40 Dollar Store Solutions For Life’s Little Dilemmas
Learn how to save a fortune, the old-fashioned nickel-and-dime way.
Hold a nail
Stop hitting your fingers every time you hammer a nail in place. Use an ordinary spring-activated clothespin to hold the nail while you hammer.
Replace the oil in baking
Oil makes baked goods moist and tender. It’s also incredibly calorie-dense, and if you’re watching your waistline, eliminating oil from your baking is a natural place to start. But that doesn’t mean you have to develop a taste for baked treats that are dry and tough: Replace up to two-thirds of the oil called for in a cake or muffin recipe with applesauce, and you’ll add moisture and flavour while ditching the fat.
Don’t miss our ultimate guide to healthy grocery shopping.
Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. Add a fresh pinch to the cooking water, too, and you can significantly reduce the after-effects of bean consumption. (Find out more sneaky reasons you’re bloated all the time.)
Neutralize canker sores
Place an antacid tablet directly on the canker sore, giving it time to dissolve, or simply chew one. The medicine will stop the acids and enzymes in your mouth from attacking the tissue in the sore, and more importantly, it will stop the pain. (Be sure to check the product’s label for correct dosage instructions.)
Here are more canker sore home remedies worth trying.
Rip it off the right way
Pulling an adhesive bandage off your child’s skin can be tough on both of you. Make it easier by rubbing the bandage with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil. Rub until you can easily pull the bandage off. This trick works well for adults with sensitive skin, too.
Here are the first aid kit essentials you should always have on hand.
Pull nails out gently
If you’re planning to pull a nail out of wood but worry that the hammerhead will hurt the grain, protect the wood before using the hammer. How? Slip a plastic spatula under the head of the hammer before you start the job.
Clean your carpet overnight
Whether your carpet smells dank and musty because of a pet, a smoker, or a season of rain, take the odour out with baby powder. Using a flour sifter, spread the powder generously over the carpet. Let it sit overnight—a few hours will suffice, but overnight is better—and vacuum up the powder and the smells in the morning.
Discover more homemade carpet cleaners.
Get rid of fishy odours
Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. Avoid that by scrubbing your wet hands with baking soda, just as if it were soap, then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet—and feel softer, too.
Find out more easy household hacks to get rid of odours.
Make a paste of Epsom salt and water and apply it to the area harbouring a splinter. The paste will help pull the splinter to the surface of the skin in about 10 minutes. (It can even help pull insect stingers out of your skin, too.)
Check out more old-time home remedies that really work.
Numb your eyebrows
Make plucking your eyebrows much less painful by putting an ice pack on them until they’re uncomfortably cold. At that point your skin will be numb enough to begin plucking. You won’t even feel the tug!
Find out more clever uses for ice cubes.
Stop hanging out with hangnails
Get rid of annoying hangnails by rubbing hand or body lotion into your cuticles daily. The lotion will keep those troublesome areas soft and help prevent future hangnails.
Here’s how to avoid dry skin in winter.
Remove crayon from walls
If you find crayon markings on your wall, don’t get mad—get shaving cream. Spray the shaving cream directly onto the offending artwork, and scrub it off with a toothbrush or scrub brush.
Discover 25 cleaning hacks for stubborn messes.
Make a close-fitting hot pad
Soothe aching muscles with a custom-made hot pad. Fill a long sock, such as a tube or athletic sock, with dried beans, and tie the top tightly closed with ribbon or string. Heat in a microwave on high for 30 seconds. Place it right on your painful spot. You can drape it around a stiff neck or wrap it around a sore wrist, and it will mold to you, providing faster relief.
Keep cookies fresh
Homemade chocolate chip cookies can go from tasting deliciously soft and cakey to feeling hard and crunchy in a matter of days. To keep your freshly baked cookies tasting freshly baked, put a couple of slices of bread into the tin or jar where you store the cookies, laying the bread right on top of the cookies. The bread will keep that just-out-of-the-oven flavour and texture intact for up to a week.
Check out more of our all-time best kitchen hacks.
Wax your windows
Do your double-hung windows have a bumpy ride every time you open or close them? If your windows don’t slide up and down with ease, let a candle help them. Clean the insides of the window frame where the sashes travel, then rub the same area with a candle. The windows will have a much smoother journey.
Here are 50 household items you should be repurposing.
Make your garage floor sparkle
If you find a puddle of oil on your concrete garage floor, pour paint thinner over it, and then cover the area with kitty litter. (Make sure that the garage is well ventilated by keeping the garage door open, and don’t let anyone smoke or strike matches anywhere near the affected area—and keep the cats away.) The kitty litter will absorb the oil. Just sweep up the mess and you’re done.
This is the best polish for your car’s dashboard—and it’s in your pantry!
Kill off ants
If you find an entire colony of ants in or near your garden, you’ll want to get rid of it. How? Cover the anthill with an upside-down flowerpot. Pour boiling water through the hole in the bottom of the pot. You’ll get rid of all the ants at once.
Give yourself a hand massage
Place a golf ball in one palm, then place your other palm over it and interlock your fingers loosely. Now roll the golf ball around your hands, pressing your palms together at the same time. The tension in your hands will ease. Roll your bare feet over a golf ball for a few minutes for a soothing foot massage, too.
Find out more tricks to relieve sore feet.
Remove ice inside
An ice scraper can work as well on a freezer as it can on a car window. If you don’t feel like defrosting your freezer but want to get rid of some of the ice and frost, gently chip away at it with an ice scraper until you’re happy with the space you’ve created.
