25 Creative Hacks To Re-Purpose Common Household Items

Posted by , Updated on December 19, 2023

Whether it’s to be thrifty or use what’s on hand, plenty of creative hack techniques exist that allows us to use our household items in ways other than they were intended. From an egg-based anti-aging cream to better baking by using cheap vodka, this list features creative ways items which stock nearly all of our kitchen shelves can be re-purposed. If you have some left over baking soda or some old banana peels lying around before tossing them out, you’ll find ways to use them to help out around the house. So dig out the back of the cupboard and apply some of these 25 Creative hacks To Re-Purpose Common Household Items.



Fighting sugar with cinnamon

ants in kitchenSource: Anniesremedy.com, Image: Wikipedia

Sugar ants are a common sight in most of our kitchens. Rather than buying ant traps or spraying harsh chemical pesticides, sprinkle powdered cinnamon wherever you find the critters. (A bonus is that your kitchen and house will smell like fresh cookies.)


Another use for household foil

aluminum ballSource: Frugal Village, Image: Wikimedia

If you want a cheap alternative to dryer sheets, wrap a tennis ball in aluminum foil and toss it in with your next drying cycle.


Cleaning the writings on the wall, WD-40 to the rescue

child with crayon next to wallSource: Woman's Day, Image: juhansonin via Flickr

One of parents’ worst nightmares is coming home only to find their crayon-inclined child has chosen a new canvas: the walls. To clean a wall of crayon markings, spray WD-40 on the spot and lightly rub it down. Wipe the wall down with a soapy towel afterwards to pull off the oily residue from the WD-40.


Uses for your old yoga mat

Tomare_Yoga_MatsSource: Frugal Village, Image: Wikimedia

Big-time yoga devotees will find their mats wearing out with time and Warrior-Two’s. Rather than tossing it in the bin, put your old yoga mat under heavy items to prevent damage to your wood or tile flooring. Since they absorb pretty well, you can also use them as a mat to wipe wet or dirty feet when entering the house.


Shave your legs with a pantry staple

woman shaving legsSource: Woman's Day, Image: Wikipedia

As the world becomes a bit more metrosexual and shaving every out-of-place hair has become the name of the game, shaving creams are becoming more varied and more expensive. For a cheap alternative (which likely has more nutrients for your skin than shaving creams), use olive oil instead of shaving cream.


A sweet remedy

Texas_State_Fair_honeySource: U.S. News & World Report, Image: Wikipedia

Endorsed by Aristotle and used as far back as Ancient Egyptian times, honey is a powerful ally when it comes to healing wounds. Just rub a bit on your next cut for a powerful and sweet disinfectant. Where the honey comes from greatly affects its healing power, but overall this bee-product does an excellent job at killing bacteria due to its high acid content and ability to dehydrate bacteria.


Homemade kindling after a cuppa

teabagSource: Frugal Village, Image: Wikimedia

Tea bags are multi-functional items which can be used as anything from a deodorizer to a fire-starter. To use them as kindling, stuff dry (used or unused) teabags into the cardboard tube from a finished roll of toilet paper. The lint from your dryer also makes great kindling and can be stuffed in before lighting the tube ablaze.


Curbing the smell of cigarettes

ashtraySource: Frugal Village, Image: Pixabay

If you don’t like the smell of cigarettes but will be having some smokers to your place for a shindig, this creative use of a household item is for you. Simply fill an ashtray or an old can with kitty litter. The particles will pick up any smell of an extinguished cigarette, keeping it from lingering in your house.


A remedy for a soaked phone

Litter_boxSource: Frugal Village, Image: Wikimedia

The most common folk remedy for a phone which has taken an unexpected liquid dip is a blow-dryer and uncooked rice. For a more effective solution, plunge your phone in some far-more-absorbent kitty litter instead.


Not everyone likes beer

beer for slugsSource: Wisebread, Image: git via Flickr

To stop a slug infestation, fill a plate or small container with beer and place it on the ground near the slugs – check back the next day for the intoxicated critters.


A banana makes everything feel and look better

silverwareSource: Lifehacker, Image: Pixabay

Before you throw away that banana peel, pull any tarnished silver cutlery out of the cabinet. Chemicals present on the inside of banana peels make it a great silver polish. Blend the peels with a little water to create a paste which will bring back the shine on your cutlery with just a bit of rubbing.


Nature's original face mask

corn dog with mustardSource: Instructables, Image: via Flickr

Nature’s original face mask, plain mustard (don’t go for a harsher variety like Dijon or English mustard!) can smooth out your skin and give you an oh-so-beautiful glow. Rub a thin layer of plain mustard over your face (try a little on your arm first to make sure you’re not allergic) and wash it off after a few minutes.


