Most likely, shampoo and conditioner are already staples in your hair care arsenal. Depending on the particular product, it can soften hair, detangle tresses, add shine or even defrizz. But did you know that these commonplace items have a bunch of other unusual - yet effective - uses? Here are 10 unique ways to apply shampoo and conditioner in some other "hairy" scenarios.
1- Get shrunken clothes back into shape. For most people, the shrunken cotton T-shirt or wool sweater is a common laundry mishap. Jenny Kim of Real Simple suggests adding one tablespoon of baby shampoo (or conditioner) to one quart of water, and soaking your garment in this solution. In the meantime, trace the outline of a properly-sized clothing item on parchment paper. (A piece of cardboard would work just as well.) Squeeze out the excess water from the soaked garment and place it over the paper. The conditioner should soften the fabric enough so that it can be stretched out and reshaped. Kim also suggests using heavy objects (such as glass paperweights or coffee mugs) to hold the garment in place so it can dry flat and retain its shape.
2- Wash your silk garments. Reader's Digest reports it's safe to hand-wash your silk shirts (even those labeled dry clean only) with conditioner. Using warm water for whites and cold water for colors, fill your sink with water and add a tablespoon of conditioner. Let your shirt soak for a few minutes, then rinse and hang it up to dry.
3- Unstick a stuck zipper. The oils in conditioner can loosen a stubborn zipper, according to the same Reader's Digest story. Put a dab of conditioner onto the teeth of the zipper and gently pull it back and forth. This little trick should get your zipper back on track.
4- Remove knots from a gold or silver necklace. In the book Easy Does It: Cheap and Simple Ways to Solve Common Household Problems, the editors suggest putting a drop of shampoo on the knot. Use a straight pin to finagle and loosen the chain until the knot comes undone.
5- Make houseplant leaves shiny. A post on Grandma's Home Remedies notes that you can add a dab of conditioner to a soft cloth and rub it gently on houseplant leaves. This removes dirt and dust and gives your plants a glossy sheen.
6- Brush up your paint or make-up brushes. If you use any type of brush made from natural hair, it's no wonder that shampoo and conditioner would provide the same benefits. First wash the brush with shampoo and rinse. Then work the conditioner into wet bristles, let sit for several minutes and rinse with warm water. This method should help keep your brushes soft and pliable, according to About.com's Makeup Guide, Faith Lawless.
7- Protect your shoes in bad weather. Reader's Digest advises you to lather your winter shoes with conditioner to keep salt and other harsh chemicals off them.
8- Soften and shine leather. In the same post, Reader's Digest claims that hair conditioner works well on leather too.
9- Prevent tools from rusting. Reader's Digest also notes that you can coat various items in your toolbox with conditioner to stop rust from forming.
10- Use conditioner as shaving cream. Conditioner is handy in a pinch if you run out of shaving cream. Naomi Torres, About.com's guide to hair removal, says conditioner can moisturize skin as well as hair.
Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any of your own you'd like to share? We would love to hear from you.