Things We Never Knew We Could Do With Toothpaste


Toothpaste is a common household dental hygiene product that hopefully everyone utilizes at least once a day. Although most people associate it with brushing their teeth, there are actually several different uses for it ranging from home improvement projects to using it as a cleaning product! So, start thinking outside of the box and check out all of these different uses for common toothpaste that most people might not know!

Make Those Old Sneakers Look Like New!

Using toothpaste to clean shoes
Of Life & Lisa

Unfortunately, shoes get dirty, and there’s really not anything you can do to prevent it. Especially if they have white soles, it’s only a matter of time before they start getting dirty the more you wear them. Luckily, toothpaste can be used to not only clean off scuffs and dirt but brighten the sole of the show.

All you have to do is apply some toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and scrub the sole to loosen the dirt. Then, wipe the toothpaste away with a damp cloth to see the noticeable difference!

Brighten Your Fingernails!

Woman putting toothpaste on her fingernails

Sometimes, our fingernails aren’t always looking their best. They’re constantly being used, which can lead them to become slightly discolored. Nobody wants their hands to look dirty, although fingernails aren’t always the easiest thing to clean without professional help.

Well, if your fingernails happen to look a little discolored, reach for some whitening toothpaste! Apply a dab onto the fingernail and rub it in using a nail or toothbrush. Was your hands and repeat the process until satisfied.

Shine Your Silver!

Toothpaste on silver

Unless you always keep your silver jewelry or other items locked away, they’re going to get dirty over time and lose their shine. Instead of going and spending money to have your silver items buffed by a jeweler, toothpaste can get the job done as well.

Toothpaste acts as a non-toxic cleaning agent for silver and leaves it smelling minty and fresh. Put a little dab on the item and polish until desired shine.

Keep Your Mugs Spotless

Cleaning mug with toothpaste

Whether you drink coffee or tea out of a mug, over time, build-up can occur that will make your mug look like it’s permanently dirty. Sometimes, soap or putting it in the dishwasher just isn’t enough, and this is where toothpaste comes in.

Add a generous amount of toothpaste into the cup and scrub vigorously with a damp cloth or toothbrush. Repeat the process until all the stains are gone and the mug looks good as new.

Get The Most Out Of Your Headlights

Toothpaste on headlights

Something that most people find incredibly frustrating is when a cloudy film begins to build up on the plastic that covers your headlights. Not only does this decrease the amount of light your headlights produce making driving at night dangerous, but it isn’t very attractive in the daylight either.

So, before you go spending your time and money on expensive cleaning products reach for your toothpaste. Using either a toothbrush or rag, buff your headlights to clear away all of the grime. After you wash it off, buff one more time with a dry rag.

Don’t Fret Over

Glass of spilled red wine

Although many people enjoy a nice glass of red wine to go with dinner or unwind after a long day at work, it’s certainly a dangerous beverage. If you end up spilling even just a drop on any type of fabric it can stain, and you’ll be kicking yourself for being careless.

However, after blotting the spill with a rag, you can apply toothpaste that will help get out as much of the stain as possible.


De-Stress With Toothpaste

Balloon and toothpaste

If you’ve ever used a stress ball, you know that they can actually help when you need to take your frustration out on something. However, not everyone has a stress ball lying around, but you can make your own using toothpaste!

Take a common balloon and secure it over the tip of a tube of toothpaste. Squeeze in the desired amount of toothpaste into the balloon, tying the top of the balloon when finished. Now, squeeze away all that stress!

Thread A Needle With Ease!

Man trying to thread a needle

Threading a needle can be an incredibly frustrating task, especially if you don’t have a needle threader. Sometimes, it can even take minutes before you finally get it right! Well, by using just a little bit of toothpaste, it can make this daunting task that much easier.

Rub the tips of your fingers with a little bit of the paste and roll the tip of the thread between your two fingers. This will help to catch any loose threads and stiffen the tip of the thread to make threading the needle that much easier.

Don’t Smell Like An Onion

handling onions with your hands

While there are few things more delicious than the aroma of onions cooking with butter and garlic, the smell of raw onions on your hands, as a result, isn’t always the greatest. Once you’re done slicing or handling onions, you may have noticed that the smell lingers on your hands, even if you wash them vigorously with soap.

You can put an end to this by washing your hands with toothpaste rather than soap. Not only will the pungent smell of onions be gone, but your hands will smell nice as well!

Permanent Marker, Be Gone!

Applying toothpaste to permanent marker

A permanent marker can be a useful tool at times until you accidentally mark something you weren’t supposed to or it gets in the hands of the wrong person, like children. As it turns out, permanent marker isn’t all that permanent if you have some toothpaste lying around.

Because most toothpaste brands contain mild abrasives to help remove the plaque from your teeth, it can also help remove permanent marker. Place a dab on the spot that was marked, scrub with a toothbrush, and watch it disappear!

Hang A Frame Correctly Every Time

Toothpaste on the back of a frame

Although it doesn’t seem hard, hanging a frame correctly the first time isn’t always a guarantee, but it can be with the help of toothpaste. The trick is to place a dab of toothpaste to the hangar on the back of the frame.

Next, push it against the wall where you intend to hang it. After the frame is pressed against the wall, the toothpaste will leave a mark. This is where the nail should go, so your frame is centered and where you want it.

A Quick Fix For Nail Holes

Putting toothpaste in a small hole
Pinterest/Kimberly Walker-Ramos

Although this hack only really works if you have white walls, it’s a quick way to get rid of pesky nail holes left in walls. While you could go through the hassle of going to the store and buying spackle and paint for such a small hole, toothpaste is really all you need.

Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste in and around the hole to fill it, then wipe the excess with a damp rag. Nobody will be able to tell!

Clean Your Phone Screen

While phone next to toothpaste

Keeping a smartphone screen clean is practically impossible since it’s continuously being touched all over by your fingers. To get your phone screen looking right out of the box, spread a think layer of toothpaste over the screen and gently wipe it off with a damp cloth.

However, if you’re phone isn’t waterproof, you might want to be extremely careful! This method can also help to eliminate any minor scratches buy rubbing the screen with a cotton swab dotted with toothpaste.

Don’t Let Your Iron Dirty Your Clothes

Dirty iron and toothpaste

If you’ve been using an iron for a long time, you might have noticed some discolored water stains appearing on your fresh and clean clothes. Although it’s not at the top of a lot of people’s to-do list, it is important to keep the bottom of your iron clean for this reason.

A quick and easy way to do this is to take your iron when it’s unplugged and cool and give it a rub-down with a little bit of toothpaste and water. This will help remove any unwanted gunk and build-up.

You Can Save Scratched CD And DVDs

Toothpaste on a CD

CDs and DVDs are great ways to store large amounts of music, videos, and pictures. However, if they end up getting scratched, there’s usually not a whole lot you can do, and everything on the disc can potentially be lost.

If you have a disc that is having a hard time being read by a computer or DVD player, toothpaste may be your savior. If you polish the disc with toothpaste, it can help to fill in some of the scratches so they can be more easily read.

Hang Pictures And Posters With No Damage To Anything!

