Witch hazel is one of those items that’s worth keeping around the house as it can be used for a ton of different purposes. Have a cut or a bruise? Witch hazel can help it heal. The dog has a tick? Witch hazel can get rid of it. Dirty floors? Witch hazel can clean them. Keep reading for more uses of this ancient astringent.
Certain parts of the house can be trickier to keep fresh-smelling than others. For a natural odor-remover for carpet, upholstery, and just about anywhere else, start with a tablespoon of witch hazel.
Mix in three tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put the mixture in a spray bottle to neutralize odors and leave behind a fresh scent without any toxic chemicals or harsh smells.
Rather than spending money on a new shampoo and conditioner just for dandruff, try using some witch hazel. Massage the liquid into your scalp before doing your regular haircare routine.
The liquid’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce scalp irritation, which may help to heal the dandruff. Since witch hazel tends to pull out oils, it’s best to use on oily scalps and to follow up with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. The liquid can also help lift dandruff flakes that are tangled in the hair.
Reduce Stretch Marks
Women who become pregnant aren’t the only ones susceptible to stretch marks. They can also occur when someone has gained weight or changed their body composition quickly. Some people have stretch marks just from puberty and growth spurts.
Witch hazel is a natural remedy that may help. The liquid causes the skin to contract, making it tauter. When the loose skin around stretch marks becomes tighter, the appearance starts to fade, making them less noticeable.
Stains can become difficult to scrub out, especially if they go unaddressed for some time. Witch hazel is an astringent, which means it can help lift particles out of the surface.
That’s why it may help remove stains from surfaces, and even from skin! For surfaces, mix the witch hazel with some white toothpaste and scrub it into the stain with a toothbrush. For skin, apply it to a washcloth and wipe away the stains.
Alleviate Razor Burn
Shaving can cause irritation that sometimes results in the hair follicles becoming inflamed. When this occurs, small bumps appear near the shaving site, which can be even more unsightly than unwanted hair!
To top it off, razor burn can be itchy and painful. Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the burn and reduce the appearance of bumps. Apply it to the area with a cotton ball directly after shaving to help alleviate razor burn.
As an astringent, witch hazel can cause your skin tissue to contract. This can lead to your pores shrinking, making them less noticeable and not as prone to getting clogged.
Witch hazel also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin and bring down the puffiness. These features can also cause the skin to appear more firm. The result is seemingly flawless skin that looks less blemished, more clear, and seems to age slower over time.
Make Varicose Veins Less Bothersome
Varicose veins are veins that have become twisted or swollen, and therefore are more visible through the skin. They often appear in legs and can sometimes cause discomfort, though they typically are just a cosmetic concern.
Witch hazel contains gallic acid and oils that may help reduce the swelling associated with varicose veins. Apply the liquid with a washcloth or pour a few drops into the tub and soak your legs for 15 minutes a day to help ease the appearance and pain.
Reduce Hair Frizz
The oils in witch hazel make it a popular addition to natural hair care products, but there’s no need to splurge on a special shampoo. Just massage some witch hazel into your scalp or mix it in with your shampoo.
The properties in witch hazel can help to reduce hair frizziness, leaving you with smoother strands. They can also help keep hair follicles healthy, which then produces shinier, stronger locks. For drier hair, apply witch hazel after washing the hair and leave it in.
Clean A Dog’s Ears
Witch hazel is gentle enough to use on pets, making it a helpful product to clean dog’s ears. Canines’ ears can get easily dirty, which may lead to infection if they aren’t properly cleaned.
Soak a cloth in witch hazel and use it to gently clean in and around the ear. The liquid’s antiseptic properties can help to fight off bacteria and deter pests. It is also less expensive than a specialty product from the vet.
Prevent Or Heal Cold Sores
A 2014 study published in Plos One found that the tannins in witch hazel may help prevent cold sores from spreading due to their antiviral properties. That’s why it may be a good idea to apply the liquid to the affected area as soon as symptoms start.
Even after a cold sore has formed, it’s a good idea to apply witch hazel to encourage quicker healing. Apply the liquid with a cotton swab or cotton ball.
Soothe Chicken Pox
Chickenpox can cause incessant itching, but scratching will only make it worse. To address the irritation without causing more harm, try applying some witch hazel.
The liquid contains oils that can help soothe chickenpox blisters while being gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. Mix equal parts witch hazel and water and apply it directly to those itchy spots with a cotton ball. Let it air dry and reapply as needed throughout the duration of recovery.
