Unexpected new uses for bathroom items

There's magic to be found in the medicine cabinet.

New Uses for Baby Oil

  • Remove latex paint from skin: Pour a generous amount of baby oil on a cotton ball and scrub.
  • Untangle a necklace chain: Massage a dab of oil onto the tangled area, then use a straight pin to carefully pull apart the knot.

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  • Peel off bandages: Avoid involuntary hair removal―and extra agony―by rubbing baby oil over and around the sticky parts of an adhesive bandage before pulling it off.
  • Slip off a stuck ring: Massage oil onto your finger and rotate the ring until you can slide it off.

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New Uses for Dental Floss
  • Unstick a photograph: Slide a length of dental floss under the corner of a photo that's stuck to an album page or another snapshot. Work the floss between the two surfaces to separate them without damaging the picture.
  • Save a necklace: Rescue a busted strand by threading the beads onto dental floss for a quick, sturdy fix.

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  • Hang a painting: To hang lightweight artwork that's not in a heavy frame with glass, use dental floss in place of picture wire.
  • String a popcorn garland during the holidays: Just thread the floss through a needle as you would ordinary sewing thread.
  • Tie your hair back: If you don't have an elastic, use it to hold your hair before you wash your face.
  • Cut a cheesecake: Use unwaxed, unflavored floss to slice any soft layer cakes, or homemade cinnamon buns from a roll.

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New Uses for Antacid Tablets

  • Clean a toilet: Toss in two dissolving antacid tablets, such as Alka-Seltzer, wait 20 minutes, then brush.
  • Remove a stain from a vase's bottom: Drop a tablet in a little water and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe and rinse.

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  • Soothe a sting: Dissolve two tablets in a glass of water, then dab on bug bites.
  • Impress a kid with a fun science experiment: Pour water into a plastic 35-millimeter-film canister until it is one-third full, drop in a tablet, replace the lid, and quickly place the canister upside down on the ground. Stand back. In 5 to 10 seconds, the gas pressure will make the canister pop its lid and shoot several feet into the air.

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New Uses for Cotton Swabs

  • Touch up paint on cabinets or walls: Or use a swab to apply wood stain to elaborate carvings on furniture or scratches on furniture and floors.
  • Keep your phone charged: Use a swab dipped in alcohol to clean the battery contacts of a cordless phone, cell phone, or laptop. This will help maintain good battery connections and sustain the charge for a longer time.

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  • Make a face: Apply Halloween greasepaint with a swab and save your makeup brushes for the good stuff.
  • Tote touch-up makeup: In a tiny evening bag, rub cotton swabs in concealer and eye shadow, sealing them in a plastic bag, and tucking the bag into your clutch.
  • Take a shine to your silver: Use a swab to apply polish to crevices in flatware or tea services.

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photos by Mark Lund