Hidden gems at the market
January 26, 2012 5:12 PM   Subscribe

I discovered Crystal deodorant a few months ago. I had tried literally every other unscented deodorant on the market and could not find one that held up all day. It turns out that the damned rock you rub on your pits is the greatest deodorant ever, and it had been on the shelf the whole time. What other miracle products are sitting on the shelves at the market, unnoticed as I pass them by in favor of products that are more well known or have bigger advertising budgets?
posted by Balonious Assault to Shopping (68 answers total) 367 users marked this as a favorite
For the ladeez, the Diva Cup literally changed my life. 35 bucks, and I haven't bought tampons since, oh, 2005. Much more comfortable, environmentally friendly, etc.
posted by Madamina at 5:21 PM on January 26, 2012 [56 favorites]

Lanolin (usually sold for breastfeeding) is super-healing and protective - it's great on chapped lips, scaly (winter!) feet, sore (from blowing snot) nostrils, hangnails, etc.; better than lotion or vaseline for those applications.

I picked up this stain remover stick at a store a couple months ago. It looked pretty amateur-hour on the shelf, but it WORKS - better than Shout or OxyClean.

I will second the Diva Cup.
posted by flex at 5:24 PM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

White vinegar is the solution to all your cleaning problems.
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:24 PM on January 26, 2012 [20 favorites]

flex, where did you get that stick? I've been looking for a replacement for the old Spray n Wash stick, which you could just swipe on the stain and leave on for minutes or days in the laundry hamper. Does this stick allow you to leave it on as long as a few days, or do you apply, wait a few minutes, then toss the clothes in the washer?
posted by maudlin at 5:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're a guy, shave like your grandpa. If you don't want to chance it with an old throatcutter, grab a old-school safety razor and blades, brush, and shaving cream or soap (the kind in the tub or tube, not the can). You'll pay ridiculously low prices on a per-blade basis for an amazing shave beyond what you get with the latest 12-bladed Gillette monstrosity.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [10 favorites]

Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash is usually on the bottom shelf underneath all the expensive stuff. It doesn't stand out because Purpose only makes maybe 2 kinds of facewash, instead of the 27 varieties each from Olay and other major brands, so they don't take up 8 feet of shelving with their logo. But it's gentle and effective and very highly recommended by dermatologists.
posted by vytae at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]

The diva cup just squicks me out so much. Something about congealed blood, and ... yeah, ew. If it works for some innies, great, but no for me.

White vinegar is godly, as is baking soda. Baking soda + water = paste which is very good for covering bites.

Peppermint essential oil for cuts, scrapes, scratches, bites. Caution, it stings like a motherfucker. Bonus: you will smell amazing.

Tried tom's of maine cinnamon clove toothpaste and looove how it tastes.

For shaving, NOTHING WILL EVER beat an old fashioned mug and brush throatslitter. You can cheat and use the aforementioned '12 bladed gilette monstrosity' if you have to, especially if you're shaving other parts. (If anyone ever finds out how to prevent shaving bumps in Certain Body Parts, pleeease let me know because that shit itches.)
posted by Heretical at 5:46 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Washing soda and Borax - Some ideas
posted by Sassyfras at 5:51 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Green Queen Helene is the bomb for tightening and toning your skin. Be warned, though -- the Queen is tingly.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:56 PM on January 26, 2012 [13 favorites]

maudlin: I think I picked it up at Len's Mill. It's not quite as easy as the Spray 'n Wash stick - you have to wet it, and then rub it on the stain - but you can do it and leave it in the laundry hamper for a few days and it works just as well as doing right before you throw it in the washer. I got out stains that were already set in (as in already went through the dryer) with this thing. I have to go back and buy more - if you want I can bring you one at the meetup.

On topic - the "Magic Eraser" knockoffs from the dollar store are just as good as the branded product in my experience.

Also, the dollar store pregnancy tests are just as good as the $20 ones at the drugstore. (No, for serious - I know it seems sketchy, but it's true.)
posted by flex at 6:01 PM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

I can think of a few past AskMe threads worth checking out for this question. One is frustrating me because I cannot find it. It might be seven or eight years old by now, and it was about "what products have a quality level that is much superior to similar products?" FOr that one, I remember that a popular answer was Saran Wrap, but I can't find the thread based on that.

