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Unexpected uses for bathroom items

  • Story Highlights
  • Dental floss can unstick photos, repair necklace and even cut cheesecake
  • Cotton swabs can be used to touch up paint, clean silver
  • You can clean your toilet with antacid tablets

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Real Simple

( -- A soak in the tub can wash away your cares, but there's more magic to be found in the medicine cabinet

Baby Oil

• Remove latex paint from skin. Pour a generous amount of baby oil on a cotton ball and scrub.

• Untangle a necklace chain. Massage a dab of oil onto the tangled area, then use a straight pin to carefully pull apart the knot.

• Peel off bandages. Avoid involuntary hair removal -- and extra agony -- by rubbing baby oil over and around the sticky parts of an adhesive bandage before pulling it off.

• Slip off a stuck ring. Massage oil onto your finger and rotate the ring until you can slide it off. (This trick works to get body parts out of a number of sticky situations.)

Dental Floss

• Unstick a photograph. Slide a length of dental floss under the corner of a photo that's stuck to an album page or another snapshot. Work the floss between the two surfaces to separate them without damaging the picture.

• Save a necklace. Rescue a busted strand by threading the beads onto dental floss for a quick, sturdy fix.

• Hang a painting. To hang lightweight artwork that's not in a heavy frame with glass, use dental floss in place of picture wire.

• String a popcorn garland during the holidays. Just thread the floss through a needle as you would ordinary sewing thread.

• Tie your hair back before you wash your face if you don't have an elastic.

• Cut a cheesecake. Use unwaxed, unflavored floss to slice any soft cheeses, layer cakes, or homemade cinnamon buns from a roll.

Antacid Tablets

• Clean a toilet. Toss in two dissolving antacid tablets, such as Alka-Seltzer, wait 20 minutes, then brush. Real Simple: Clean bathroom fast

• Remove a stain from a vase's bottom. Drop a tablet in a little water and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe and rinse.

• Soothe a sting. Dissolve two tablets in a glass of water, then dab on bug bites.

• Impress a kid with a fun science experiment. Pour water into a plastic 35-millimeter-film canister until it is one-third full, drop in a tablet, replace the lid, and quickly place the canister upside down on the ground. Stand back. In 5 to 10 seconds, the gas pressure will make the canister pop its lid and shoot several feet into the air.

Cotton Swabs

• Touch up paint on cabinets or walls, or use a swab to apply wood stain to elaborate carvings on furniture or scratches on furniture and floors.

• Keep your phone charged. Use a swab dipped in alcohol to clean the battery contacts of a cordless phone, cell phone, or laptop. This will help maintain good battery connections and sustain the charge for a longer time.

• Make a face. Apply Halloween greasepaint with a swab and save your makeup brushes for the good stuff.

• Tote touch-up makeup in a tiny evening bag by rubbing cotton swabs in concealer and eye shadow, sealing them in a plastic bag, and tucking the bag into your clutch.

• Take a shine to your silver. Use a swab to apply polish to crevices in flatware or tea services. Real Simple: Cleaning solvers under $10 E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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