Woman haning polaroids

Sometimes, people like to hang up pictures, posters, or other paper decorations without using expensive and space-taking frames. However, there’s a way to do this without putting pin or nail holes in your walls and pictures either.

Toothpaste can work as a temporary adhesive when it hardens, so if you dot the corners of what you’d like to display and hold it against the wall, it will stick. Although it won’t last forever, it’s quick, easy, and won’t leave behind any marks or holes.

Keep Those Keys Looking Fresh

Toothpaste on piano keys

Not everyone washes their hands before they sit down to play the piano, which means that the keys accumulate all of the dirt and oils from your fingers, making them dirty.

Pianos aren’t just for playing music, but can also serve as a piece of art in your home, and nobody wants a piece of art to be dirty. So, grab a damp towel and some toothpaste and give each key a little rub-down to make them shine like new.

Refresh Tupperware

Tupperware with food

Even if you clean Tupperware after every use, if you store it with the lid on, you may notice that they start to smell old and used. Since nobody wants to store food in something that smells bad, this is a problem but it doesn’t require buying a new set of Tupperware.

For a quick solution, brush the inside with toothpaste and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out. Then, store with the lid off.

Get Your Straightener To Work Like It Should!

toothpaste in hair

If you use a hair straightener on a regular basis, you may notice that the ceramic pieces begin to accumulate a coating of grime. This is typically caused by hair spray, shampoo, gel, dirt, or anything else that might be in your hair.

In order to remove this, rub the afflicted areas with toothpaste and a towel, and the silica in the toothpaste will help clean it all off. Now, you’ll get the results you want every time you pick up your straightener.


Say Goodbye To Breakouts

Say Goodbye To Breakouts

Waking up to breakouts is never fun, especially if you have a date or something going on that evening. Well, there is a handy little toothpaste hack that will help the breakout start to die down a bit.

All you’ll want to do is get a tiny dab of toothpaste and apply it directly to the breakout. The ingredients in toothpaste will help the breakout dry out and shrink in no time! Amazing, right? You won’t have to worry about caking on the foundation, trying to over up a blemish, anymore.

Heal A Bruise Faster

Dipping finger in mixture

If you received a bad bruise that you are trying to get rid of as fast a possible a few household items, including toothpaste, can lend a hand. Take some regular skin lotion you have lying around and make a mixture using an equal amount of toothpaste.

Cover with a large band aid before going to be to stop it from smearing and wash it off in the morning. Repeat this process for one or two more nights or until the bruise has disappeared.

Clear Foggy Swimming Goggles

Clear Foggy Swimming Goggles

There’s nothing worse than having foggy goggles while swimming laps in the pool. How are you supposed to see the wall or people in front of you? Talk about running into unwanted objects! Well, thankfully, there is a way to fix that dilemma.

All you’re going to want to do is rub some toothpaste on the inside of the goggle lenses. Just applying a light film over the lenses will make that pesky fog a thing of the past. You can thank us later when you’re not running into lane lines!

Remove Pesky Dye Stains

Remove Pesky Dye Stains

If you’ve ever dyed your hair or clothing, then you know it beyond annoying to try and remove those pesky dye stains from your hands, clothing, and the sides of your shower. From personal experience, let us tell you that red dye is no joke to try and remove!

To make life easier, try this hack out for size. Rub a bit of toothpaste into the stain, let it dry, and then either throw it into the wash to clean it or scrub your hands underneath some running watch with soap.

Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh

Make Your Shoes Smell Fresh

Having smelly shoes is one way to put a personal bubble around yourself. And if those smelly shoes wind up on the floor next to your front door, say goodbye to anyone wanting to come over to hang out!

If you have a funky smelling odor coming from the inside of your shoes, try this hack. Take some toothpaste and rub it inside the shoe, right along the sole. Let the toothpaste fully dry and volia! Your shoes will no longer have people running for the hills.

Get Rid Of Those Minor Car Scratches

Get Rid Of Those Minor Car Scratches

There’s nothing like a fender bender to ruin your day! Especially if that wreck happened to mess up the paint job on your car, something that cost a solid amount of money to get fixed. Thankfully, a little tube in your bathroom is going to save you a lot of money!

Toothpaste, a soft cloth, and a little TLC will buff out any paint damage and have your car looking as good as new. You’re welcome, by the way, for saving you a trip to the garage where they would have charged you some ridiculous sum of money.

Ink Stains Are No Longer Permanent

Ink Stains Are No Longer Permanent

Have you ever made the mistake of leaving a pen in your pocket, and then it goes an explodes, leaving a nice stain behind? Yea, it’s not fun, and it’s a huge pain to get the stain removed. Well, we’re here to make your life a bit easier.

Run into your bathroom and grab your toothpaste, apply some directly onto the stain, let it dry overnight, and then throw it into the washing machine the very next day. You’ll be happy, and your shirt or pants will be in ink stain-free!

Clear Your Floor Of Water Stains

Clear Your Floor Of Water Stains

One thing that no one likes on their hardwood floors is water stains. Not only do they not look great, but there are no easy ways to get rid of the stains. Well, that is until toothpaste came into the picture.

To get rid of pesky water stains, you’re going to want to run into your bathroom, grab your tube of toothpaste, rub some into the stain, let it dry, and gently wipe the toothpaste off. You’re floors, or any other wooden surface will look good as new!

Soothe Itchy Mosquito Bites

Soothe Itchy Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are miserable and are enough to ruin any fun outdoor adventure. And while there are a bunch of over the counter remedies that supposedly help soothe the itchy bites, they are very pricey and sometimes don’t entirely work.

So, instead of breaking the bank, think about using toothpaste! If you apply a little dollop of toothpaste directly on the bite and enjoy immediate satisfaction as the itch begins to soothe and become almost nonexistent in your mind. (Then go and apply a bottle of bug spray!).

Remove Nail Polish From Around Your Nail

Remove Nail Polish From Around Your Nail

When painting your own nails, getting polish on the skin surrounding your nails is the name of the game, especially when painting with your non-dominate hand. They only issue is removing the paint from your skin is a pain because you don’t want to remove any of the nail color.

Well, we’re here to make your life a bit easier. All you’re going to want to do is wait for the polish to dry on your skin, apply a bit of toothpaste to the area, and wipe it away! Yup, it’s that easy and it’ll look like you just left the salon.

Just Another Way To Deep-Clean Your Hands

Just Another Way To Deep-Clean Your Hands

Soap and water were so last year. If you’re looking for a way to give your hands a nice thorough scrub without breaking the bank and going to a spa, look no further than your own bathroom. Just pop on into your medicine cabinet and grab your toothpaste.

Not only will the toothpaste give your hands a nice minty-fresh scent, but the chemicals and baking soda in the paste will deep-clean, exfoliate, and give your hands the scrub down they’ve been waiting for.

Have Discolored Nails? Try This


Fungi can transform your nails into yellowed, cracked fragments of what they used to be. Hydrogen peroxide can kill this fungus quickly and efficiently. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of hot water with one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. For extra strength, include one teaspoon of baking soda.

