In my years as a cheapskate, I’ve learned that nothing is what it seems. In my house, I have a range of items that serve multiple purposes. For example, I can wash my hair and kill fruit flies with a solution made from the same product.

It can be risky trying to find out what those multiple uses are on your own, so I’ve compiled a list of items that I regularly use as homemade remedies for cleaning, skin care and more.

Most of these items are already cheap, but if you’re using them for multiple tasks, you’re saving quite a bit of money on other home and beauty products.

Apple cider vinegar

The shampoo-fruit fly example I mentioned above probably sounds crazy, but those are just two of the many purposes this little bottle of magic can perform.

A few weeks ago, I had a crazy fruit fly problem even though my apartment was pretty clean. I finally discovered that a cup of apple cider vinegar was the fruit fly kryptonite. I also found out that adding a drop of dish soap sunk the bugs to the bottom of the cup faster.

Another use for the vinegar is a hair clarifying rinse. Dilute it with some water, run through your hair and rinse. It removes any buildup from hair products, which makes blow-drying and styling your locks go a lot quicker.

I’ve also found that it keeps me from using conditioner as much, so I’m not buying it as often.


Honey is one of Mother Nature’s sweetest gifts to humankind. In addition to spreading this sticky stuff on your toast and dropping it in your tea, try using it as a skin care product.

Mix raw honey (not the processed stuff) and some warm water for a face wash that treats blemishes and conditions skin.

If your baby has a diaper rash, mix it in a bath with a dash of oatmeal for a natural soothing effect.


Charleston has a long history of tea-lovers.

In fact, Summerville is the birthplace of sweet tea. But when you’re not drinking the herbal blend, try using it in home remedies for puffy eyes or burns.

Steep some individual-size tea bags in warm water and then allow them to sit on top of your eyelids or the skin where you have minor burns from shaving, sun exposure or cooking.

Saddle Soap

This a new discovery for me. I have some leather boots and purses that I haven’t worn in a few seasons because they’re scuffed, faded or dirty.

I’ve been meaning to collect them all and take them to a shoe repair store, but a friend told me to try saddle soap instead.

I bought a tin of Kiwi Saddle Soap for about $10 and scrubbed my leather goods with a soft cloth.

Now, they look freshly buffed, the scratches have faded and the colors look more vibrant.

Dryer sheets

I always have dryer sheets in the house for air freshening and other tasks.

The course material makes a good duster and it freshens up your house as you go.

Used sheets are good for wiping down showers.

You also can use them in pretty much any situation that calls for freshening up the air.

Stick them in your shoes, closet or luggage to keep the musty smell at bay.

I think car fresheners can be too powerful for my small car, so I sometimes put dryer sheets underneath the floor mats instead.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.