More than Just a Mouthwash: 40 Surprising Alternative Uses for Listerine

Last updated: Nov 07, 2022

Listerine has become a byname for mouthwash thanks to its domination of the market as the go-to antiseptic for killing the bacteria that cause bad breath. Though it may be the world’s most recognizable mouthwash, the minty liquid has some amazing alternative uses that are known to few people. Indeed, it is a remedy for various conditions which we shall highlight here.

Getting more than one use out of household products is a great way to save money and cut down on clutter in the home. With just one bottle of Listerine, you can ward off lice and ticks, protect your plants, and treat a variety of skin conditions – all while having the freshest breath ever! Read on to discover how you can transform your daily life with a humble bottle of mouthwash. 

1. Substitute for Aftershave

Just like an actual aftershave, dabbing Listerine mouthwash after shaving will leave your skin disinfected. This eliminates the possibility that any bacteria left on the surface of the delicately shaved skin might enter the follicles and cause itching or infection.


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One doesn’t have to worry about running out of aftershave when Listerine is available. It freshens the skin just as well, and any minor cuts from shaving are sanitized by the mouthwash’s alcohol content, thus aiding in the healing process.


2. Kill Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus needs to be treated. Otherwise, it can spread out, affecting your skin and making you itchy and uncomfortable. Athlete’s foot and other nail infections can spread, creating cracks in the skin of your feet which can get painful and become a massive hindrance.



The potency of Listerine mouthwash can eliminate fungus and disinfect the affected area when added to a warm water soak. Leaving your feet submerged for 20 minutes should prevent the spread of the disease and the possible loss of the nail.

3. Toilet Sanitizer

Flushing the toilet right after use, on a regular basis, doesn’t necessarily prevent the accumulation of stains around the bowl. For those who easily get queasy, this can quickly become unpleasant. Therefore, even the cleanest of toilets could use some special Listerine treatment if they have stains or residue. 


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Without a toilet cleaning spray, the sanitizing efficacy of Listerine mouthwash can do the trick as if it were made for the job. Just pour in an ample amount and brush the surface of the toilet bowl – it will leave your throne clean and deodorized.

4. Treatment for Itchiness

Many people have itchy skin, caused by various allergies and irritants, manifests at night, preventing them from falling asleep. Mosquitoes and insect bites can give you similar trouble when it’s too late in the evening to go to the pharmacy for antihistamines.



If you have mouthwash in stock, just tap a sufficient amount of the liquid on the itch. It will die down as quickly as Listerine kills bad breath.

5. Protection Against Piercing Complications

Depending on the body part punctured by piercing, the skin might start to discolor a bit, and the bleeding might be prolonged. Infections occur, especially if one keeps touching the affected area with unwashed hands, allowing bacteria to get inside the broken skin and thrive. 

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Before the situation gets so bad that it requires antibiotics and a visit to your doctor, use Listerine to prevent the wound from getting infected. Just a few dabs as the wound is healing should be sufficient to keep it sanitized.


6. No More Flakes

Dandruff may cause an itchy scalp, and the temptation to scratch it (even in public) can be tough to ignore. When you ultimately do, the scales are loosened, settling on the fabric of your shirt or throughout your hair. Though it’s not your fault if you have dandruff, this can be embarrassing. 


Listerine can be used to treat hair flakes by massaging the scalp with it in the shower. After kneading with one’s fingertips, simply rinse it with regular shampoo, then you can finally bid farewell to dead skin cells.


7. Deodorant 

Some people just perspire more profusely than others, regardless of what the weather is like. As sweat and sebum mix with bacteria, you can end up with an icky odor that’s bothersome for anyone within close proximity.


Those who may need deodorant more than others no longer have to worry if they run out at an inopportune moment. Listerine can do the deodorizer’s work, and it takes just a few rubs to eliminate armpit smell.


8. Head Lice Prevention

The mere mention of head lice is enough to evoke an itchy feeling in your scalp, accompanied by an image of tiny, wingless insects nesting and foraging in your hair. Though this may sound intense, it’s precisely what happens with a lice infestation. Millions of children are treated for head lice each year in the United States alone.

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One thing mouthwash can effectively do is prevent lice infestations from spreading. After soaking, followed by a massage of the scalp with Listerine, use a cap to cover the head for 2 hours. Rinse it off, and repeat over the coming days until all eggs have been removed with no more signs of lice.


9. Mobile Phone Screen Cleaner

People have become so attached to their phones that they need to have the device close to them almost wherever they go. They bring it when jogging to store activity data, in the gym, restroom, theater, and all that jazz.

