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Every parent of an infant has had that moment where they look at the baby’s snacks and wonder, “What does this taste like?” That’s when they take a quick nibble and learn that…well, it’s not too bad, actually.
Babies, after all, are just extremely young and tiny humans, and products that work for humans tend to work for all humans. Granted, your kid’s food might not be especially tasty, but most baby products have a variety of practical uses—some of which are pretty surprising.
The next time you go shopping for your baby, pick up two of everything. You’re going to want to get in on this stuff. We assembled a list of baby products that can be life-changing pickups for adults; if you’re only using this stuff for its intended purpose, you’re missing out.
1. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste isn’t just for butts.
This stuff is a goldmine of DIY hacks. It’s full of zinc oxide, which is a great remedy for irritated skin. That’s why it’s one of the best diaper rash ointments on the market; it offers instant relief without parabens, talc, and other harsh ingredients.
This stuff is pretty magical, and it’s just as useful on adult skin—don’t let the silly name scare you off. Try a small amount of paste on your next horrible mosquito bite or dab it on your sunburn for a bit of immediate relief. Remember, a little goes a long ways.Get a 16-ounce jar of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste on Amazon for $9.49
By the way, if you’re using this product regularly, you really need to pick up the brush applicator. Made from BPA-free silicone, it lets you keep your hands clean while evenly applying Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (or the ointment of your choice) to your baby. It’s easy to clean, and if you’ve ever had diaper rash ointment stuck under your nails, you’ll certainly appreciate the appeal.
Alternately, you could just use a silicone spatula, but you’ll never be able to use it for cooking again. Trust us, the brush is worth your $10.Get Boudreaux’s Butt Brush on Amazon for $9.49
2. Baby shampoo is a super-gentle cleanser.
High-quality baby shampoo is hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, and free from parabens and other potentially harsh ingredients. That means it’s ideal for people with sensitive skin, and it’s useful on skin that you wouldn’t want to expose to soaps and harsher cleansers.
The possibilities are pretty limitless; if you’re prone to eyelid irritation, for instance, you can use a drop of the stuff on a washcloth to scrub those lids in the shower. Goodbye, mascara.
Even if you don’t need baby shampoo yourself, it’s helpful stuff to have around. It’s the ideal cleanser for dog and cat baths (assuming you can get your pet into the tub in the first place). It’s also excellent for cleaning your combs and makeup brushes when they start to get a little greasy.
In short, baby shampoo is the ultimate soap. Why do we even bother with anything else?Get a 20-ounce bottle of Johnson’s Baby Tear Free Shampoo on Amazon for $6.65
3. Baby wipes seem tailor-made for makeup removal.
Many makeup removers are soaked with alcohol, which can dry out your skin, causing irritation and redness. Sure, they’re effective, but if you’re left with damaged skin, what’s the point?
Instead of using one of those products, reach for a nice, cool baby wipe to scrub away your makeup. Pack a few with you when you go out of town to use as a quick, hassle-free face wash.
Since they’re typically free from soaps and other harsh ingredients, baby wipes are also excellent for cleaning computer keyboards. They can even shine your shoes, although you’ll want to spot test on a small area before you throw out your other products.
Everyone should have these on hand—and manufacturers should really consider renaming them “everything wipes.”Get a box of 480 Amazon Elements sensitive baby wipes on Amazon for $11.99.
4. Diapers are a key ingredient in a super-effective ice pack.
As the video below demonstrates, you can use diapers for something way beyond their intended purpose. With some specific liquids and an absorbent diaper, you can create a reliable, reusable ice pack.
Sure, diapers are expensive in bulk, but when you can get them for about $0.15 per count, they’re much cheaper than commercial ice packs—and for new parents, they’re much more readily available.Get 252 Luvs Ultra Leakguards diapers on Amazon for $33.95.
5. Baby powder has all kinds of uses.
The purpose of baby powder is to prevent friction. Well, we could all use a little less friction in our lives, right?
