Secret Lives of Household Items

Become the MacGyver of household chores with these tricky tips.

ByABC News via GMA logo
March 4, 2009, 6:50 PM

March 5, 2009 — -- You've got a pile of household chores to do and errands to run, and you're running a little short on cash.

Most people would be stressing, sweating their way from task to task, but not you. You're cool.

Why? Because "Good Morning America" and lifestyle expert Nancy Soriano have teamed up to bring together some of the most resourceful household tips and tricks to cut down on time and expenses using some familiar household items in some less-familiar ways.

Take note and complete those chores in no time and in a style that would make MacGyver jealous.

Cleaning With Alka-Seltzer or Coca-Cola

On the one hand, you've got a dirty toilet or pots and pans. On the other, you've got a can of Coca-Cola and Alka-Seltzer. No problem.

According to Soriano, you can drop two tablets of Alka-Seltzer in the toilet, wait twenty minutes, brush and then flush for a squeaky clean toilet. The phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola can also do the trick.

For pots and pans, pouring a thick layer of soda directly on pans with badly burned-on food and sprinkling on just a little water can help loosen the food. Leave it soaking overnight and scrub clean the next day.

Doing Double-Time Ironing With Aluminum Foil

Ironing can be time-consuming, but what if you could do it in half the time?

Sliding a sheet of aluminum foil under the ironing board cover can get that done. The foil reflects the heat from the iron so that both sides get heated and ironed at the same time.

Eat a Banana, Then Polish Your Shoes

Banana peels aren't just for comedic value anymore.

The banana might taste good, but the banana peel is where the fruit can really shine, literally.

After de-stringing the banana, it can be used to shine anything from leather shoes to household plant leaves. For a final touch, give them a nice buffing with a soft cloth or paper towel.

According to Soriano, one reason the banana peel works so well is because bananas contain potassium, an ingredient it shares with shoe polish.