document updated 8 months ago, on Sep 5, 2022

Heavy-duty alternatives for everyday household products

It helps to have some heavy-duty alternatives to common household items on-hand for infrequent use.

paper towels ⇒ blue shop towels

They're a little thicker and much more impermeable compared to standard paper towels. I tend to use them for cleaning up cat hork (or worse, cat poop), because they make it easier to wipe up those things without getting anything on your hands. They also seem more absorbent for things like oil or cleaning chemical spills.

You can get them from a local hardware store or auto-parts store.

Ziploc freezer bags ⇒ 6 to 8 mil reclosable plastic bags

Most consumer-grade reclosable plastic bags are 2 mil thick or less, but it's not hard to locate 6+ mil bags online. They can contain heavy nails without being damaged, they can be reused for months, and they let you see their contents. (however, they do tend to become translucent over long periods of time, especially if there are sharp points sitting against the bag)

Uline, McMaster-Carr, and Office Depot have large selections, but you can find them on Amazon and other places too.

Sharpie ⇒ Sharpie Pro ⇒ paint pens

Some permanent markers are designed for use on a jobsite, such as Sharpie Pro and Milwaukee Inkzall. They have more durable tips, allowing them to write on brick or concrete, and their ink can write on wet, oily, and dusty surfaces. You can buy them at your local home center.

(Sharpie also makes "Sharpie Extreme", which is recommended for plastic, glass, and wood)

Another step up from that are paint pens, which are markers that contain actual paint, either oil-based or acrylic (AKA "water-based"). The paint tends to be more opaque, even more durable, and can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces. They're available at your local arts or crafts store.