Clever Uses for Mouthwash

This bathroom staple is good for much more than fresh breath. From cleansing your skin to getting rid of dandruff, your mouthwash bottle will become a bathroom best friend.

Cleanse your face
An antiseptic mouthwash makes a wonderful astringent for cleansing your face. Check the ingredients to make sure it does not contain sugar, then use as follows. Wash your face with warm, soapy water and rinse. Dab a cotton ball with mouthwash and gently wipe your face as you would with any astringent. You should feel a pleasant, tingling sensation. Rinse with warm water followed by a splash of cold water. Your face will look and feel clean and refreshed.

Treat athlete’s foot
A sugarless antiseptic mouthwash may be all you need to treat mild cases of athlete’s foot or toenail fungus. Use a cotton ball soaked in mouthwash to apply to the affected area several times a day. Be prepared: It will sting a bit! Athlete’s foot should respond after a few days. Toenail fungus may take up to several months. If you do not see a response by then, make an appointment with a dermatologist or podiatrist.

Add to wash water
Smelly gym socks are often full of bacteria and fungi that may not all come out in the wash — unless you add a cup of alcohol-based, sugarless mouthwash during the regular wash cycle.

Cure underarm odor
Regular deodorants mask unpleasant underarm odors with a heavy perfume smell but do little to attack the cause of the problem. To get rid of the bacteria that cause perspiration odor, dampen a cotton ball with a sugarless, alcohol-based mouthwash and swab your armpits. If you’ve just shaved your armpits, it’s best to wait for another day to try this.

Disinfect a cut
When you need to clean out a small cut or wound, use an alcohol-based mouthwash to disinfect your skin. Remember that before it became a mouthwash, it was successfully used as an antiseptic to prevent surgical infections.

Get rid of dandruff
To treat a bad case of dandruff, wash your hair with your regular shampoo; then rinse with an alcohol-based mouthwash. You can follow with your regular conditioner.

Clean your toilet
All out of your regular toilet bowl cleaner? Try pouring 1/4 cup alcohol-based mouthwash into the bowl. Let it stand in the water for 1/2 hour, then swish with a toilet brush before flushing. The mouthwash will disinfect germs as it leaves your toilet bowl sparkling and clean.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest