30 Helpful Supplies You Don't Have in Your Home But Should
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If you're like most people, then your cabinets are probably overflowing with products, ranging from half-empty bottles of window cleaner to vacuum attachments that you almost never use. And for every product you buy that languishes under your sink for decades, there are a dozen others you don't have on hand, but should. With help from experts, we've rounded up the products everyone should have at home, from supplies that keep your home spotless to ones that keep you safe.
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Want a versatile product that you can use in every room in your home, saving money and cabinet space in one fell swoop? Then pick up a bottle of BioMop. In addition to being great for cleaning floors and unclogging drains, it's also a surprising solution to another problem: pests.
"It's really good for fruit flies," says Zach Mack, owner of Alphabet City Beer Co., a bar and restaurant in New York City. "No one thinks to buy it for their home, but it's amazing for garbage cans."
Bar Keeper's Friend
Instead of stocking up on a million different products to keep your kitchen clean, there's a single one Mack recommends for all your needs: Bar Keeper's Friend. "We use it for scouring, especially for stainless steel surfaces and appliances," he notes. It's also a great tool for pots and pans, and it's good at making porcelain sinks look spotless. "It can make almost anything brand new."
Can't seem to remove that jar label or that sticker your kids ever so inconveniently attached to the window? Then you need a bottle of Goof Off. Mack notes that the product is his go-to for removing labels from beer bottles, as well as the stickers people frequently tag the bathroom with.
If you don't have a squeaky front door or a bike chain that needs lubricating, you might not think to keep a can of WD-40 on hand. However, this one supply can do countless jobs around the house: You can spray it on your shovel to keep snow from sticking, apply it to tools to keep them from rusting, or even spritz some on your shoe to help that gum you stepped on peel off with ease.
Mrs. Meyer's Scented Candles
While the scent of your dinner cooking may have been lovely last night, that lingering aroma of onions and garlic the next day is anything but. The solution? Mack recommends Mrs. Meyer's candles for covering up all manner of scents in high-traffic kitchens.
A Rubber Broom
Passing your vacuum over the same portion of carpet over and over may eventually get that dirt and hair up, but there's an easier way to achieve the same goal. A rubber broom is a slightly sticky tool that has tiny teeth perfect for grabbing debris trapped in your carpet and pulling it up without causing damage to your precious textiles.
Your refrigerator is easily one of your most useful appliances. It keeps your beer cold and conveniently allows you to avoid poisoning yourself with spoiled food, after all. The only problem? Cleaning it is rarely a fun, easy, or quick chore. Fortunately, a set of shelf liners can keep those fridge messes contained. Just wipe them down, or, if they get too gross, you can toss them and start over.
A Dishwasher Basket
Your dishwasher may have a silverware basket in it, but that's likely not enough to keep all of those odds and ends that you wash in place. Whether you have parts to baby bottles or lids to small dishes to keep in one place, a dishwasher basket can help keep loose items safe.
A Collapsible Colander
While traditional metal colanders certainly help you strain pasta or other dishes made in water, they're hardly the best solution when it comes to space. With this collapsible version, however, you can get the job done and save yourself tons of space.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people typically lose between 50 and 100 hairs every day. And while there's little you can do to keep your hair from falling out, there is a way to prevent it from clogging your drain: the TubShroom. Inserted into your tub drain, this device catches all those hairs before they go down your pipes, helping you avoid a serious clog.
A Drain Snake
Not only can chemical drain cleaners be fatal if ingested, they can also cause damage to older pipes over time. By using a simple drain snake instead, you can remove those clogs manually and save the money you've been spending on those potentially hazardous chemical formulas.
Tub Overflow Cover
We understand no one wants their downstairs neighbors banging on their suddenly leaking ceiling, but sometimes the tub overflow mechanism is just too sensitive. The solution? A tub overflow cover. Just suction this one to the area of the tub surrounding the overflow faceplate and you can fill the tub up to your heart's content.
A Flange Plunger
Think all plungers are created equal? Think again. While a traditional wide-mouth plunger is great for getting clogs out of sinks and tubs, what you want for toilets is a flange plunger, which has a longer, narrower cup that can effectively get into the bottom of your toilet to push down the clog.
Replacement windows can cost thousands of dollars—but even if that kind of repair isn't in your budget, that doesn't mean you have to live with a drafty home. Self-adhesive weatherstripping—which can be cut to fit your windows and doors—can help mitigate drafts in seconds without the need to call a professional.
