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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 29, 2008

Mouthwash, the all-purpose cleaner

By Sharon Harvey Rosenberg
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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My computer screen has a minty scent. With a white tissue dampened with Spring Mint private-label mouthwash from Walgreens, I've removed smudges and dust from the screen of my laptop.

As a screen cleaner, mouthwash is a bargain. Based on a price of just $2 for 42 ounces slightly less than 5 cents an ounce it cost me less than a penny to clean my computer screen. This trick works best on glass screens and is not recommended for computer monitors that use LCDs.

But there are other unusual uses for mouthwash:

  • Bathroom cleaning product: The plaque-busting ingredients in mouthwash also effectively clean toilet bowls and kill bathroom germs. The September issue of First magazine offers this recipe: Pour 2 ounces of mouthwash into the toilet bowl and let the liquid sit for 30 minutes. Follow up with a quick swish with a toilet brush and then flush.

  • Low-cost skin treatment: The alcohol and bacteria-fighting ingredients contained in most sugar-free mouthwashes are great for freshening up your skin, according to Readers Digest. I've tried this tip and discovered that mouthwash is great at removing grime and residue from the face. Rinse with cold water.

  • Odor-eater: Working with garlic and onions can leave your hands with a strong odor long after the food has been cooked. To zap the scent, soak a cotton ball with mouthwash and apply it to your hands. This aroma therapy worked for me; however, this tip worked best when I let the mouthwash dry before rinsing. Likewise, mouthwash or plain alcohol can also banish underarm odor during a midday emergency.

  • Laundry aid: A cup of alcohol-based mouthwash is great for killing germs in the laundry, especially if you're washing very soiled items. Add to the regular cycle.

  • Anti-fungus treatment: A mixture of mouthwash and water (25 percent mouthwash and 75 percent water) can be sprayed once a week onto plant leaves suffering from mildew and fungus. Meanwhile, mild cases of athlete's foot and toe fungus can be treated with mouthwash. Soak a cotton ball with sugar-free mouthwash and apply it several times a day. The athlete's foot may disappear in days, but toe fungus may take months to banish.