Commercial baby powders make for a decent stand-in for dry shampoo or deodorant, and they can help prevent stinky feet by sucking up moisture. Bring your favorite baby powder to the beach, and you can use it to remove sand from your feet. Really, we’re just scratching the surface here. Watch the video to see a few of our favorite baby powder hacks:
While the link between modern talcum powder (which no longer contains asbestos) and ovarian cancer is unclear, you might want to find a talc-free baby powder just in case. There are plenty of them on the market, and talc-free formulas can be just as effective. Look for a product with corn starch or another natural talc alternative, and if possible, pick something with a light, natural fragrance.
Our pick is Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder (you’ll notice that they left “baby” out of the name, despite the fact that this is a baby skin care product—the good people at Burt’s Bees apparently realize that this stuff is great for adults, too).Get three 7.5-ounce bottles of Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Talc-Free Dusting Powder on Amazon for $20.50.
We should note that Burt’s Bees has a light fragrance. If you’re looking for a completely unscented option, check out Ora’s Amazing Herbal Baby Powder. It’s made with pure kaolin clay powder, tested to ensure that it’s lead-free, along with baking soda, arrowroot powder, and organic plantain leaf powder.Get Ora’s Amazing Herbal Baby Powder on Amazon for $13.27.
6. Pedialyte can help to quickly hydrate adults.
After a night of overindulgence, try sipping Pedialyte. It’s packed with electrolytes and it has less sugar than most sports drinks.
It was designed to rehydrate sick children, but it can do the same thing for adults. Whether you’re fighting through a nasty flu or you simply need to rehydrate quickly after a long hike, this stuff works will do the trick. It doesn’t taste awful, either; just don’t expect the sugary sweetness of a sports drink, and you won’t be disappointed.Get 24 powder packs of Pedialyte on Amazon for $26.97.
Just add water to the powder packs and you’re good to go. It’s wonderful for preventing headaches, muscle cramps, and other common symptoms of dehydration.
Another option is Pedialyte Advanced Care, which is formulated for higher electrolyte loss. We’re not sure whether Pedialyte is recognizing that a sizable portion of their consumer base is made up of (ahem) dehydrated adults, but one glance at the Amazon reviews will show you that grown-ups seem to appreciate this new formulation.Get four one-liter bottles of Pedialyte Advanced Care on Amazon for $21.96.
7. People with sensitive skin should try switching to baby detergent.
Soaps for babies are super gentle, and the same is true about laundry detergent made for the pre-K set.
Many adults with allergies or skin sensitivities find that baby detergents bother them less than typical adult detergents, which are packed with chemicals and fragrances. Ultimately, any detergent should work about the same—and if you’re dealing with especially tough stains, we’ve got tips to help you out.
Dreft is a liquid detergent specifically formulated for babies, and it’s the baby detergent most commonly recommended by pediatricians.Get a 150-ounce bottle of Dreft Baby Laundry Detergent on Amazon for $35.99.
If you’re looking for a dry detergent, Nellie’s All-Natural Baby Powder Laundry Detergent is one highly reviewed option. It’s free from fragrance, phosphates, and other potentially harmful additives, and it contains an extra concentration of sodium percarbonate, an oxidizing agent, for extra stain-fighting power. Plus, it’s affordable; a single tin can clean up to 80 loads.Get Nelly’s All-Natural Baby Powder Laundry Detergent on Amazon for $18.00.
8. Baby sunscreen is powerful enough to work for adults, too.
No matter how old you are, SPF is SPF.
SPF—which stands for Sun Protection Factor, if you’re unaware—is a measure of how much time your skin would take to turn red while wearing the product, as opposed to how much time that would take when you’re not wearing the product.
We’ve got a much more detailed look at sunscreen here, if you’re interested, but the bottom line is that SPF ratings aren’t age dependent. Try pilfering a little of your infant’s sunscreen the next time you head to the beach. As with many of the other products on this list, infant sunscreens are often formulated without harsh additives, so they’re ideal for sensitive skin.
For the most protection, pick the highest SPF level you can find and enjoy your day at the beach with peace of mind.Get two 6-ounce bottles of Babyganics Mineral-Based SPF 50 Sunscreen on Amazon for $18.52.
