. About five minutes before the end of the baking time, open the oven door and place one large marshmallow or a few mini-marshmallows on top of the cupcake. Let them soften in oven for the remaining baking time. Remove from oven and spread over the cupcake. Cool and enjoy.

Olive Oil

We know this fragrant fruit oil is a cooking staple and is also a component in many cosmetics, but it is also useful when you want to remove a sticker without leaving any residue. Just rub some olive oil over the sticker and let it sit for a minute or so, then scrape and the sticker will come right off!

Baking Soda

This versatile salt has many uses besides an ingredient in baking. A box in the fridge absorbs food odors. It is also helpful in the laundry to keep dirty clothes from getting musty while they are sitting in the hamper by sprinkling this natural deodorizer over them.

Banana Peel

Don’t throw out that banana peel once you’ve eaten the banana. Rub the fleshy side of the peel over your teeth and leave it there for 10 minutes before brushing. All the minerals that make bananas healthy also help reduce tooth enamel stains.

Coffee Filter

Here’s a professional photography secret – when using the flash on your camera to snap a shot, place an unused coffee filter over it to soften the brightness. Skin tones will look younger and more natural.

Dental Floss

A long piece of unflavored dental floss will easily cut through soft cheeses, breads, and layer cakes, with much cleaner slices than with a knife!

Lemon Juice

The key to a fluffy bowl of white rice is to add a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while it is cooking to prevent the grains from sticking together and make the color as white as can be.

Sticky Notes –

Keyboard Cleaner

Get rid of dust and keyboard goo on your computer by sliding the adhesive side of a sticky note between the rows of keys.

Toothpaste

Put a dab of toothpaste on a bug bite and it will reduce the itch with its cooling effect. Just remember to wipe it off before you go outside.

White vinegar

White vinegar is a well-known natural surface cleaner that can also be used to clean just about any tough clothing stains, from ink stains to mustard stains. Try it and see how well it works.

Kitty Litter

So you dropped your cell phone in water. Kitty litter is very absorbent and may be more effective in saving a waterlogged phone than anything else. Remove the battery, wrap the phone in a towel, and stick it in a container of litter for a couple days before trying to turn it on again.