11 Home Hacks You Can Do with a Bag of Groceries

The next time you're making a grocery list, be sure to add cleaners to your must-buys. Only on this trip to the store, you'll never have to set foot in the commercial cleaning aisle to snag your essentials. With our list of tips and tricks, you'll be able to pick up everything you need to solve myriad household woes in the produce section, on the condiment shelves, or alongside the kitchen paper products. Click through to discover unconventional household tricks that start at the grocery store.

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  1. Vinegar


    Mold exists in almost every home, but fortunately, as long as you control excess moisture, you should be able to keep mold in check with relative ease. In fact, if you notice mold on a household surface, be it the grout in the bathroom or a section of drywall, you can use any number of household staples to remove it. Some swear by diluted bleach, but if you prefer a nontoxic solution, simply soak the area with full-strength white vinegar, wait a few hours, then scrub vigorously with a stiff brush or coarse sponge. The mold will go away—and don't worry, so will the vinegar smell!

    Related: 10 Handy Household Uses for Vinegar


  2. Ziplock Bags


    Before you call the plumber to complain about the crummy water pressure in your bathroom, first confirm that the shower head isn't to blame. After all, mineral deposits can build up over time, reducing the rate of flow. In other words, you may just need to clean that shower head. One option is to detach the fixture and laboriously scrub each of its component parts. Alternatively, try this: Fill a ziplock bag with vinegar, then secure the bag in place over the shower head and leave it there overnight. The next morning, wake up to enjoy the best shower you've had in months!

    Related: 11 Seriously Surprising Uses for a Ziplock Bag


  3. Lemons


    Rust isn't just unsightly—it also corrodes metal, weakening it over time. Luckily, if you catch rust early you can prevent its damaging effects. In fact, when life gives you lemons, you're already halfway to a rust-free home. Sprinkle a dash of coarse salt on the rusty metal, then rub a slice of lemon over the affected area. Let the salt-and-citrus cocktail sit for a couple of hours, then rinse clean. If the stubborn rust won't budge, repeat the steps using a fresh slice of fruit.

    Related: 10 Clever Household Uses for Lemons


  4. Ketchup


    Whether you're enamored of copper accents or copper cookware, you probably know that the lustrous metal can lose its sheen with time. Surprisingly, all it takes is a couple of tablespoons of ketchup to make it shine again. Squirt a small amount of the condiment on a clean cloth, then rub it on the copper. Once you've polished your prized possession, wipe away the ketchup and put the bottle back in the fridge so it's ready for your next meal—or cleaning session.

    Related: 10 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Kitchen Ever


  5. Aluminum Foil


    Your radiator disperses heat in two directions: out into your room and back into the wall. And when that wall is an exterior wall, the heat often escapes outside—resulting in wasted energy and heat loss. For a budget-friendly solution, wrap aluminum foil around a piece of cardboard, and place it behind your radiator with the shiny side facing out. This DIY reflector will divert heat back into the room, saving energy and making the appliance work more efficiently.

    Related: 11 Surprising Uses for Aluminum Foil


  6. Wax Paper


    The tops of furniture and appliances tend to collect dust, but their height can make cleaning difficult. Instead of having to climb up on a wobbly step stool to polish the uppermost reaches of your fridge or cabinets, line those lofty regions with wax paper. This household staple will collect dirt, dust particles, and grime. Replace the wax paper with a few clean sheets every so often, and you’ll have a hassle-free way to dust hard-to-reach places.

    Related: 21 Timesaving Tricks That May Change the Way You Clean


  7. Sponge


    Pets have a special place in our hearts and, often, on our sofas. But because cats and dogs can't control their shedding, they often leave a bit of themselves behind on the upholstery. Pet owners know from experience that getting a couch back to its original, fur-free state can take considerable effort. Next time you're confronted with a hairy situation, head to your kitchen and grab a damp, clean sponge to de-fuzz soft surfaces in a flash. Simply wipe down the upholstery or carpet, and the moisture and spongy texture will lift the hair up and away like magic.

    Related: 10 Things You Didn't Know a Sponge Can Do


  8. Cooking Spray


    Rolling out of your bed on a dark February morning to shovel freshly fallen snow from your driveway is one of the trials of homeownership. It's also a chance to show your neighbors this cold-weather hack: Coat both sides of your shovel with nonstick cooking spray. The grease acts like a lubricant, keeping snow and ice from sticking to the blade for faster snow removal.

    Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter


  9. Mayonnaise


    What is "good art"? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask, but if the artwork in question is scrawled on your wall, it's probably not gallery-worthy. But don't get bent out of shape if your little one decorated your wall in crayon, because you probably already have the perfect cleaner in your fridge. Just add some mayonnaise to a clean cloth, and dab it on the marks. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe away the mayonnaise with a wet cloth. Dry the spot with a paper towel, and you're done.

    Related: 7 Surprising Household Uses for Mayonnaise


  10. Toothpaste


    A two-for-one deal on toothpaste certainly won't go to waste when you consider its amazing cleaning capabilities. Squirt some of the white, non-gel variety onto water rings on a wood tabletop, for example, and you can wipe away any reminder of those thoughtless guests who forgot to use a coaster! Simply work it over the affected area using a soft cloth and a gentle, circular rubbing motion—not so hard that you remove the finish from the wood—then wipe away with a lightly damp cloth to reveal your unmarred surface. The grit that so effectively cleans stains from teeth offers just enough abrasion to work the water out of the waxed or polished surface.

    Related: 9 Surprising Alternative Uses for Toothpaste


  11. Olive Oil


    A little bit of cooking oil can clear your skin of the stray paint and splatter from a messy and colorful DIY project. Move over to the sink to contain the mess, then pour a teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt into your paint-covered hands and lightly rub them together. The oil will loosen oil-, latex-, and water-based paints while the salt scrubs them away. Similarly, a spoonful of olive oil works on countertops, too, should your paint project take place in the kitchen: Drizzle a thin coat over any unwanted paint drips (no salt this time—it could scratch!), and rub away with a dry rag in a circular motion until the surface is spotless!

    Related: 10 Unusual Tricks for Your Easiest-Ever Paint Job


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