LISTERINE® was first developed in 1879 by Dr. Joseph Lawrence as an antiseptic for use in surgical procedures. It was then marketed to pharmacies for oral care after studies found that it killed mouth bacteria. But the antiseptic does more than that. Make sure to buy the mouthwash with alcohol to get the most out of these alternative cleaning uses.
1. Get rid of dandruff
This home remedy is specific to dandruff caused by an overgrowth of the yeast-like fungus, malassezia, which lives on the scalp of most adults. When there’s too much, it can irritate the scalp and cause excess skin cells to grow. Most mouthwashes contain the antifungal chemical eucalyptol, which prevents malassezia from growing.
According to LifeHacker, keep the flakes away with one part mouthwash, one part witch hazel, and 8 parts water. Spritz the mix on your roots and scalp after washing your hair.
Note: Do not try this if there are any open cuts or scratches on your scalp.
2. Reduce underarm odor
According to KilmerHouse.com, an early advertisement listed LISTERINE® as “Antiseptic, Prophylactic, Deodorant, Non-Toxic, Non-Irritant, Non-Escharotic, Absolutely Safe, Agreeable, Scientific and Strictly Professional.” The antiseptic ingredients in mouthwash — Eucalyptol, Methyl Salicylate, and Thymol — kill the bacteria under your arms, effectively halting the stink attributed to sweat.
To try this, pour the mouthwash on a cotton ball and wipe your underarm a few times before applying your deodorant.
3. Freshen laundry
Ever noticed your clothes have a stale, musty odor after a trip through the washing machine? According to Clorox’s Mary Gagliardi aka Dr. Laundry, “After a few wash cycles, water that has not completely drained out of your machine can be left behind, resulting in an ideal location for creating bad (not-so-pleasant) odors.”
Kill the germs for good by adding a cup of alcohol-based, sugar-free mouthwash to your next cycle. Make sure the mouthwash doesn’t contain any artificial colors to avoid staining your clothes.
Not only will the mouthwash kill the germs in your clothes, says LifeHacker, but it will disinfect your washing machine and get rid of the stale, musty odor from sitting water.
4. Clean your toilet
This won’t get rid of stains, but according to Apartment Therapy, mouthwash will disinfect your toilet bowl.
Just add half a cup of mouthwash to your toilet bowl and clean the basin with your toilet brush. You can double up on a dose of mouthwash by spitting your morning mouth swish into the toilet bowl.
5. Treat athlete’s foot
The high alcohol content in mouthwash helps ward off fungal infections. Pour a bit on a cotton ball or cotton swab and dab infected areas, recommends Prevention.
You can also soak your feet in one part LISTERINE® with two parts warm water to kill the bacteria and fungi that can lead to athlete’s foot.
6. Keep flowers fresh
Forget aspirin, pennies, and the other folk tales about keeping flowers fresh. The antibacterial properties in mouthwash make it perfect for extending the life of your bouquet. Real Simple recommends a capful for minimum effectiveness.