By Patrice Frantz
How much do you spend on the following products: Detergent for your delicate “hand wash only” clothes, pet shampoo, carpet stain remover, fiberglass surface cleaner, laundry stain remover, toilet bowl cleaner, and spray lubricant such as WD-40? It adds up to a pretty good chunk of change, right?
But there’s a single inexpensive product everybody already has in their homes that can do the job of all of the above products and more: simple shampoo!
Shampoo has properties that break down grease and dirt as well as loosen adhesives. At the same time, shampoo is gentler than those other products and also has a bonus conditioning effect on skin. Many inexpensive shampoo brands can do the trick for the following situations:
Photos by Patrice Frantz
‘Hand Wash Only’ Clothes
Some delicate clothing items just can’t survive a rough and tumble ride through a washing machine cycle. While there are many products for hand-washing or delicate cycle washing, a bit of shampoo in the sink with warm water can clean your “hand wash only” clothes and leave them smelling great. After shampooing your delicates, just rinse them with water until it runs clear, and then hang them or lay them flat to dry. If you’re really pressed for time, you can even wash your delicates during your morning shower.
Removing Adhesive Bandages
There’s nothing like removing an adhesive bandage (like a Band-Aid) to add insult to injury, especially when kids are involved. When your little one objects to removing a bandage that has outlived its usefulness, gently rub a small amount of shampoo over the bandage. The adhesive will loosen from the skin, and then the bandage can be removed without any hysterics.
Special care is needed when cleaning fiberglass tubs and sinks. Any corrosive or abrasive cleaner can mar a bright and shiny fiberglass surface. But a quick shampoo and sponge treatment followed by a rinse will clear away residue and leave fiberglass surfaces glimmering. This shampoo tip applies to all things fiberglass — even boats!
Whether your pup has been rolling in the dirt, taken a dip in the drink, or even worse, human shampoo can come to the rescue. While regular shampoo is no good for preventing fleas or ticks, it can cut through crud in matted fur and remove unpleasant odors. In this case, actually following the directions on the bottle is key: You really should lather, rinse, and repeat for best results when Rover needs a bath. The first wash cleans, but the second wash is necessary to make your four-legged friend smell fresh.
Pets aren’t the only living thing in your home that shampoo can make clean and lovable again. If your plant leaves are looking dull and dusty, a solution of a few drops of shampoo and water is a safe and effective way to get them looking healthy again. Just dip a cloth in the solution and wipe the grime off the leaves.
Zippers and Hinges
Having a bottle of shampoo handy can remedy hardware issues around the house. Squeaky doors and stubborn cupboards can be silenced and subdued with a bit of shampoo and a cotton swab like a Q-tip. Dip the cotton swab in shampoo and then apply it to the hinges for lubrication. Shampoo may not make a hinge squeaky-clean, but it will make it stop squeaking! Shampoo can also be used to release a stuck zipper or loosen stubborn nuts and bolts.
Shampoo can put a quick stop to potential stains. The properties of shampoo that wash away dirt and dissolve oil are great at breaking down stains before they get a chance to become permanent. For would-be carpet stains, put a few drops of shampoo on a spill and spray it with some water. Blot the area with a clean cloth and repeat until the spot is gone. For laundry, put some shampoo on a potential stain and rub it into the spot. Let the shampoo soak in for a bit, and then launder your clothes as usual. There should be no trace of the would-be stain afterward.
For a Close Shave
The conditioning attributes of shampoo make it a great alternative to shaving cream or soap. Try using it as a shaving lather to leave your skin feeling smooth without the drying effects of regular soap.
And in a pinch, shampoo can clean and freshen up your toilet. Just a small amount of shampoo and a good brush can make the bowl pristine and presentable for company.
So, the next time one of these common household situations happens to you, instead of looking under the kitchen sink or in the garage for a solution, grab a bottle of shampoo from the shower instead!