Soak your nails in this solution for about ten minutes. If you don’t want your skin to soften, you can soak a cotton ball in the mixture and press it to your nails. If you need to, scrub stains off with a clean, unused toothbrush or a nail brush.

Remove Ink Stains From Clothes


It’s nearly impossible to rub ink out of clothing. At least, it would be if we didn’t have hydrogen peroxide. For light-colored clothing, you can soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and dab it on the infected area. Then wash your clothes as normal.

If this doesn’t work, your fabric may need a heavy-duty recipe. Create a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% ammonia. The ammonia catalyzes the peroxide to work better. Only use clear ammonia, and don’t use it on wool or silk since the ammonia will eat through the proteins on both fabrics.

Time For Teeth Whitening


According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Dentistry, hydrogen peroxide effectively bleaches teeth. To whiten your teeth, create a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide. Swish it around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, or as long as you can stand. Spit the solution out if it hurts your mouth, and don’t swallow it.

The higher the concentration, the brighter the whitening. However, a 2006 study from the same journal reported that higher concentrations could harm the enamel. If you use a higher concentration (25% or 35%), shorten the amount of time that the peroxide is in your mouth.

Wash Your Fruits And Vegetables


It’s essential to wash your fruits and vegetables when you bring them home. You never know who touched them or which pesticides they came into contact with. But instead of paying $8 for a veggie wash, why don’t you use a little bit of hydrogen peroxide?

To create a veggie cleaner, fill your sink with cold water and add 1/4 cup of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide. Wash your fruit and vegetables in the mixture, and then rinse them thoroughly with fresh water. According to Poison Control, hydrogen peroxide isn’t toxic, except in large amounts.

You Can Safely Remove Wax From Your Ears Using Peroxide


A 2015 study from Australian Family Physician supports ear irrigation as the most effective way to remove ear wax. Ear irrigation involves a liquid that softens the wax and dislodges it. Since hydrogen peroxide makes the wax bubble and weaken, it’s a safe way to clean your ears.

Start by lying on your side. Place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your upward-facing ear. Wait five minutes, then sit up and use a tissue to absorb any excess liquid. Then do the same on your other ear. Remember to consult your doctor before trying these home remedies.

Disinfect Your Walls, Windows, Mirrors, And Countertops


Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial. That’s why many household cleaners include this ingredient. If you’re running low on kitchen cleaners, use 3% hydrogen peroxide instead. Store it in a spray bottle and use as you would any other household cleaner.

Although hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant, it takes time to work. You might want to leave the solution on your countertops or walls for a minute before wiping. A mixture of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and plain soap makes an efficient cleaning solution for windows and mirrors.

Sometimes The Air Needs Cleaning, Too


Clean air can improve your quality of life. Well, you can combine hydrogen peroxide and a humidifier to reduce the germs floating through your home.

You’ll want to dilute your 3% hydrogen peroxide a lot. Mix one part of peroxide with eight parts of water, and add the mixture to your humidifier. If you have a diffuser, you can add some drops of essential oils for a pleasant smell. Then let the machine work its magic. Don’t use this technique if you have pets around.

Reshine Your Rusty Tools


When is the last time you cleaned your gardening shovel, screws, or hammer? Probably never. If your tools begin to rust, it’s time for a scrub. Pour a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide onto the rusted area and rub it with steel wool or a brush.

Before you dive into this DIY, test a small of hydrogen peroxide. H202 may react with some metallic irons, although it shouldn’t affect stainless steel, aluminum, or brass. Double-check what your tools are made of before experimenting.

Bye Bye, Burn Residue


Burn residue can take ages to scrub off. Since burned debris cakes onto the surface of pots and pans, just scrubbing won’t do much. You need a substance that dissolves and lifts the residue. Use hydrogen peroxide to remove the grime without having to scrub.

Pour a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide (3% is fine) to cover all the burned areas. Then stir in a pile of baking soda. Leave it for at least a couple of hours; aim for six hours. The debris should lift right off! Wipe off any sticky remains until your pot or pan looks like new.

Hydrogen Peroxide Is A Natural Deodorant


When bacteria breaks down sweat, it creates body odor. Because our armpits sweat more than any other area, they’re the main culprit of body odor. Some people use 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill these germs, and hence halt the B.O.

Hydrogen peroxide is not an antiperspirant, so it won’t inhibit your sweating. But neither do deodorants. Swipe or spray some hydrogen peroxide wherever you’re sweating for odor relief. And it’s certainly cheaper than paying for a deodorant that could contain harmful substances like aluminum.

Remove Labels Or Glue


It can be difficult and frustrating trying to remove a label or a sticker from a product you purchased. More often than not, the label or sticker will break apart into irritating small bits that take way too much work to get off. Plus you end up getting the label or sticker stuck under your nails, and it makes a big mess.

An easier way to remove labels and stickers is by using hydrogen peroxide. Set the product on a flat surface and spray the label or sticker with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit. After about 10 minutes, the label should easily come off with a little light scrubbing.

Lighten Your Hair At Half The Price


Hydrogen peroxide makes up 6% to 10% of most blonde hair dyes. To save money, you can use the liquid chemical to lighten your hair instead of a lengthy routine. Mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, an alkaline chemical that will lower the acidity. Spread the paste through your hair and leave it on from 15 to 60 minutes. Then, rinse your hair with cold water.

While the solution won’t turn your hair bleach blonde, it will lighten the color noticeably. Be careful handling hydrogen peroxide, because it easily irritates the eyes. And if you use too much, it can damage your hair and skin.

Help Your Plants Grow Big And Strong


Hydrogen peroxide works by releasing oxygen. Because plants use oxygen to absorb nutrients from the soil, they love this extra oxygen molecule. This promotes healthier, more vigorous plant growth for your garden.

To encourage garden growth, mix one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per one cup of water. After you pour the mixture into a spray bottle, mist your plants. If you want to cover an entire garden, increase your dosage to 35% hydrogen peroxide. You can also use this to pre-treat seeds. Since peroxide kills fungi, it also wards off potential diseases such as root infections.

Soften Those Cracked Heels


Why spend your money on spa foot treatments when you have so many other things to pay for? If you have cracked, rough callouses on the edges of your feet, hydrogen peroxide can soften that skin by breaking down the tissue around it.

Dilute two cups of hydrogen peroxide into two cups of hot water. Soak feet for 30 minutes. After you dry them off, scrub off all the dead skin. Then lather your feet with lotion, pop on some warm fuzzy socks, and hit the hay. Your feet will feel super soft in the morning.

Mix Hydrogen Peroxide With Borax For An Even Deeper Rust Clean


We already told you that scrubbing 3% hydrogen peroxide with steel wool will help remove rust from old metal tools. If even that doesn’t do the trick, try mixing 3% hydrogen peroxide with borax and dish soap for an even deeper clean.

Combine 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of regular dish soap, and a scoop of borax to make a solution that will pre-cleanse the rusted surface. Cover the rusted surface entirely and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then you can srub the rust away as normal.

This Can Alleviate A Painful Canker Sore


Anyone who has had a canker sore knows that it hurts. While hydrogen peroxide can’t make a canker sore disappear, it can speed up the healing. The peroxide kills growing bacteria in your mouth, which may ameliorate some pain.

Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with water–no more than half and half. Apply the mixture to your canker sore. Either dip a cotton ball in the solution and press it to your sore, or swish the liquid in your mouth. Either way, make sure not to swallow any of the peroxide. Oh, and it might sting a bit.

Here’s How To Clean Your Toothbrushes


Have you ever thought about how many germs gather on your toothbrushes? The reality is that they attract plenty of bacteria, and yet most people never clean their toothbrushes. According to the Children’s Oral Health Institute, hydrogen peroxide is a safe method of disinfecting your child’s toothbrushes.

Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a cup, and place your toothbrushes into it bristles-down. Leave the toothbrushes in there until the liquid stops bubbling. Afterward, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly before use. Another method is to swish your toothbrush through a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide before use.

If You Have Carpet Stains, Check This Out


Commercial carpet-cleaning products contain sodium percarbonate, which is a powdered form of hydrogen peroxide. That’s why cleaners often have “Oxy” or “Oxi” in the name. Why don’t you skip the extra charge and use hydrogen peroxide instead?

Before you start pouring, dilute the peroxide. Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with five parts water. Spray it on the dirty spot and wait for a couple of minutes, and then scrub the stain away. You might want to test it on a small area first.

Give Your Dishwasher More Oomph


Dishwashers make everything easier–when they work. If you don’t clean your dishwasher, the extra residue will cake the walls and leave your dishes less than lustrous. Plus, the hydrogen peroxide will lend your dishwasher soap more cleaning power.

Before you run your next load, add 1/4 cup (or three ounces) of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your dishwasher. Close the door and run it. The hot water will swirl it around, and the peroxide will disinfect the surface. That’s all you have to do!

Help Unclog Your Drain


If your sink drain keeps clogging, hydrogen peroxide may be able to help! Try pouring one cup of hydrogen peroxide down the drain and let it sit for an hour. After an hour has passed, run several hot cups of water down the drain to encourage the gunk to pass through.

For best results, repeat the process every two weeks to keep your drain from clogging up again. It’s always handy to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide under the sink!

Protect Your Shower From Mildew


Nobody likes cleaning their shower. That’s why it’s best to clean a shower and shield it from future mold at the same time. Fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spritz the walls of your shower and let it work its magic for 10 minutes. Then, wipe the mildew away.

According to a 2013 study in BMC Research Notes, hydrogen peroxide effectively kills microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria. It also demolishes budding yeast systems, so you won’t have to clean your shower for a while longer.

It Can Save Your Dog’s Life


Dog owners understand the risk of accidental poisoning. As soon as your dog eats a lot of grapes or chocolate, you’re on the clock. You can safely induce vomiting by feeding your dog a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide creates a mild reaction but not extreme enough to cause harm.

To induce vomiting, give your dog 3% hydrogen peroxide (any higher concentration is toxic). Feed your dog one teaspoon per five pounds of their body weight. The vomiting works ten to 15 minutes after eating, and it can last for up to 45 minutes. Afterward, follow up with your vet.

Kill Mold Without Using Harsh Chemicals


Mold can develop within 24 hours. Leaving it unattended can result in respiratory illnesses; it’s a hazard to those with allergies. While it’s important to kill mold quickly, most people don’t want to spray chemicals everywhere. Here’s a way to eradicate mold without those dangerous cleaners.

Add 3% hydrogen peroxide to a spray bottle. Saturate the mold-infected walls with the solution, and leave it there for ten minutes. Over time, the anti-fungal liquid will destroy the organisms. After ten minutes pass, scrub the area to remove all the stains. Then wipe the surface to dislodge any remaining mold stains.


Finally, An Easy Way To Clean Your Retainer Or Mouthguard


That tiny plastic mold that you have to stuff into your mouth every night is hard to keep clean. But you can clean your retainer for little-to-no money by using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water.

Place your retainer into a jar and submerge it in water. Add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and a sprinkle of baking soda. Leave the retainer in there for about ten minutes. Afterward, take it out and rinse all the residue off. Make sure to rinse your retainer thoroughly before popping it back in your mouth.

Your Humidifier Needs Cleaning, Too


When’s the last time you cleaned your humidifier or diffuser? Bacteria adore wet, warm places. Humidifiers remain damp for a long time. Plus, standing water allows bacteria to multiply. Dirty humidifiers can trigger allergy symptoms rather than help them.

To clean a humidifier or diffuser, add two cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water. Pour it into the humidifier’s water tank and filter, scrub it, and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes. Then rinse the base in clean water and leave it to air dry.

Re-Beautify Your Makeup Brushes


“Through daily use, makeup brushes can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria, says dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer, who co-founded the Dermatology Associates of New York. Dirty makeup brushes can result in staph infections if they aren’t cleaned properly. Fortunately, hydrogen peroxide sufficiently disinfects them.

Add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a bowl of warm water. Soak your brushes in the mixture for ten minutes. Swish the brushes around every now again. Afterward, remove your makeup brushes, rinse them with cold water, and let them air dry. If there’s any remaining residue, you can wash it off with soap.

Treat Acne Spots


Hydrogen peroxide works as a spot treatment for acne. When the peroxide touches your skin, it loses an extra oxygen atom. That oxidization process kills off the bacteria, which allows your skin to heal faster. Don’t use it for acne scars, as overuse can damage your skin further.

To spot-treat your acne, saturate a cotton ball with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Dab the cotton ball over the infected areas, leave for five minutes, and then rinse your face with cold water. Limit your use to three times a week, and make sure to wash your face before applying hydrogen peroxide.

Beat That Bad Breath


Hydrogen peroxide not only whitens your teeth, but it also eliminates bad breath. Gargling hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria in your throat, so it can also assuage sore throats and gum inflammation. Before you pour it straight into your mouth, dilute the peroxide in water.

Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into water: one part peroxide per two parts water. This will lower the concentration to 1% hydrogen peroxide. Gargle and swish the solution around your mouth for 30 to 60 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow. Rinse your mouth afterward, and you’re ready to go!

Clear Your Contact Lenses


If you don’t clean your contact lenses, you run the risk of spreading an eye infection. Instead of buying a solution, you can clear your lenses with hydrogen peroxide. This technique may help people who are sensitive to the preservatives used in contact solutions. To prevent hydrogen peroxide from stinging your eyes, you’ll need a neutralizer as well.

To clean your contact lenses, you can place them in 3% hydrogen peroxide for a little while. Afterward, leave them in a neutralizer for a couple of hours. Usually, the directions on the bottle will tell you exactly how long to leave them in.

Disinfect Your Sponges


When your sponge starts smelling, it’s time to clean it. You don’t have to throw your sponge away every time it smells germ-infested. Hydrogen peroxide will soak into the sponge and kill all bacteria inside the tiniest crevices.

To start, place your sponge in a container. Pour hydrogen peroxide until the sponge is mostly submerged, and watch for the white bubbles. That means the bacteria is dying. After a few minutes, flip the sponge over and leave it for a few more minutes. Then take out the sponge and rinse it. You’re done!

