Oct 22

10 miracle products you probably already have in your home

Reading Time: 7 mins

These are the secrets we all want to know – how to use cheap, everyday items to do the jobs that expensive cleaners and gadgets do, and to the same standard. We show you how 10 completely normal, inexpensive household items are actually miracle products and will become your new best friends when you realise just how much you can do with them.


1. Tin Foil

Aluminium foil roll

  • If you’ve read our easy ways to cut your heating costs you’ll already be aware that putting tin foil behind your radiators will make them more efficient. Just tape a sheet of foil to a piece of carboard and slide it behind a radiator, shiny side facing out and you’ll prevent heat being absorbed by the wall – instead it will reflect it back into the room. It really works!
  • Tin foil also makes a great substitute for an icing bag. Simply create a tube by curling up a circular piece of foil. Fill it with soft icing and use the hole at the bottom to make a masterpiece! This can be a little fiddly – you need to make sure you don’t fill the tube too full or squeeze too hard, otherwise you’ll have icing everywhere. It does mean you can simply throw away the foil when you’re done rather than having to clean it. Then, you can make money selling your homemade cakes.
  • Don’t have a heavy-duty pot scrubber? Use foil instead. Just scrunch up a ball of foil and use that to scour pots and pans. Best of all you can just chuck it away when you’re done.


2. Aspirin

Aspirin tablets

  • Get rid of pesky perspiration stains on clothes with aspirin. Crush two tablets, mix them with 100 ml of warm water and soak the stained item in the solution for a couple of hours. There are loads of clever money-saving laundry gadgets from MoneyMagpie favourite Lakeland, some of which you’ll find in this article.
  • Make your flowers last longer by sticking a crushed aspirin in water before you put the flowers in a vase. When plants are cut they produce a substance which causes the plant to wilt. Aspirin inhibits the effects of this substance which means your flowers will last longer. Works every time.


3. Bicarbonate of soda

dish of bicarbonate of soda

  • Bicarb is nothing short of genius. You can use it for more than we possibly have space to tell you about. One of our favourite uses is getting rid of odours – on your hands, kitchen surfaces, the dishwasher and even dishcloths. Wash your hands with some bicarb instead of soap after chopping garlic and the smell should come off with the soda.
  • Deodorise smelly trainers by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda inside them and leaving overnight. In the morning discard the powder and your shoes should be easier to be around again!
  • Freshen up musty drawers and cupboards with a few tablespoons of bicarb. Simply put it in a mug or similar container in an unobtrusive corner of the cupboard and replace every month or so.
  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the bottom of your dishwasher to eliminate nasty smells, and freshen up a sour smelling dishcloth by soaking it overnight in water and two tablespoons of bicarb. Rinse with cold water in the morning and it should smell fresh again.


4. Chalk

White Chalk

  • Stop damp ruining your clothes by hanging a bunch of chalk up in your wardrobe. The chalk will absorb the moisture and stop mildew building up on your most precious dresses!
  • Use chalk to repel ants. Drawing a line around wherever they are entering your home, or scattering chalk dust where you see them will keep them at bay – they’re repelled by the calcium carbonate in chalk.
  • Water and stain marks on walls and ceilings are easily hidden by rubbing chalk over them – it should lighten the stain or make it disappear altogether – a quick fix if you’re not planning on redecorating any time soon!     


5. Cornflour


  • If your child’s favourite cuddly toy has seen better days, you can clean it easily with cornflour. Rub some cornflour on it, wait for five minutes then brush it off. Or, if the toy is small enough, put it in a bag with some cornflour, seal tightly and shake well. Then simply brush off the residue.
  • Cornflour is also brilliant for untangling knots. Simply sprinkle a knot in string or a shoelace with some cornflour and it’ll be easier to work apart.
  • Get rid of pesky grease stains in your kitchen. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, grease splashes inevitably end up on your walls, especially around the cooker. You can get rid of them easily by sprinkling cornflour onto a dish cloth and rub the mark gently until it disappears.


