How To Use Your Old Nail Polish In New Ways

by Teresa Newsome

Everyone knows a dab of clear nail polish can stop a run in your pantyhose, but did you know it can also save your life? OK, so that's a bit of an over-statement, but really — the uses for old nail polish are basically endless. Nail polish creates a protective barrier between your skin and the metals in your jewelry or clothing that might cause you serious allergic reactions. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America actually recommends covering nickel-plated items in polish to reduce contact dermatitis symptoms in allergy sufferers. And that's just one of its myriad uses.

You can get handy and artsy with it, too, which makes it a strong contender for a spot in your toolbox. Plus, it's easy to track down. In fact, you probably have a couple of old bottles that were on their way to the trash anyway. And unlike a lot of traditional glues, paints and resins, you can find nail polishes that don't contain harsh chemicals. Oh yeah, and it's pretty cheap. Well, as long as you stick to inexpensive drugstore brands and save your expensive indie and designer lacquers for nail art. But hey, I wouldn't judge you if you found a glitter polish so phenomenal that you decided to paint your living room walls with it. In fact, I'd be impressed. And a little jealous.

1. Better Your Buttons

Nail polish and buttons are natural besties. Dab some clear polish over the threads and you won't have to worry about your button popping off while your dance moves are popping off. While you're at it, coat the buttons of your jeans in polish if the metals irritate your skin. And if you find an amazing vintage coat with underwhelming modern buttons, you can always use polish to perfect their look.

2. Fix And Decorate Your Shoes

Need to fix a scuff in the heel of your go-to black stillettos? Trying to fake the Laboutin look? You guessed it. Nail polish. In addition to repairing damage or painting your heels, you can give new life to tired shoes by adding dots, designs, and even cat faces. Everyone loves cat faces. You can achieve smaller, neater lines with stripers or nail polish pens, but if you don't have those, try creating your designs with a tooth pick. It will give you more precision and control than a brush.

3. Make Jewelry

Arts and craft mavens have been using nail polish to create jewelry for years. Drop polish onto waxed paper and let it dry to create colorful faux gems. Use metallic polishes to add gold, silver or bronze elements to beads and charms. Dip the tied-off ends of embroidery floss, string or fishing line for extra stability. You can also use clear polish to keep the delicate finishes on painted beads from flaking off.

4. Speed Up Your Pre-Shower Prep

Use a couple dots of any colored nail polish to mark exactly where you like the faucet handles to be for your perfect shower. No more testing the waters and fidgeting around until you find the sweet spot.

5. Clean Up Other Polish

If you spill polish on a hard surface, such as a counter or table, nail polish remover might strip or warp the finish. Since there's already polish there, adding a little more polish on top will soften everything up so you can wipe it away with a paper towel or soft cloth. Use clear polish if you've spilled really pigmented polish to avoid further staining.

6. Organize Your Keys

Paint your house key a bright color so you can find it in a hurry. This will save you some anxiety late at night when imaginary criminals are trying to imaginary attack you. You know what I mean. If you have a lot of keys, paint them each a different color. Just make sure you remember which color goes with what key.

7. Fix Your Window Screens

Even if it's just a pin head-sized hole, some fly or mosquito will find a way in and torture you in your sleep. But if you have clear nail polish, you can close up the hole without having to buy a new screen.

8. Repair Your Paint Job

Dings and scratches in the metal parts of your car or bike's paint job lead to rust. Nobody likes that. Match up the paint with the right color polish and problem solved. Just check the area regularly to make sure you don't need to reapply.

9. Laminate All the Things

Clear polish works to seal and laminate countless household items. Old medicine bottles with important instructions, plant labels, stove dial markings -- pretty much anything you use a lot, but also need to read can be protected with clear nail polish.

10. Tighten Screws

Once the screws in your glasses come loose, they seem to be perpetually loose. Same goes for the screws in your toilet seat. Weird connection, I know. But these two types of screws are also connected in that you can coat them in nail polish before screwing them back in to make sure they never come loose again. Some polish over the top of the screw goes the extra mile to keep things in place.

11. Decorate Your Phone

Fancy phone cases are the best. But if you have the heart of a DIYer, you can use your polish to customize yourself the fanciest phone on the block. If you're not brave enough to paint directly on your phone, opt for an inexpensive case as your canvass.

12. Seal Envelopes

If you've ever sealed an envelope (people still use envelopes?), then realized you forgot something (or just had to anxiety read your letter for the 55th time) you know that re-sealing the envelope is a pain. Clear nail polish to the rescue.

13. Stop Glass From Breaking

If you have a chip or crack in your car's window, your home's window or even your make-up mirror, clear polish will hold everything together until you can make repairs or replacements. Enough polish can also help you from cutting yourself on sharp edges.

Look at you. You're totally handy. Be proud.

Images: tommasina1979desanti/Instagram; Giphy (13)