11 Surprising Uses For Things You Have In Your Pantry Right Now

11 Surprising Uses For Things You Have In Your Pantry Right Now

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Brittney Morgan
Mar 19, 2017
(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

You already know that vinegar and baking soda have numerous household uses, but what about the rest of your pantry? Your cabinets are probably stocked with products that can help you get your home clean and sparkling, and you may not even know it.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

To get your home in tip-top condition, just turn to your kitchen cabinets and you'll find many of the ingredients you need for your next major cleaning endeavor. Here are 11 that will probably come in handy...

Clean Copper with Ketchup

If you've got brass or copper details or items in your home (even jewelry) you can buff away tarnish and get them shiny and good as new with the help of some ketchup. For smaller items, you can cover them in ketchup in a dish, and for larger items, use a toothbrush to apply, then rinse.

Take On Hard-to-Clean Glassware with Rice

If you've ever tried to clean out a narrow vase or glass, you know how much of a challenge it can be. But a little uncooked rice can actually go a long way, especially when combined with water, vinegar and dish soap—swirl it around in the glassware you need to clean, and according to Real Simple, it'll get the hard to reach spots for you.

Take Out Grease Spots with Corn Starch

Next time you find yourself dealing with a grease stain—even if it's an older stain that you think there's no hope for—try covering it in a coat of corn starch and letting it sit for at least an hour before you wipe it off with a damp sponge. According to Esquire, it can take out even the tough stains.

Get Out Grass Stains with Sugar

You bake with it, you put it in your coffee, and you... can use it to do your laundry? It may seem surprising, but sugar can help cut grass stains. According to a video from HouseholdHacker (via LifeHacker) sugar contains enzymes that can break down the chlorophyll in grass stains. Make a paste out of sugar and water and let it sit on the stain for 30 minutes before washing.

Remove Rust Spots with Tea

If rust is taking over, there's an easy way to take it on: just brew some black tea. Soaking rusty items (like gardening tools in this example from WikiHow) in black tea for a few hours will loosen up any rust, so you can wipe them clean much easier—just make sure everything is totally dry before you put it away.

Combat Bad Smells with Coffee

Even if you don't drink coffee every day, you probably have some stored away in your pantry. Good news: If your home has some weird odors going on, you can use that coffee to your advantage. Heat a cup of freshly ground coffee beans and then set them in rooms that smell less than their best—the coffee will soak up all the odors.

(Image credit: aerogondo2/Shutterstock)

Polish Wood Furniture with Olive Oil

Sure, you can buy furniture polish at the store, but if you want something a little more homemade, you can DIY it with olive oil (and vinegar or lemon juice, depending on whether you want a deep clean or a regular clean) according to WikiHow. Use a polishing cloth to get the job done, and let it air dry when you're finished.

Clean Cast Iron Pans with Salt

If you've ever wondered how to clean a cast iron pan without ruining the seasoning, you're in luck—all you need is some coarse salt, which is probably in one of your cabinets right now, and a paper towel. Food52 shows you exactly how it's done in this video, but it's a quick and simple scrub (and rinse, if you feel the need to).

Unstick Gum with Peanut Butter

Few things are more annoying than stepping in gum in your favorite shoes, but the peanut butter you always keep stocked in your kitchen can help. According to Do It Yourself, you should coat the gum in peanut butter and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then scrape it off (with not against the grooves of your shoe) with a wire brush, and rinse.

Polish and Clean Leather with Milk

Okay, so technically this isn't a pantry item, but more than likely you have it on hand in your kitchen, right? If you've found yourself dealing with a stain on your favorite leather jacket, bag or furniture, a little milk can go a long way according to eHow. Simply dip a cleaning rag in milk until it's damp and dab the affected area, then rub in circular motions. Wipe off the milk with water when you're finished.

Remove Kitchen Grease with Vegetable Oil

It may seem totally counterintuitive to clean grease with... well, grease, but vegetable oil can help loosen up sticky grease spots in the kitchen. Rub grease-splattered areas with vegetable oil and a paper towel, then follow up with either a vinegar or baking soda treatment to get it extra clean.

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