Goggle defoggers

scuba diverSource: Frugal Village Image: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten via Flickr

Swimmers and scuba divers often find their goggles fogging up part-way through their session. Avoid the fog by mixing together one tablespoon of baby shampoo and two tablespoons of water. Rub it on the lenses then only lightly rinse to keep the goggles fog-free.


A post-college party baking session

Flaky_Vegan_Pie_CrustSource: Instructables, Image: Wikimedia

Have a cheap bottle of vodka left-over from an old party? Put this potato-product to use in your home in a creative way! When making a pie crust, switch out the water with cold vodka. The vodka makes dough easier to manage and will evaporate during baking, resulting in a light and flaky crust!


Cheap but effective pet shampoo

Australian_Cattle_Dog_puppy_mascotSource: Frugal Village, Image: Wikipedia

Pet shampoos (anything pet-related, really) can get pretty pricey. For a low-cost and effective solution made with household items, mix together four cups of hydrogen peroxide, half a cup of baking soda, and two teaspoons of dishwashing soap. Lather Fido up then leave this homemade shampoo in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing – you’ll find your pet has cleaner fur than ever.


When life gives you lemons, try other things than just lemonade

Lemons,_limes_and_pomelos_at_the_marketSource: Couponsherpa.com, Image: Wikimedia

Humans naturally love the smell of citrus. The freshness of it (and more importantly the citric acid it holds) should occupy a welcome spot in our cleaning arsenals. Buzz up some lemon peels in your sink’s garbage disposal to get rid of funky smells or give an old cutting board a lemon rub down to sanitize deep into the cracks.


Knocking out foot odor

foot soakSource: Frugal Village Image: Mike Czyzewski via Flickr

For persistent foot odor, turn to a creative household item remedy in the form of tea. Boil four cups of water with three plain black tea bags and soak your feet in the liquid (once it cools off a bit) for 30 minutes to deodorize your feet.


Lifting off pesky stickers

Bumper-sticker-carSource: Instructables, Image: Wikipedia

Stickers are meant to, well, stick to whatever they’re placed on. Some do such a good job that when we try to take them off, they flake and come off in pieces, leaving behind residue all over the surface. Avoid this from happening by blasting the sticker with a hair dryer. The heat will loosen the adhesive and the sticker will lift off easily.


Cleaning the throne

toilet bowlSource: Curbly, Image: epsos via Flickr

For a quick toilet cleaning, try the same product used for keeping dentures clean. (Teeth and toilets feel a bit gross being in the same sentence…) Drop some Alka-Seltzer tablets in the bowl and let them fizz away to clean your porcelain throne.


Clean your teeth and your faucet

toothbrushSource: Good Housekeeping, Image: Pixabay

If you see the faucet looking less-than-clean while brushing your teeth, grab some of the toothpaste and rub down the tap – the paste will clear up the grime and leave you with both a shiny faucet and sparkling teeth by the time you’re done.


Other uses for nail polish

various nailpolishesSource: Instructables, Image: Skaggs via Flickr

Do you need to send a letter via snail mail but hate the thought of licking those envelopes? Try clear nail polish. Seal the edges with a dab of clear nail polish and voila, licking grossness avoided. (Bonus: Clear nail polish can also be used to dip a thread into before sticking it through a needle.)


Use diapers to nurture your plants

home gardenSource: Instructables, Image: Hard Working Hippy via Flickr

To increase the yield of your home garden or to keep plants better hydrated when you go away for the weekend, grab a diaper and cut open the middle section to reveal sodium polyacrylate: the fluffy substance in diapers which does most of the absorption. Include the sodium polyacrylate when planting or dig it into the soil to retain more water for your plants. (Make sure to still water the plant regularly. If the soil gets too dry, the material will pull water from the plant!)


Homemade drain declogger

Plumbers_snakeSource: Real Simple, Image: Wikipedia

Sink and shower drain decloggers are expensive and (hopefully) rarely used – so why not try your own homemade drain declogger first? Clear out what you can from the drain then pour in up to a cup of baking soda. Add the same amount of plain white vinegar and wait five minutes. Pour a few quarts of boiling water down the drain to flush it out.


An eggsellent anti-aging rub

eggs with facesSource: Instructables, Image: Frank Monnerjahn via Flickr

For an anti-aging cream that comes from an animal’s backside, pull an egg out of the carton and beat its white with a small bit of water. Rinse your face in the solution, washing it off afterwards, to find your skin looking less puffy and your pores less enlarged.


Paula Dean was right - butter is good

paula dean riding butterSource: Instructables, Image: Susie Cagle via Flickr

The composition of butter makes it a great combatant against anything sticky. Next time you get gum in your hair (hopefully it doesn’t happen often) or you’re doing arts and crafts and have glue residue on your hands, rub your hair or hands with softened butter before washing the sticky substance out.