6. Fabric Softener

Laundry Fabirc Softener

  • If your hair’s in need of some intensive conditioning but you can’t afford a treatment at the salon, use fabric softener. Simply dilute some in warm water and soak your tresses! Be sure not to let the solution touch your scalp or hair roots, but other than that just treat it like  normal conditioner.
  • Stripping wallpaper is never an enjoyable task. Take some of the hassle out of it by adding a capful of fabric softener to the water you use to soak the paper. Let the solution soak in for about 20 minutes then get stripping!
  • Dampen a duster with a tiny bit of fabric softener before dusting. It acts as anti-static and stops dust flying straight back onto surfaces you’ve just cleaned.   


7. Hair conditioner

Hair conditioner

  • Can’t be bothered with expensive shaving gel? Use hair conditioner instead. It acts in the same way and will keep the skin on your face – or legs – moisturised and smooth at the same time.
  • Conditioner can also be used as alternative to make-up remover. A little dollop on a cotton pad will do just as good a job as the expensive stuff.
  • If you don’t want to spend a fortune on dry cleaning there’s another way to get your silk garments shining again. Simply use a tablespoon of conditioner in warm water for white silk, cold for colours and soak the garment for five minutes or so. Then rinse it out and let it drip dry.


8. Tomato Ketchup

Tomato ketchup in bowl

  • We just had to include this tip, because we couldn’t quite believe it until we’d tried it for ourselves. Ketchup works as a tarnish remover and not only is it much cheaper than conventional ones, it’s totally safe to use without gloves. It works with both copper and silver – simply cover the surface, or soak the item in a bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. The acid will react with the tarnish and remove it. Then you just need to rinse the item and dry it – simple.


9. Lemons

Lemon and sponges

  • Lemons work as a really effective natural bleach which will remove stains from almost any surface. To clean a chopping board or work surfaces in your kitchen, simply rub a cut lemon over them. Use lemon juice to remove tea and coffee stains from mugs – just leave it to soak for a couple of hours.
  • You can even use lemon juice to get rid of stains on clothing; just apply it to the stain and gently scrub, then be sure to wash it off well with cold water.
  • Lemons also make great beauty products. Use them to whiten your nails by soaking your fingertips in a mixture of water and lemon juice for five minutes, and then rubbing the peel against the surface of your nails. And, if you cut a lemon in half and rub each half into each one of your elbows, that unsightly, dry and scaly skin will be banished.



10. Hairspray

Woman using hairspray

  • Protect surfaces with a squirt of hairspray. Keep kids’ pictures from smudging or protect the pages of your cookbook, for instance, by covering them in a layer of hairspray.
  • Are you always laddering your tights? Spraying hairspray onto the toes of new tights will help reduce runs. And, if the worst happens and a hole appears, a few layers of hairspray will help prevent it from becoming a ladder.
  • You can also use hairspray to remove marks from clothes. Give the mark a good spray and leave it for a minute. Then wipe it off and the stain should come of with it.
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Hi, thanks for the tips. I run in my trainers without socks and they are starting to get a bit tasty so will try bicarbinate of soda.



Travis Knight
Travis Knight

Thank you MoneyMagpie for another great money-saving tip. Appreciate the hard work you are doing to all the visitors to your site.


Turmeric stain is very difficult to get off clothes, pots and pans. Put them out in the sun and the stain will disappear.

Paul Mannion
Paul Mannion

Use bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the oxalic acid in rhubarb. A quarter of a teaspoon in about 2 pints of stewed rhubarb reduces the acidity and you can use a lot less sugar. Don’t worry about the frothing it goes away after the chemical reaction takes place.

Ray Smith
Ray Smith

Vinegar can be used as a general household cleaner/disinfectant.
Wonderful on all metals, stove, and bathroom surfaces.
It’s very strong, so you can dilute it 50/50. Neat on metals.
I spray it on my ornaments, all metal and painted surfaces, and under the arms of my colour fast clothes before washing.
Cleans upholstery too.

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