Sneaky Foods That Make You Feel Sluggish

Feeling tired all the time isn’t normal. If you’re struggling with sluggish energy every day, you’ll want to shake up your lifestyle. Check your diet first. After all, food literally fuels our bodies.

Sure, everyone knows that eating junk food all the time will zap your energy. But few know that eating certain fruits, lettuce, or white rice during the day could make you feel drowsy too. Whether you suspected these culprits or not, here are several foods that can make you feel sluggish throughout the day.

That Salty Chip Bag

Open bag of Fox Family Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips on a table.

Potato chips are notorious for making us feel sluggish. One of the reasons that potato chips make us feel groggy is that they tend to be addictive. A 2014 study in Frontiers in Psychology demonstrated that even rats prefer potato chips over a mix with equal amounts of carbs and fat.

The Journal of Nutrition explains that when salt and fat is brought together it causes people to eat 11% more than they would normally. The more chips you eat, the lazier you feel. Try substituting potato chips for kale or sweet potato chips, which have lower fat and salt.

Tart Cherries

Cherries grown in a garden of the Agrofirma Krasny Sad farming enterprise

Cherries contain a lot of tryptophan (full name L-traptophan), an amino acid that signals to the body to release sleep hormones. This fruit can even encourage us to sleep right after we eat it. A study in the 2010 Journal of Medicinal Found discovered that drinking cherry juice improves sleep in adults with insomnia.

You can use cherries to your advantage by drinking the juice or snacking on the fruit at night. But during the day, consider alternatives such as peaches, plums, or apricots.

Why Carbs (Not Turkey) Makes You Feel Tired On Thanksgiving

Barbara Marcus, front, Benita Marcus, R, and Ruth Shevach, rear, are volunteers from Temple Beth Ami who are preparing Thanksgiving dinner for residents of The Children's Inn and their families at the National Institutes of Health

You’ve probably heard that white bread and other carb-heavy grains will make you feel sluggish. The reason has to do with the amino acid tryptophan, the same one found in turkey. Tryptophan doesn’t immediately release serotonin to make you sleepy; it remains stored until carbohydrates activate it…

According to The National Sleep Foundation, carbohydrates release insulin, which eliminates all amino acids except for tryptophan from the blood. That tiring Thanksgiving dinner stems more from the high carbs than the turkey. Limit your carbs during the day and sleep better at night by enjoying a high-carb snack in the evening.

Lettuce Is A Sedative

A man shops for vegetables beside Romaine lettuce stocked and for sale at a supermarket in Los Angeles

Of all the vegetables, only lettuce has high lactucin, a compound with a sedative property. In mice, lactucin performed just as well as 30 mg of ibuprofen for relieving pain and calming nerves, according to a 2009 Brazilian study. Further research in Food Science and Biotechnology concluded that lettuce contains “sleep-potentiating material.”

Romaine has the highest lactucin levels compared to red and green lettuce. To cancel out the sleepy effect, mix the salad with plenty of protein.

White Rice Makes You Way Drowsier Than Brown Rice

white rice in bowl being eaten with chopsticks

While any carb will produce serotonin and prompt sleepiness, white rice seems to do so more than any other grain. Research in a 2014 issue of PLoS One indicates that white rice causes more drowsiness than bread or noodles.

In 2017, The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition noted that eating white rice four hours before bed will make you fall asleep faster. Dr. Christopher Winter, MD argues that brown rice does not have the same effect. If you want your dose of white rice, have it at night.

Pumpkin Seeds

Palestinian holds a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds

In eating 100 g of pumpkin seeds, you’ll absorb 500 mg of magnesium. High magnesium makes people feel drowsier and enhances sleep efficiency, melatonin, and serum cortisol, according to the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.

In 2016, researchers for Sleep Review analyzed 21 studies and concluded that Zenbev Drink Mix, which is made from pumpkin seeds, “induces sleepiness” and reduces awake time by 39% in participants. If you want to add pumpkin seeds to a meal, toss in some energizing protein to balance the effect.

Condiments’ High Sugar Causes Drowsiness

A currywurst (lit. curry sausage) with french fries and ketchup are on a table.

Ideally, condiments have 0 g of sugar. But if you buy yours from the store, this usually isn’t the case. One tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 g of sugar, and teriyaki sauce offers 7 g of sugar per tablespoon. Even light or fat-free dressings add on 6 g of sugar every two tablespoons.

Besides releasing sleep hormones through the orexin cells, sugar can pull you out of deep sleep throughout the night, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Homemade sauces and dips, as well as low-sugar alternatives such as avocado and hummus, can halt this effect.

Honey Stocks Your Liver. Yes, This Matters

drizzle of honey into Drizzle Honey jar on company twitter

Honey’s natural sugars stock the liver with glycogen. Glycogen is a form of glucose that breaks down in the liver and makes us feel relaxed and tired. A 2012 study in Pediatrics found that consuming just half a tablespoon of honey will make both adults and children fall asleep in only 30 minutes.

Honey also raises insulin, which triggers the amino acid tryptophan. Try to limit honey intake in your nighttime tea. Raw honey will restock your glycogen levels, which consumes slowly, allowing you to sleep through the night.

Salmon and Halibut

Scottish salmon on a bed of greens.

The 2017 issue of Nutrients asserts that of all animal products, eggs and fish supply the most melatonin. Seafood, notably salmon and halibut, carry high levels of vitamin B6, which the body breaks down to create melatonin.

The sleep hormone also gathers in the pineal organ of fish, especially in Pacific salmon, says Volume 14 of General and Comparative Endocrinology. If you’re grappling with grogginess throughout the day, save your seafood dishes for dinner.

Chocolate Might Not Cause Tiredness, But It’ll Contribute

A model bites into a bar of chocolate at the ISM confectionery fair.
Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images

Many people believe that chocolate’s serotonin content contributes to drowsiness. But a 2013 review in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology argues that serotonin in food only activates with less than 2% of protein. Most chocolates contain 5% of protein which negates this effect. The lazy post-chocolate feeling boils down to sugar content and emotional eating.

A 1998 study in Psychopharmacology suggests that people tend to consume more chocolate while feeling sad. Strong emotions take up a lot of energy, and the added sugar will result in a crash that leaves you feeling exhausted.

Bananas Straight Up Contain Melatonin

Daniil Medvedev of Russia eats a banana during a change of ends during his match

Bananas provide several vitamins and minerals that relax the body and promote tiredness. One large banana provides 487 mg of potassium: 10% of an adult’s daily recommended dosage. Potassium relaxes the muscles, which can make people feel drowsy, according to a 1991 Sleep journal study.

Along with containing high magnesium, bananas also release the sleep hormone melatonin. Scientists wrote in the Journal of Pineal Research that melatonin levels rose dramatically two hours after adults ate a banana. Hence, that “banana for breakfast” diet may exhaust your mornings in the office.

Eating Eggs For Breakfast Can Make You Crawl Back Into Bed

Eggs cook in pans at Lundy's Home Cooking

Despite being deemed the ideal breakfast dish, eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. This vitamin tells the brain that it’s time for bed. Several studies, including 2018 research in Nutritional Neuroscience, agree that higher vitamin D advances sleepiness in people with sleep disorders.

