The Secret in Your Sugar Bowl

One of the best ways to make your skin really soft is to use a sugar scrub. Sugar scrubs are available in a number of commercial skin-care products, used as an exfoliant in the tub or shower. The problem is that these scrubs can be pricey. That’s why today’s first great reader tip, recently posted at my blog, caught my attention. I’d never thought about ditching the pricey scrub and going straight for the sugar. But I tried it and it works.

JUST A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR. Instead of buying expensive skin and facial scrubs from the department store, I use plain old sugar. I have it in a covered shaker container in my shower. I sprinkle some into my hand and gently scrub my face and neck with it, then rinse off. Works just as well as the store-bought scrubs, and I won’t run out because I always have it in the house. I also don’t have to worry about fragrance in my sugar scrub, which can be a problem with my asthma. Maryann, EC blog

NO HASSLE FIRE STARTERS. I save empty toilet paper rolls and keep them by my dryer. I stuff dryer lint inside the cardboard roll and fold down the ends when they’re full of lint (like a roll of coins). These make great fire starters for the fireplace and for campfires, too. Vicki, EC blog

CRAFTY LUNCH BAGS. I used to make fabric lunch bags from the bottoms of denim jeans (or other pants). A piece of velcro held the top folded down. My children enjoyed decorating their bags with puffy paints, and even my businessman husband used one. When the bags were soiled, I just threw them in the wash. My kids are grown, but the bags are still around! Bev, EC blog

PIZZA CUTTER MAGIC. I cut my kids’ pancakes into triangles or squares with a pizza cutter. I do this before the syrup goes on. It’s fast and easy and it doesn’t tear the pancakes. Caroline, EC blog

MORE PIZZA CUTTER MAGIC. I use a pizza cutter to cut up a plate of spaghetti for my little ones. Just roll it through the pasta and with just a few strokes, the pasta is in bite-size pieces, ready for a fork or spoon! Michelle, EC blog

WARMING WITHOUT FOIL. I use our crockpot or toaster oven to keep food warm when the entire meal isn’t quite done. It cuts down on aluminum foil since I don’t have to use foil to cover the dishes. Sadie, EC blog

STAINS ARE MAGICALLY ERASED. I save on detergent by using Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to get rid of coffee and tea stains in my mugs and tea cups. I simply swipe the stains away. Even the really cheap version at the Dollar Tree stores work well. I use them in my teapot, too. Pamela, EC blog

Question: If you’re not visiting every day, you’re missing out on a lot. Join the fun by posting your own tips, or just catching up with all your fellow cheapskates as they discuss the day’s column and post their comments here.


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  • Sandy

    Baking soda on a cloth or scrubbie can be used to remove stains in cups. And the soda is good for your drain.

  • Mmpotato

    The MagicEraser comment plain scares me! Since this product contains known carcinogens, I will only use it when absolutely necessary and then only with gloved hands and plenty of ventilation. The last thing place I’d use it is for food/beverage containers…and I’d strongly encourage you to avoid this purpose too!!

  • Sue Riedl

    I have used corn meal for many years with excellent results. I put some regular corn meal in the palm of my hand and use a cloth to exfoliate my face. Really feels refreshed afterwards and looks great!
    Sue Riedl,
    Brandon Fl

  • Loiuse

    I would be careful with using sugar in the shower. The sugar makes the bottom of the shower slippery and can cause falls. I don’t use sugar scrubs for this reason. However, epsom salts make good scrubs too and aren’t slippery. I combine the salts with my shower gel.

    • Maryann

      Haven’t fallen yet, but thanks for the warning!

    • Manya

      Hi, I think maybe you’re using soap along with the sugar, because sugar just dissolves when water hits it. Try using plain sugar without anything else, and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well it works!

  • Jan Jones

    just wanted to add this link for a homemade sugar scrub that I found through Pinterest. It is vanilla, sugar and coconut oil. Sounds wonderful! I will be making some for Christmas gifts.

  • Joy

    The more time goes on the more I love basic household items for cleaning or personal use. Cheap, easy to get, better for you, and less clutter since commercial products are so specialized you end up with tons of different products. One of my favorites is home made deodorant – coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch and I added a couple drops of essential oils. Takes a couple days for the body to adjust and after that it works great.

    My favorite use for the pizza cutter is to cut dough for chicken and dumplings. The dough is stickier than most and needs to be cut into small pieces. The pizza cutter works beautifully and gets it done in no time.

  • Elle

    I also have been using plain sugar as a body scrub for the last couple of years. It softens my skin better than any commercial product I’ve found, and it also is the best thing we’ve found for my teenage son’s acne-prone skin. A big plus for me is that it doesn’t have any artificial ingredients in it since I tend to be very sensitive to that type of thing.