5 Products With Unintentional Double Uses
Look, I know you might be clicking into this article with rage rising in your throat and spattering the back of your teeth. “If this is a GODDAMN life-hack article, from my BELOVED Cracked” you might be thinking, cracking your knuckles and preparing to head to the comments section with the righteous rage of an orphaned freedom fighter. Ready to demand heads roll helter-skelter and to proclaim the oft-trumpeted Death of CrackedDotCom.
I’m right there with you on general life-hack content. Nobody’s about to tell you to stick a fucking bagel in a CD spindle. As soon as people smelled pageviews in the water of Lifehack Sea, such articles have been pumped out ad nauseum (in the true sense of the phrase, when it comes to that bagel “tote”). But for all the tips that demand you basically smash two pieces of trash together with a half-hearted “ta-da!”, there are some that have genuinely interesting science behind them.
Here are five second uses for items that are actually interesting…
Coca-Cola Drain Cleaner
You’ve probably heard some spooky stories about the destructive properties of Coca-Cola, either on the playground (hopefully when you were younger) or the office water cooler. If you leave Object X in Coca-Cola for an extended period of time, it dissolves! Imagine what it’s doing to your INSIDES! I don’t think I need to go into why this is dumb. Here’s what Coca-Cola does inside you: It turns into pee. Inconvenient maybe, depending on your access to a bathroom, but not horrific.
One place that you can actually find some use out of this health-food folklore, though, is in the bathroom. Coca-Cola, left to sit in a clogged drain for a period of time, can genuinely clear the clog. It’s more than just carbonation or general liquid properties, but instead thanks to the phosphoric acid content in Coke and other dark-colored colas (Sprite, for example, won’t do anything but citrus up your bathroom scent). It works as a much weaker form of the sulfuric acid you might find in proper drain cleaners. Obviously, drain cleaners, deeply unworried about taste or edibility, work much better, but it’s not pure bullshit.
Another snack food repurposing you might have come across on TikTok is the use of Doritos as a firestarter. Sure, it might seem patently useless, given that access to Doritos and a need for survival don’t usually exist in the same space. I would argue, however, that amateur glampers or campers, or improvised bonfire attendees, might be exactly the type of person who would have a heaping bag of unhealthy snacks on hand.
The science here turns out to be sound as well, and not just in a general “stuff burns” way. Doritos not only burn, they burn hotter and more steadily than most materials. The three keys are corn, oil and salt, helped along by the fact that a lot of engineering has already gone into making sure your Doritos aren’t soggy. By that fact alone, you’re starting with dry kindling helped by salt as well. Once lit, it turns out that corn and vegetable oil are a phenomenal firestarting duo. The corn actually burns hotter than wood, and the oil keeps the flame steady. Other chips with similar makeup, like Fritos, work just as well, if in a less convenient shape.
Bread for Busted Glass
So, you slipped up and shattered a glass in your living space. You useless, clumsy worm! I can’t believe you’ve done this! Mother will be cross, and put us back in the basement cage! Anyways, unless you’re just going to straight-up John McClane it and enjoy some impromptu and useless body piercing, you’ve got to clean that shit up.
Weirdly, the best tool for the job might be a slice of bread. Especially the butt end, since those pieces are disgusting trash to begin with. The thickness of the bread provides protection for your hand as long as you’re not mashing it like a frustrated Frankenstein’s monster, and the softness and moisture of the bread both help envelop and hold even tiny pieces. It’s basically a softer, disposable wet sponge, that you won’t accidentally use to clean dishes later and end up with a sink out of Hellraiser.
Perfume as Mosquito Repellent
This one is a recent discovery that’s spreading quickly on TikTok. It’s also, in a way, a reverse life-hack, as it’s a tip that if used heavily will absolutely decimate your bank account. Still, the scientific explanation is interesting. It’s centered around a Victoria’s Secret perfume called Bombshell that people have found to repel mosquitoes, something (somewhat) backed up by a scientific study.
According to scientists, it’s less to do with any specific compounds and more with the fact that apparently, Bombshell is just a deeply, deeply confusing scent for mosquitoes. Spray on enough and you stop smelling like delicious, blood-filled human meat and more like some strange flower-based They Live style impostor. Of course, at 60 bucks a tiny bottle, and given that you’d have to use the perfume generously enough that you smell like a mall Abercrombie, you’re probably still better off with, you know… mosquito repellent.
Let’s just say that with a few intermediate steps, fertilizer and buildings become mortal enemies. You’re going to have to do your own research on this one, because I don’t feel like getting a mouthful of boot from Homeland Security.
Eli Yudin is a stand-up comedian in Brooklyn. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @eliyudin and listen to his podcast, What A Time to Be Alive, about the five weirdest news stories of the week, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever else you get your podcasts.