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Home Remedies That Make Your Life Easier

Posted by Kara Baskin  July 9, 2012 09:00 AM

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The other day I posted on Facebook that drinking dill-pickle brine suddenly cured me of a sore throat, and a few people e-mailed me to ask if I'd share some other bizarre home-remedy secrets. Well, you're in luck: It is possible to turn your home into a virtual CVS without having to spend much money at all! I've discovered this through years of thriftiness and hoarding, and I'm delighted to share my hard-won knowledge with you. Bear in mind that there's no scientific basis for my claims, just plenty of trial and error.

The Problem: A sore throat that makes you dread swallowing.
The Cure: Gargling with pickle brine. Gross, I know, but the acidity kills germs, and it's not nearly as harsh as apple cider vinegar (another popular alternative). My husband was dismayed to discover that I'd drained his precious jar of dill pickles, but I think it was worth it. Do this at least three times per day. My sore throat abated within 12 hours.

The Problem: Wispy white hairs that make you look like a skunk.
The Cure: Waterproof mascara. Why spend $200 every six weeks for highlights when you could run to Walgreens and hide your grays for $8? I touch up my mane with Black-Brown Cover Girl Lashblast, applied directly to the offending hairs. This works like a charm, but do note: Waterproof mascara is a must, lest your fancy new hair color stream down your face in a storm.

The Problem: Fried triangle head. You know: When your hair is crispy, brittle, and sticks out at unnatural angles.
The Cure: Eggs. I'm serious! Crack an egg into a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, and then add a splash of cool water. Then pretend you're making brunch: Whisk vigorously. Massage this combo gently into scalp for two minutes, de-tangle locks with a wide-tooth comb, and rinse with cold water. Silky!

The Problem: Urinary tract infections.
The Cure: At that first dreaded sensation of "I really need to pee, but I can't...but maybe I don't need to...wait, maybe I do..." pour yourself a nice cocktail: a quarter-teaspoon baking soda mixed with eight ounces of water. I read about this one in Prevention, and it works miraculously. (I'd been a cranberry juice devotee until recently.) This will keep your misery at bay until you get a culture done. Which, of course, you should do.

The Problem: Sandpaper skin.
The Cure: Lemon-lavender body scrub. Mix 1 cup Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baby oil or olive oil, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon dried lavender in a bowl. Transfer to an airtight jar. Rub yourself down and rinse before drying off. I stole this recipe from Food Network magazine editrix Erin Phraner (check out her blog right here!); it's super-simple ... and, better yet, cheapo!

Do you have crafty home remedies that make your life simpler? Please reveal all. Bonus points if they involve ways to shed five pounds in five days and/or walk gracefully in heels.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Kara Baskin (@kcbaskin) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and mom to Andy. She thinks Sriracha and garlic make everything tastier. She loves Steely Dan and "Murder, She Wrote." Her More »

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