Kitchen to The Rescue

Recipes to cure minor problems at home: raid your kitchen for stench busters, teeth whiteners, and skin-care solutions

Sunburn, Razor Burn

Remedy: Milk

Dip a clean washcloth into a bowl of cool milk and dab it on the burned areas. (The coolness can help reduce swelling, and milk's lactic acid has anti-inflammatory properties.) Then rinse it off. Or try: Olive oil, which has natural compounds that protect against inflammation.

Minor Wound
Remedy: Honey

Honey deprives bacteria of the water it needs to multiply. Thwart infection with a swipe of the sweet stuff, and cover the cut with a bandage.

Flaky Hand Skin
Remedy: Sugar

Coat your wet hands with sugar ­ the coarser the better. The rough grains scrub away flakes and dead skin cells. If possible, use demerara, a dark sugar with large granules; it's sold in specialty-food stores.

Dry Skin and Lips
Remedy: Olive Oil

Olive oil closely resembles your own natural oils, which can be stripped away by harsh soaps and dry heat. Smooth a few drops onto your palm and rub it into your skin to soften rough spots and form a protective moisture barrier.

Insect Bites
Remedy: Apple-Cider Vinegar

Dab the vinegar onto each bite with a paper towel. The acidity can help reduce swelling and curb your urge to scratch.

Athlete's Foot
Remedy: Apple-Cider Vinegar

A mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water can kill the fungi that cause foot infections. For athlete's foot relief, just soak your feet in it for a while.

Stinky Sneakers
Remedy: Baking Soda

A sprinkle between wearings can help neutralize funky odors. Just don't forget to dump out the excess before you slide your shoes back on. Or try: Orange peels. Leave peels in your shoes overnight to replace bacterial odors with a fresh scent.

Reeking Armpits
Remedy: Apple-Cider Vinegar

It's not sweat that makes your pits reek ­ it's the bacteria that break down your sweat. (Gross, right?) So dip a cotton ball or a washcloth into cider vinegar and rub it under your arms. Vinegar's astringent properties won't allow microbes to thrive. And don't worry about the sharp smell ­ it dissipates quickly. Or try: Baking soda, which absorbs stench.

Discolored Teeth
Remedy: Orange Peel

Rub the white pith of the peel on your teeth, then scrub with a wet toothbrush to lift any debris. (But do this infrequently or you may weaken the enamel.) Or try: Baking soda. Its gritty texture can help loosen surface stains. Mix a small amount with water until it forms a paste you can brush with.

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