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The phone screen needs to be cleaned up from time to time as those smudges can contain bacteria that can cause acne and other skin issues. Just dab the surface with a microfiber cloth soaked in Listerine to disinfect and wipe away the grime.


10. Soothe Bug Bites

Once bitten by an insect, the injected substance causes the skin to swell, redden, and grow itchy. While in many cases this may be harmless, the intensity of the pain from the bite may vary.

Quick and Dirty Tips

Using a cloth or cotton ball daub the bite mark with Listerine mouthwash. This is an effective first aid method that quickly alleviates the itchiness of the bug bite by neutralizing the venom that the body identifies as a foreign substance.


11. Make Your Pets Tick-Free

Now that we know how mouthwash can prevent the spread of infectious cooties in human hair and skin, it is wonderful to know that our furry best friends can also benefit from Listerine’s decontamination prowess. 


Listerine is much cheaper compared to specialized pet flea sprays yet just as effective in eliminating the parasites. Simply mix the mouthwash with regular dog shampoo when bathing your pet and apply as usual.


12. Quick Sting Relief

Wasps and bees generally only attack people when they feel they need to defend themselves or their nest or hive. If you keep calm, an insect that lands on you will usually just fly away. Otherwise, they may thrust a barbed stinger into your skin that will cause a large localized swelling mixed with pain and itchiness.


To relieve the skin reaction, especially the resultant pain from the sting, wash the affected area with soap and apply Listerine mouthwash as quickly as possible.


13. Toner

Forgot to bring a toner with you while traveling or camping? Listerine can be used to swab oil and dirt particles from your face and unblock your pores if your skin is looking congested. 

Smartly Stuff

To apply the mouthwash as an astringent, use a dipped cotton ball and gently massage the skin in a circular motion. Finish the process with a dash of cold water to feel fresh.


14. Good for Cuts

Before Listerine became popular worldwide as a mouthwash, it was originally developed as a surgical antiseptic, used by doctors primarily to disinfect cuts and prevent post-surgical wound infections. It was only more than a decade after its development that it evolved into a solution for oral care.

DIY Health Remedy

Listerine mouthwash has not lost its effectiveness for cleaning cuts since its inception in 1879. You just pour some over the wound and then wash it with pure water. 


15. Disinfect Your Toothbrushes

It is advisable to replace a toothbrush every three to four months. This may seem extreme, but it’s important to remember it has been battling with a daily onslaught of germs and plaque. Thankfully, you can keep your toothbrush fresh by disinfecting it with Listerine.


Clean a toothbrush by pouring hot water over it before and after use, and, from time to time, soaking it in a glass filled with Listerine mouthwash.


16. Heal Bruises and Reduce Skin Discoloration

Some people are quick to bruise, even after minor bumps and stumbles. It is not uncommon to get black and blue marks when lifting weights at the gym, and older people get bruised easily because of their thinning skin.

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To cure bruises, which is a collection of damaged blood cells near the surface of the skin, gently press a cloth soaked in Listerine around the affected area to increase the flow of blood.


17. Computer Screen Cleaner

Dirt gradually accumulates on computer monitors after a while, making images appear blurry. Touching your screen is a common habit that could lead to invisible germs thriving there. You don’t want to know how many gross microscopic things are lurking on your fingers. 

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Wipe off and sanitize the surface by using a soft cloth moistened with Listerine mouthwash. Make sure not to miss the corners, and your computer screen will be germ-free and clear once again. This trick can also be used on TV screens and smartphone screens. 


18. Washing Machine Disinfectant

When clothes are dumped inside a washing machine for cleaning, millions of bacteria are essentially thrown in along with them. Shared laundry, which is not uncommon, is an eclectic compilation of all sorts of germs that will thrive even more in the low-temperature water the machine uses.

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Keep the washing machine germ-free by mixing Listerine mouthwash with your usual detergent. Simply add a cup so the clothes, along with the machine, are sanitized.


19. Quell that Garbage Smell

The garbage you throw in the bin will start to stink in a few hours as it begins to decompose. The longer it stays there mixed with other stuff, the more penetrating it will be to your olfactory system. This is due to the production of gases and chemicals that are part of the breakdown of organic and inorganic matter.


Eliminate this garbage stench by putting in a towel that’s been soaked in mouthwash. Its powerful menthol smell will subdue the odor.


20. Keep the Bathroom Clean and Fresh

Bathrooms are a haven for germs that need to be cleaned regularly to avoid developing sickness in the household, especially among those who are highly vulnerable. Toilet bowls, bathtubs, windows, and sinks, can all be high-risk spots for germ accumulation. They can be breeding grounds for pathogens and potentially harmful organisms if not sanitized. 


