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Minor medical issues are a fact of life. Luckily, you have plenty of items lying around the house that pull double duty. Before heading to the pharmacy to deal with anything from dandruff and athlete’s foot to warts and insect bites, take a look at our list of 5 common household items that work wonders as home remedies:

Athlete’s Foot and Foot Odor

Few things are as frustrating and embarrassing as the itchiness and funky stench of athlete’s foot. But don’t fret; relief is as close as your medicine chest (or liquor cabinet). Mouthwash and vodka have both been shown to reduce the bacteria that cause the telltale symptoms of athlete’s foot. Just wet a washcloth or cotton ball with either one, and carefully wipe down your feet after a shower or workout. Not only will this leave your tootsies smelling fresh and clean, but it will reduce the itching and burning that often accompanies this type of infection.

Need another reason to use mouthwash on your feet? Here’s a good one: the breath freshening and antiseptic properties of your favorite oral rinse also knocks out blisters in a day or so. Simply apply your favorite brand of mouthwash via cotton swab three or four times a day, and watch it dry up without popping.

Insect Bites

Spiders, mosquitoes, and other creepy crawlers have a nasty way of leaving us itchy and stung. The next time you find yourself the victim of a bug trying to make lunch out of you, reach for the antacid tablets. Those fizzy indigestion and hangover tablets contain aspirin and other ingredients that will soothe your irritated, bug-bitten skin. Simply crush up an antacid tablet and use a couple of drops of water to create a paste that you can apply directly to the bite. And because it won’t dry out your skin like most calamine and itch creams can, you don’t have to worry about dealing with itchy skin after the bite is gone, either.

Tension Headaches

Being stressed, excited, overworked, tired or anxious makes you subconsciously clench your jaw and grind your teeth, which puts a strain on your muscles and often leads to a tension headache. Stop the vicious cycle before it gets going with a simple pencil. Placing a pencil between your teeth (without biting down) makes you relax your jaw muscles, which can stave off a tension headache before it really gets a hold of you.


An itchy scalp and shedding flakes are the hallmarks of dandruff. Treating it usually involves switching to an expensive specialized shampoo. But recent studies show that you can create your own dandruff-busting formula by simply adding two drops of tea tree oil to your favorite shampoo. That way you can fight the flakes without the medicated scent or over-drying that comes from traditional dandruff formulas.

Corns and Calluses

An estrogen-like chemical found in both red and black licorice has been proven to soften up the tough skin that causes corns and calluses. Treat your tootsies to a licorice treatment that whips up in no time at all by blending a couple of licorice sticks with a glob of petroleum jelly and a couple of drops of cinnamon extract. Apply the paste to the rough areas of your feet and let soak in overnight. (A pair of socks will keep your sheets and pajamas clean and dry in the process.)

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