Life Hacks

10 Brilliant (and Surprising) Uses for Dish Soap

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A bottle of dish detergent can go a long way for cleaning plates, cups, and bowl. However, you can get more bang for your buck by using it for other simple household tasks. Here are 10 brilliant uses for dish soap that help keep your flowers blooming, end poison ivy itching, and more!

1. Ensure a flawless manicure.

The secret to avoiding unsightly chips in an at-home manicure? Before painting your nails, add a few drops of dish soap to a small bowl of warm water. Then soak your fingers for three to five minutes before wiping dry. The soap will lift any of the natural oils that can keep polish from adhering to your nails. Plus, it will leave your cuticles feeling extra soft!

2. Help restore lackluster jewels.

To make non-pearl gemstones glow again, try this: Fill a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of dish soap and let pieces soak for 15 minutes. Then gently scrub the gem with a toothbrush before rinsing and drying with a soft cloth. The soap dissolves dulling body oils for jewels that sparkle.

3. Create a flexible ice pack.

You like to keep ice packs handy in your freezer for soothing bumps and bruises, but since they’re stiff, it makes them tough to apply to certain spots, like elbows or knees. The alternative: Fill a plastic zip-top bag with dish soap, then freeze for future use. The soap gets icy but won’t freeze solid, resulting in a softer and more bendable ice pack.

4. Solve Fido’s flea problem.

Uh-oh! After a few warm days spent outdoors, your pal came home happy, tired and full of fleas. To get rid of them without having to buy pricey treatments, scrub Fido with dish soap while you bathe him. The soap’s surfactant reduces fleas’ ability to latch on to fur or float, essentially drowning them, so your pup — and you! — can rest easy!

5. Guarantee vibrant blooms.

Your sister surprised you with a beautiful bouquet that you’d hate to see fade! Make it last with dish soap. To do: Add a drop or two of the liquid soap to the water whenever you refill the vase. The suds will kill any bacteria that cause flowers to wilt, so you can enjoy your blooms as long as possible.

6. Keep skin free of dried paint.

Starting a paint job? Ensure easy removal of the mess from hands and arms by rubbing dish soap on dry layer of soap creates a barrier that exposed skin before you begin. The dry prevents paint from drying onto skin. It’ll wash right off once you’re done!

7. Silence a squeaky hinge.

Argh! Lately your bathroom door lets out a loud screech waking you up every time someone opens it at night. The simple solution? Pour a few drops of dish soap on a clean cloth and use it to rub all over the hinges. The slick liquid will lubricate the metal so the door can move smoothly and quietly, giving you peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.

8. Locate an inflatable leak.

The inf latable toy you bought for the visiting grandkids has been a huge hit. The problem? It keeps def lating and you can’t find the leak. To the rescue: dish soap! Pour 2 cups of water and 5 squirts of dish soap into a spray bottle, spritz over the toy, then press down on the plastic. As the air escapes from the hole, it will cause the soapy water to form bubbles so you know what spot needs patching.

9. Sew buttons sans struggle.

While grabbing your raincoat from the closet, you notice a button needs reattaching. But when you sit down to sew it on, you realize you can’t get the needle through the thick fabric. The easy fix: Just coat the needle with a dab of dish soap, then sew as normal. The slimy liquid will lubricate the needle so it can glide through the material with ease.

10. End poison ivy itching.

After tending to your yard or garden, you realize you accidentally touched some poison ivy. For quick relief: Dab dish soap on the affected skin. The soap helps break down the plant’s rash-inducing oils to keep it from spreading and nix the itch. Aah… that’s better!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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