At first glance, the many home remedies involving Listerine for anything other than bad breath seem a bit off the wall. But the legendary mouthwash, now more than 100 years old, contains powerful essential oils. These oils—eucalyptol, menthol, thymol and methyl salicylate from eucalyptus, mint, thyme and wintergreen—all contain a compound known as terpene, which has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. Consider trying Listerine as an unusual home remedy for some common complaints.
Some people swear by Listerine to treat dandruff. The correlation makes sense, according to the website The People’s Pharmacy, because dandruff is considered to be a fungal issue, and the essential oils in Listerine contain antifungal properties. Home remedies vary between applying Listerine to the hair “neat” or mixing it with just enough baby oil to make it stick. Whichever method you try, leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse it out of your hair.
The People’s Pharmacy also relates a home remedy using Listerine to repel lice during school infestations. The essential oils may be toxic to the lice, as well its alcohol content. Put Listerine in a spray bottle and spray the hair and scalp, leaving it to dry. Do not rinse out. Consider adding Listerine to the rinse cycle of your washing machine to kill any lurking lice or eggs.
Some people swear by Listerine as a mosquito repellent. Don't use it on yourself, as the alcohol level may be drying. Instead, sprinkle or spray it around the base of picnic tables, decks and patios and near standing water. University of Wisconsin acknowledges Listerine as a home remedy to treat mosquitoes, but adds that not enough empirical evidence exists to officially recommend it. "The Green Witch Herbal," which focuses on herbs rather than commercial products, strongly recommends eucalyptus oil to repel mosquitoes. Eucalyptus oil is one of Listerine's primary ingredients.
Listerine’s antifungal properties extend its use in treating toenail fungus, at least according to home remedy buffs. GrannyMed.com, a home remedy compilation website, points out that not only do the essential oils contain terpenes, but that one of them, methyl salicylate, or wintergreen oil, promotes the shedding of dead skin cells. Toenail fungus relies on this dead skin to flourish, so taking away its food source may help to kill it more quickly, according to GrannyMed.com. Use a shallow basin filled with Listerine to soak your feet twice a day, for about 20 minutes per session. Thoroughly dry your feet after soaking them.
- The People's Pharmacy: Listerine for Dandruff
- The People's Pharmacy: Listerine for Lice
- University of Wisconsin: Integrated Mosquito Management: Home Remedies
- GrannyMed.com: Mouthwash for Toenail Fungus
- "The Green Witch Herbal;" Barbara Griggs; 1994