5 Natural Products and Their Surprising Uses

Do you know that there’s a cheaper alternative to expensive branded solutions to beauty and health ailments? Even substitutes to cleaning solutions can be found in your kitchen shelves. Check out these natural food products and their surprising benefits and uses. See which one works for you.

by Nigel Santos, 10 August 2017

Food is for eating, right? But there are natural foods that have some surprising alternative uses and benefits that you probably didn’t know. Coconut oil, vinegar, coffee, and more—did you know that these items have amazing cleaning super powers? Even better, using food-based and natural household cleaners are an environmentally conscious choice that can also help you save money. Before you buy your next bottle of cleaning solution, read first about these brilliant kitchen items with incredible uses.

1. Virgin Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that can help improve your health in many ways. It is one of the best types of good fat that you can actually add to your diet. It is recommended for cooking because it can withstand high temperature without breaking down or burning. It is also being recognized as a powerful tool to fight immune system related diseases because it is rich in vitamins, and minerals. But did you know that you can also use coconut oil to prolong the freshness of eggs? All you have to do is swipe a small amount of it over the shells of the eggs. This helps prevent exposure of the egg to oxygen and extends the egg life for up to two weeks. According to researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology, you can also use coconut oil as a mouthwash. Its antibiotic properties can destroy the bacteria in your mouth helping prevent tooth decay. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda, then just add few drops of peppermint essential oils, and voila! You already have a homemade natural mouthwash.

2. Lemon

We already know that lemons have the power to add flavor to some of our favorite recipes, and to cure cold and flu by adding it to our hot tea. But did you know that they are also very useful in the house? To get rid of unpleasant odors in your fridge or in your garbage disposal, just toss in some lemons after you’ve juiced and zested them! It can also be used to get odors out of cutting boards, bowls, and wooden rolling pins. A few spritz of lemon juice on to outdoor house paint will also keep the insects away until it dries. You can even create your own air humidifier/purifier for your kitchen using lemons. Make a few slices, place it in a pot, cover with water, and let simmer for an hour. Another lemon hack: Throw in old and rusty cutlery in the pot since lemons are also known to clean and remove rust from stainless steel.

3. Aloe Vera

Also known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is the go-to remedy for sunburns. Aloe leaves secrete a clear gel that can heal wounds and soothe the skin. Various studies have shown that aloe vera has special antibacterial properties, vitamins, and minerals that treat hair and scalp problems, and even more serious skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and skin ulcers. Aside from that, it also aids in digestion and helps relieve mouth sores if you chew pieces of its fresh leaves. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, aloe vera is helpful in treating gum diseases. For beauty and skincare, you can use it as a natural makeup remover, shaving cream, and hand sanitizer.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

There are so many benefits to taking apple cider vinegar—from helping to ward off symptoms of a cold, aiding weight loss, to easing a cough—so it’s always a good idea to have some in your kitchen cupboard. If you have an upset stomach, try mixing one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water. Apple cider vinegar has pectin that helps soothe intestinal spasms. It is also one of the best remedies to stop a hiccup. Its sour taste stimulates the nerves in the throat that are responsible for the spasms. It’s a powerful tool to get rid of dandruff, too. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, on his website, apple cider vinegar is highly recommended as dandruff treatment. Its acidity changes the pH of the scalp making it harder for the yeast to grow. Just mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup of water. Put the mix in a spray bottle, and then spritz on your scalp.

5. Coffee

For coffee lovers, drinking a cup of coffee every morning is a must. But did you know that coffee also has uses outside of being an awesome energy booster? The coffee grounds can still be useful after you’ve had your morning fix. Because coffee is high in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals, it makes for good fertilizer. Small amounts of coffee grounds can be added directly to the top soil. It is recommended to use in plants that prefer high acidity in soil like roses. Because of coffee’s strong odor, it can also be used as an insect repellant.