5 (and More) Products You Can Replace with Water

Water, that universal solvent, is good for a lot more than putting in your SodaStream. By using it in some different ways, you can save yourself money and get rid of some of the chemicals in your home. Below are five (and more) products you can quit buying and replace with water.

1. Cuticle Remover

Cuticle remover is a fluid used to soften cuticles so you can push them down. Guess what does the same thing? Yep: water.

Instead of painting some chemical goop onto your nails, just use the manicure stick when you get out of the shower and your cuticles are already soft.

Supposedly cuticle remover also makes excess cuticles go away, but I have yet to see that happen. Stick with water.


2. Lip Exfoliators/Scrubs

Many skin care and cosmetics brands carry little pots of lip scrub. I don’t recall this being a thing a couple decades ago, but check it out now: LUSH has Mint Julips, Paula’s Choice offers Lip Perfecting Gentle Scrub with Micro-Beads, and the web has a heap of do it yourself recipes — mostly involving sugar, which will make you lick your lips, and then they’ll dry out and flake again. Forget all that.

Like the cuticle remover, you can scratch lip exfoliators off your shopping list and take a shower instead. Once your lips are moist, rub them with your fingertip. Whatever is ready to come off will come off, and you’ll have shiny fresh lips. All you needed was some water.


3. Soup Stock

No less a dining maven than Mark Bittman recommends using water instead of soup stock when making some soups.  He calls water his “secret ingredient.” Food blogger Michael Ruhlman is adamant about it:

I cannot say this strongly or loudly enough: DO NOT use canned stock/broth. Use WATER instead. I repeat. You DO NOT NEED to buy that crappy can of Swanson’s low sodium chicken broth! It will HURT your food. Use water instead….I repeat: your food will taste better and fresher if you use that wonderful and inexpensive fluid at the end of your tap rather than anything that you can buy in a can or a box.

Got that?

In addition to lowering your grocery bill, that means less sodium, which is always welcome.


4. Shampoo

I’m told that shampoo isn’t great for hair, especially the curly kind. It strikes me as odd, seeing as shampoo is made for hair, but apparently the sulfates and surfactants in most shampoos dry hair out. If you want to lower your drugstore bill and reduce the number of unpronounceable ingredients you’re rubbing into your and your kids’ heads (many of them are Not Good for you), scrub your scalp with a little baking soda and vinegar dissolved in warm water. Check the link first: it appears that the method and duration of massaging it in matters.


5+. Household Cleaning Products

Take some water and mix in just a little cheap white vinegar, maybe some baking soda, and you can clean your house.  You don’t need a different, expensive bottle of chemicals for each different surface or room — dump the lot. This article offers a list of formulas for mixing vinegar and a few other ingredients into water to make effective, inexpensive, eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

The only thing left to do is make sure your local water supply is clean. Enter your zip code and water company in the National Drinking Water Database to find out; then manicure, exfoliate, cook, shampoo, and clean to your heart’s content.

Photo credits: Thinkstock


Angela K.
Angela K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson3 years ago

Also microbeads in scrubs are a terrible environmental problem.

Rehana VN
Rehana VN3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Rehana VN
Rehana VN3 years ago

All tried & tested except for the "shampoo". Thanks f

Ana Marija R.
ANA MARIJA R3 years ago

Thank you for the tips.

Kim Janik
Kim Janik3 years ago

Great article.

Fred h
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Piper, for Sharing this!

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Daily wisdom for the future

Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly3 years ago

Great tips.

Dale O.

Interesting article and comments and a variety of ideas that many of us already use. I have always used water when making my own soup stocks from scratch and let the stock simmer with the fresh ingredients, certainly better than anything from a can.

I am not fond of chemicals and try my best to avoid them in all walks of life.