9. Baby oil helps you remove mascara.
Waterproof mascara is awesome stuff; it doesn’t smudge, even when you’re exercising, and you can break into a blubbering mess during Won’t You Be My Neighbor? without rocking a total goth look. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come off easily—hey, that’s sort of the point.
If you find yourself struggling to clean your mascara off of your eyelashes, reach for a bottle of baby oil. Why is this effective? Waterproof mascara is, well, waterproof, so trying to wash it off in the sink won’t do much. Fortunately, oil and water don’t mix, so oil can help to break down tough cosmetics. Just dip a cotton swab in baby oil and gently apply to your eyelashes with side-to-side swipes. Rinse and you’re done.Get two 14-ounce bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s Original Baby Oil on Amazon for $12.98.
Johnson & Johnson’s oil is just mineral oil, formulated to absorb quickly into your baby’s skin without causing irritation. It’s hypoallergenic, and it’s frequently recommended by dermatologists. That means that it’s safe for your infant, and it’s also safe for your eyelids and other sensitive areas.
Baby oil is also useful for keeping your skin hydrated. If that’s the type of thing you’re after, we’d recommend something like Mountain Falls baby oil, which has added aloe vera and vitamin E. However, if you’re just looking to wash off mascara, stick with the simplest formula you can find.Get a four-pack of 20-ounce bottles of Mountain Falls Baby Oil with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E on Amazon for $12.75.
10. Speaking of which, diaper cream is extraordinarily effective as a moisturizer.
You can spend $100 on a tub of super-fancy, age-defying face cream, or you can just reach for the nearest tube of diaper cream. It locks in moisture and helps your skin stay hydrated.
Diaper cream is also good for dry skin wherever it shows up, and it can soothe the sting of razor burn.Get a 2-ounce tub of Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm on Amazon for $8.32.
11. Nursing cream is designed for nursing mothers, but it has other uses, too.
If you’ve nursed a baby, you know that nursing cream is one of the most wonderful substances ever invented. It gently hydrates while relieving soreness and chafing, keeping your skin soft and healthy.
And while these ointments are designed for extremely sensitive skin (which might be an understatement), they’re also useful for dry skin anywhere else on your body. If you notice your skin cracking, try dabbing with a bit of high-quality nursing cream and enjoy the instant relief.
We especially like nursing cream for treating chapped lips. Other treatments seem to dry out our lips, so we’re constantly applying more and more to get the same effect; nursing cream, on the other hand, can soothe sensitive skin with a single application. We’re big fans of cocoa butter, so Palmer’s Nursing Butter is our favorite.Get a 1.1-ounce bottle of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Nursing Cream on Amazon for $6.50.
It’s a simple formula—pure petrolatum with cocoa butter and pro-vitamin B5—but sometimes, simplicity is a good thing.
While we’re on the subject, if you’re currently nursing, high-quality breast pads can make your life much easier. Lanisnoh nursing pads are our pick, since they’re comfortable, leak proof, and discreet.Get a 36-pack of Lansinoh nursing pads on Amazon for $5.99.
12. Gripe water has been keeping colicky babies comfortable for generations.
It can ease adults’ upset stomachs, too. The best brands use real ginger and fennel, two herbs that soothe belly pain without unpleasant gastronomical side effects.
Next time you get a little gassy or come down with some nausea, reach for your infant’s bottle of gripe water for quick relief.
Wellements’ formula is pediatrician recommended, and the vegan, USDA-certified organic ingredients provide some extra peace of mind. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated—those organic ingredients won’t stay fresh forever. The manufacturer recommends using the entire bottle or discarding it within four weeks of opening.Get a 4-ounce bottle of Wellements Organic Gripe Water on Amazon for $8.49.
Another highly ranked gripe water is Mommy’s Bliss, which relieves discomfort from gas and colic with organic ginger and fennel. Again, it’s certified organic, and because it contains no artificial colors or flavors, it’s safe for sensitive stomachs. Adults may not find the formula too tasty, but it works—and really, that’s the important thing.Get Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water on Amazon for $19.96.