The other group is about which generic brand products are as good or better than name brand. Here they are, one two three.

In answer to the question I'm going to offer Pomi (warning: link talks to you). They kick almost every other brand of pureed tomatoes' ass for ripeness and fresh tomato flavor. You can use part of a container and re-freeze it, and containers last unopened for ages upon ages so they are a great pantry staple. Outstandingly good.
posted by Miko at 6:05 PM on January 26, 2012 [11 favorites]

bar shaving soap with clay is so vastly superior to alcohol-filled shave gel/foam/cream that it's almost offensive.
posted by elizardbits at 6:08 PM on January 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

Also lauding the safety razor, especially if you're a woman and hate buying all those expensive razors for legs AND armpits AND anywhere else you feel the need to shave.

Lemon essential oil. Put a drop or two in the vacuum cleaner and you suddenly feel like you're in one of those commercials where they actually -like- vacuuming. A very tiny bottle has lasted me for more than a year.
posted by DisreputableDog at 6:11 PM on January 26, 2012 [13 favorites]

Packaged rubbing alcohol wipes. A dollar or two for 100 of the things, and I can pitch them in to the toolbox, with the cleaning supplies, bandaids, camping stuff, camera case, etc. They hide them over near supplies for diabetics on the shelves.
posted by yohko at 6:28 PM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]

The way you feel about your Crystal is the way I feel about my Certain Dri, which likes to live on the bottom shelf at Target. I CAN WEAR WHITE SHIRTS AGAIN!!! I'M WEARING ONE RIGHT NOW!! I wish I count insert that bouncing gmail smiley face here, that's how much I love my Certain Dri.
posted by jabes at 6:32 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

This question is similar.
posted by miscbuff at 6:33 PM on January 26, 2012

Oh yeah and Blistex Medicated Ointment is awesome to put on at night if you have chronically dry lips. I used to wax poetic about Nivea Kiss of Relief but the Blistex is actually way better, cheaper, and you don't have to buy it online.
posted by jabes at 6:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you're female, but thirding the Diva Cup. I haven't bought tampons since 2006. Fantastic since now I live in a country that doesn't sell tampons.

I have a review on my blog. MeMail me if you're interested - again, if you're female.
posted by xmts at 6:44 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't forget Aloe Vera for burns!
posted by trinity8-director at 6:45 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was coming to post about Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, but ottereroticist beat me to it, so I'll just second it.

Bump Stopper if you get ingrown hairs when shaving. Way cheaper than TendSkin.
posted by MsMolly at 6:51 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Aquaphor is marketed for super dry skin but the stuff is MAGICAL on diaper rashes, burns (and I'm a former chef so I know burns!), and cuts & scratches. It's like Vaseline on steroids. The ingredients are simply enough but there's something in there that makes it amazing.
posted by cooker girl at 6:57 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

20 mule team borax is a great laundry booster that's also one of those simple ingredients, simple packaging, zero marketing budget items that people miss out on.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:01 PM on January 26, 2012 [9 favorites]

For the male face, Shave Secret shaving oil beats any soap, tube or canned shaving cream. Very simple to use, soothing, lasts a long time.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:12 PM on January 26, 2012

Headache powders. I know it's a bit regional, but they're tricky (not impossible, just bottom shelf getting dusty, next to the unscented shaving soap discs) to find in the Northeast. I have never found a product to work so fast.

Also, sulphur soap. YMMV but for me it's a $3 miracle where $30 bottles of face and/or body wash did nothing for my crappy skin. No name brand, usually labelled mostly in Spanish.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:20 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

For shaving legs, cheap conditioner works just as well as shaving gel, and lasts five or ten times longer (depending on the acreage of the area to be shaved, and how often you shave). Wouldn't recommend it for the face, just because it'll probably make you break out.

For exfoliating the face, a paste made from honey and kosher salt works better than most prepared scrubs because the honey is antiseptic and the salt is water soluble--meaning no grit to get stuck in a large pore and causing a zit.

Pear's soap has been around for, like, a century and smells amazing and not old-fashioned at all.
posted by elizeh at 7:21 PM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]

Cola syrup for nausea.

BonAmi cleansing powder for scrubbing sinks, pots, and such.