Keep down-filled items from clumping
Throw one or two tennis balls into the dryer the next time you dry down-filled items like pillows, comforters and jackets. They’ll ditch the flat look they get from the washing machine and puff up again with pride.
Here are 20 simple home hacks to save money.
You may love the mild apple-like flavour of chamomile tea but mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea and keep it in a spray bottle in the fridge. Before you relax in the back yard or run through the tall grass, spray exposed skin liberally. It’s fragrant, potent and totally safe for children.
These are the best mosquito repellent plants to add to your yard.
Fill a stripped screw-hole
If the screw keeps turning and turning in a piece of wood, push a bit of foil loosely in the hole and try again. It will grab tight.
Check out these quick home repair jobs you can do in 10 minutes or less.
Freshen a fridge
If something soured in your fridge or the freezer failed, clean it out, then fill a wide, shallow bowl with fresh coffee grounds and leave it in the fridge or freezer overnight. The strong scent of coffee will permeate the space, eradicating any hint of what went wrong.
Don’t miss these clever coffee can hacks.
Kill that moss
Moss and algae can make patios and walkways slippery and can create dangerous conditions for you and your guests. Make your home safe again by getting rid of the moss and algae on brick, stone and concrete with bleach. Mix 3/4 cup bleach with 1 gallon of water and scrub hard (keeping the solution away from grass and flowers). Rinse well.
Find out more brilliant household uses for bleach.
Banish burned-on food
Liquid fabric softener is your best friend when it comes time to scrub pots and pans soiled by your worst enemy, baked-on grime. Soak the offending vessel in water and a squirt of fabric softener. Let it sit for an hour. Wash and rinse it all away.
You can also try this viral trick to make your pots and pans look brand new.
Feed your plants
Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, so it’s a shame to throw them away each day. Coffee is especially good for acid-loving plants, like camellias, evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and rose bushes, so be sure they don’t miss out on the occasional cup of coffee—grounds, that is.
Discover more gardening tips that’ll save you time, money and effort.
Oil squeaky hinges
Spray a little oil-based furniture polish on a squeaky door hinge, then open and shut the door several times to work the lubricant into the hinge. The furniture polish is a lot cleaner than the oil you’d usually use for a noisy hinge, and it works just as well to silence the squeak.
Untangle a shoelace
Junior got a knot in his sneaker and pulled and pulled until it became an impenetrable mass. Sprinkle the knot generously with cornstarch, and then work the knot again. The laces will start to slip and slide, and you’ll be able to get the kinks out.
Check out more smart uses for cornstarch.
Breathe better with a paper bag
Got a case of the hiccups? Stop them before you start to hurt. Breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. You’ll create a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, which helps relax your diaphragm—whose involuntary tightening causes the hiccups in the first place. This trick works if you’re hyperventilating, too.
Find out more home remedies for hiccups.
Line your crisper drawer
If you want the vegetables in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer to truly be crispy, line it with paper towels. They will absorb the moisture in the fridge that can turn carrots, broccoli, and beans soggy. Replace the towels when they’re damp.
Give the jar a hand
No more banging a jar on the floor to loosen a tight lid. No more running it under hot water. And no more fancy tools designed to do the trick—that somehow don’t work. Just put on a pair of rubber gloves, and open the jar with ease. (Psst—sandpaper also works wonders!)
Remove a scorch mark
Left a scorch mark on a dress shirt with the iron? It can happen in the blink of an eye. This dollar store solution won’t be quite that fast, but it will be effective. Douse the scorch with water (presumably not on your ironing board!) then rub a generous amount of cornstarch into the stain. When the cornstarch dries, the stain will rinse out with the powder. This same technique works on bloodstains, though a second treatment may be needed before washing.
Find out how to whiten your laundry without bleach.
Save money greasing your pans
Stay away from expensive non-stick cooking sprays and use olive oil in a clean spray bottle instead. You’ll probably save calories as well as dollars!
Discover more brilliant cooking shortcuts.
Prevent a pet hair clog
Stuff some steel wool in your bathtub drain the next time you wash Fido. It will prevent your dog’s hair from clogging the drain. Just make sure that you don’t press the steel wool too far down—you’ll want to remove it when you’re done.
Here are more smart uses for steel wool you’ll wish you’d known sooner.
Clean a crusty microwave
Been a while since you washed down the inside of the microwave? Don’t spend ages scrubbing. Mix 2 cups of water with ¼ cup lemon juice in a microwave-safe glass dish and cook on high for 8 minutes. The steam will loosen food particles on the walls and glass, making it easy to wipe clean with a few swipes.
Check out more microwave tricks all cooks should know.
Clean a showerhead
When you’re looking forward to a nice, warm shower, nothing is more frustrating than facing a weak trickle of water. If a buildup of lime and mineral scale have reduced your shower to a fading stream and you to tears, fix the problem with vinegar, a plastic sandwich bag, and duct tape. Fill the bag with white vinegar and cover the showerhead, making sure that the head is completely submerged in in the vinegar. Tape the bag to the showerhead arm with the duct tape, and let it soak overnight. When you take it off in the morning, you’ll finally get the shower you’ve wanted. (Test the vinegar on your fixture first; it can discolour some brass and other finishes.) The same strategy applies to clogged faucets, too.
Next, find out 40 aluminum foil hacks that’ll make your life so much easier.