Don’t throw them yet: Alternative uses for 9 bathroom products post expiration date

Hindustan Times | ByArnima Singh, New Delhi
Feb 26, 2017 10:17 AM IST

Not all toiletries are rendered useless post their expiry dates. Some can be used in a variety of different ways. Here’s how.

We all have our whims and fancies and can easily get bored with our current shampoo, conditioner or soap. As soon as we catch that ad for a new shower gel that apparently has more natural elements, fewer chemicals and preservatives and more aloe vera, we just can’t wait to try it out.

Ever wonder if there is a second life to toiletries?(shutterstock)
Ever wonder if there is a second life to toiletries?(shutterstock)

We either throw out the old ones or keep them in the bathroom cabinets to be used after the new one is finished, which is never. Almost every bathroom has such bottles - half empty or almost empty - hogging the space.

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Here are 9 such products you use in more creative ways and save money and cupboard space:

1. Soap bars: 3 years

You can put unused bars to good use by utilising them as lubricants for the screws, nails, and saw blades, as well as unstick jammed or rusty zippers of coats, dresses, bags etc. You can also remove that smell from your stinky shoes by simply wrapping a bar of soap in paper and keeping it inside them overnight.

Cleaning your glasses with soapy water also prevents them from fogging up. It leaves behind a thin surfactant film that decreases surface tension and causes water molecules to fan out evenly into a transparent layer.

2. Shampoo: 2 years

The most common bathroom item and also the one most prone to wastage, shampoo has some other uses - it doesn’t matter if it is for frizzy or dry hair, with or without parabens, volume-enhancing or contains keratin.

It is ideal for cleaning purposes since it has fuel additives and detergents such as sodium laureth and sulphate. But shampoos are considerably milder than an actual cleaner. They can be used for cleaning bathroom and kitchen tiles, floors, and even the dishes.

You can also clean silverware, jewellery and other such precious metals since the detergents in shampoos are not very reactive. It gives an easy shine to the silver and gold ornaments. Since its main function is as a cleaner, you can also use it as a hand wash.

3. Conditioner: 2 years

Conditioner can be used as a lubricant for squeaking hinges, stuck zippers and rusted metals because its primary function is to moisturise. Since its task is to protect your hair from natural elements, it can also be used to protect metal, which are vulnerable to rusting. And, by adding a small amount of conditioner in water, you can freshen up the smelly and dirty clothing and furniture.

It can also be used to clean makeup brushes and also as an eye-makeup remover. Just wet your face, lightly massage the conditioner onto your skin and clean it off with a cotton wipe. It also works as a cut-rate cuticle cream because of its moisturising abilities. It is a better option for shaving your legs than a shaving cream since it is clear and you can easily see the patches you missed. It also acts as a moisturiser after the shave.

4. Loofah: 1-2 months

Once it has lived its shelf life, the loofah can be recycled into a ribbon used for wrapping gifts and tying other fancy items. You can also open it up and cut it in a way to make a thin bag to keep those shampoo and conditioner bottles. You can also make a pillow or toy stuffing out of it for your kid or use it as a toy stuffing wrapper for your dog.

5. Deodorant/Antiperspirant: 3 years

You can use that spare aerosol deodorant as a cleaning agent for removing stubborn stains made by a permanent marker because of its high alcohol content. You can also use your antiperspirant to keep your hands sweat-free and your feet dry and odour-free. By applying some gel antiperspirant on your feet and palms every night before going to bed, you can ensure that you’d never have a case of stinky feet and sweaty palm again.

You can also apply the same antiperspirant on your feet before putting those classy but highly uncomfortable shoes to prevent blisters and shoe-bite. In addition to all this, antiperspirants also provide instant relief from itching bugs and mosquito bites.

6. Shaving cream: 2 years

It is a good cleaning agent since it contains triethanolamine, a surfactant that attracts dirt and grease towards itself and away from the object. It effectively cleans carpets, ovens, furniture, paint from the skin, and shines tarnished jewellery and rusting faucets. To clean stubborn stains, put a dollop of cream on it and leave it on for some time, and then scrub with an old toothbrush.

It works as a lubricant as well to prevent the doors from squeaking. You can remove the dirt under nails by applying it there and cleaning them with a toothpick. You can also clean glasses and mirrors with a little shaving cream to prevent them from fogging up, due to its surfactants properties. It is also fun to play with!

7. Toothpaste: 2 years and toothbrush: 2 month

Did you know that your toothpaste and toothbrush can also clean and scrub your silverware and brass items and make them glint like new? All you have to do is scrub the item with an old toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste, rinse thoroughly and wipe with a dry cloth.

Other than this, old toothpaste and its sidekick can be used to clean carpet stains as it contains detergent that helps it to treat that foam. It comes in handy for removing crayons from every kids’ canvas, the wall. It can also be used to clean the soles of the white PT shoes and tennis shoes and cleaning the cellphone screens due to its surfactant properties.

You can also use toothpaste to soothe the itching and stinging bug bites and small burns. Toothpaste also removes various unpleasant smells and can be used to clean the baby bottles to rid the sour milk smell and on hands to remove the smell of onions, fish, garlic and other such odoriferous foods items.

8. Mouthwash: 3 years

With its antiseptic properties, mouthwash is a brilliant replacement for hand sanitizers and light medical uses (only the alcohol-based and sugar-free ones, unless you want sticky hands). It can also be used as an antiseptic since it contains similar chemicals like chlorhexidine gluconate and cetylpyridinium chloride.

You can clean your cuts with it and dress the wounds afterwards - it was initially used as a surgical antiseptic. You can also remove the garlic and onion odour by rubbing some on it on your hands and letting it dry off.

It can also be used to treat dandruff because of its anti-bacterial properties. After washing your hair, rinse them with a 50/50 mix of water and mouthwash. You can also prevent a bruise from appearing by rubbing the mouthwash on the affected area. Your flower will last longer if you spray them with a very dilute mouthwash and water mixture (2 tablespoons per gallon of water) for it will prevent the fast decomposition causing bacteria.

9. Moisturiser:1 year

You can reuse your old moisturiser by making a body scrub out of it. Just add some exfoliating items such as oats and for a soft and clean skin. You can also smoothen out split-ends by applying some hand cream on damp hair. The quantity of the hand cream should be very small since it contains oils that might make your hair appear unclean and clumpy if applied in a large quantity.

The hard to remove stickers on cutlery and other such items can be easily removed by dabbing a bit of lotion and keeping it still for a few minutes. You can also restore the old suction cups and scissors by applying a thin layer of lotion. It will fill in the gaps and smooth over the rough patches of the suction cup, thus restoring its ability to stick again and lubricate the old scissors to function again.

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