9 Common Household Items (You Already Have) That Are Surprisingly Helpful in the Kitchen

published Feb 17, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

It’s hard to resist the appeal of a shiny new kitchen gadget or fancy product. But there’s also something incredibly satisfying (and incomparably cheaper) about solving problems with everyday household items you likely already have hanging around your home. These nine unexpected things aren’t necessarily commonly found in your kitchen, but this post might just convince you that the kitchen is where they belong.

1. Dental Floss

Dental floss is a hero in the kitchen when it comes to making precise-yet-gentle cuts in everything from soft cheese to cake. Pretty much anything you need to slice but not crush. It’s also handy for hanging herbs to dry. When using it in the kitchen, just make sure it’s unflavored.

2. Denture Tablets

Another bathroom product, denture tablets are great for effortlessly dissolving away dirt and grime at the bottom of narrow bottles, glasses, and other hard-to-reach spots. They’re designed to get in between the tiny crevices of faux teeth, so harness that power in the kitchen, too. 

3. Cotton Swabs

Similarly to denture tablets, this bathroom staple is great for cleaning the corners of cooking pans, the crevices of waffle-makers, and other hard-to-access nooks and crannies. 

4. Shower Caps

Next time you’re in a hotel, be sure to grab the disposable shower cap on the vanity. Use it in the kitchen to gently protect a freshly baked pie, a plate of fruit or cheese en route to a party, or a bowl of food or prepped ingredients in the refrigerator. 

5. Vodka

You may already have this in the kitchen, but are you using it as a simple, green disinfectant and cleaner? Mix one part vodka — the cheap stuff is fine — with three parts water, and spritz the solution to clean, degrease, and cut odors. 

6. Mouse Pad

Got an old one of these hanging around? It’s the perfect thing to reach for when you’re having trouble getting the lid off of a jar. 

7. Isopropyl Alcohol Pads

Did you just buy some new plates from HomeGoods? These single-use wipes make removing price tags a breeze.

8. Electric Toothbrush

Target the gunk around your faucets, oven knobs, and elsewhere with a precision scrubber that has a little oomph. If it comes with detachable heads, you may want to reserve one for cleaning specifically. 

9. Handheld Clothing Steamer

Perhaps one of the most powerful small household appliances when it comes to doing double duty, a handheld steamer handily defeats stuck-on grime throughout the kitchen. Use it on cabinets, handles, stainless steel, tile, and more to easily wipe them clean.