DIY Jobs Using Common Household Items

In the 21st Century, household problem-solving while saving money has become more important than ever. Luckily, for those little jobs around the house, we’ve got the potential materials around that helps us to do that without trips to the hardware store.

In this post by guest and DIY enthusiast Ryan Tupper, we’re shown some potential solutions to common household problems that can help us in a pinch, without having to search high and low for specialty products. You see, it can all be found in our bathroom medicine cabinets ….


If you’re like most people, your medicine cabinet is stocked with standard items like baby oil, petroleum jelly, antacids, etc. You probably use these items for their intended purposes, but did you know that most of them can tackle common household needs?

Peek in your bathroom cabinet or under the bathroom vanity and chances are you have something to handle just about any household chore or issue.

Petroleum jelly fixes stiff window tracks, stops rust stains

Petroleum jelly is an inexpensive and versatile item to have in your bathroom. While it’s perfect for moisturizing dry lips and cuticles and taming unruly eyebrows, it can also make it easier to open windows and drawers. Rub a little bit of petroleum jelly on the window or drawer tracks to keep them opening and closing smoothly.

Petroleum jelly also works as a rust inhibitor. If you have items that are prone to rusting – like the underside of metal shaving cream cans – smear on a little bit of petroleum jelly to prevent the rust from forming.

Baby oil removes latex paint easily

Much like petroleum jelly, baby oil is ideal for getting stuck things unstuck. Got a tangled necklace? Drop a tiny bit of baby oil on the knot, and then use a straight pin to gently pull it apart.

Baby oil is also ideal for removing latex from the skin. Instead of pulling off an adhesive bandage and screaming when it takes hair with it, add a drop of baby oil beforehand, and it will slip right off. And if you’ve gotten as much latex paint on your hands and arms as on the walls, rub in some baby oil to remove the paint without harsh chemicals.

Shampoo helps with hand-washing delicates

Shampoo might keep your hair shiny and manageable, but it can also freshen up your laundry by using a drop to hand wash your delicate items in the sink! Not to mention, if you run out of shaving cream, lather up some shampoo or run some moisturizing conditioner over your legs or face for a smooth, comfortable shave.

Shaving cream works as a mirror de-fogger, stain remover

Do you have plenty of shaving cream on hand? It’s another versatile household item. Before jumping in the shower, spread some shaving cream over the mirror and wipe off with a tissue. When you get out, the mirror will be fog-free.

Photo: Kate Ter Haar

Shaving cream can also prevent stains on your upholstery. Blot the spill and cover the fresh stain with a bit of shaving cream; wipe up with a damp cloth. Before trying this, test the shaving cream in an inconspicuous spot to prevent accidental damage.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste: tack hole filler, crayon mark remover, and more!

Sure, brushing twice a day is important to prevent cavities and bad breath, but toothbrushes and toothpaste can do more than keep you out of the dentist’s chair.

Need to fill in the nail or tack holes on your white walls? Apply some white toothpaste with a toothpick; the landlord won’t notice the holes and you’ll get to keep your deposit. Toothpaste can also remove the crayon marks that your little Picasso added to the walls. Just rub on a small amount of toothpaste with a cloth, and rinse with water.

Photo: Anderson Mancini

Toothpaste isn’t just useful for repairing damaged walls. When hanging framed art, place a dab of toothpaste on the hooks on the back of the frame. Lightly press the frame against the wall in your desired spot and you’ll know exactly where to place the nails. Once the nail is in, wipe the toothpaste off the wall and frame, and you’ll have a perfectly hung picture.

If your iron is covered in icky buildup from using starch or hard water, scrub it with toothpaste to get it clean – power off first!

Toothbrushes are ideal for getting into cracks and crevices when you’re cleaning, and soft toothbrushes are ideal for cleaning metal objects or intricate carved wood pieces. Or even use a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste to make your diamonds sparkle!

Antacid tablets: drain clearer, toilet cleaner and unclogger, stain remover

If you’ve got heartburn or a stomachache, antacid tablets can be a lifesaver, but they can also be an important part of your arsenal of cleaning tools. Drop one or two dissolving tablets into the toilet, wait 20 minutes and scrub for a sparkling clean toilet – without all of the harsh chemicals. Antacid tablets remove stains from the bottom of vases, too. Add a tablet with a little water, let it sit, scrub with a bottle brush and rinse.

Antacid tablets can also clear a clogged drain as effectively as a harsh drain cleaner. Drop a few tablets down the drain, pour in a cup of vinegar, and let it sit for a few minutes then run the hot water. The clog should be gone, and your drain will smell fresh.

DIY tools from your medicine cabinet

The next time something in your home needs to be cleaned, shined, unstuck or fixed, skip the trip to the hardware store, and head to the drugstore instead. You might just find that these simple remedies are even more effective than expensive cleaners and gadgets!


Thanks, Ryan!

Ryan has been helping folks with repairs around their homes for over ten years. When Ryan can’t fix what he needs to with household items, he turns to

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