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July 06, 2021

Household products that serve double duty

Joey Green may not be a household name, but he has come up with some widely creative uses for everyday household products, persuading many a talk-show host to test his wacky tricks.

When Green was an advertising copywriter, he was asked to come up with alternative uses for some of the products he was touting. He found that many companies kept files with notes from people detailing the unusual uses for their products and so a cottage industry was born.

His latest self-help epic, Joey Green's Fix-It Magic boasts of containing "more than 1,971 quick-and-easy household solutions using brand-name products."

To prevent insects from sticking to the hood and grill of a car, for instance, spray a thin coat of PAM cooking spray on the hood and grill before you set out on your trip, Green suggests.

Need to unstick dresser drawers? Use ChapStick. Cleaning paintbrushes? Try Downy fabric softener. Colgate toothpaste will remove crayon from walls, he adds, with a brand sensitivity that rivals even Lady Gaga, the current queen of product placement.

If that’s too much to absorb, frugality blogger Len Penzo has narrowed the list to the six most valuable grocery products you should be stocking up on. These highly versatile products can save you money if used for alternative applications, he suggests. His must-haves: vinegar, baking soda, WD-40, Coca-Cola, fabric softener sheets and paper towels.

Vinegar, is actually liquid gold, he maintains. People have been using it for ages – and not just for cooking and preserving foods. You can, for instance, use it to disinfect wood cutting boards, soothe a sore throat, remove warts and keep boiled eggs from cracking.

Who knew?

Tell us: Do you have any unusual family recipes for putting household products to use?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...