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charliecompany34's avatar

When you discover you are out of a vital cooking ingredient or hygiene product, what is the substitute?

Asked by charliecompany34 (7804points) December 17th, 2009

the dish you are cooking needs this herb right now, but not one neighbor has a few saffron shreds or a sprig of rosemary. you just ran out of toothpaste—now what do i use?

resourceful people: what is a good substitute for stuff from rosemary, toothpaste, wine for cooking, deoderant, onions, printer ink, wood fire starters, cold medicine to fuel, cooking oil, hair spray—even shampoo? why do they call it shampoo anyway? what is the good substitute of virtually anything?

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33 Answers

charliecompany34's avatar

is baking soda really all-purpose?

SamIAm's avatar

peroxide or mouthwash & a toothbrush for toothpaste, vitamin c for colds, a different kind of oil for cooking other than what the recipe calls for, depending on what you’re making. shampoo… hand soap, like a mild one? and yes baking soda is basically god. you can brush your teeth with that too, make a lil paste… feels gross but whitens and will work temporarily

HighShaman's avatar

I am the kind of person who NEVER runs out .

I continually get stock / track of what I have and re-stock BEFORE I run out .

charliecompany34's avatar

@Samantha_Rae i know! the other day we ran out of soap and i grabbed up the AVON kitchen handwash soap and made it happen that way.

pjanaway's avatar

Run out of food = Get takeaway.

Run out of hygiene products = Don’t care, I can go weeks without them. :)

Why is shampoo called shampoo?
The English usage can be traced back to 1762, with the meaning “to massage”. The word was a loan from Anglo-Indian shampoo, in turn from the Hindi word “champo” (चम्पु), imperative of champna, “to press, knead the muscles, massage”.” – Wiki Answers

MarthaStewart's avatar

Take 1 tablespoon of vaseline and melt it in a frying pan. You are now ready to fry just about anything. Ok, it doesn’t taste like butter, nor extra virgin olive oil, but it will keep those eggs from sticking, and keeps your lips from chapping.

Jude's avatar

Toothpaste: baking soda, cooking oil: butter, hairspray: au natural, deordorant: hand sanitizer.

charliecompany34's avatar

@MarthaStewart are you serious??? vaseline? uh, ok…

SamIAm's avatar

@jmah : really, hand sanitizer?

for computer ink: a portable usb thing
herbs: dried if you have to
vinegar is good for so many things, and i feel like lemon & avocado (not together) are good for hygiene replacements

charliecompany34's avatar

@MarthaStewart i mean i have to trust a flutherer with the name martha stewart.

SamIAm's avatar

@charliecompany34 : no! you cannot replace cooking oil with vaseline!!!!

Jude's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Yes, antibacterial hand sanitizers.

charliecompany34's avatar

@Samantha_Rae whats in vaseline anyway?

YCLYHO's avatar

fortunately i dont keed a substitue, i live a 5 minute walk from a massive supermarket – it has its advantages, i guess! :)

ratboy's avatar

Out of KY Jelly—Crisco!

HighShaman's avatar

@MarthaStewart LOL… It will be a cold day in He** when I fry my eggs in vaseline…. just isn’t going to happen .

I don’t run out of oil and butter etc…. BUT; if I did…. would go without until I replaced them.

Thanks for the advice though ..

SamIAm's avatar

it’s petroleum jelly…. not that this is so helpful but wiki

charliecompany34's avatar

does anybody here still replace cold medicine with a hot toddy?

HighShaman's avatar

@charliecompany34 I have used the hot toddy on several occassions…. kind of taste better than some of the so called “Medicines” ....

rangerr's avatar

Wtheck is a hot toddy?

If there’s no food, I order pizza.
If I run out of anything else, I get in the car and go get it.

lonelydragon's avatar

Here’s my substitution list:

1. Deodorant—Baby powder.

2. Shampoo—Some body washes can be used as shampoo, in small amounts. And baby powder absorbs oil when combed into the hair.

3. Wine—I just go without it or use apple cider vinegar.

4. Toothpaste—Mouthwash. I’ve also heard that women in the Depression Era used to clean their teeth with rags dipped in salt.

5. Printer ink—If you have run out of black printer ink, your printer may have the option of printing the document using a composite of all the colored inks, which in turn looks black.

6. Cold medicine—That depends on the symptoms. If you have a sore throat, you can drink hot lemon tea with honey or gargle with salt water. If you are congested, take a long, hot shower. The steam is a great decongestant!

CMaz's avatar


It’s a floor wax and a desert topping.
Hey, outlasts every other leading floor wax, 2 to 1. It’s durable, and it’s scuff-resistant.

And it’s delicious!

Cruiser's avatar

Garlic…anything cooked with garlic taste great and eat and or rub enough on yourself and you will smell delicious!!

charliecompany34's avatar

@rangerr a hot toddy is something with whiskey or other potent alcohol to knock you out at night like nyquil, but it’s warm and lemony.

charliecompany34's avatar

@ChazMaz dude are you serious?

CMaz's avatar


Season 1: Episode 9

laureth's avatar

This reminds me of my vacation to a rustic part of Jamaica. Another woman in the group started her period and no “feminine products” were available. She approached the wife of the owner of the place where we were staying and asked what a Jamaican woman would do under these circumstances. “You go to de cotton tree, no trouble!” So my friend spent the day with a handful of fluffy, seeded cotton straight off the plant, stuffed in her underwear.

charliecompany34's avatar

ooh ooh! try paper towels for coffee filters.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Vaseline is definitely for external use only. You’re giving the real Martha Steward a bad name. Gross.

jca's avatar

i will probably never run out of shampoo, conditioner or toothpaste because i keep large quantities in the closets. i like different types of shampoo and usually have about 5 bottles going at once, for variety (although lately, i use only one: 365 lavender shampoo by Whole Foods: $4 for 32 oz, smells nice, too). Toilet paper i keep massive Costco quantities.

i have used shower gel as shampoo, and not only did it smell nice but my hairdresser commented on my hair being healthy when i went to him after.

i think every woman that has been out and had her period start has used paper towels at some point in her life.

YARNLADY's avatar

The universal substitute – water

Seek's avatar

There are few things in the world that cannot be cleaned with some combination of
White vinegar
baking soda
a lemon

Some salt sprinkled on half a lemon will take the grease off the bottom of the oven. White vinegar poured in the hair will rinse out oil and product buildup. Baking soda does everything.

If you run out of deodorant, wipe your armpits with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, or hand sanitizer. This will kill odor-causing bacteria. To avoid sweating and rebuilding the colony, dust your pits with talcum powder, cornstarch, or baking soda.

A paste of baking soda and peroxide or lemon juice makes an effective if not particularly tasty toothpaste. Make sure to rinse well with water.

If you run out of shampoo – do without. Most of us wash our hair far too often anyway.

Use marjoram instead of rosemary – it’s a nice change! Basil instead of oregano. Allspice and cloves are nearly interchangeable.

josie's avatar

Duct tape

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