13. Baby shampoo doubles as a perfect detergent for delicate fabrics.
You can’t throw your cashmere sweater in the wash with everything else. Fragile, high-quality fabrics require a little babying, and in this case, we mean that literally.
Baby shampoo can gently wash your nicest clothes without fading colors, and it’s also effective for spot-treating stains. Simply add a small quantity to your laundry load; for best results, wash small loads with cold water.Get two 8-ounce bottles of Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo for Hair & Body on Amazon for $9.48.
14. Baby oil also works well for polishing stainless steel.
Nothing looks classier than a kitchen full of stainless-steel appliances. Unfortunately, nothing collects grease and grime like this chic metal, either.
The simple solution is to rinse down your stainless steel appliances with a bit of dish soap. Once you’ve got the gunk removed, it’s time to start polishing, and that’s where the baby oil comes in. It smells better than steel polish, it’s less abrasive, and it leaves your appliances sparkling.
Rub down steel surfaces with an oiled cloth to create a clean, bright shine. Use a circular motion to distribute the oil evenly, then sit back and admire your handiwork. This works on faucets too, by the way—if it’s made from steel, a bit of baby oil will leave it looking brand new.
Since baby oil is basically just mineral oil, it’s also an effective polish for wooden surfaces. Wooden tables tend to collect water rings (regardless of how many times you tell your guests to use a coaster).
Polish a table with baby oil and those rings will disappear. The oil also forms a barrier against moisture, so it’ll make new water rings less likely to show up.Get three 4-ounce bottles of Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Baby Nourishing Oil on Amazon for $17.96.
15. Baby wipes can get rid of deodorant stains.
Oh, you thought we were done with baby wipes?
We’ve yet to meet a dark shirt that doesn’t show deodorant streaks. Deodorant is a tough thing to get out of your clothes, and unless you decide to forego your favorite deodorant entirely—and, by the way, we’ve got a full piece dedicated to natural deodorants that actually work—you’re going to have to deal with the occasional stain.
The only surefire remedy: baby wipes. They gently draw out the stain without leaving behind any dull spots on dark clothes. Wipe down the white residue on your dark clothing with a baby wipe, then marvel at the results. This is seriously a game changer. We’d recommend choosing an unscented pack of baby wipes for this purpose since you don’t want any strange fragrances intermingling with the scent of your deodorant.Get bloom BABY Unscented Baby Wipes on Amazon for $7.99.
16. We’ve got one more use for those baby wipes, and it’s a weird one.
They’re remarkably effective for cleaning your pets. Stay with us, here.
There’s no way you’re coaxing your cat into the bathtub, and you can’t take her to the grooming place every time she gets a little dirty. Baby wipes are a great way to take care of a feline’s messy face (or, uh, any other messy areas) without infuriating them.
Baby wipes aren’t wet enough to irritate your cat, and you might even be able to convince them that you’re just petting them. Once again, we’d go with an unscented product, since cats are notoriously sensitive to fragrances. Read the ingredients; the simpler, the better.Get a 648-count box of Huggies Natural Care unscented baby wipes on Amazon for $13.90.
17. While we’re discussing animals, we’ve got another strange tip.
If you’ve got a bird feeder, you know that it’s difficult to keep squirrels from driving off your avian friends. Sure, you can shoo the rodents away, but the second your back’s turned, they’ll climb up to the top of the birdfeeder and gorge themselves on birdseed.
Experienced parents usually have a few tubs of petroleum jelly sitting around. It’s great for preventing diaper rash and keeping skin soft and supple, but it’s also effective for preventing squirrels from climbing. Apply a thin layer to the outside of your bird feeder, and squirrels won’t be able to keep their grip.
It doesn’t hurt the squirrels, it won’t bother the birds, and it’ll save you some money on wasted birdseed. Plus, it’s nearly invisible after it’s applied, so you can enjoy your birdwatching in peace.Get a four-pack of Mountain Falls Petroleum Jelly here on Amazon for $7.98.