Listerine mouthwash is a go-to for this purpose. Its antibacterial properties will work wonders when scrubbing off hard water and killing germs on all surfaces. Just mix it with water and start wiping away.


21. Zap Bad Breath

It is recommended by the American Dental Association to brush your teeth twice a day, ideally thirty minutes to an hour after a meal. This takes out the food debris in between your teeth and brushes away acidity, while dental floss removes everything a toothbrush cannot reach.


For comprehensive oral hygiene, Listerine mouthwash can be used as a cleanser to keep your breath fresh and mouth germ-free between cleans. This reduces the risk of developing cavities and gum disease, so it’s worth adding to your routine. 


22. Protect Your Plants

If the plants in your backyard are not developing as expected, or if you’re seeing crinkles in the leaves, stem rust, or bacterial spots, chances are your soil is infested with fungi. Fungi comprise the majority of plant pathogens and need to be taken out.


A concoction of 3 parts water with 1 part mouthwash has the potency to decimate fungus and mildew. Spray on the soil to protect your plants from diseases and further damage.


23. Get Rid of Ticks

Tick bites are generally harmless. These tiny parasites are common in woodlands, and they like to stick on human body parts that are warm and full of blood. However, there are tick-borne diseases that may manifest in the form of fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain, and worse. They can be even more dangerous for pets, so it’s essential to be vigilant.

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To get rid of a tick, dip a paper towel into a glass filled with Listerine mouthwash and coat the tick with it. The menthol should upset the creature, causing it to burrow out. 


24. Mold Prevention

Though they can provide relief for the common cold or flu, a humidifier may turn harmful if mineral deposits from the water accumulate and develop mold. Once this happens, the device will blow harmful bacteria into the air, destroying its therapeutic value.

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Prevent molds, mildew, and germs from developing in a humidifier by using Listerine as a cleanser. Simply wash it off with water once you’ve finished cleaning the device. This will keep your household safe from mold-related health problems.


25. Metallic Wall Art Polish

Wall decor provides a finishing touch to your home’s interior design, setting a theme that evokes the mood you want to begin each day with. It may be expensive and require occasional dusting off, but it’s worth it. The only problem is, the metal parts may eventually lose their luster because of the air’s moisture content.


Protect your investment in the arts by polishing the metallic parts of your decor with Listerine mouthwash. Just dilute the antiseptic with water and use the formula to wipe the pieces thoroughly. Your decor will shine again!


26. Eliminate Garbage Disposal Odor

The leftovers thrown in a garbage disposal unit will soon stink as they decompose and create chemical reactions with other scraps. This offensive odor may stick in the garbage bins even after the food waste is gone.

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To eliminate this terrible odor, just pour half a cup of Listerine mouthwash into the disposal unit. The rotten smell will be gone in a few moments, and your family or housemates will be ecstatic.


27. Prevent Blisters from Getting Infected

Blisters are usually harmless but also annoyingly painful. Skin friction causes them to form, especially on the hands and feet or any body part that experiences friction, heat, or chemical burns. Though they may be on the outermost layer of the skin, blisters still need to be treated to prevent them from developing an infection. 


Once infected, a blister will start to smell. Pus soon develops, followed by fever and chills. Before it gets to this, treat the blister by wetting a cotton ball with Listerine and dabbing it on the injured skin.


28. Quick Remedy for a Sore Throat

Sore throats can often be avoided by installing a humidifier at home, which addresses dryness in the atmosphere of the room. However, they may also be caused by irritants in the environment, allergies to pets, pollen from the nearby garden, or dust, among other things.

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To allay the swelling of nose and throat tissues, as a quick home remedy, gargle Listerine mouthwash. Make sure you also drink a sufficient amount of water to avoid dehydration and keep the throat moist. If the symptoms persist, it’s time to see a doctor. 


29. Mollify Toothaches

Toothaches can be caused by many different things. The reasons often trace back to high levels of acidity in your food and drinks, a dental cavity, or a broken tooth that leaves the inner nerves exposed and vulnerable.

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If you need a quick remedy for this problem, especially while trying to figure out the cause, swab the area with a Q-tip soaked in Listerine. This will help numb the pain while you wait for your dentist appointment. 


30. Clear Up Acne

Pimples can sometimes discourage people from going out in public. It’s not only a bump on one’s self-esteem, but it can be physically painful too as the body ceaselessly attempts to push the bacteria back out to the skin’s surface where it belongs. This condition can be persistent, and it sometimes feels like it will never heal.

