DIY Repurposing

9 Home Repair Remedies to Borrow from Your Medicine Cabinet

Maybe you’re a new homeowner, still unsure about what tools and supplies you need to own. Perhaps you've just downsized to a tiny house or apartment, and you’re looking to consolidate your possessions. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to sacrifice precious storage space to home improvement products—not when many of the everyday items that you have stocked in your medicine cabinet can do double- and even triple-duty as handy household aids! That's right: Most of the cures to common household complaints can be solved by something hiding in your bathroom. Read to learn just how unexpectedly useful your stock of toiletries can be.
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An Aspirin A Day

Pesky yellow sweat stains leftover on white shirts after a hard day’s work are unsightly and virtually impossible to remove, but aspirin can give you a boost on laundry day and remove the offending stains. Grind up a few aspirin and mix with enough water to form a thick paste; apply to the stains with a toothbrush and then launder in the hottest water possible. The salicylic acid in the aspirin helps make the stain water-soluble. 

This same paste can also be used to remove pesky rust stains in the bathroom left behind from razors and metal cans. Let it sit on your tub’s ledge or vanity countertop for 10 minutes, then wipe it away. Tough stains might require an additional application.

Clipper, Stripper

Without a set of wire strippers? Substitute your nail clippers, instead! Their small, easy-to-wield blades can do double-duty to snip away the plastic coating for any wiring project. It’ll take some practice, but a few tries can help you find just the right amount of pressure for cuts that don’t nick the metal wires. Use your set later on to clip off the excess ends when soldering or connecting wires.

Related: 8 Warning Signs of Dangerously Outdated Electrical Wiring


Toothpaste has myriad uses around the house, including making a great patching material to fill holes left by screws and nails in your walls. Spread toothpaste in and around the nail hole and wipe smooth with a damp cloth. Once dry, you can dab a bit of paint to match the rest of the wall.

Related: 3 Fixes for a Hole in the Wall

Tight Spots? Use Tweezers

The precision of a tweezer’s grip can be extremely useful when working with computers and household electronics—and all of the small pieces that assemble them. Use this grooming tool to plug and unplug small connectors as well as hold tiny screws steady as you are unscrewing them.

Related: Genius! Turn a Plastic Fork into a Tiny Screwdriver

Slip, Sliding Away

If you stock your cabinet with a pod of Vaseline or petroleum jelly, you’ve hit the motherload of fix-its. This slick substance quiets squeaky doors when dabbed on the hinges and lubricate sticky locks, windows, and sliding door tracks for easier opening. 

In the winter, this does good for more than just chapped lips. Vaseline can save you a headache by helping prevent frozen locks—simply apply a thin layer to both the lock and key, insert the key into the lock, and work it back and forth to lubricate the tumbler.

Related: 3 Fixes for a Squeaky Door

Polished Approach

Nail polish can be used for more than just painting fingernails, so stock up on a bottle or two of the clear stuff! If you have a loose screw, polish can give it a bit of extra holding power; just paint the threads before you screw it into place. Similarly, its staying power can stop small holes in window screens from expanding into a full tear.

Related: Easy DIY Fixes for 11 Annoying House Problems

Bubble Up

Soap is another natural lubricant, good for loosening zippers, unsticking drawers, and even making nails go through wood more easily. Rubbing soap over a saw blade will also help the blade slice through the wood easier, allowing you to cut straighter and making the blade less likely to split the wood.

Related: 10 Classic Cleaners that Have Stood the Test of Time

The Cool Combover

Save yourself a bruised thumb the next time you go to hammer a nail simply by reaching for this particular hair styling tool before you get started. A fine-tooth comb can grip the nail between its teeth at one end, while you hold onto the other end, safely out of the path of your hammer. Once you have tapped the nail securely into the wall, unhook the comb and continue to tap the nailhead with your hammer until you’re satisfied.

Related: 10 Toolbox Hacks for Your Next DIY Project

Pearly Whites

Now get even more use from your old hygienic supplies. When the toothbrush head on an electric model has brushed its last enamel tooth, transfer it to your cleaning caddy to be late used as a grout scrubber. Come cleaning day, reattach it to the body of the brush so that it’s electric-powered spinning takes all the work out of the dreaded task for you.

Related: 5 Things to Do with… Old Toothbrushes