In contrast, one 2013 study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity alleges that vitamin D interrupts melatonin production. With eggs’ high protein content, the drowsy effect from vitamin D may not inhibit certain people.

Kiwis’ Serotonin Can Make People Sleepy

horticultural engineer holds a cut open mini kiwi in the experimental garden of the Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture

Although kiwi makes an excellent addition to fruit salads, this summer fruit could leave you feeling lazier than ever. Kiwis have high antioxidants, which researchers are just beginning to correlate with calmness and sleepiness. Scientists at the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan found that adults who ate kiwis an hour before bed fell asleep faster.

Kiwi also naturally contains serotonin, which stimulates the production of melatonin according to the Journal of Neurochemistry. You can turn kiwi into a healthy dessert at night, or eat it with more protein during the day.

Another Breakfast Food That’s Better At Night: Oatmeal

Arthur Manjourides, 66, eats a large bowl of oatmeal with raisins and pecans

Of all the cereals, oats yield the most melatonin. The scientific journal Nutrients explains that breads with crusts provide less melatonin than oats and barley. Oatmeal offers both tryptophan and enough carbohydrates to activate the amino acid, which signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep.

Oats also have vitamin B1, which researchers at the University of Maryland call “the anti-stress vitamin” for its ability to relax the body. If you’re aiming for a stress-free morning, heat a bowl of oatmeal. If you want to keep your eyes open at work, though, save it for the evening.

Red Meat is Hard To Digest

Close up shot of the hands of a butcher cutting a piece of meat.

Red meat, especially beef, tends to be harder for the body to digest. The human body comes with plenty of enzymes built to break down meat, but red meat has more protein and fat than vegetables or grains, which requires more energy to deconstruct.

Researchers still don’t know why digestion makes people feel tired. Scientists at Japan’s Kyorin University hypothesize that blood flow to the intestines “dramatically increases,” which zaps the rest of your energy. Since digesting red meat requires more blood flow, beef causes people to feel more groggy than other foods.

Figure Out How Figs Make You Foggy

Common fig fruit, close up of a transversal cut of the sweet delicacy.

Figs pack on potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium both help the brain generate melatonin and just one cup of figs present 241 mg of calcium and 25% of an adults’ recommended magnesium. These vitamins encourage a physiological sensation that tells our body to start dozing off.

“These minerals help with blood flow and muscle contraction, which are key for falling asleep,” reports Jaclyn London, RD, MS, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A small number of figs combined with other food and protein should negate these effects, however.

Flavored Yogurt, Even If It’s Fat-Free

strawberry yogurt with pieces of ripe banana on top.

All dairy products contain calcium and tryptophan that can make you sleepy (hence the Old Wives’ Tale of drinking warm milk before bed). On top of that, artificially sweetened dairy products can result in an intense energy crash. Men’s Health reports that one container of fat-free certified organic yogurt packs 35 g of sugar, more than a Snickers bar.

The high amount of fat and sugar triggers the orexin system, which tells your body to hit the hay. Replace these products with unsweetened Greek yogurt to enjoy more protein and not crash later.

Watch Your Walnuts

Bulk walnuts with scoop

While nuts provide a great dose of protein and healthy fats, eating too many can make you doze off. The American Sleep Association credits walnuts with having high magnesium and serotonin. But the nut’s most exhausting feature is the fat content.

Australian research in 2016 reported that people who ate 135 g of fat every day were 78% more likely to feel sluggish during the day. One cup of walnuts adds 52 g of fat to your diet. Measure out your nuts in small portions; for instance, 13 walnuts constitutes a 104 cal snack.

Cottage Cheese

Ceramic bowl of homemade cottage cheese on linen cloth over dark brown texture background

Like other dairy products, cottage cheese consists of tryptophan amino acids, the ultimate sleep-causers. On top of this, the National Sleep Foundation illustrates that cottage cheese’s protein casein digests slowly and prompts these hormonal changes for hours to come.

The combination of harder digestion and tryptophan can force you to nod off during work. Cottage cheese makes a great late-night snack, especially when paired with a melatonin-rich fruit like raspberries. To stay awake during the day, though, limit your cottage cheese consumption.

Not All Fruit Smoothies Are Created Equal

Making smoothies at Borough Market.

The National Sleep Foundation proposes that fruits, with their natural melatonin and antioxidant content, make you tired faster. When you eat fruits as a side, you probably won’t register these effects. But an entire meal of fruits– especially bananas, kiwis, pineapple, and oranges–will likely have you nodding off.

When crafting a smoothie, double-check that you have enough protein to override fruit’s melatonin. Most store-bought smoothies have over 50 g of sugar and little to no protein, which will only make you feel groggy later.

th by 37%.

If you have a standing desk, make an effort to stand for ten minutes every hour. Otherwise, take a brisk walk every hour. The Center for Disease Control recorded that when study participants stood more often, 87% felt energized, 75% felt healthier, and 62% felt happier.

If You Order Lemon Water At Restaurants, Think Again

Two Glasses Of Water with Lemon Slice. (Photo by: A&G Reporter/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Although lemon water is a common restaurant drink, many employees don’t take proper care of their lemons. According to 2017 research from the Journal of Environmental Health, 70% of restaurant lemons contain bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Investigators from ABC reported the restaurant employees often grabbed lemons without gloves or tongs and left the fruit out in the open.

Microbiologist Philip Tierno, who led the investigation, says that most peoples’ immune systems can safely handle lemon water, but not everyone. To stay safe, you can order water without lemon. Or, you can squeeze the juice into your water and place the wedge aside.


Be Careful Where You Put Your Phone

A woman uses an Apple iPhone at a shopping mall

Since many of us carry our phones into restrooms, stores, and restaurants, smartphones quickly turn into germ hives. According to a 2011 study, one in six phones have fecal matter on the surface. Many other phones have infectious pathogens such as Streptococcus and E. Coli.

To limit the number of germs on your phone, don’t use it while in the bathroom. You may not want to press your smartphone to your face or mouth during a call. Apple advises against using liquid disinfectants. Instead, combine water and rubbing alcohol and spread it over your smartphone with a cloth.

Cover Your Mouth When You Sneeze Or Cough

A close-up view of a woman sneezing.

When you cough or sneeze, you’re releasing germs into the air. For decades, most people thought that these germs traveled only a few feet. But 2017 research from MIT concluded that germs fly 200x farther than we originally thought. An average sneeze sends germs at least six feet in front of a person.

With that high amount of germs, you don’t want to cough or sneeze into your hand. Instead, use your upper sleeve or the inside of your elbow. You’ll prevent other people (and potentially your food) from becoming infected.

Beware Of Office Coffee Pots And Mugs

A female employee uses a Cafe Coffee Day coffee machine in a private office

Office coffee machines are quite dirty. According to a 2015 study in Scientific Reports, breakroom coffee machines have anywhere from 35 to 67 different kinds of bacteria. Office mugs aren’t much better. Researchers from the University of Arizona concluded that 90% of office cups are coated in germs, most likely from the sponge.