For products like these, it's useful to do as much of your shopping as possible from the bottom shelves.
posted by Corvid at 7:45 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

cobaltnine, where can you get sulphur soap?
posted by Rad_Boy at 8:07 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know how hidden this is, but Lush's Lemony Flutter cuticle butter is absolutely amazing for my super dry elbows. It works better than anything else I've tried.

The Safeway grocery chain (Dominick's here in the Chicago area) has outstanding store brands. I actually prefer their frozen meals to many of the national brands.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:14 PM on January 26, 2012

Fantastic thread!

I started using vinegar for cleaning a few years ago and have been stunned at how many household uses it has. Similarly I have become a HUGE fan of baking soda - I use it primarily for exfoliating my face but it's great for chapped lips, polishing hands, cleaning the bathtub, etc etc. Also a ton of household and personal uses.

I also discovered Fels Naptha soap for stain removal a few years ago. A friend of mine grew up using it and thought it was just common throughout the US - not where I grew up! I found a bar on the bottom shelf of my local supermarket once and gave it a shot, and holy crap did it get EVERYTHING out with just a bit of scrubbing - talk about a miracle laundry product! Sadly, said supermarket shut down and I haven't seen it locally since, but my eyes are peeled. I've got some laundry to do....
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:23 PM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]

Tibet Almond Stick completely masks scratches on wood furniture and floors instantly

Also, Titralac Plus is the only antacid I know of that works for both gas and nausea
posted by Mchelly at 9:24 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh man, I swear by Champho-Phenique for cold sores, but also mosquito bites and other minor owies. It used to be one of those "cure-alls" that everyone had, i.e. my grandmother always had a little bottle of it in the medicine cabinet that came out whenever we little ones got hurt. It looks like now they actually market it directly for cold sores, but I don't think that was always the case.
posted by jeremias at 9:26 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't wait to go shopping again to search for hidden/unknown gems!

Oh, yes, Aloe Vera gel - great as hair gel as well as for burns.

And yes on Safeway brands. I love their root beer!

Fels Naptha - awesome. Use this, the washing soda and borax and you've got laundry detergent!

Desitin - have actually used this on severely chapped lips (at night when no one could see me with white stuff smeared all over)

Baking soda as toothpaste, shampoo, cleaner, pH balancer in the 1st laundry cycle

Vinegar as hair conditioner, cleaner (I use it almost exclusively to clean my house. Vinegar - the new smell of clean), laundry softener in the rinse cycle, rinse agent in the dishwasher

Cloth diapers - as really super absorbent cleaning rags
posted by Sassyfras at 9:37 PM on January 26, 2012

I got a bottle of no-name aloe vera gel at the dollar store and it's the best thing ever for sunburns.
posted by desjardins at 9:46 PM on January 26, 2012

I too discovered Crystal deodorant recently (more like gave in and tried it at a friend's urging and many unsuccessful experiments with other "natural" brands that made my skin break out worse than super-mainstream ones). What a revelation! It has none of the issues I worried about, and it seems to last forever. On the downside, the long-dreaded post-California-move hippie-transformation is basically complete.

Here are the the little-known (?) products that I've bought and just work:

- Gloves in a Bottle is a barrier lotion that ended my eczema. Period. Find it at fiber arts stores, medical supply stores, some beauty shops/spas, and some drug stores (and drugstore.com).

- Concentrated tomato paste in a tube lasts much longer than it says on the label and thickens and deepens chilis and pasta sauces and so on beautifully. AND ... the Whole Foods generic is way cheaper than the Italian brand name at Safeway etc. Outside of WF, it's often in the "imported foods"/Italian/European section rather than with the canned tomato paste. (The bulk oatmeal at WF is also cheaper and better than the oatmeal at Trader Joe's or Safeway.)

- Better than Bouillon is, actually, and much more convenient. I plan to try the Penzey's version soon.

- I got my super-deep bowls for microwaving my oatmeal at Daiso (they're udon bowls) and at Cost Plus World Market (chili bowls), two places I think people might not think to look for ceramics. Both places have good, sturdy ceramics if you use common sense when you look at items.

- Zuzu Luxe lipstick (at Whole Foods and probably other places) is a very nice, less chemically, longer-lasting lipstick. Took me ages to find one that lasted a while.

