Hanging onto money with aplomb isn’t an easy feat for most young women. Between today’s cost of living, socializing, eating, dressing, downloading, and pretty much everything else we do daily, it sometimes feels like there’s just not enough to go around. That’s why, sometimes, a girl’s gotta be resourceful.
Around here, we’re huge proponents of employing genius tricks to avoid shelling out hard-earned cash for certain fashion and beauty-related things that could easily be done using stuff we already have in our linen closets, our kitchens, or our bathrooms.
For example, did you know that the inside of a banana peel can whiten your teeth as well as an at-home kit, or a dash of olive oil can often fix a jammed zipper? It’s these small hacks that can save a little cash, a bunch of time, and overall keep your stuff (and yourself!) looking fabulous.
Whether your plan is to start saving money now, or whether you’re just naturally frugal, check out this list of 30 genius fashion uses for basic household products! Once you’re done, be sure to share a few of your favorite tips and other uses in the comments below!
1. Dawn dish detergent
Due to its high level of surfactants, Dawn dish detergent is especially successful at removing grease and oil stains from clothing.
2. Rubber bands
Wrap rubber bands around the cap of nail polish bottles and other hard-to-open tops for better grip.
3. A pumice stone
The best way to de-fuzz and de-pill a sweater: Use a pumice stone, which is typically meant for your feet.
4. A salad spinner.
Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is left cleaner and softer when washed by hand. To dry it, use a salad spinner, which releases excess water in seconds without stretching the fibers.
5. Coca Cola
Who knew fizzy Coke is adept at cleaning tarnished real silver? Simply drop your pieces into a glass of the soda and soak it for about an hour.
6. Cold-pressed avocado oil
This oil—found in any grocery store—works wonders moisturizing dry skin patches.
Did you know that your hairdryer can stretch out too-tight shoes? Simply wear the shoes with thick socks and blast with a dryer for instant expansion.
8. A toothbrush
The best at-home method to keep diamonds sparkling: liquid dishwasher detergent and an old toothbrush.
9. Zip-Loc bags
To stop angora or mohair from shedding, fold the garment and place it into a zip-loc bag and freeze it for at least three hours. Another use for freezer-sized Zip-Locs: To stretch tight shoes, fill two bags with water and place into each shoe. Let it freeze overnight. As the water freezes, it’ll gently expand your shoes.
Use Windex and a damp cloth or paper towel to keep patent leather clean and shiny.
11. Wax paper
If you get wax on a piece of clothing, layer wax paper over the hardened wax and then run an iron over it to loosen it up. Once you pull off the paper, the wax should come right out with it.
Spritz your tights and stocking with sticky (read: cheap) hairspray to avoid holes and runs.
13. Stale bread
To clean dirt off suede, remove the crust from a piece of stale bread. Gently rub dirt and stains with the edge of the stale bread, and they’ll disappear. To de-scuff suede, use an eraser or nail file.
Did you know that pouring a dash of vodka into vase water seriously extends the life of your flowers? Also, spritzing vintage or thrifted clothes with a mixture of one part vodka, two parts water removes musty odors.
15. Double-stick tape
It works in a pinch to hem a garment if you can’t get to the tailor.
16. Distilled white vinegar
Add a 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle while doing laundry to maintain the wash of your favorite pair of dark jeans.
To stop squeaky shoes, remove the insole and apply Vaseline.
18. Dryer Sheets
Use these to effortlessly remove static from your hair or your clothes (and a damp used dryer sheet can remove soap build-up and mineral deposits in your shower or tub, too!)
19. Ice trays
Store earrings and rings, or extra buttons/beads that come with new clothes.
20. An old shoe bag
Hang it on the back of your bathroom door and fill it with loose products and makeup, or hang in behind your bedroom door and fill with jewelry and accessories.
21. Baby powder
If you get an oil stain on your favorite leather bag, coat the mark with baby powder and let it stand overnight. By morning, the stain should be gone. If a bit still remains, repeat the process.
Use your fridge to store eye cream, toners, and astringent. The cooling effect de-puffs eyes and skin.
23. Olive oil
A fashion use for olive oil (apart from using it as a moisturizer for skin and hair, which works wonders): Use it on a stuck zipper by dabbing a drop on the zipper’s teeth with a Q-tip or tapered small small makeup brush. Brilliant!
Did you know toothpaste can also be used to whiten yellowing fingernails? It works!
25. Old magazines
Not sure what to do with that old stack of mags? Roll them up and stick them in your boots and booties to help retain their shape.
26. Baby oil
Add baby oil to broken bronzer for a tinted body oil, or to a broken blush for a dewy cheek stain or lip gloss.
27. Coffee filters
Cork break into your bottle of wine? Wrap a coffee filter around the opening and secure it with a rubber bands. This strains out all those pesky particles, salvaging the vino. (Okay fine, this tip isn’t exactly fashion related but, hey, it’s important!)
28. Tea bags
If shaving left you with some razor burn, a tea bag will soothe inflamed skin and reduce the pain.
29. Tin foil
Did you know you can remove tarnish from silver aluminum foil, water, baking soda and salt? It’s true! Heat up some water and put in a bowl or pan, then add a sheet of aluminum foil to the bottom, and sprinkle in the baking soda and salt. From there, add your silver (making sure it comes into contact with the foil), and watch the tarnish fully disappear. This happens due to a chemical reaction.
30. Banana peels
It might sound odd, but used banana peels can whiten your teeth! Rub the inside of a peel along your top and bottom teeth for about a minute each, and let sit for around 10 minutes. From there, grab a dry toothbrush and start brushing. Doing this a few times a week can significantly lighten teeth as well as any whitening kit.