A friend of mine passed along this article for unusual uses for everyday food items and I thought it would be fun to share with you all.  The article itself is a roundup of the site’s “20 Unusual Uses” series, and you can click through to find all twenty uses of each of the nine pantry items, but I’m listing a few of my favorite ideas here:


  • Ant repellant—Both the grounds and brewed coffee could send the picnic pests packing (same goes for keeping cats out of your garden, who knew?).
  • Exfoliant—Coffee grounds can be used to scrub everything, not just your skin; countertops, floors, you name it.  But, there’s an added bonus for using it on you skin—the caffeine can reduce the appearance of cellulite.


  • Skin improver—The same antioxidants that make red wind good for your body are also good for your skin.
  • Glass cleaner—Wine that has gone bad (does wine last that long in your house? Not mine!) starts to turn to vinegar, which makes an excellent glass cleaner when diluted with water.

Baking Soda

  • Oven cleaner—Last week, if it was going to drip and spill in my oven, it did.  I could really use this!  Dump a liberal amount of baking soda on the blackened bottom bits, spray with water, and leave it for a few hours (the best part!).  Later, wash it all way with vinegar.
  • Sooth insect bites and stings—Treat yourself to a baking soda bath, relax, and enjoy!


  • Test egg freshness—Float an egg in a mixture of two teaspoons salt and one cup water.  If it floats, it’s fresh; if it sinks, toss it.
  • Fight frost on windows—Wash windows inside and out in salty water, then rub dry.  It will keep frost from accumulating on your house or car windows.


  • Get rid of a hangover—Honey, high in fructose (one of the “good for you” sugars), helps speed up the metabolism of alcohol.  Have some honey in your breakfast and get on with your day!
  • Get an energy boost—Along the same lines, honey boosts metabolism in general for your body.  Eaten alone or added to a number of foods, honey is an accessible pick-me-up.


  • Relieve acne—The antibacterial properties of garlic alleviate even those painful, deep-down zits.
  • Splinter removal—A thin slice of garlic held to the skin with a bandage will help splinters work their way to the surface within hours.

Lemon Juice

  • Deodorant—The citric acid in lemon juice can kill odor-causing bacteria, simply by rubbing a sliced lemon on the offending area.  Lemon juice acts as a deodorizer in household products, why not on your body?
  • Metal polish—Borrow the old waitress trick for soaking coffee pots.  Dip a sliced lemon in salt, then rub over stainless steel and copper to make them shine.

Olive Oil

  • Ear ache relief—Warm a bottle of olive oil, just as you would a baby bottle, in a bowl of warm water, and then drip the oil in your sore ear.  Apparently, an infusion of crushed garlic and olive oil will help clear up an ear infection, too.
  • Lice treatment—The smell of the lice shampoo is almost worse than the lice themselves.  Treat lice naturally with a liberal coating of olive oil, followed up later by apple cider vinegar.  Sounds easy enough!


  • Weed killer—Household vinegar works just fine, although horticulture versions do exist.
  • Unclogs drains—This works, I’ve done it before!  Pour approximately ¾ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup white vinegar.  Thirty minutes later, flush with boiling water.  The drain will be free of clogs and any nasty odors!
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