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Handy Tips: alternative uses for common products.

 
pollinator
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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Not sure if this is the correct forum for this, but it seems we all have little tricks and tips up our sleeves, and there should be a place to share them.

I am starting with standard toothpaste...(my apologies if this product is considered toxic gick) I have just discovered that this item is an ideal cleaning and polishing medium, for all sorts of things!  I had heard it may clear haze off the plastic lens covers for headlights; an issue with my 2005 Van.  Well, I am not sure how much difference it made on the headlights, but I accidentally got some AROUND the headlights, and was shocked at how shiny the finish was when I rinsed the toothpaste off, so I continued.

Damp cloth, small dab of toothpaste, rub it in, and magically all the baked on bugs, sap and other crude vanishes leaving an incredibly shiny finish, once rinsed with water.  No polish, no buffing, no drying - just rub on with the damp cloth and rinse off, including windows, mirrors, bumpers....the works.  When you think about it, toothpaste does contain very fine grit, to polish and clean your teeth - I assume, similar to the fancy "cut/polish" pastes available for automotive care, and likely toothpaste is whole lot LESS expensive and/or toxic.

To be clear, I am not one who normally washes their vehicle (less than once a year), only when the grime is deep enough for moss to start growing and the stuff starts turning green on the van!  But I highly recommend this to anyone who is thinking of selling a vehicle - less than a third of a tube of toothpaste any you will have a show room shine.  I am still coming up with a host of other things I can "clean" with toothpaste...who knew?
 
pollinator
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Location: Málaga, Spain
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Rice is a natural dehydrator. You may use it for preserving anything that needs low moisture.

Vinegar is great for so many things. Use it diluted in your hair as a hair softener, use it for pickles, add it to preserved food, use it for cleaning rust.

Sodium bicarbonate is good against bad odors, like the smelly sneakers.

Olive oil is a great fuel for candles, with little smoke and odor.
 
pollinator
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Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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Abraham Palma wrote:
Vinegar is great for so many things. Use it diluted in your hair as a hair softener, use it for pickles, add it to preserved food, use it for cleaning rust.


I just used some vinegar to help remove rust. It wasn't perfect, but it is so much easier than the dry abrasive methods that I have used before. I have considered electrolysis, but that takes some figuring. For these stroller wheels, I just put them in a two gallon bath of vinegar and left them for a day or two. Most of the rust wiped right off with a scrubby sponge. I can tell where the rust ate into the chrome finish in places. It would benefit from a wash in water. But they look so much better!
IMG_20221107_134805.jpg
Finished wheels
Finished wheels
IMG_20221107_134816.jpg
Front wheel starting to soak. Notice all the brown rust on it and in the vinegar
Front wheel starting to soak. Notice all the brown rust on it and in the vinegar
 
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Odd discovery...
                           I was given several 4x6 foot heavy glass windows from an old commercial building about to be torn down.  I have a greenhouse and have always hated that crappy clear (well, once upon a time) plastic corrugated sheeting, but it was all I could come up with when I built it.  

The glass is filthy to put it mildly.  I tried various cleaners and so on, but only managed to lighten the layer of gook.  A mix of TSP and salt was the best of the bunch.  Ammonia seemingly did nothing.  But then I remembered a box of auto chemicals a friend gave me when he moved away.  Pawing through the thing, I turned up two spray bottles of tire and wheel cleaner.  Figured I had nothing to lose, so sprayed one of the panels after wetting it down.  Let it set for a minute and then used a nylon scrubber pad and a rag and the thing came virtually spotless.  I never have found what is in this stuff, but it did a fine job.  

Maybe this will help someone else...
 
gardener
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Location: Japan, zone 9a/b, annual rainfall 2550mm, avg temp 1.5-32 C
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Pretty well known one I think, but... the back of an old leather belt works well as a strop for finishing off a blade sharpening.

Paper clips are tremendously useful for all sorts of small tasks like opening difficult battery compartment lids, scraping out small crevices, unlocking safety doors (the ones that lock from the inside but can be opened by pushing the little circle on the outside of the lock), resetting routers and other devices, etc.

Newspaper also has a lot of well known uses, but you can turn it into about 100 different ways of playing with kids. One of our favorites are holding a sheet taut and letting kids punch or chop through it. Another is to cut small pieces and use an uchiwa (a japanese hand fan) to blow them all over the place. Also newspaper is great for collecting used cooking oil, though my favorite is to collect it in empty yogurt containers, as they're water proofed on the inside already (our yogurt comes in waxed paper stock containers).

If you happen to have the plastic kind of yogurt container they make a very uniform drawer divider for organizing nuts, bolts, screws, etc. And you can pull each one out for a particular project.

Long wrapping paper cores/tubes can be used as a didgeridoo. Betcha didn't know that! Actually you folks are probably the most likely people to know that... Anyway, They're a lot easier to play than real didgeridoos.
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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source


 
Oh. Hi guys! Look at this tiny ad:
List of Rocket Mass Heater Builders
https://permies.com/wiki/122347/List-Rocket-Mass-Heater-Builders
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