10 Best Surprising Reuses of 2012


Some of the most popular articles on  Care2 Healthy Living involve creative ways to reuse everyday household items. And we like it that way — these kinds of posts embody everything we’re about: reducing waste and consumption, saving money, solving problems and being creative. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of tips and tricks in our archives. But there are a select few reuses  that really stand out from the pack. Click through for  our handpicked favorites from the past year.

Whether you read it on Care2 or figured it out yourself, what’s your favorite surprising use for everyday items? Let us know in the comments section!

Earlier: 6 Holiday Traditions Around the World


1. Keep your clothes from slipping off their hangers with a plastic bag. Sick of your favorite boatneck tee ending up on the floor of your closet? Prevent that by wrapping plastic bags around the hanger. Look for detailed instructions here.

From DIY coasters to unique bows, click here for 15 more ways to reuse plastic bags.


2. Clean up red wine with hydrogen peroxide. Have a little too much fun last night? Cover the evidence by combining equal parts hydrogen peroxide and liquid detergent and pouring over the stain. Blot with a towel, wash with warm water, and let it dry.

Clean your wooden cutting board and combat a cold with the amazingly versatile hydrogen peroxide. Click here for more info on these and other tips.


3. Freeze foods in ice cube trays. Things You Can Freeze Easily for Later Use include:

  • Pesto
  • Lemon & Lime Juice
  • Stocks & Soups
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Cookie Dough
  • Egg Whites
  • Tomato Paste
  • Simple Syrup
  • Fresh Berries
  • Homemade Baby Food

You can transfer any of the following to a freezer bag after they’re fully frozen.  When it’s time to use, keep in mind that 8 cubes is roughly equal to one cup, 4 to 1/2 cup, and so on.

From organizing crafting materials to keeping chopped foods handy while you’re cooking, click here for more creative ways to use ice cube trays.


4. Fade dyed hair with cola. A little trigger happy with that dye job? Washing your hair with diet cola will help fade it.

From cleaning burn marks on pots and pans to getting rid of a skunk smell, click here for more great ways to use cola.


5. Prevent ant infestations with chalk. For some reason, ants don’t like to cross chalk lines. Draw some on around your doorways, windowsills and wherever else the ants are coming in from to stop them in their tracks.

From keeping your toolbox rust-free to keeping your silver nice and shiny, click here for more clever ways to use chalk.


6. Clean up glitter with a lint roller: Of all the things that are a pain to clean up, glitter is probably in the top 10. The stuff can linger for weeks, and cleaning is generally done in vain. That is, until, you use your lint roller  – it’s probably the best method out there for cleaning up post-crafting..

Lint rollers have all sorts of clever uses — like safely picking up broken glass and cleaning out the inside of your handbag. Read more tips here.


7. Keep sliced apples fresh with rubber bands. Apple slices turn brown far too fast. But, with a rubber band, you can prevent that! Arrange the apple slices into the original shape of the fruit, and secure it with a rubber band.

From keeping batteries sorted and cutting boards in place to prevent candle wax from dripping and using less hand soap, rubber bands are an amazing multi-purpose tool. Read these and other tips for using rubber bands here.


8. Prevent shower curtain mildew with salt. Shower curtains can get pretty gross pretty fast. Combat that from the start by soaking the curtain in the bathtub for a few hours. Let soak in about 4 inches of water with a cup of salt in it. It’ll coat the curtain and stop the unsightly mildew. Do this every three months or so.

Prevent your laundry from bleeding colors and keep your cut flowers fresh longer with the magic of salt. Click here for even more tips and tricks!


9. Re-string sweatpants with wire hangers. Isn’t it the worst when your drawstring gets undone? Well, worry no more with this great trick — on a flattened hanger, make a knot with the string, and carefully guide it through.

If you’re anything like Joan Crawford, you really, really, don’t like wire hangers, at least for their intended purpose. But there are plenty of great ways to use them around the house. Click here for more tips.


10. Extend the life of cheese and cut onions with butter. Coat the cut edge of a hard cheese with butter. It will prevent the molding process that comes all too quickly otherwise. For onions, spread some butter on the cut part and wrap in aluminium foil.

Want to shovel the snow off your driveway, swallow pills with more ease or prevent water from boiling over? Butter is your friend! Click here for these and more surprising ways to use butter.

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Judy Apelis
Judy Apelisabout a year ago

Ok, thank you!

Peter Aldus
Past Member about a year ago


Robert Goldring
Robert Goldringabout a year ago

Hydrogen peroxide, that'll never work!

Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

Thanks for Sharing.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.2 years ago


Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago

Thanks for the ideas.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Make effective use of what we've got

Paul M.
Paul M.2 years ago

Thanks for the tips.
Good point Merelen K. And thanks for the extra tips other posts.

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo2 years ago

Thanks for the great tips!