A Chalk Line
Want to make sure you're installing those picture frame moldings correctly? Need to keep a straight line in that gallery wall you're hanging? Then a chalk line is a must-have. This simple tool applies a straight line of chalk to any surface, helping you ensure that whatever you're hanging is perfectly straight and level.
A Fabric Shaver
Want to get the pills off your clothing without resorting to using the same cheap razor you use on your legs? A fabric shaver, like this one from Conair, is made specifically for that purpose, and it even has a guard that protects your garment from snagging while you get rid of any unwanted fuzz.
A Shower Curtain Liner
That mildew-covered shower curtain will only withstand so many washes before it discolors. The good news? Investing in a vinyl shower curtain liner means you can keep that pricey textile looking like you just bought it and reduce your risk of flooding your floors when you shower. All you have to do is wipe the liner down occasionally to keep it looking new.
A Clothing Steamer
It's easy to mess up when you're ironing, leaving that formerly wrinkled garment entirely unwearable. However, with a garment steamer, you can get the wrinkles out of your clothing in seconds without risking damage to your precious items.
Those wooden hangers may look nice, but they won't cut it when it comes to hanging slippery items like silk shirts and camisoles. If you want to keep your delicate pieces of clothing on the hanger (instead of in a pile on the floor), then it's well worth it to invest in a set of non-slip hangers, which will grip your silks enough to keep them in place.
Humane Mouse Traps
Nobody loves the idea of having pests in the house, but the thought of actually killing one isn't exactly an easier pill to swallow. Instead, snag a humane mouse trap, which will capture that unwanted visitor and allow you to release it unharmed as far away from your house as you see fit.
If you want to keep your book collection in tip-top shape, plastic jackets and some regular dustings just won't cut it. According to Jen McCreery, director of the Desmond-Fish Public Library in Garrison, New York, a dehumidifier is a better option for keeping your space humidity-free, which will prevent the pages of your books from sticking together, yellowing, and developing mildew.
A Fire Ladder
House fires don't always leave an easy exit path, so it's of the utmost importance to have a means of egress when those flames are preventing you from getting out the door. Luckily, with a fire ladder on hand, you can easily exit your home through any window.
A Baby Rescue Bag
For little ones too small to climb down on their own, using a fire ladder may not be an option. In those cases, having a baby rescue bag can come in handy. This device makes it possible to safely transport babies from smoke-filled homes without putting your own life at risk.
A Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher and having the right fire extinguisher at home are very different things. Kitchen fire extinguishers, like this one, are BC-rated to extinguish flammable liquids and electrical fires, making them a better choice for battling stovetop flames and appliance malfunctions.
A Fire Blanket
While having a fire extinguisher at the ready can help you reduce your risk of a fire spreading throughout your home, it's far from the only tool you need to stay safe. A fire blanket can help you suffocate fires quickly and works better than a fire extinguisher when a person has caught on fire.
A CPR Mask
"If you do CPR, you can most likely maintain someone's life until emergency services arrive," says Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. However, doing CPR and doing it properly are two very different things. However, this CPR kit, which comes with two masks and gloves, makes it easy to get the appropriate seal to give the breath of life while protecting both yourself and the people around you.
Frozen peas are more than just delicious and nutritious. They also work as an ice pack when you're injured and don't have a more traditional one handy. In fact, "frozen peas probably work just as well as a regular ice pack" when it comes to healing minor injuries, says Cutler.
Sure, your drinking water may be fine now, but in case of an emergency, having a LifeStraw can be, well, a lifesaver. "LifeStraws may be helpful if you're somewhere the water has been contaminated with Giardia or another form of bacteria," explains Cutler. If your town's water supply becomes contaminated or if you don't have clean water in your well, using a LifeStraw will allow you to still drink it without getting sick.
Until you can see a doctor, having an Ace bandage handy can make all the difference in how painful an injury is—or becomes. While Cutler doesn't recommend trying to splint something you think is broken, if you have a sprain or a rolled ankle, using RICE protocol—that's rest, ice, compression (like with an Ace bandage), and elevation—can help you avoid making things worse.
Lead Paint Swabs
An estimated 24 million American homes have deteriorated lead paint in them—and lead poisoning affects more than half a million children under five years old in the U.S., according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For folks living in older homes, using LeadCheck to find out where lead might be lurking can be the first step toward remediating the issue. And for more ways to keep your home safe, check out these 27 Amazing Personal Safety Tips That Will Change Your Life.
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