When it comes to witch hazel, there’s apparently much more than what meets the eye. Most of us know that it’s great for itchy, swollen, or painful skin. (I’ve used it to soothe razor burn before, and it was truly a life saver.) But did you know that you can also use it to remove hair color stains or treat your sweet pup’s itchy ear? Keep reading to find out more quick witch hazel hacks — and make sure you’ve always got a spare bottle on hand.
1. Remove a stuck price tag… fast.
The new glass pitcher you bought is perfect — now if only the pesky price sticker would peel off! What can help: Saturate a cotton ball with witch hazel and hold it on the sticker for 30 seconds. The astringent will dissolve the sticker’s bonding adhesive so it slides off with ease.
2. Lift hair color from skin.
You love how your newly colored locks look, but the dye seems to have stained the skin near your hairline. The trick to erasing the discoloration with ease: Wipe the affected skin with a cotton ball or tissue soaked in witch hazel. The gallic acid in the liquid gently breaks down the dye’s stubborn pigments without the need for harsh scrubbing.
3. Clean a window sans streaks.
Forget glass spray. The secret to crystal-clear windows? Simply pour one cup of witch hazel, one cup of water, and a few drops of dish soap into a spray bottle, then spritz on glass and wipe clean as usual. Witch hazel’s compounds cut through dirt so the dish soap can wash it away without leaving streaks.
4. Rid any nail polish of clumps.
You’d like to give yourself a manicure at home, but the polish you want to use has gotten clumpy. The save: Add a few drops of witch hazel to the bottle, then close and shake well. Witch hazel’s alcohol will thin out the formula so you can enjoy flawless nails.
5. Revive achy feet in no time.
That walk rejuvenated you, but it also left your tootsies feeling tired. The solution to ease discomfort: Pour two tablespoons of witch hazel, two tablespoons of water, and three drops of peppermint oil into a spray bottle. Spritz on feet and rest for five minutes. Witch hazel’s anti-inflammatory properties (which ease swelling) work together with the menthol in peppermint (which numbs any pain) to reinvigorate exhausted feet.
6. Nix dried-on blood stains.
You nicked your finger cutting up vegetables and didn’t realize you got blood on your shirt until after it dried. To eliminate it with ease, soak the stained part of your shirt in a bowl of witch hazel for 30 minutes, rinse with cold water, then launder as usual. Witch hazel’s alcohol content will break down the dried blood so it comes right off in the wash.
7. Restore shine to the floor.
Everyone spending so much time in the backyard means extra dirt being dragged onto, and dulling, your vinyl, linoleum, or tile floors. An easy way to clean them while restoring their shine? Add half a cup of witch hazel and one gallon of warm water to a bucket, then mop the floor using the solution. Witch hazel’s solvents break down caked-on grime, leaving a sparkling clean finish.
8. De-puff tired eyes in minutes.
Argh! Allergies have left your eyes super puffy. What can help: Pop a bottle of witch hazel in the freezer until chilled, then moisten cotton pads with the solution and place over closed eyes for five minutes. Astringent witch hazel quickly tightens skin around the eyes so they look less puffy, while the icy chill actually takes down any swelling.
Want more tips? Check out these 18 little-known ways that witch hazel can improve your life.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.