Oddly enough, the coffee from office machines is perfectly fine. Most coffee machines have germ-covered filters and wasted capsules, so your morning drink is bacteria-free. However, you may want to use a disposable cup and make sure that your office coffee pot is regularly cleaned.

Don’t “Tough It Out” At Work

Female patient blows her nose at a doctor's office.

While they feel sick, many people decide to “power through” their illness and go to work anyway. But for the sake of your health and your coworkers, stay at home. According to a 2013 study, working while sick increases the likelihood of sick coworkers by 40%.

According to a 2015 U.K. survey, there are two reasons why people go to work sick: lack of sick days and a stigma against missing work. Cases of working while sick have tripled in the last decade, according to another 2018 survey. Don’t put your coworkers and yourself at risk.

Disinfect Your Shopping Cart

A customer pushes a shopping cart at the Perekrestok grocery store

Shopping carts are dirtier than most people think. In 2018, the University of Arizona researchers reported that 72% of shopping carts fester Salmonella, E. Coli, and fecal matter. Microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Hobden says that public restrooms are cleaner than shopping cart handles because restrooms are cleaned regularly.

Fortunately, many grocery stores offer antibiotic wipes in front of their stores. In case they don’t, you may want to carry a portable case of wet wipes. Clean the handle, wait 20 seconds for it to dry, and you’ll be safe to shop.

If You Can Help It, Don’t Touch Your Face

President of a French magazine rests his head in his hand.

Touching your face spreads bacteria and illness-causing bugs, according to dermatologist Ava Shamban. When you rub your face or place your chin in your hand, you rub around oils that make your face greasier. Not only will this cause acne, but it could potentially spread diseases if you haven’t washed your hands.

If you have to touch your face, wash your hands first. You can also carry hand sanitizer around. Although it may not work as well as a 20-second hand washing, it’ll still kill germs and lower your chances of getting sick.

Clean Your Work Desk, Or You’ll Get Sick

Woman wipes down a work desk with disinfectant wipes.

According to a 2018 study, your work desk has 400x more germs than a toilet seat. The average desktop has 20,961 germs per square inch, while a work phone has 25,127 per square inch. These bugs include H. Pylori, E. Coli, and Staph. To make matters worse, one in ten employees never clean their desks.

Don’t be the one in ten. Aim to sanitize your workspace once a week, or more if you or your neighbor don’t feel well. Wipe down the computer, keyboard, phone, and door handles with an antibacterial spray or wipe.

The “Five Second Rule” Doesn’t Work

Boy drops an apple and sandwich out of an open lunch box.

Urban legend states that if you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds, it’ll be safe to eat. Paul Dawson, a food scientist at Clemson University, tested this theory. His research team found that five seconds is plenty of time for bacteria to contaminate food.

Leaving your food on the floor for longer puts you at higher risk, according to a peer-reviewed study. Your health risk depends on the bacteria on the floor and the food you drop. To stay safe, don’t eat food that you drop on the floor.

Avoid Using Makeup Testers

An Iranian woman tries on a lipstick at a cosmetics shop

In 2017, a woman sued Sephora after contracting oral herpes from a lipstick tester. And this isn’t the only case. During a 2005 study, researchers found that 67% to 100% of makeup testers contained bacteria such as strep, staph, and E. Coli.

Avoid putting makeup testers on your face. If you want to try a product, swipe it on your hand and wash it off afterward. Professional makeup artist Lorin Cole recommends washing product containers when you get home, especially brushes. She washes her new brushes with dish detergent and alcohol spray.

Why Eating Alone Hurts

Crystal Reed is seen eating at a cafe

Eating alone at least twice a day doubles your risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome, according to a 2017 study in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Researchers believe that eating alone increases someone’s tendency to binge eat. Feeling socially isolated may contribute to that.

Neurobiologist Stephanie Cacioppo says that your mood while eating makes all the difference. If you prefer to eat alone, you may do so without reverse effects. But it may benefit you to eat with your coworkers or friends once in a while.

Have You Ever Cleaned Your Reusable Bags?

Reusable shopping bags hang by the door

Reusable bags help the environment and allow you to carry supplies anywhere, but when’s the last time you washed yours? During a 2019 study, researchers from the University of Arizona found bacteria on 99% of reusable bags. Only 3% of bag owners said that they washed their bags regularly.

If you use canvas bags, you can throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. The same goes for Nylon bags, which you can also clean with soap and water. For insulated shopping bags, wash them with a disinfecting wipe after each use.

Always Keep Your Produce In Bags

Groceries sit on a conveyor belt in the checkout lane.

Shopping carts aren’t the only germ-infested surface of supermarkets. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, conveyor belts also harbor mold, yeast, and staph. The belts are made of PVC, a plastic that becomes a breeding ground for germs. They are rarely if ever, cleaned.

When buying produce, always wrap your products in plastic bags. Wash your fruits and vegetables after you get home, and bring hand sanitizer to your grocery store. Overall, remember that grocery stores are public, generally dirty areas.

Beware Of Public Bicycles

A couple take out Citibikes from a bike-sharing station in the New York City.

Using public bikes, such as Citi Bike, places you at risk for germs. According to a 2017 study by Men’s Health, Citi Bikes had more germs than any other public transport in New York City and even had 45 times the bacteria of a subway pole.

You wouldn’t want to touch food after riding one of those bikes. If you use a public bike, bring some alcohol-based sanitizing wipes. Give the bike a quick clean before mounting and going on your way. After you finish your ride, wash your hands.

Don’t Place Bags On The Bathroom Floor

Fashion goers stop by porta-potties

When you visit a public restroom, you may place your purse or bag on the floor. According to a U.K. study, many purses have fecal matter on them from contacting a bathroom floor. Other potential causes include germ-infested office spaces and grocery carts, and owners not cleaning their bags.

If you want to lower the risk of disease, place your bags on a hook inside the restroom stall. Microbiologist Charles Gerba, who lead the study, recommends cleaning leather and plastic bags with a disinfectant wipe. Cloth bags can be thrown into the wash.

Must-Have Items For Your At-Home Emergency Kit

When emergencies occur suddenly, you’ll want to be prepared. The American Red Cross suggests having two different kits: an on-the-go kit and an at-home kit. Here, we’re going to focus on the at-home kit.

How much water should you have on hand for a crisis? How much money should you set aside just in case? If you want to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency, learn what experts recommend. Here is everything you should stock for a home emergency kit.

Enough Water For At Least Three Days

A man grabs a gallon of water off the shelf before a big winter storm hits.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you’ll want to pack enough water for at least three days. Expect every person to drink a gallon of water per day. So if three people live in a house, you’d need nine gallons of water for three days.

You can buy gallons of water or fill empty gallon containers with tap water. Store the water in a cool, dark location such as a basement. For long-term storage, consider using plastic or glass bottles. You can use stainless steel if you don’t intend to clean the water with chlorine.

A Portable Radio

A man speaks through a portable radio.

If the electricity goes out and your phone dies, what will you have for communication? For these types of emergencies, you’ll need a portable radio. The radio should be powered by hand cranking, batteries, or solar power. That way, you’ll be able to connect to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for emergency broadcasts.

