These 10 Cheap Products Have Unexpected, Alternate Uses


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Budget Buys With a Twist

The only better feeling than purchasing a new product at a great price is when you realize the product has more uses than meets the eye. If you're lucky, sometimes those alternate uses are even more helpful than the product's original purpose. 

Inspired by an enlightening Reddit thread, we’ve put together a collection of cheap products that consumers love for reasons other than their intended use. Keep that cornstarch around to use as dry shampoo, folks.

Baseball on Dirt Gravel
Ed Wolfstein/istockphoto

1. Baseball as a Mini-Roller

If you can get your hands on a cheap baseball, you’re in for a treat. Next time your lower back flares up, all you’ll have to do is wedge that baseball (tennis balls work as well) between your chair and lower back and rub the spasm out. You can also use your medical baseball as a mini-roller for leg issues.

Baby girl little hands holding transparent plastic bottle of oil on light pink table background. Pastel color. Care about soft body skin. Closeup. Point of view shot. Top down view.

2. Baby Shampoo as a Paintbrush Cleaner

Can’t say that we saw this one coming, but talk about a pleasant surprise. You can use baby shampoo to effectively clean your paintbrushes. Just make sure that you keep the base of the paintbrush head out of the water as you go about cleaning it. Add a few drops of baby shampoo onto your hands and gently massage the tips of the paintbrush into the shampoo while using gentle circular motions.

Starch and corn cob

3. Cornstarch as a Dry Shampoo

Of all the purposes that cornstarch serves, we didn’t anticipate it being an effective dry shampoo. Not only is cornstarch a great dry shampoo, but it’s also free of all the chemicals that you’re apt to find in many store-bought dry shampoos

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Lemon fruit slices arrangement in a row full frame background

4. Lemons as a Garbage Disposal Cleaner

No kidding. Those lemons are good for more than complementing an ice cold glass of water or a nice chicken dinner. In fact, you can save yourself anywhere from $10-$20 on dishwasher detergent by opting for a lemon or two instead. Just chop the lemon into quarter pieces (some Redditors recommend freezing them first) and let the dishwasher chew on it. Much like with vinegar, the acidic property of a lemon provides a food-safe and aromatically pleasant means of giving your dishwasher an interior makeover. 

Related: Spring Cleaning 101: The Definitive Guide to a Tidy Home

skincare. close up view of woman hand moisturising them with cream. skincare

5. Hemorrhoid Cream To Help Treat Hand Wounds

The surprises just keep on rolling in. No, you wouldn't assume that any store-bought hemorrhoid cream could act as an effective healing aid when dealing with dried out hands. Yet Redditors swear by it. Hemorrhoid cream is an effective anti-swelling agent, and great at moisturizing your skin as well. 

Centrifugal dryer for salad with vegetables around - closeup

6. Salad Spinner To Hand Wash and Dry Out Clothing

Your average salad spinner (on the lower end of the spectrum from IKEA) costs around $10. Not only will you be able to enjoy the benefit of easily spinning leafy greens, but you can also conveniently use your new salad spinner to both hand wash and dry out your clothing. 

Simply add a few inches of soapy water and spin your clothing delicately for a few minutes. Then let your clothes steep for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Pull the salad spinner strainer out, spray it off with water, and spin the clothing for another couple of minutes to dry them out as quickly as possible. 

Related: 19 Filling Dinner Salads You'll Actually Want to Eat

Low Section of Devon Rex Cat Sitting on Clumping Cat Sand in Litter Box - stock photo

7. Cat Litter To Prevent Car Windshields From Fogging Up

As crazy as it might sound, your cat litter is good for more than helping you keep your furry friend’s homestead in order. Cat litter is actually great at preventing your car’s windshields from fogging up. 

All you have to do is place a few handfuls of cat litter in one of your socks and then tie your sock off. From there, rub your sock over your windshield whenever it starts to fog up. The cat litter’s natural absorbency properties will make quick work of removing moisture from your car’s windshields.


8. Oven Cleaner as an Automotive Cleaner

Your typical oven cleaner can cost as little as $5, and as lucky fate would have it, you can also use it to clean the build-up of grease and oil in your car’s engine compartment. Simply spray the oven cleaner on, let it soak, and rinse it with a hose or a pressure washer. Make sure to keep the oven cleaner off your car’s alternator, carb distributor, etc. However, you’re welcome to soak your car’s engine block.

Cleaning the head of shower with a foamy liquid, close-up.

9. Vinegar as a Shower Cleaner

Not only is vinegar already food safe, but due to its inherent acidity, it's remarkably effective at cleaning the insides of showers as well as teakettles. Just remember: While vinegar serves as a great cleaning agent, there are plenty of things you should never clean with vinegar.

White beauty cream smear smudge on pink background. Cosmetic skincare product texture. Face cream, body lotion swipe swatch

10. Hair Conditioner as Shaving Cream

Unfortunately, so many shaving creams are aggressively priced. As an alternative, you can opt for the cheapest possible hair conditioner you're able to find, and it turns out that it can act as a tremendously effective shaving cream. The conditioner works so well because, just like shaving cream, it softens your hair, which makes it all the easier for the razor to smoothly cut through your hair.