Sorry that most of these are US only and possibly regional.
posted by wintersweet at 9:48 PM on January 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

Safeway brand diet sodas. Their knockoff of Coke Zero is perfect.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:17 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dr. Bronner's does everything And it makes for entertaining reading in the shower.
posted by book 'em dano at 11:48 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

A+D Ointment is truly the best lip balm ever, and is great in healing chafed or grazed skin.
posted by essexjan at 12:02 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't sleep on 20 mule borax, that stuff is fantastic. You can get borax in many countries.

I use a green tea and honey toner on my face. Place bag (or loose leaf) tea into mug. Add hot water (boiling is fine, you won't drink it). Add honey. Let cool and refrigerate.

Use cotton to apply on face after washing face and don't remove. Add moisturizer over it.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:09 AM on January 27, 2012

Swish around diluted hydrogen peroxide in your mouth for a few minutes instead of those more expensive teeth bleaching procedures or kits or gels.

I don't buy facial scrubs anymore since discovering microfiber cloths. I buy them from Daiso (my favorites are the ones that come in a pack with one light pink and one dark pink cloth. It's says it's for kitchen sinks). When I want a more heavy duty scrubbing I just use baking soda. When I want something to clear up my skin I use an aspirin tablet dissolved in a few drops of water. I haven't bought any other facial scrub for the past four years.
posted by pimli at 12:09 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aloe makes a handy little house plant, too. Handy to have in the kitchen. Just cut off a leaf? frond? arm? whatever, slit it open and apply to your burn. Hold it on until the pain stops - no scarring.
posted by Cranberry at 12:09 AM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

My great-grandmother did exactly what Cranberry just recommended with her aloe plant :) Works great and stops pain. Smells good, too.

In France we have savon de Marseille, which is a basic soap (apparently a lot like Dr. Bronner's) made with olive oil. Bars of it are a little expensive, but they last forever. As in, actually not much shorter than "forever". I bought three bars a year and a half ago, and the first bar is only halfway used up. I soap up with it every day to shower! (My skin is very happy, too, much better than when I used branded liquid or bar soaps.)

Jojoba oil as a facial moisturizer. It's expensive too, but a little goes a very long way. I have a tiny flask of it that's been going strong for a few months now. Naturally antiseptic and antifungal, plus it's the closest thing to natural sebum. My face is the clearest it's ever been since I started using it.

Recycle old towels as mops, if you have hard floors. (This is so common here in France that there's actually a company that sells brand-new mop towels that look like old ones.)

Nthing white vinegar for cleaning. Just don't mix it with bleach – vinegar is acidic, and acid + bleach = chlorine gas, not good. That said, as a mild acid, vinegar is also great for getting off, say, dried-out wet cat food that has glued itself to your tile floor. Instead of scrubbing with water, just put on some diluted vinegar! Comes off great. (You do also need to test if your floor will be okay with vinegar. I have a terracotta floor on which I only use vinegar to get off that sort of tough dirt, because the terracotta needs a protective coat of oil or wax, but the acid strips the oil/wax. The flip side is that this is why vinegar is great for cleaning oily kitchen counters.)

Instead of wasteful paper towels, get a big sponge to clean up wet messes. Cheap, you can rinse it out, it lasts for a long time, and it works better on big spills, since you can just squeeze out liquids in the sink and soak up more. For drying your hands in the kitchen, get 100% cotton, tightly-woven tea towels. They can be as decorative as you like, and they're washable! They'll last forever if they're made well.
posted by fraula at 12:52 AM on January 27, 2012 [10 favorites]

I know someone mentioned it upthread, but oh my lord BON AMI really is my best friend. You can clean any hard surface with it and it's so cheap! Cute, too.
posted by zinful at 2:37 AM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream - if not for this stuff, my hands would be raw and crusty all winter. It's inexpensive and it lasts FOREVER because you only use a tiny bit.

Plus you can use it as lip balm and it is great for when you've got a runny nose and your nose and upper lip get all disgusting and snot-burnt.
posted by mskyle at 6:06 AM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Nivea Firming Moisturizer: my HG of body lotions. Smooths like no other, I get comments on my baby-soft skin. Ignore the firming claim, it's outstanding for smoothing and softening. Never found another lotion that effective.

Freeman Peppermint & Plum Foot Lotion: my HG of foot lotions. I have seriously dry feet when I don't use this and seriously soft feet when I do. Bad cases require several nightly treatments.