Cleanse Oily Skin
One of the more common uses of witch hazel is as an astringent. The liquid is naturally good at drawing oil, dirt, and other impurities from the skin. It also is generally gentle enough that it doesn’t dry out the skin.
Keeping witch hazel and some cotton balls on hand can give you an easy way to cleanse the face while out and about without needing a sink. It can help keep the face matte without layering on pore-clogging makeup.
Ease A Sore Throat
For the same reason that gargling salt water can be helpful for a sore throat, gargling witch hazel water can also do the trick. The liquid has antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help combat the source of the pain.
Witch hazel can also help dry out some of the mucus in the throat and decrease inflammation. Just be sure to go with a brand that doesn’t contain isopropyl. For extra benefits, mix in some clove and myrrh oil.
Remove A Tick
One of the more common things pets can contract is ticks! The little insects can be a nuisance to get out, but witch hazel can help. Apply a few drops to the site to loosen the tick’s grip on your pet.
You should be able to then pull it off. Since ticks can’t stand witch hazel, it can also be effective at warding off future ticks. Just be sure to get a brand that doesn’t have isopropyl in it as it’s toxic for animals.
Jewelry is tricky to clean because it can react to certain chemicals and become dull, discolored, or otherwise ruined. Fortunately, witch hazel is safe to use but is still effective at lifting dirt and grime.
Apply the witch hazel to a cotton ball or pad and rub it into the jewelry to restore its shine. Alternatively, you can soak the jewelry in a dish filled with witch hazel for several minutes. Rinse it clean and dry it with a soft cloth.
Relieve Bug Bites
Bug bites can be very irritating, but scratching can increase swelling and prolong the healing process. One thing that can help soothe the pain is witch hazel! The liquid can help reduce inflammation and speed up healing.
Apply witch hazel to a cotton ball and dab it over the affected areas, allowing it to dry. It should alleviate the burning and itching right away and reduce swelling over time. Apply repeatedly as needed until the bite no longer irritates.
Help Heal A Sunburn
Sunburns can be painful, but witch hazel may be able to help. The liquid has anti-inflammatory properties that can help speed up the skin’s recovery and soothe any pain associated with the burn.
It also contains oils that may help keep the skin moist, reducing irritation and making the skin less likely to peel. Apply witch hazel to a washcloth to lay over the affected area. Let the liquid soak in and repeat as needed.
Did you get a cut but don’t have any hydrogen peroxide around? Witch hazel is another household item that can be effective at preventing bacterial infections. It has antiseptic properties that will help to clean the wound.
The astringent also shrinks blood vessels, which can help stop bleeding. Plus, the anti-inflammatory can also help wounds heal faster! Pour witch hazel onto a chilled cloth and gently hold it to the wound before applying a bandage.
Hemorrhoids aren’t any fun, but witch hazel may be able to help. Just soak some cotton pads in witch hazel and toss them in the freezer for an easy and cheap solution to hemorrhoid irritation.
You can also mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with the witch hazel for added freshness and extra healing properties. Witch hazel is so effective for hemorrhoids that some Preparation H creams even include it as an ingredient!
Soothe Skin Conditions
There are many skin conditions that can cause itching, pain, dryness, and general discomfort. Some of the more common ones are eczema and psoriasis, both of which witch hazel can help.
The tannins and oils in witch hazel can soothe irritation, reducing redness and calming itchiness. Since witch hazel is gentle on the skin and natural, it can be helpful for those with sensitivities. Plus, it’s generally less expensive than specialty creams and it can be applied often.
Make A Natural Deodorant
Certain deodorants contain unwanted or harsh ingredients, but the natural ones can cost a pretty penny. For a less expensive and more natural alternative, use witch hazel!
Just mix half a cup of the liquid with a quarter cup aloe vera juice, and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. Scent it with a few drops of your favorite essential oil and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spritz it under your arms as needed.
Since witch hazel is an astringent, it can be a great way to remove makeup. Especially if you wear foundation all day everyday, makeup can end up getting trapped deep down in pores. Witch hazel is excellent at drawing these impurities out, reducing the chances of makeup-relating breakouts.
It is also more gentle and less expensive than some makeup removal products, giving you more bang for your buck. It can even double as a makeup remover and a cleanser, saving time and money.
Reduce Eye Puffiness
Puffiness and bags under the eyes can give the appearance of aging or fatigue. Witch hazel contains tannins that may help to tighten the skin under the eyes.
