People Name 40 Products We Use For A Different Purpose Than What They Were Actually Designed For

Even the biggest discoveries can happen by accident. So it's only natural that many of the world's famous products were created for one purpose but people found them useful for a completely different task.

In an attempt to learn about as many of these cases as they could, Redditor u/ljchazal posted a question on the platform, asking other users, "What products serve a better purpose than what they were designed for?" And everyone immediately started submitting their answers.

As of this article, there are 14K comments under the post, many of which provide surprising insights into such things as talcum powder or botox. Bored Panda went through them all and handpicked a selection we believe is worthy of your time. Enjoy.


Talcum powder is great for getting excess sand off your feet when you get off the beach and want to put your shoes on without getting sandy socks and shoes for the rest of the day



If you’re in an Asian household, dishwashers serve as excellent drying racks, as do empty ovens.

Image credits: overdramaticteen


The royal dansk danish cookie container, used by many for storing sewing/ knitting supplies

Image credits: JanDiPyo


Melon baller. It's for making balls from melons but works perfectly to take the core out of apples and pears.

Image credits: deleted


Ketchup cleans up brass and gold better than most toxic chemicals sold as cleaners.

Image credits: deleted


Botox. Originally used to control crossed eyes, then to control spasming facial muscles, when it was noticed it alleviated wrinkles. Now also used as a migraine treatment. Who would have thought injecting a toxin that temporarily paralyzes muscles would find such widespread usage?

Image credits: toodlesandpoodles


Shaving cream, the super foamy cheap kind, cleans glass shower doors better than any cleaner!

Image credits: WateringBird


Sugar free gummy bears would be better marketed as gummy laxatives

Image credits: Reasonable_Roger


A disposable razor will get all the loose bobbles from your clothes.

Image credits: deleted


Hairspray takes toddler ink pen doodles off my couch. While it makes my hair look just awful sometimes.

Image credits: speckledapron


Bubblewrap initially was just fancy wallpaper.

Also, superglue was invented by accident, when engineers couldn't separate glass sheets after attempting to make clear plastic. Later it was used in battlefields to temporarily close wounds.

Image credits: daktarasblogis


Congested? Vicks Vapor Rub. Cough? Vicks Vapor Rub. Headache? Vicks Vapor Rub. Squeaky door hinge? Vicks Vapor Rub. Dry skin? Vicks Vapor Rub. Anything stuck? Vicks Vapor Rub.

Image credits: Steiger92


Tampons were invented to plug bullet wounds and bloody noses. Then the nurses started using them to plug a different bloody hole.

Image credits: oneburntwitch


Play doh was wallpaper cleaner before it was a kid toy

Image credits: YellohDJDan


Oven cleaner , removes carbon from engine parts effortlessly

Image credits: squirrellicker


I was prescribed a diabetes medication called Metformin, despite not having diabetes, which helped me to fall pregnant after almost 1.5 years of unexplained infertility so that’s pretty cool.

Image credits: maps_mandalas


Vacuum sealers.

My FoodSaver never sees anything edible. Instead, I use it to protect infrequently used items from dust & moisture, and to make archived papers (taxes, passport, etc.) easier to store. It's also very useful to repackage bulky or specialized cleaning products & supplies & emergency items.

Food, that just gets eaten, usually.


sticky notes were invented on accident when the adhesive used in them was rejected as a glue because it wasn’t strong. The inventor had a musician friend who loved how easy it made pinning his sheet music up, and now we have post-its

Image credits: Maria-Stryker


Dryer sheets. Excellent for shoe and garbage can stank.

Image credits: bergsky


There used to be a rat poison that would make the blood in the vermin stop clotting and literally let it bleed to death on the inside and lacking vitamin k. It's also odorless and tasteless, so the rest or mouse would come back and have more blood thinning until it died. Well, eventually rats and mice became resistant to this poison (because the smart survive and learn to avoid it or they had higher forms of vitamin k), and this, combined with a Navy officer attempting suicide by taking this four blocks of this poison and being just fine after getting vitamin k to stop the blood thinnig effects led to the creators taking a different path for this now ineffective rat poison...

And that's the story of the popular heart drug Warfarin.


Avon skin so soft lotion (I think that's what it's called) works as a great insect repellant!

Image credits: correctNcreate


I very, very seldom use flathead screwdrivers for their actual purpose. They’re just so useful - chisels, scrapers, punches, exploratory instruments, very small crowbars, shitty chopsticks... the possibilities are endless!


I used to clean cars at a rental company. We obviously didn't have enough time to deeply clean every car, and sometimes people would bring their dogs. We had a rubber brush for removing dog hair, but it hardly worked. Wearing a rubber glove and rubbing the hair off the seats and carpet worked wonders.