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Put a stop to this annoying condition by treating the skin with Listerine. Apply it in soft circular motions using a cotton ball. Expect a positive result in a few days.


31. Window Cleanser

Windows are essential to the overall beauty of a house. Through them, the sunlight passes to provide each room with warmth, bouncing from floor tiles to wall art and decor to highlight the colors you have in your home. However, the glass will accumulate dust in time and lose its clarity. Mold may even develop on the panes and around the corners.  

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Keep window glass clean and shiny by wiping it with a cloth that’s been dipped in Listerine. Do it regularly to keep your windows clear and free from microbes.


32. Wipe Away Mold in the Kitchen

Mold thrives in places that are rich in moisture. These minute living organisms require oxygen and food, just as we do. For this reason, it is more likely to find their growth in the kitchen, where dampness abounds thanks to the sink, network of pipes, and spots where leaks may pop up unnoticed. 

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Eliminate the presence of fungi by scrubbing it with Listerine. The moment you see these growths, cover them in Listerine and wipe them away so they don’t have a chance to release their spores and spread.


33. Scrub Away Smells

No matter how many times you scrub your hands after chopping garlic or peeling shrimp, the smell just seems to linger. If you’re desperate to get rid of these malodorous traces, Listerine can help.

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To finally get rid of this smell without having to scrub your hands raw, just use Listerine mouthwash as if it were liquid soap. Your hands will be minty fresh in a flash!


34. Freshen up Stinky Feet

Some people tend to sweat more than others, and if you have sweaty hands or feet, the results can be embarrassing. This could cause the feet to stink when the perspiration mingles with the dirt and bacteria in your shoes and socks.

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When you want to freshen up, prepare a bucket of water mixed with mouthwash. Simply dip your feet in and keep them there for half an hour so the solution can kill the odor-causing bacteria. This is also an excellent opportunity to read a chapter of your latest book or catch up on your favorite series.


35. The Best Way to Wash Cast Iron

The black coating on the surface of cast iron may peel off, and, these flakes might find their way into your cooked food, but this is not harmful. Still, it is important to clean your cast iron cookware the right way. Ultimately, you must avoid using soap which is likely to remove the oil-based coating. 

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Instead of a detergent, apply Listerine mouthwash mixed with rock salt. Then, use a scouring brush or the scrubbing side of a sponge for a proper clean.


36. Do Away With Bacteria

Bacteria can be found in every part of the human body. Studies even show that these microorganisms actually outnumber our human cells. Aside from probiotics, which are commonly known as good bacteria, things like strep throat, tuberculosis, and other unpleasant conditions may be caused by the more insidious ones.

Source: NPR

Bad bacteria bloom most in warm parts of our body, such as our armpits. To kill these germs, soak cotton with Listerine and apply gently on the affected area. 


37. Add Life to Flowers 

Once a flower is cut from the garden and put in a vase, it is necessary to put your arrangement where there is just the right amount of sunlight. Too much light can be as bad as too little for cut flowers. If well cared for, a cut flower will normally last for seven to twelve days. 

Source: Coady Florist

If you want to extend its life span, just add a splash of Listerine mouthwash (2 tablespoons per gallon of water) to its vase to clear out any bacteria.


38. Floor Cleaner

The beauty and artistry of a place can be easily undermined by a dirty floor as it creates an unpleasant experience for anyone who steps on it. Filthy floors are also a breeding ground for pathogens, and, before you know it, people inside will start to sneeze and itch.

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Restore a floor’s freshness by plunging that mop into a bucket of water that’s been given extra oomph by the addition of a cup of Listerine. It will look great again after a good scrub.


39. Purge Bugs and Flies

If you notice more bugs and flies coming into your home, it’s time to investigate the source. Start by looking into areas where there is moisture or food waste since these are common sites from which infestations may start. Remember that insects reproduce fast and are even more active during the summertime. 

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Pour some mouthwash into a spray bottle and top it off with some water. Spray it around any areas where the bugs seem to be gathering, but don’t stop there. Spray this fresh, antibacterial solution anywhere you have suspicions bugs might want to explore. 


40. Prevent Coughing

Coughs are a natural reaction produced by your body to eject pathogens or irritants from your system. It is a hassle for working people and it can keep you from sleeping well at night. In the post-pandemic world, it’s also terrifying when you need to cough in public, even if you know for sure it’s from an allergy.

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Listerine mouthwash has become popular as a home remedy for stopping a coughing spell. Gargle for fresh breath and eliminate coughing in the process by flushing away any bacteria or irritants.