7 Substitutions for Everyday Essentials
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When you’re in quarantine and practicing social distancing, you want to avoid leaving your house as much as possible. So what do you do when you run out of some of your everyday essentials? Although it might be tempting to go to the store, you should substitute what you can, and you might be surprised at how easy the swaps can be. Here are some of our favorite substitutions for everyday essentials. Another way to avoid a physical store visit is to order essentials online. Before you do, get Wikibuy which automatically adds available coupon and promo codes to your cart across thousands of retailers before you checkout so you don’t overpay.
1. Flushable wipes instead of toilet paper
Toilet paper is a precious commodity, but you can’t always find it at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Instead of reaching for a box of tissues and hoping you don’t clog your toilet, grab a few packages of flushable wipes. These are a solid option because many have antibacterial properties and can actually double as hand wipes—a bonus swap for hand sanitizer. Keep one package in your bathroom, stow one in your car, and take another one with you in your backpack or purse. They’re a versatile little helper and a fantastic swap for tough times.
2. Kitchen towels instead of paper towels
Paper towels work just fine for daily messes, but they’re not the most eco-friendly option—and once they’re all used up, you inevitably need to restock. A way to avoid this is to use a few sets of kitchen towels. You can have one designated for floor spills, one for the counter, and one for drying dishes. When they’re dirty, just pop them in the washing machine, and then they’ll be ready to get back to work. Kitchen towels come in all different styles, so you can find the ones that add personality to your kitchen while you clean.
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3. Stock instead of cooking oil
Whether you use olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter, cooking oils are essential for getting meals on the table. But what do you do if you run out and the shelves are empty? Reach for a box of that chicken, beef, or vegetable stock that you have in your pantry. Just a splash of stock can keep food from sticking to your pan while sautéing in the same way an oil would—and it can also add wonderful flavor to your food. Although this substitute doesn’t work for everything (you can’t exactly bake a cake with stock instead of butter) it’s still an excellent way to cook veggies, add flavor to rice, or give your dinner that extra punch it needs.
4. Baking soda instead of laundry detergent and kitchen cleaners
There’s nothing worse than a hamper full of dirty clothes and no laundry detergent in sight. Instead of opting for the least-stinky T-shirt, find the box of baking soda that’s sitting in your kitchen cabinet. Three-quarters of a cup of baking soda is all you need to do a full load of laundry, and it can effectively get rid of stains and odors in your clothes.
The same principle applies to baking soda as a kitchen cleaner. Here, all you have to do is sprinkle some onto a wet sponge and wipe up any grease stains you have on your oven, countertops, or microwave. Instead of blowing through typical household cleaners—which are not exactly abundant nowadays—a little baking soda will help get rid of kitchen gunk quickly.
5. Dried herbs instead of fresh herbs
Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavor to a dish, but you won’t always have access to a verdant bunch of basil or a sprig of thyme. Making sure you’re stocked on dried herbs will ensure that you can have that same awesome flavor, without needing the fresh stuff. Things like dried parsley, rosemary, and oregano are good options to always have on hand, so whether you want to make a homemade marinara sauce or a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup, you’ll find all the seasonings you need already stored at home. Dried herbs also last a lot longer than fresh ones, so you get more bang for your buck, too. You can find them in individual packages or combined in assortments of Italian seasoning.
6. Water gallons instead of dumbbells
The gyms are closed, and your favorite online shop is all out of workout equipment. The problem is, you still have to get your body moving while isolated inside. So, take a look around the house and find an everyday item to turn into a weight. And the easiest one happens to be a gallon of water (or two) that you can turn into makeshift dumbbells for biceps curls. Then maybe switch to wine bottles for shoulder raises, a case of seltzer for military presses, and a bookbag full of textbooks for some homemade kettlebell swings.
7. Vinegar instead of bathroom cleaners
Like baking soda, half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water can make for a formidable microwave cleaner, but the versatility doesn’t end in the kitchen. Half a cup of vinegar mixed with a gallon of water can get your bathroom tiles clean, while wiping down shower doors and walls with some warm vinegar can remove dirt, bacteria, and mildew. For toilets, simply pour a cup of vinegar in and let it sit overnight. The next morning, just sprinkle some baking soda on a toilet brush and scrub it clean. With cleaning products in short supply, all your answers might be right in the salad dressing aisle.