Pipe cleaners. As a teacher and a pipe smoker, I can safely say I use them for arts and crafts about 1000x more often than I use them to clean out my pipe.


Press and Seal sucks for food use in my experience, but we use it to apply numbing cream on my son's chest at home before he gets blood drawn from his port at the oncology clinic each week. It holds the cream in place and adheres to his skin well enough that the film doesn't get dislodged by the seat belt on the ride to the hospital. It comes off painlessly, which is not the case for any medical films we have tried. It's a strange little miracle in the pediatric oncology world.



Originally developed as treatment for morning sickness, Thalidomide infamously caused serious birth defects in thousands of children. However, a cancer research lab in the 90s found out that Thalidomide cut off blood vessels shortly after the same lab discovered that solid tumors need new blood vessels to grow. Thalidomide has turned out to be a good potential treatment for multiple myeloma.


Ive used the same carabiner as a keyring for over a decade.
Its never had to support anywhere near the kilo Newtons its listed to be able to support.
Slipping keys on and off it is kilo tonnes easier and secure than normal key rings though.


Amputee here. VR systems have been shown to reduce phantom pain. The proprioceptive illusion of a VR system is similar to mirror therapy but more effective.

Image credits: Low_notes_z06


Scarf hanger = camisole holder.

Image credits: princessmouseskin


Pediaylite is really a kids electrolite drink, but it can be the best hangover releif money can buy.


Prazosin was developed for blood pressure. My psychiatrist says that its the only know medication that cures PTSD related nightmares.


Pringles can for storing tennis balls.


contact paper, especially cheap stuff from Dollar Store; removing pet hair from clothing & furniture.


The antidepressant Amitriptyline

Horrible as an anti depressant. Causes horrible nightmares and bad constipation in some cases. By all means most avoid this antidepressant as an antidepressant.

However it has numerous uses outside of its intended use.

I got a really bad concussion at work and work drs told me I was fine. That it would heal on its own. I was still having horrible pain and vomiting when I was moving around. Said screw it and went to my own doctor. In two minutes she realized I had nerve damage at the base of my skull where there are tons of nerves. Prescribed me this medicine and within a week I was already seeing improvement to daily life. After three and a half months and some physical therapy I was good as new and didn’t need it anymore (-:

I have overactive nerves in my stomach which cause pain and extreme nausea. Sometimes I couldn’t eat. Thought it was GERD and prescribed me tons of gastric suppressants. Cause there to be close to no gastric juices in my stomach thus making it extremely hard to digest food. Specialist pinpointed the cause to be overactive nerves. Prescribed this warning that it can make you constipated and that’s why some of her patients didn’t like it. Never had this problem and now I’m fine and dandy most of the time.

Also helps you sleep! I am not sure what else this shit helps but it has saved me multiple times. Horrible antidepressant, but great nerve suppressant and I’m sure other good uses.


My dad bought a fruit scale specifically for the purpose of weighing meatballs. His reasoning was that, if all the meatballs he prepared are the same weight, he'd only have to poke one to know whether or not they were all cooked because the heat absorption would be more or less identical.


Q-tips are meant for cleaning my ears and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise


Facial tissue began its life as a replacement for cotton bandages during World War I. After the war, they began selling the surplus as a makeup remover, however, women complained that their husbands kept stealing the tissues to sneeze into. Companies took notice and began marketing them as disposable handkerchiefs.


Coke was made as a cure for headaches (caffeine helps) but it obviously became a massive industry of recreational drinks that also can clean corrosion off of car batteries.


There's a prostate drug that my wife's doctor prescribed her for passing kidney stones. It relaxes the ureter, which let her pass the stones, which made surgery or other options unnecessary. I thought that was pretty neat.

Also, doc gave her another drug to lower her blood pressure (beta blocker), which reduced her anxiety almost immediately. All the time I've known her, she's been a nervous wreck over the most mundane things. Now she lives normally. She became a different person instantly. I could always see the shell she lived in and now it's broken away and gone. She's the person I saw behind the shell. Amazing.

Lebatolol (the BB) and flomax for the kidney stones.

Image credits: ImJustSo


Binder clips.

I use them for everything except holding documents- closing chip bags, holding parking stubs or packets of headache powder on my visor in my truck, keeping cables bundled, keeping the trash bag from slipping down into the trashcan, holding up my mini Spider-Man bobblehead so it looks like he's clinging upside-down on the bottom of a shelf, keeping rubberbands contained so they can't take over my junk drawer...