Hair conditioner isn’t a particularly complex thing. Its name says what it does: It conditions your hair. You use it in the shower to offset the drying effect of your shampoo and make your tresses more manageable. It’s simple stuff, right? It’s not that simple, actually. You can do a lot with conditioner besides moisturize your hair. Here are a few unexpected uses for the bath time necessity.
Get a perfect shave
This trick has been around a while and if you’ve ever forgotten shave gel on vacation, you may be familiar with it: Conditioner is great for shaving. It coats the hairs nicely and helps you get a close, smooth shave. Use it as you would any standard shaving product or in place of lathered-up soap.
Unshrink a shirt
A shrunken garment is a bummer, but it’s not necessarily cause to throw your shirt away. Try using conditioner to resize it instead. Fill a sink with hot water, add a squirt of white conditioner, and let the shrunken piece soak for at least five minutes. When you remove it from the water, lay it flat to dry and pull it back to its original size.
Soften itchy fabric
Conditioner won’t just help you resize your shirts — it’ll make them tolerable to wear, too. You can use it to soften itchy wool. Submerge your rough garment in cold water, then press the water out. Apply conditioner and work it into the fabric. Leave it alone for about 30 minutes, rinse the wool, and lay it flat to dry. Now you can finally wear that terrible scarf you’ve always hated.
Give your undies an at-home dry cleaning
Your delicates can be conditioned, too, according to Buzzfeed. Add a tablespoon of conditioner to a sink of room temperature water, submerge undies or fancy clothes for a few minutes, rinse them out, and hang them to dry.
For soft paint and makeup brushes, use a tiny bit of conditioner on them after washing them as you normally would. Work it in before you lay them out to dry and your brushes will be ready to blend, buff, and beautify in no time, according to a Redditor who recommends it.
Reader’s Digest Canada suggests using hair conditioner to prevent rust from forming on your tools. Rub down your wrenches and their toolbox companions with a small amount of conditioner every once in a while to keep them shiny.
Remove stuck rings
There are a lot of ways to remove a stuck ring — we here at Lifehacker have recommended using elastic bands, Windex, and dental floss. I always use hair conditioner, though, because its watery-yet-slippery texture is easier to manage than Vaseline, lotion, or soap.
DIY dryer sheets
You can use conditioner to make dryer sheets, according to The Spruce, which opens up the possibilities for a bunch of new scents. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and conditioner, shake it up, and spray it on a washcloth when laundry day rolls around. Toss the cloth into your machine like you would any dryer sheet.
Polish stainless steel
This tip also comes from The Spruce: Dab some conditioner on a clean cloth and use it to buff off smudges from your stainless steal appliances. Wipe with a clean cloth to remove the excess, and you’ll notice a major shine improvement.
Unclog your drains
Conditioner acts as a lubricant, especially on hair, so if you have a buildup of hair (or anything else) gunking up your drain, squirt a bit of conditioner on the grate, leave it be for about 20 minutes, and rinse with warm water. It should help ease the blockage down, according to home blogger The Krazy Coupon Lady.
Fix zippers and hinges
Hinges squeak or get sticky. Zippers get stuck. Conditioner can help get your metal pieces moving past each other smoothly again, per Buzzfeed. Next time your door is being noisy or your kid is trapped in their winter coat, add a little bit of conditioner where the offending metals meet and slowly manipulate the parts that move (or are supposed to move) back and forth to spread it around.
This is a bonus tip I use myself: You can prolong the time between professional toning or glazing appointments by making a DIY hair mask out of white conditioner and one-step hair dye. Since I’m blonde and opt for cool tones in my hair, I use a tiny, pea-sized amount of purple hair dye in about three cups of white conditioner. I mix it together until I have a very — very — pale lilac goo, then apply it to my hair, wrap it all up in a plastic bag, and chill out for about 20 minutes. Use a teeny-tiny amount of dye and don’t let it sit too long, but it will have a nice toning effect if done correctly.
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