10 Surprising Uses for Kitchen Items Around the Rest of the House

updated Feb 28, 2020
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

You know the feeling you get when you have a problem in your home — a stain, a crack, an annoyance or a mundane task of some kind — and realize, with relief and a bit of relish, that you have the means on hand to fix it immediately? That’s the feeling I get when I look at this list of kitchen items that pull double-duty around the house: I don’t have to buy anything new or special to fix this thing I’m dealing with, because I can just use this other thing that I always keep in my kitchen. Yes.

Here are the top 10 kitchen things we use to solve problems all over the house.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

1. A bottle of dish soap

Use it to remove grease stains from clothes.

The first time I heard of pre-treating grease-splattered clothes with dish soap, I was surprised I hadn’t thought of it myself. After all, it’s not that farfetched to think a product designed to cut through greasy dishes might help with oil stains. And it does! I now keep a bottle of Dawn dish soap in my laundry room specifically for this purpose!

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

2. A wine key

Use it to open mail packages.

Some people uses scissors, some use a letter opener, some an actual box cutter. But when it comes to opening cardboard mail packages, I always just pull out my wine key. The little knife that folds out from the handle is so handy for slicing through plastic tape. It’s my go-to now.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

3. Spoon butter or cutting board cream

Use it to polish and replenish wood furniture.

If you’ve gone to the trouble of buying or making your own board cream to oil and maintain your wooden cutting boards and spoons, don’t stop there! You can use the cream on wood furniture, too. I’ve used board cream on my wooden coffee table when it looked dull and in need of a good conditioning. It also helped minimize a few minor scratches on the surface.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

4. Coffee grounds and walnuts

Use them to cover scratches on wood furniture.

Speaking of scratches on wood furniture, did you know that coffee grounds and walnuts are wood scratch miracle workers? Rub a shelled walnut or wet coffee grounds into the scratch. Either will slightly stain the area and make the scratch appear far less noticeable!

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

5. Mayonnaise

Use it to remove white water rings.

I first read about this tip in this 2009 New York Times article, and I’m amazed it works. To get rid of white water rings on wooden tables, gently rub a bit of mayonnaise into the ring, let it sit overnight, and then wipe it away the next day. Ring gone!

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

6. A scrubby sponge

Use the scrubby side to de-fuzz sweaters.

I actually bought a sweater stone once to de-pill my delicate sweaters, but I wouldn’t have needed to do that if I’d thought of this first. The textured side of a clean, dry scrubby sponge works just as well!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

7. Rice

Use it to dry out a wet iPhone.

Oh man. The horror you experience when you drop your iPhone into the sink or any puddle of water. You can save it, though, with the help of a giant bag of rice. Stick your phone in there and wait two days. By then the rice will have drawn out all the moisture, and your phone should be working again.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

8. Wine corks

Use them as table stabilizers or furniture leg protector pads.

A wobbly table or piece of furniture is so annoying, isn’t it? I have a few in my apartment, due to uneven floors and wonky furniture legs. For a while I slid whatever was at hand underneath to make things even — usually a coaster or a small notebook or some other unsightly thing — until I realized I could cut a wine cork into small discs and use that as a stabilizer instead.

It’s free (well, besides the cost of the bottle, which I’d already purchased for my own enjoyment) and unobtrusive. When you apply a little adhesive, you can also use them as furniture leg protector pads.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

9. Baking soda

Use it to clean and deodorize pretty much anything.

Ah, baking soda. Besides all the ways you can clean with it in the kitchen, it’s also a great addition to the laundry and a perfect, mild abrasive and deodorizer for almost any cleaning project around the house. Baking soda, we love you!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

10. Vinegar

Use it to wash windows.

Like baking soda, vinegar is one of our go-to cleaning solutions for the kitchen, but it has some great applications around the home, too. Specifically, it makes a great window cleaner! Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and then spray and squeegee the window for a job well done. (I’ve also washed my windows with a vinegar solution and newspaper, and that works really well!)

What kitchen items and tools do you repurpose around your home?

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 10 Surprising Uses for Kitchen Items Around the Rest of the House

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)