There’s a good chance you already have a bottle of witch hazel sitting in your bathroom cabinet. If not, you might want to invest in the product ASAP ($8.79, Amazon). It’s great as a toner to keep your pores closed after washing your face, but there’s tons of other ways witch hazel can help you throughout your daily life.
Take a look below to see all the amazing uses for witch hazel.
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Witch Hazel Nail Polish
Salvage clumpy nail polish.
You finally found the time to sit down and give yourself a pedicure, but the nail polish you planned on using is clumpy. What can help: Add a few drops of witch hazel to the bottle, close, and shake well. Witch hazel contains alcohol, which acts as a thinner to smooth out clumps so you can easily paint your nails.
Witch Hazel Cleaning
Make kitchen floors shine.
If heavy foot traffic has left your floor looking dingy, try this DIY shine treatment: Pour 1/2 cup of witch hazel and 1 gallon of warm water into a bucket and use the solution to mop the floor. Solvents in witch hazel will strip away old wax (which causes discoloration) and dissolve dirt. (This solution can be used on vinyl, linoleum, or tile floors.)
Witch Hazel For Stains
Lift blood spots from clothing.
You husband nicked himself shaving, and there’s a bloodstain on the collar of his favorite button-down shirt. To eliminate the mark, soak the shirt collar in a bowl of witch hazel for 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water. The alcohol in witch hazel will break down the dried bloodstain, which will disappear in the wash.
Witch Hazel Pet Ears
Heal Fido’s ear infection.
It seems like every summer, your poor pup gets an ear infection, which causes him to scratch like crazy. The fix veterinarians recommend (but check with yours first): Moisten a cotton ball with witch hazel and gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ears daily until the infection clears. Astringent witch hazel will break down the waxy buildup that can lead to an infection.
Witch Hazel Window Cleaning
Get windows squeaky clean.
The secret to spotless windows: Pour 1 cup of witch hazel, 1 cup of water, and a few drops of dish soap into a spray bottle. Spritz on glass; wipe clean. The mix cuts through grime without leaving streaks like commercial cleaners.
Witch Hazel For Fruit Flies
Keep fruit flies at bay.
To get rid of the pests buzzing around your produce, pour 1/2 cup of witch hazel into a Mason jar, then add a few drops of dish soap. The bugs will be drawn to witch hazel’s scent, but the sticky soap will trap them in the liquid.
Witch Hazel Poison Ivy
Soothe a poison ivy rash.
When you were pulling weeds in your garden, you brushed up against poison ivy and now your arms are covered in an itchy rash. For fast relief, soak a paper towel in witch hazel and dab on the irritated skin. Witch hazel is an astringent that will draw out the itch-inducing oils from the poison ivy and dry out the rash. The liquid also contains eugenol — an anesthetic compound that has been shown to reduce swelling and itching. Much better!
Witch Hazel Shoe Smell
Deodorize shoes for pennies.
If summer activities have left your sneakers smelling a bit less than fresh, combine 1/2 cup of witch hazel, 1 cup of water, and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake gently, then spritz inside your shoes. The witch hazel will eliminate any germs causing the odor, and the essential oil will leave behind a pleasant scent.
Witch Hazel Soothing
Minimize post-waxing redness.
You just shaped your eyebrows, but now your skin is so red and inflamed that you can’t leave the house! The fast-acting fix: Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and apply to just-waxed skin. The witch hazel will constrict capillaries, quickly reducing redness.
Witch Hazel Bug Spray
Enjoy the outdoors mosquito-free.
Instead of using pricey bug sprays that are loaded with harsh chemicals to keep mosquitoes at bay, make your own natural solution. To do: Combine 1 cup of witch hazel, 1 cup of water, and 20 drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake well, then spritz all over your body. The scents of the witch hazel and essential oil will be unpleasant to the mosquitoes’ odor receptors, so they’ll stay clear.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.