11 Life-changing Ways You Should Start Using Cotton Balls
You can use them for way more than taking off nail polish.
Keep ants away
iStock/Mark Evans, iStock/Susan Trigg
If you have unwelcome visitors crawling around your BBQ, make a homemade ant trap. Mix together a tablespoon each of hot water and sugar, then add half a teaspoon of borax. Soak a cotton ball with the solution, and place it where ants are gathering. The sugar will attract the bugs, and the borax will poison them. These are other common items that can help get rid of ants.
iStock/misuma, iStock/Susan Trigg
You won’t want to lug around full-size makeup bottles for just an overnight trip. For a solution that keeps your bag light, wipe a bit of blush, powder, and bronzer onto cotton balls and stash in a plastic baggie. During longer trips when you’ll want the full product, stick a cotton ball between the makeup and mirror in a compact to act as a cushion and prevent a mess of crushed powder. Don’t miss these other tips for packing makeup to avoid breaks and cracks during travel.
iStock/steauarosie, iStock/Susan Trigg
When you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes, stick a cotton ball inside wherever it’s rubbing against your skin to add some cushioning and keep your feet pain-free. If a blister has already cropped up, just use a cotton ball as a barrier between the wound and your footwear. Try these other home remedies for blisters to feel better quickly.
Remove water spots
iStock/Borut Trdina, iStock/Susan Trigg
Over time, faucets can get caked with mineral deposits from the unfiltered tap water. To dissolve those white marks, soak a few cotton balls in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, and place them on the area for several minutes. Rinse the faucet and dry with a soft cloth. Here’s how to clean your whole house while you sleep.
Treat poison ivy
iStock/shyflygirl, iStock/Susan Trigg
For a bad run-in with poison ivy, drying out the rash can help. Brew a strong cup of tea, then soak a cotton ball with it. Rub it over the affected area and let the spot air-dry. Feel free to repeat as needed if you didn’t get the relief you wanted. Here’s how to recognize and avoid poison ivy.
iStock/VII, iStock/Susan Trigg
Mold tends to pop up in areas or on items that get too much moisture, like in the bathroom or basement. To fight the mildew, leave a few bleach-soaked cotton balls where the mold likes to grow. Give them a couple hours to work their magic, then clean the area with warm water after you remove them.
Create a simple fragrance diffuser
iStock/TommyIX, iStock/Susan Trigg
Dribble a few drops of vanilla extract or an essential oil on a small bunch of cotton balls. Leave the cotton balls in a pretty bowl and place them on a shelf in your bathroom, fridge, or garbage can. The scent is mild but will keep things smelling fresh.
Ward off rabbits
iStock/Grigory Fedyukovich, iStock/Susan Trigg
If hungry bunnies keep nibbling your garden, keep them away with some cotton balls soaked with distilled white vinegar. You can either leave the cotton balls out in the open around your plants, or place them in a small container, like a film canister or plastic takeout box, with holes poked in the top. Read these tips for growing the perfect vegetable garden.
Perfect your pedicure
iStock/NycyaNestling, iStock/Susan Trigg
Sure you use cotton balls to remove your old nail polish, but they come in handy as you start your next pedicure too. Stick them between your toes to separate your piggies for a smudge-free paint job.
Apply and fix makeup
iStock/Rostislav_Sedlacek, iStock/Susan Trigg
Because they can bend into whatever shape you need, cotton balls make a handy applicator when you want to sweep highlighter on a specific area along your cheekbones. You can also use a clean one to blend in any harsh lines while contouring, or buff away blush when you accidentally add too much pigment. Using cotton balls could help you avoid these makeup mistakes that make you look sloppy.