Salux Japanese Bath Wash Towel: superbly exfoliating, makes the tiniest amount of shower gel lather up like crazy. Get the real thing, it doesn't fray like the knockoffs, and exfoliates better. Readily available at Asian grocery stores.

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment: had to give this another vote. I've been using it for over twenty years. Nothing heals my lips as quickly as this stuff.

Oregano Oil: magically heals a sore throat every time with a few drops under the tongue, washed down with a glass of water. Caution, it's strong stuff!
posted by Dragonness at 7:07 AM on January 27, 2012 [8 favorites]

Nthing the DivaCup if you're female-bodied--it's the best thing ever.

Petroleum jelly is really good at taking off eye makeup. Close your eyes, smear some on your lids, and wipe off.

If you have long hair, dry your hair with a microfiber towel. Less frizz, hair will dry quicker. Also, if you have frizzy dry hair, mix a little olive oil (about a dime's worth) in with your hair gel.

Hydrogen peroxide will take out blood stains from laundry (before they are totally set) way better than stain remover.

I've always put toothpaste on my mosquito bites, it was something my grandma did and I found it to work. Oprah has now jumped on the toothpaste bandwagon...for whatever that is worth.
posted by inertia at 7:37 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

grapefruit seed oil for anything cuticle related. It is almost insta-magic.
posted by Freen at 7:39 AM on January 27, 2012

Mchelly: Rubbing a walnut on wood furniture has the same effect.

Carmex original lip balm in the jar is wonderful.
posted by cp311 at 8:19 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

For shaving legs, I love the Intuition razor, where the shaving cream is a solid surrounding the blades. No lathering, I can just zip, zip, zip and shave my legs in no time flat. It's perfect for lazy types like me who find the two steps of lathering and then shaving to be too onerous.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 9:50 AM on January 27, 2012

Vitamin E oil really helps things heal.
posted by orange swan at 9:58 AM on January 27, 2012

Ichthammol/drawing out salve (aka drawing salve, draw salve). Very hard to find on the shelves, though CVS sometimes has one and a lot of indie/compounding pharmacies will have it. It's a million times better than Boil-Eez, doesn't have any *caine in it, and doesn't need it. You just put a glob on some gauze, stick the gauze-glob to the boil, and let it marinate for some hours. The pain stops almost instantly, but it takes a while for it to do its magic, which is to make the boil open and drain with no poking or squeezing.

It is, however, the color and consistency of tar, smells like gasoline, and will stain. So your marination period is best spend catching up on DVDs or reading a book, not moving much, and wearing old clothes.

Old toothbrushes and mascara brushes go in a kitchen drawer for all that baking soda/borax/bon ami/etc cleaning.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:20 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

Pill Pockets works like a charm to give dogs pills and liquid medication. I had a Welsh Terrier who was on several different medications the last several years of his life (at one point he had to take five different pills) and you never saw a dog so excited to take medicine. I don't know what I would have done without them.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:29 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Copper dish scrubby things. For years I wondered how people keep their pyrex cookware pristine before I discovered these. They don't scratch anything, so I use it any time I'm washing anything that has anything stuck on at all.
posted by cmoj at 10:44 AM on January 27, 2012

Tiger balm really does work on aches and pains. I tried it when my back was really hurting and was surprised at how effective it was. A little goes a long way. the unfortunate thing is that it smells.
posted by evening at 10:51 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tom's of Maine toothpaste tastes better, but doesn't do nearly as good of a job keeping coffee stains off my teeth.

That aside, conditioner - any conditioner - makes a great shaving cream (for my face). I've never had issues with breaking out due to that, and it's one less bottle to pack while travelling.

Hydrogen peroxide is perhaps the best-ever way to get blood stains out of fabric. Aces.
posted by talldean at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Came in to say: Fels-Naptha, it is the best stain remover I've ever used (rub it in, scrub with a stiff bristle brush to loose, and wash normally.) I now find it at the hardware store.

Also, I recently discovered that the minerally, gross, stiff underarm stains on my shirts that I thought were permanent are MAGICALLY removed by rubbing in baking soda, saturating with white vinegar, leaving them overnight or all day and laundering as usual (maybe on a cooler wash cycle.)

