20 New Uses for Shampoo

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Posted by Melissa Breyer

I’ve been thinking about extra shampoo ever since I sent a box of random bars of hotel soap and shampoo bottles to Clean the World–a smart and admirable non-profit that sends unused soap and shampoo to people at risk of acute infection and disease due to lack of soap. What I came to realize is that most of have old shampoo around for any number of reasons. Perhaps you collect hotel shampoo, or bought some whose fragrance is stronger than tear gas, or changed to an all-natural brand before finishing the paraben-y bottle. Either way, if you have extra shampoo around, don’t wash it down the drain in vain, put it to use. Here are twenty uses to use it up.
• Donate your old shampoo to Clean the World to help fight acute acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease due to lack of hygiene supplies.
And now, I’ll get down off my soapbox….
• For a stuck zipper, put a drop of shampoo on a Q-tip and dab it onto the zipper. The shampoo will help the zipper to slide easily.
• Buff your shoes. In a pinch, you can revitalize leather shoes and purses by using a small amount of shampoo on a clean cloth. Rub into worn areas as you would shoe polish, and give it a buff. This also offers some protection from salt stains.
• Skip specialty (read: expensive) soaps for hand-washing laundry, use just a drop or two of shampoo instead.
• Shampoo works well on laundry stains–treat the stain with a few drops of shampoo, rub them in, let soak, and then launder as usual.
• Worse than a wound is often the removal of a bandage. Let a few drops of shampoo soak through the adhesive part and the bandage should peel off without pain and sticking.
• In a pinch, shampoo can be used as a substitute for bubble bath.
• Shampoo (conditioner, too) works as a great substitute shaving cream. Lather up, shave away. Shampoo is much more nourishing/less drying than soap, which is what many women use on their legs.
• Harsh soap can dry out hands, but sometimes you need something strong for extra grime–next time, try using shampoo as a hand cleanser. It tackles messes with out drying out your skin. You can also just put it in your liquid soap dispenser for everyday use.
• Shampoo works well to remove body oil and gunk from combs and hairbrushes; comb out any loose hair and swish the comb/brush in some warm water and shampoo. Let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse well.
• You can clean houseplant leaves using a few drops of shampoo in a bowl of water; dip a towel in the solution, wring it out, and wipe away dust.
• For a quick touch up cleanse of tub, shower or sink, use some shampoo as a liquid cleaner. It rinses clean and makes chrome shine as well.
• To clean paint brushes use a few drops of shampoo and massage it through the bristles, then rinse well. (Never use extra hot water when washing paint brushes, it loosens the glue resulting in bristle loss!)
• Try shampoo on rug and carpet spills, dab a few drops on with some water and blot with a towel. Repeat until spill is gone.
• A few drops of shampoo rubbed onto the inside surface of a swimming mask (then rinsed) will prevent the mask from fogging up.
• Diluted shampoo can take the place of bubble soap for bubble-blowing wands. Yay.
• Car car-washing suds, add 1/4 cup shampoo to a pail of warm water and lather up the car as usual.
• Shampoo mixed with baking soda into a paste can be used to clean chrome on vehicles; rinse thoroughly and buff to shine.
• Loosen stuck nuts and bolts with a drop of shampoo. Let it seep into the threads and the bolt should loosen easily.
• Use shampoo to lubricate squeaky hinges.

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