If you buy a battery-powered radio, stock up on backup batteries. Consider getting a power bank that will charge the radio through a USP port. Some emergency radios can be charged in all ways: solar, hand cranking, batteries, and power bank.


Face Masks

Residents of the Phillippines wear face masks while sitting in chairs.

In case of a fire creating smoke, you’ll want a face mask. Depending on which kind you get, these masks can filter out chemicals, germs, and air pollution. Most are one-time only use, but you can buy some reusable ones that you can wash.

There are three tiers of dust masks. The first is a disposable cloth mask, which doesn’t filter out chemicals. The second, respirators, guard against smoke and pollutants. Finally, full-face reusable respirators are the most protective. Check the prices and decide which type will be the most appropriate for your family and environment.


A Three-Day Supply Of Food

A woman stacks canned food for a French donation center.

Like water, you’ll want to store at least three days’ worth of nonperishable food. Remember to buy foods that your family will actually eat, and avoid overly-salty meals that will make people thirsty. Dehydrated and canned foods are your best bet.

Here are some food examples from Ready, an organization that educates people on emergency preparation: canned soup, dehydrated beans, nonperishable pasteurized milk, canned fish, baby food (if applicable), dried fruits, canned juices, protein bars, and canned meats and vegetables. If any containers look dented or damaged, don’t eat from them.

Coming up: what to stash in a first aid kit.


Spare Cash And Change

A person counts spare cash.

You may want to keep cash on hand in case you can’t use your credit or debit cards. In your home emergency kit, keep a stash of cash and change. Store them in a waterproof container. You can include a checkbook, but don’t replace cash with it.

You may also want to establish an emergency savings account. Chief financial analyst Greg McBride at recommends creating a savings account that accrues interest. Even $500 set aside for emergencies will relieve anxiety and can prepare you for the worst.


Extra Garbage Bags

A pile of garbage bags is seen.

In your home emergency kit, include an extra pack of garbage bags. They’ll hold food scraps and trash that will keep your space sanitary; you don’t want to get sick during an emergency. Plus, trash bags have many other uses other than garbage.

Since garbage bags are waterproof, they can catch rainwater or act as a poncho. You can spread them out as a fly screen or a sunshade. In an extreme situation, you can transform a trash bag into a stretcher or shelter.

Paper Products

Paper towel packages are stocked.

Don’t forget to stash paper products for an emergency situation. Any spare paper notebooks, paper towels, tissues, envelopes–can in handy during a crisis. Not only do they allow you to take notes and clean up messes, but they also serve as toilet paper substitutes if absolutely needed.

Paper can also insulate walls and help to start fires. With a thick notebook and a pen, you can also keep yourself entertained. As simple as survival living seems, people can easily go stir-crazy with little to do.

A First Aid Kit

A close-up shows a paramedic's first aid kit.

A first aid kit is different than an emergency kit. The first aid specifically helps people who are sick or wounded. You need one of these for every emergency kit you prepare, whether that be in your home or in your car. You can buy prepackaged ones, but make sure that they contain everything you need.

The American Red Cross recommends several items for your first aid kit. Include bandages, aspirin, prescription medication, ten yards of adhesive cloth tape, gauze pads, nonlatex gloves, a thermometer, a thermal blanket, a cold compress, and cold medicine.

Important Family Documents

A person writes on important documents.

If a family member ends up in the hospital, or if you need to withdraw from your savings account, you’ll need identification. Keep copies of your insurance policy, identification, bank records, and car documents in a waterproof container.

You may want to write down the information of your emergency contacts, too. Remember, you might not have your phone during an emergency. Write down the address, phone number, and email of close friends or relatives whom you can talk to in a crisis. Store those with your identity documents.


A Portable Water Filter

A man filters water from a river with a portable water filter.

If you run out of water during an emergency situation, you’ll need a backup. That’s why you should pack a portable water filter in your home kit. Never consume unfiltered water, even if it’s natural. It can contain bacteria, viruses, parasites, and microplastics that will make you sick.

Water filters are designed to remove these toxins so that you can fetch water from a local lake, stream, well, or even your water heater. There are several varieties, from straws to gravity bags, and some only cost around $20.

Heavy-Duty Duct Tape

Pieces of silver heavy-duty duct tape stick to a surface.

Duct tape has multiple uses in emergency cases. It can repair leaks in the ceiling, water bottles, and tents. A strip can hold a wound closed or restrain a broken arm if needed. You can even use duct tape to make spears, bug catchers, and shelter.

In your home emergency kit, pack a few rolls of heavy-duty duct tape. Refrain from using these rolls unless you need to; if you frequently use duct tape, buy another roll for everyday use. In a survival situation, this tool is invaluable.

Thermal Blankets

A child wrapped in a thermal blanket stands on the coast of Lesbos, Greece.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In an emergency kit, regular blankets won’t do. Remember, you may not have heating in your home, so you’ll want thermal blankets. These blankets are designed to keep you warm in chilly weather, and many of them are waterproof as well.

You can buy lightweight thermal blankets on Amazon and several other websites. Get one for each person, and buy a few extras in case one of them gets torn. Many emergency blankets are packaged in small containers so that they won’t take up too much space in your kit.


A Flashlight And Candles

A woman searches a museum tunnel for bats with a flashlight.

In an emergency situation, you may not have electricity. Prepare for that when you pack a flashlight. You can use battery-powered flashlights if you keep extra batteries on hand. To be extra prepared, consider buying a hand-cranked flashlight.

Although most emergency kits recommend flashlights, you may also want to pack some tealight or tower candles. Buy unscented ones–you don’t want the smell to overpower you if the lights go out. Include plenty of matches and a lighter, as it’s convenient to have both on hand.


A cup is pictured next to pills, thermometers, and throat sprays.

You don’t want to go without medication in an emergency. If you take prescription medication, ask for a spare bottle that you can keep on hand in case you run out unexpectedly. Other drugs, such as anti-acids, laxatives, painkillers, and anti-diarrhea drugs, may come in handy.

Some of these medications come inside first aid kits. Check what your kit has before adding to it. A regular pill bottle should have enough. Remember, you only need about three days’ to two weeks’ worth of supplies for an emergency situation.

A Map Of The Local Area

A person points to a map of the US.

We know–who uses a map anymore? But when your phone dies and you can’t charge it, you’ll want a physical map. For your emergency kit, pack a detailed map of your local area. Mark down important sites–such as hospitals, grocery stores, and train stations–before a crisis occurs.

You may also want a map of the state. If you ever have to leave your home, you’ll know where to drive. If you’re worried about walking somewhere, get a topography map. These will show you the local environment if major roads are closed.


Personal Hygiene Products

A consumer picks a bath soap from a grocery store shelf.

When emergencies occur, any kind of hygiene product is a luxury. Store extra hygiene products in advance so that you can bathe and feel comfortable. Soap, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, and feminine products may become lifesavers during a time of crisis.

Also, consider investing in an emergency toilet. If you get a five-gallon container and line it with a trashcan, you’ll have a makeshift toilet. Sure, it’s not luxurious, but it’s better than nothing. It will keep you and your area clean if the water shuts off.

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