Alternative uses for everyday items that will save you money

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From pantry staples to old beauty essentials, we’ve got the advice to help you save money, save time, and make the most of what you’ve got.

Remove water stains with mayonnaise
If someone has ignored a strategically placed coaster and plonked an icy glass of something straight onto your best wooden table, don’t fear.

Smear a scoop of mayonnaise straight onto the white ring on the wood surface, leave it for 10 minutes and wipe away.

Don’t leave it for too long, and it’s probably best to do a patch test first to ensure it doesn’t damage the wood.

Use a toothbrush to revive Velcro
Velcro is known to lose its sticking power over time. This is mainly due to becoming clogged up with dirt and other debris, or getting flattened from use.

All is not lost, however. A quick but firm once over with an old toothbrush is all you need to revive it.

Use kitchen foil to clean pots and pans
A simple cleaning hack for impossible-to-scrub pans.

Read more: Save time and money with these cleaning tricks

Add water to the dish, then crinkle up a sheet of foil into a ball and use that to scrub off any tough residue. It has an abrasive surface that will peel away any baked-on grime in seconds

Do not try this with non-stick pans.

Use an ice cube tray to freeze leftover herbs
Finely chop your herbs, add a few tablespoons of neutral-tasting vegetable or olive oil and pour the mix into an ice cube tray. Using oil instead of water will help preserve the flavour of the herbs as they freeze, and frozen oil melts faster than plain water.

Once the cubes are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag for long-term storage.

Next time you need some parsley, coriander or thyme for a quick weeknight meal, you’ll have it to hand.

Use straws to organise jewellery
Pulling out your favourite necklace minutes before you need to leave the house and finding it completely tangled is frustrating, to say the least.

Thread necklaces or bracelets through straws and fasten for easy storage. They will be tangle-free the next time you want to wear them.

Read more: How to clean jewellery at home

Open a stuck jar lid with an elastic band
If the lid on your new jar of pickles just won’t budge, place a wide elastic band around the lid’s edge to give you a better grip.

If this doesn’t help, try soaking the lid in hot water.

Unstick a zip with a crayon or pencil
If a zip is refusing to track correctly, find a crayon that closely matches the colour of the item and rub it up and down both sides of the zip.

Depending on the colour and the material the item is made from, you might want to test this first to see if any mistakes will be likely to show up.

It’s probably not a big deal on a pair of old black boots, but on a white garment, the fix could be worse than the original problem.

Use a candle to waterproof the address on a parcel
If you’re concerned about a parcel reaching the correct destination, you should try waterproofing your labels after writing them. Just rub a candle over the writing, and the paraffin wax will prevent it smudging in the rain.

This method can also be used for recipe cards, plant labels and all manner of objects, making them dirt and weatherproof.

Use kitchen roll and an iron to get wax out of carpet
Wait until the wax has cooled and hardened, then place a piece of kitchen roll over the spill. Iron over the paper on a low-medium heat until it lifts and attaches onto the paper.

Clean a barbecue with an onion
Nothing takes the joy out of juicy meats cooking away over a bed of hot charcoals like knowing you have to scrub the barbecue later. It’s often a messy and labour-intensive process, but it doesn’t have to be.

Simply scrub a halved onion faced downwards on a heated grate to remove the built-up grime. It’s best to get the grill very hot first to burn off any remaining food. Next, rub it hard with an onion stuck on the end of a long grilling fork. For extra gunk-fighting power, spray the grates with lemon juice or white vinegar first; the extra acidity helps with the cleaning process.

Read more: Home help: White vinegar

Remove gum with peanut butter
Unless you are allergic, you probably have a jar of peanut butter in the pantry. The natural oils in peanut butter work to dissolve chewing gum on fabric and carpet.

If possible, remove as much gum as you can with a gum scraper tool or plastic putty knife. Apply a liberal amount (about the size of the gum) of peanut butter to the chewing gum. Work the peanut butter into the gum with your fingers. Use the gum scraper tool or plastic putty knife to scrape the gum from the carpet fibres. Use a spot cleaner to remove any peanut butter or gum residue.

Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any more to add to the list?

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