Rosewater: great for spritzing on linens, on body after shower, a great facial toner, if you like the scent of roses. Can often be found for cheaper at middle eastern or indian markets.

Kinda random: Durkee's Famous Sauce is a mustardy-mayo blend condiment that is delicious with everything. It's been around forever but no one has ever heard of it.
posted by dahliachewswell at 12:49 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Boroleum is a nasal analgesic ointment made specifically for those raw spots you sometimes get inside your nose. Hard to find on the shelves but can be ordered easily. Nose ointment of the gods!!!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2012

Aquaphor for lips (and everywhere else)
Neosporin for any irritated bits including cuticles and zits ... especially in the winding-down phase to prevent scarring
Heeltastic for rough, dry heels
Kerasal mega moisture for feet (like fixes 'em overnight)
and my all-time favorite ...
Bio-oil, for glossing hair, moisturizing hands, taming eyebrows, softening scars, plumping lips, taking off make-up, illuminating skin anywhere, massage oil, etc etc. I LOVE BIO OIL.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:55 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

My dermatologist recommended CeraVe cleanser and moisturizer, another brand stashed on the bottom shelves. I love, love, love this stuff.
posted by Dolley at 6:26 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

I don't know how available this is in the US, but Gallseife (German for "gall soap") is the most amazingly effective stain remover. You get it as a bar and rub it on stains before doing the laundry. Readily available at German supermarkets and drugstores for a Euro a bar, and a single bar lasts forever. Better than any of the specialized stain removers I've used in the US.
posted by ms.codex at 8:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing Bon Ami- also so great for scrubbing walls. It's like a magic eraser and more for so so much cheaper.
posted by jaksemas at 11:15 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is a cheat that might not be applicable but: you know the netting lemons, limes, and onions come in from the produce department? If you save them in a stash, they make very good pan scrubbers for when stubborn burnt bits won't come off. They're gentler than steel wool, free, and once they're all nasty and full of dried food crud you can throw them in the dishwasher.
posted by ifjuly at 12:56 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, I read somewhere (the Mayo Clinic newsletter or something) that most throat lozenges have next to no actual healing benefits, so you're just looking for something that makes you feel better -- in which case pectin is a good bet. Once you're just looking for pectin instead of ridiculous claims, you can find much cheaper and, at least for me, ultimately more satisfying throat drops. The specific kind depends on what store you're in.
posted by wintersweet at 9:29 AM on January 29, 2012

I don't know what it's made of, but the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is magic. It has saved me from having to spot paint the last two apartments I've lived in. Pulls big marks right off the wall, and you'd never know they were there. Amazing.
posted by cnc at 3:09 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Fels-Naptha soap for stain removal, or if you can't find that try Octagon. It's particularly good for protein-based stains (I learned about this from my mother, who made a point of telling me to use it when I....er, was about twelve. I'll let you read the subtext there.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh -- and plain old peppermint tea (just straight-up peppermint leaves, and nothing else) is really, really good for settling a queasy stomach or alleviating gas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:18 AM on February 1, 2012

Car-washing microfiber towels from Costco instead of paper towels. I bought a couple of packages a few years ago, and now actually, uh, bring them with me when I visit my mom and surreptitiously leave them around her kitchen. Because they're so much better than paper towels that I can't go a weekend without them, apparently. Not to mention the vast amounts of money and storage space I'm saving not buying paper towel at Costco any more.

Also: be cautious with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers around kids (or around your own bare skin). They can leave a bright red, painful chemical burn.

Steel cut oatmeal cooked overnight in a crock pot on the warm setting. Seriously delicious, and so nice to wake up to breakfast already made.

This super-easy DIY deodorant blows away any commercial ones I've ever tried.

If you've got elementary school kids, this lice comb is well-worth the next-day-air-ship fee at Amazon. Blows away any combs you can buy at the drugstore. While you're at it, you might as well buy this magnifying visor so you can see what you're doing.
posted by instamatic at 11:46 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is "merely" melamine foam, and it is available from other sources, allegedly including Aldi Sued locations around the world.
posted by knile at 7:52 AM on December 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Gallseife (magical german stain remover mentioned upthread by ms.codex) is not available in the US. I have traveling friends bring me some once a year or so. It really works! Makes for a good (if weird) travel souvenir.
posted by The Toad at 6:35 AM on December 26, 2012

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