The liquid is also anti-inflammatory and can help shrink blood vessels beneath the skin, reducing puffiness. Apply some witch hazel to two cotton pads and place one under each eye. Leave them there for about 5 to 10 minutes and you should see a difference right away!
Rather than buying a designated glass cleaner, save some money by using witch hazel! Undiluted witch hazel is all you need to make your mirrors, windows, and chrome fixtures sparkle.
For extra strength, you can add in some lemon juice and a pinch of baking soda. The acid of the lemon combined with the cleaning power of the soda will dissolve grime or dirt. The natural mixture is especially ideal in kitchens since it won’t compromise food.
Use It As A Paint Thinner
Paint can become thick over time, so it can be helpful to have a paint thinner on hand. There’s no need for an expensive paint thinner from a home improvement store if you have some witch hazel around!
Just add a few drops into the paint and be sure to stir it well, adding more as needed. The witch hazel will also speed up the drying time, making DIY projects that much quicker to complete!
Disinfect Animal’s Wounds
Witch hazel can be helpful at cleaning wounds, and that includes those on your pet! The anti-inflammatory liquid can help reduce swelling, fight bacteria, and prevent irritation.
Best of all, it can be ingested so long as it doesn’t contain isopropyl, which is toxic. With the right brand, pets can still lick their wounds without being at risk of harmful side effects. Apply the witch hazel to the animal’s wound with a cotton ball up to twice a day.
Lessen Poison Ivy Irritation
Witch hazel is a perfect item to bring along on camping trips or to have on-hand after hiking or otherwise being exposed to poison ivy. The anti-inflammatory liquid can help reduce irritation caused by the plant.
It can also be applied to skin that’s been infected by poison oak. Pour the witch hazel onto a washcloth and apply it directly to the affected areas. It should cool down any burning, relieve itching, and help speed up healing.
Reduce Skin Dryness
As seasons change, skin can become more dry than usual. Sometimes there are patches of skin that are extra dry and not even lotion alone can do the trick. For an extra boost of moisture, apply witch hazel to the area right after the shower.
The liquid will lock in moisture to keep the skin extra hydrated. Apply it with a cotton ball and then add a couple of drops of essential oil. Once the area is dry, top it off with lotion for itch-free skin.
Thin Nail Polish
When nail polish gets too thick, it doesn’t always spread evenly on the nail. If the layers of polish are too thick, it can take a while to dry, or worse, it can seem dry and then rub right off!
Instead of tossing bottles of old nail polish, just add a drop or two of witch hazel to each one and shake well. The witch hazel will thin out the polish and make it dry faster!
Clean Your Floors
When it comes to tile, vinyl, or linoleum floors, witch hazel can be an inexpensive cleaning alternative. Fill a mop bucket with a gallon of water and add in half a cup of witch hazel.
The antiseptic properties will help breakdown grime and leave floors shining without all the chemicals. It’s a great option for pets that like to search the floor for food. For extra strength, add a tablespoon of borax to the mixture.
Witch hazel alone is enough to clean glass surfaces, but eyeglasses are a little different. Since the glass is a little more sensitive, dilute the witch hazel by adding an equal amount of water.
Add a drop of dish soap as well and put the mixture in a small spray bottle. Shake it up well and use it like you would the more expensive variations from the optometrist. Dry the lenses with a microfiber cloth and voila!
Make A Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer isn’t hard to find at the store, but finding one that won’t dry out your hands can be near impossible. That’s where witch hazel comes in. It has just enough antiseptic properties to kill germs but does so while moisturizing skin instead of drying it out.
Mix 1.5 teaspoons of witch hazel with 1/3 teaspoon of vitamin E oil, 15 drops of tea tree oil, and half a cup of aloe vera gel. Keep it in a small bottle and use it within two weeks.
Heal Bruises Faster
As an astringent, witch hazel is effective at helping the skin heal. That’s why it can make bruises fade in a quicker amount of time. Apply the liquid to a cotton ball and hold it to the bruise for 2 minutes, three times a day.
The witch hazel will help the discoloration fade quicker, bring down inflammation, and encourage faster healing. It can be especially helpful for those who bruise easily or for noticeable bruises on shallow skin, like on the face.
Soothe Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is a kind of ear infection that often results from water remaining in the ear for too long, hence the name. Common symptoms include redness, itching, and tenderness.
Applying a few drops of witch hazel in the affected ear may help soothe these symptoms. The liquid can help break up any debris causing extra pressure in the ear. Let the witch hazel drain out of the ear and then carefully dry it with a cotton swab.