365 Frugality Tips: Double Duty Products

January 16, 2013
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Day 16: Year of Renewed Frugality

When you think of double-duty products, what do you think of? For me it is something that I can get at the drugstore or supermarket, and employ for multiple uses around the house–the focus of today’s frugality tips as part of the Year of Renewed Frugality.

For example, everyone has baking soda in the pantry, right? And you probably have it for baking purposes. I’m sure you’ve also heard about using it to freshen up your refrigerator, but baking soda can also negate the smoky smell in a room where your cooking got a little out of hand or you experienced a downdraft in your chimney while you had a fire lit in your fireplace, and now your house smells all smoky.

One of the best uses I’ve found for baking soda is in cleaning. Not only is baking soda a great scouring powder in the bathroom, but also I find that it gets baked-on gunk off dishes, pots and pans better than any scrubbing pad or commercial cleaner.

I usually buy a box of baking soda when I have a CVS Extra Bucks dollar burning a hole in my coupon wallet–a box of baking soda costs $.79 at CVS. So basically I get it for free.

And then that seventy-nine cents allows me to use this one product in so many different ways and to save money by not having to buy scouring pads, bathroom cleaners, air fresheners or anything else that the baking soda can handle on its own.

Here are some other double-duty products I buy frequently and how I use them:

  • Vaseline/petroleum jelly: The uses for petroleum jelly are almost limitless–as a lip gloss, makeup remover, salve for a healing cut, and a heavy duty moisturizer. I believe that you can also use Vaseline/petroleum jelly to stop squeaks in door hinges and elsewhere.
  • Borax: I’ll use a box of borax to make DIY laundry detergent and homemade dishwasher detergent, and as a pesticide to kill/repel ants.
  • Clarifying shampoo: Clarifying shampoos work as well as commercial stain sticks, because they are formulated to strip your hair of any product and oil buildup. Speaking of oil they can do the same to oil and sweat on clothes, making them a great pre-laundry treatment as well as shampoo to use.

What are some of the everyday items that you buy that have become double-duty products–and money savers–in your household?

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2 Responses to 365 Frugality Tips: Double Duty Products

  1. Maureen on January 16, 2013 at 5:59 am

    I want to know more about using the baking soda to get rid of the smell of the woodburning stove. My husband drives me crazy by putting damp wood in the stove and then an hour later opening the door to stir it and letting out big puffs of smoke. Drives me crazy!!!!! Do I just put a bowl out near the stove? Thanks for your help!

    • Leah Ingram on January 16, 2013 at 8:14 am

      When we had to deal with smoke abatement after a particularly smoky fire, we put bowls of baking soda out around the room to absorb the smell. It took a few days for it to start working but eventually the smoky smell went away. You will probably need more than one box of baking soda to get the job done. Good luck.

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