Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Money-Saving Uses for Mouthwash

Mouthwash is useful for so much more than just rinsing plaque away! When it was first invented, it hailed as a surgical antiseptic, and as such it has unique properties that can save you lots of money. So before you head to the store for an athlete’s foot treatment, sanitizer, or astringent (or over a dozen other things), check out this list to see how you can replace them with mouthwash. Note: For almost all the tips here, you want to use mouthwash that is alcohol-based (that’s one of the secret ingredients), and in most cases without sugar.

With its antiseptic properties, mouthwash is brilliant for cleaning and light medical uses. It's also great for travelers, since it's so multifunctional. Check out these creative uses for mouthwash that will keep you fresh, in more ways than one.

  • Nail Fungus Eradicator: Nail fungus problems can make your toenails or fingernails thick and discolored, and once you’re infected it’s incredibly difficult to eradicate. Make up a 50/50 solution of alcohol-based mouthwash and vinegar, and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball (use a new one each time) two-to-three times per day. Be warned — nail fungus is stubborn….you won’t likely see results for at least a few weeks.
  • Bruise Treatment: Did you go bump in the night? Waiting for a whopper of a bruise to appear? Rub some mouthwash on the affected area, and you can save yourself from a gaudy bruise (or at least reduce the appearance of it).
  • Poison Ivy Treatment: Stop scratching! Instead, apply some mouthwash, and not only will it relieve the itchiness and inflammation of a poison ivy attack, but it can also dry up the area and begin the healing process.
  • Hand Sanitizer: I once had a hand sanitizer that came in a small spray bottle, which I treasured for its convenience and sanitary properties. I’ve been searching (unsuccessfully) for a replacement ever since. Now I just use mouthwash, and I can freshen up any time. It’s also great for cleaning the kids’ hands in a pinch. (Again, make sure it’s alcohol-based and sugar-free, otherwise you’ll be a sticky mess).
  • Deodorant: Mouthwash makes an easy substitute deodorant in a pinch, with its bacteria-killing properties. Be warned though, if you just shaved your armpits, applying an alcohol-based mouthwash will sting!
  • After-Piercing Care: Part of the after-care process for tending to new piercings (or even caring for older ones that have become infected) is to apply a special disinfectant solution twice daily. Why not use mouthwash instead? Mouthwash is (obviously) especially handy in healing a tongue piercing.
  • Athlete’s Foot: In the same way that mouthwash treats nail fungus, it acts as an antiseptic for athlete’s foot. Soak a cotton ball in mouthwash and apply twice a day. You know it’s working if it stings a bit, and you should see positive results in a few days.
  • Foot Bath: Even if you don’t have athlete’s foot or some pesky fungus to tend to, soaking your tootsies in a mixture of mouthwash and water can refresh and soften them after a long day on your feet.
  • Garlic-Odor Killer: It would be stating the obvious to suggest that mouthwash, in your mouth, eliminates garlic odor. But it can also take care of the smell of garlic on your hands after you’ve handled it. Just pour some on your hands, rub them together, and let them air-dry.
  • Facial Astringent: Apply mouthwash (again, make sure it’s alcohol-based and sugar-free) to a cotton ball and wipe on your face after you’ve used your normal face wash. Rinse with water afterward, and you’ll have saved yourself the bulk and cost of a fancy facial astringent.
  • Clean Cuts and Scrapes: Remember, mouthwash was first used as a surgical antiseptic before people figured out its mouth-washing properties. Apply some mouthwash to your boo-boo, dry, and dress it with a bandage as necessary.
  • Dandruff Treatment: Not into expensive specialized dandruff shampoos? After shampooing, try rinsing your hair with a 50/50 mixture of mouthwash and water (1/2 a cup of each will do). You may have to repeat this process a few times to eradicate the dandruff completely. Bonus: your hair will smell minty fresh.

Mouthwash cleans, sanitizes, and even revives. Here's how you can make good use of it around the house.

  • Keep Cut Flowers Fresh: By mixing two tablespoons of mouthwash per gallon of water and filling your flower vase with this mixture, your cut flowers will last longer (by killing the bacteria that accelerates decomposition).
  • Glass Cleaner: Apply mouthwash to a damp cloth and go to town on glass surfaces. Dry with a cotton cloth.
  • Computer Screen Cleaner: As long as your computer screen is glass (DO NOT use this technique on LCD screens!), you’ll save mad money on specialty computer screen cleaners by simply using the technique above to remove smudges and computer dust.
  • Laundry Sanitizer: In the same way that mouthwash removes bacteria from your mouth, you can remove it from your laundry as well. Add one cup to the regular cycle of a full load of laundry (make sure the mouthwash is sugar-free and alcohol-based). This is especially handy for those stinky gym socks; mouthwash kills all the bacteria that is sometimes left behind in a regular wash.
  • Toothbrush Cleaner: Mouthwash cleans your teeth; why not your toothbrush as well? A rinse with or dunk in a cup of mouthwash before brushing will ensure your toothbrush is clean and free of the bacteria hanging around your bathroom. Eeeww.
  • Toilet Cleaner: Out of toilet bowl cleaner? No problem. Just pour a cup of mouthwash into the toilet, let it sit for half an hour, and give it a swish with the toilet brush.
  • Plant Rescue: A mixture of 25% mouthwash and 75% water sprayed onto your plant leaves rescues them from mildew and fungus. Don’t do this more than once per week, though.

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