Clever New Uses for Common Household Products

Did you know that you could use wood ash to repel slugs and snails in the garden? Or that you could use baking soda to zap roaches or remove tape residue? Well, it turns out you can. And there are all kinds of problem-solvers just laying around the house masquerading as one-trick ponies, or even trash. Here are some of our best tips from the popular 10 Uses column of This Old House magazine! Got some clever uses for common household products of your own? Share them in the comments section below. --Tabitha Sukhai

Use old garden hoses to give your buckets a grip. A piece slipped over a wire handle makes for a more sturdy and comfortable grip.

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Use coffee filters to keep windows clear. Spray panes with glass cleaner, then wipe away with a doubled-up coffee filter. No lint, no streaks.

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Use chalk to file right. Rubbing chalk onto a metal file makes its teeth easier to clean by reducing their tendency to clog with soft metals.

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Use charcoal as an air freshener. Place charcoal, in open bowls or perforated plastic bags, in your fridge or drawers to banish odors.

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Use vinegar to keep paint from peeling. Before painting galvanized metal or concrete, wipe down the object or surface with vinegar, using a sponge or lint-free cloth. This little trick will help your paint job last longer.

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Use sand to give your paint some grip. In a bucket, combine 2 cups of paint with 3/4 cup of sand. Use the mixture to coat stair treads; let dry, then top them with a coat of regular paint.

MORE: See all 10 Uses for Sand at