I’ll admit from the get-go—I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do have a home remedy or two in my back pocket that has saved me in a pinch. I learned most of these from my sister-in-law and her mom who have a long list of tried and tested homemade solutions for just about anything. I racked my brain for my top ten, then realized I could only think of five. That just goes to prove that I won’t be writing an Encyclopedic volume on this topic, but I think I can manage one little blog post. So here goes:
- Toothpaste: A little dab does wonders for zapping out pimples. A friend of mine gave me this tip. And let me tell you, it works! I go to bed smelling minty fresh and wake up crystal clear! I also use it on minor burns.
- Garlic: If you stick a peeled clove into your ear, it makes a minor ear ache subside. I’m not sure how it works, but it does. And be sure to pick one that is large enough not to get stuck, but small enough to just tuck into the outer edges of your lobe. Then take a nap. The other amazing use for garlic is mosquito bites, the itch factor decreases immensely when you rub the juicy side of a sliced piece of garlic directly over the area. Sure you smell like garlic, but some people like that. And you thought garlic only kept vampires away. After Twilight, that purpose sort of lost its luster. Team Edward! Just sayin…And for the record: Team Gale! Okay. Back to home remedies. Sorry about the teenage heart throb digression.
- Baking soda: When we run out of tooth paste, it makes for a teeth smoothening, halitosis-killing substitute. If you make a paste by adding a few drops to a spoonful on your palm, apply to your toothbrush, bada bing bada boom. Your mouth and neighbors will thank you. Plus it’s great for kitchen countertop stains, especially if you cook with turmeric.
- Lemons: When you’re nauseous, even if you’re not pregnant, scratch and sniff a lemon. When I was pregnant, for a stretch of what seemed like a decade, I always carried a lemon with me. And all day long during that first trimester, I’d be scratching the rind and sniffing till a little yellow stain graced the tip of my nose. But it worked! The lemony scent boxes down the nausea with its citric punches every time. You have to try it!
- Purell: Works great on getting out stains—especially “permanent” marker stains. Hey, that reminds me of the time a few years back… [The ancient mismatched desktop tells you that it was more like five years back.] Oh, you knew there’d be a story. That’s what this post is really about. Of course!
It was one of those days when we had just finished eating lunch, my two and three year old were put down for naps, and it was my rare hour of me-time. I dove into the Internet abyss in search of the ultimate good deals for mommy saver types like myself. I was trucking along, excited to find a clearance on winter jackets at Children’s Place. If my kids continued to grow at similar rates, I planned to stock up on winter wear for next year. I made several selections within my budget and then opened my bedroom door to find my purse to retrieve my credit card.
As I passed the girls’ bedroom, I heard giggling. They’re still not asleep? It’s been almost an hour since I put them down.
“Girls! Enough. Go to sleep.”
More giggles. Then explosive giggles. I had no choice. I took a detour from my the credit card hunt, put my best serious Mommy face on, and announced the entrance of enforcements. “Mommy’s coming in and you’re both in trouble for not listening.”
“What the—??” My jaw dropped and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Green! You’re both GREEN!!! Where did you get the…Oh never mind. Now, you’re really in trouble!!”
|YOU know I just HAD to take a PICTURE!!|
“It was her idea!” The littlest pointed to her older sister.
“Yeah, but she’s the one who asked me to color her butt too!” The older managed to incriminate herself further.
“And you agreed to it? Are you kidding me? Let me see your bottoms. In fact, take all your clothes off. You both need baths. NOW!”
I kid you not. I looked at the girls standing next to the bathtub and I’ve never seen so much green. They looked like little green Hulks, without the muscles. Talk about coloring in the lines. Green nail polish. Green faces. Green arms, legs, feet, backs, and bellies. You name it? It was green. Perhaps save the white of their eyes and teeth. And it seemed they had enough sense not to paint their tongues. Even the bottom of their feet had a fair amount of green marks on them. I’m guessing that body part probably brought on the giggles.
I started the bath water running and returned to their rooms to get fresh clothes and towels. That’s when I picked up the weapons to discover to my horror! They didn’t use the Crayola markers! Somehow, they found my teaching stash and broke out two permanent green Sharpies. At least they made each other the canvas, and the sheets and walls were…Oh wait!
“GIRLS! Did you mark up the walls too?” I now notice one wall on the other side of their beds with a fair amount of green on it! What a silly question! Why do we parents ask rhetorical questions when we’re upset? Who else would have done it?
“I’m sorry Mommy.” The oldest whimpered from the bathroom.
“Me too. I’m sorry too.” The littlest chimed in.
So after a major scrub down, the girls looked…a lighter shade of green, but the wall markings didn’t budge. Now I needed to abandon my good deals online and search for the solution to this green mess before hubby came home from work to find two alien daughters and a negligent mother hiding under the covers.
So I did what every internet savvy person did at the time when the only reputable search engine was just becoming a household word: I Googled it.
How does one remove permanent marker?
I was amazed at how many people had both asked and answered this question. I hoped to find an effective product laying around my house, so I wouldn’t have to drag my two Kermits into the local drug store with me.
My first click lead me to a link where a woman swore by the stain zapping power of baking soda. I tried it. Nothing. Back to the computer I went.
The next link suggested sand paper. Against my better judgement, I found some in the garage, tried it on a small area of the affected walls. It worked, except now I had created a small dust storm as well as taking off some paint with it. I decided to keep searching. Plus, I still had green skin that needed to be addressed.
I found a comment written by a mother. That alone got my attention. She had tried all the store bought stain movers, but nothing proved more effective than Purell or any hand sanitizer with alcohol in it. I knew we had some somewhere. I scoured the shelves in the kitchen until I found it. And just as the Mommy who shall be called The Internet Stain Doctor had promised, one little squirt, and the stains seemed to melt away! I was thrilled! So together, with six hands in there, we squeezed and wiped until the walls looked cleaner than ever. And of course, next came the girls. They were wiped down with the remainder of the Purell and added bonus: they were 99% bacteria free. For one brief moment in time.
By the time hubby came home, no trace of green was found. Made for great dinner table talk that evening, with the girls realizing they weren’t in as much trouble as I had threatened. I must confess, this happens once in awhile in our house. When the girls do something wrong, but their ingenious creativity tickles my tummy, I have a difficult time coming up with an appropriate consequence, because I am simply too busy laughing. But don’t worry, I did move the stash of permanent markers to a much higher, safe place. So safe…
“Honey, can you pass me a lemon? The smell of Purell is…”
“We’re out of lemons Babe, but do you think the garlic trick could make our kids better listeners?”
“Not sure, but I bet if we start washing their cheeks with toothpaste now, they might get a jump start on fighting puberty?”
“Sounds like a plan. Pass the baking soda…I mean baked potatoes.”
**So how about you? Any home remedies you’d like to share with everyone? I’d love to hear what items you keep around the house that have helpful surprise purposes!