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Oh Grandma. She’s always there for us when we’re sick, offer life advice when we just don’t know what to do, and love us unconditionally. She’s got so many stories to share and experiences to be recounted. We look to her for her wisdom and so many other things.

My grandma has quite a few life hacks from back in her day that everyone used. It seems that now, chemicals and corporations have tried to replicate and sell these household items at a much higher price. But really, there’s nothing like following grandma’s advice and proving that simple and all natural with no fancy chemical names we can’t pronounce are often the best combination. No dangerous chemicals, no huge price tags, just good old-fashioned know-how.

Try giving some of these life-hacks a go this summer and be sure to let us know how they went in the comments section below! You can even add a few of your own for our fellow Green Monsters to try out.

Baking Soda Makes for Sparkling Chompers

Grandma's Life HacksBoston Public Library/Flickr
 

In our house, coffee and tea reign supreme in the morning. This tends to make teeth a little lack-luster after a while. Grandma’s advice is to wet the toothbrush and dip it in baking soda to help ensure the powder sticks to the bristles. Brush for about two minutes and remember that a bit of tingling is normal and to be expected. The water releases free radicals in the baking soda and these help to breakdown and lift the stain molecules on the enamel. Be sure to not brush with this more than twice a week as it can damage the enamel permanently. Once a week is a good rule of thumb for pearly whites.

Lemon Lightens Your Hair

Grandma's Life HacksThomas Tolkein/Flickr
 

Now that summer is here, we’re spending more and more time in the sun and our hair gets lighter. Sometimes we get inspired and decide to go super light. Grandma’s life hack for lighter hair is 1 cup lemon juice and ¼ cup warm water mixed in a spray bottle. If your hair is dryer, swap out the warm water for your favorite conditioner. Spray on the sections you want lighter, or all over if you choose. Head out into the sunshine for 1-2 hours, don’t forget the sunscreen for your face, and when finished, wash out the mixture and deep condition to counter the drying effect lemon can sometimes have on hair. Fair warning, if your hair is rather dark, the lightening with lemon may make it look orange and will require more applications. Noticeable effects could take up to 4 applications.

Vinegar Rinses Product Buildup From Your Hair

Grandma's Life HacksDavid Guo/Flickr
 

Mousse, gel, hair spray, pomades, dyes…is there nothing we won’t put in our hair to make it behave? As a curly-haired gal, taming the frizz in high humidity often leaves my hair weighed down with products. Even after washing, it doesn’t feel as clean and soft as it once was. Grandma’s trick to removing the buildup is a white vinegar rinse. Wash hair normally with your favorite shampoo, then, instead of piling on the conditioner, rinse hair with about a cup of white vinegar. Work through your tresses and rinse well with warm water. Don’t worry, the smell stays in the shower, not on your head. The vinegar loosens the crap adhered to your hair and makes it silky soft by tightening the cuticles at the root.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Duct Tape Removes Warts

Grandma’s Life HacksVeganbaking.net/Flickr
 

Apple cider vinegar goes a long way to treat warts for both adults and kids. I had a few growing up and was afraid of the freezing off method the dermatologist was using, plus it hurt! Grandma came to the rescue by soaking a small cotton pad in apple cider vinegar and putting it over the wart overnight. It was kept in place by either a small bandage or duct tape. Personally, the duct tape was a better method for me, but some people’s skin becomes irritated from the adhesive. About 5 days of sleeping with the treatment on at night and leaving it breathe during the day led to the removal of the warts. Again, if duct tape is irritating to your skin, use a bandage that seals on all sides to keep the ACV from leaking onto your pillow or drying out during the course of the night.

Olive Oil Works Wonders for Ear Aches

Grandma's Life HacksUSDA/Flickr
 

Whether you’re sick or you’ve spent the last 45 minutes doing laps in the swimming pool, there’s a chance you’ll get an earache in either the middle or outer ear. Constant prodding and tugging to get out water or sticking fingers in ears (ahem, kids) will only help to inflame the area further. If you’re feeling the onset of an earache, place 2-3 drops of body temperature olive oil in the ear canal to help soothe the area and leave it alone for a while. Grandma used to stick cotton balls at the opening (not inside!) of our ear canals to avoid our touching it. You can even add a few drops prior to swimming to lubricate the area and prevent water from getting trapped inside. Check with a doctor first if this can help you, and especially when treating children.

Aloe Leaves Relive Burns

Grandma's Life HacksKal Schreiber/Flickr
 

Thinking back, there has always been an aloe vera plant in the backyard. Living in Southern California meant a lot of sunshine for a lot of the year. Burns were imminent and happened more often than we’d liked. After a day in the sun that leaves you pinker than cotton candy at a fair, don’t reach for that Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel, which contains things like SD Alcohol 40, preservatives such as iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and imidazolidinyl ureal (a formaldehyde-releasing preservative). Instead, grab a leaf, snap it open or smash it in a pestle and apply. It’s nice to know you’re not treating an already sensitive and dry area with alcohol and irritants that may or may not help alleviate the pain.

Onions Ease Mosquito Bite Itching

Grandma's Life Hacksinspector_81/Flickr
 

As someone who is somehow prone to mosquito bites for some ridiculous reason, it is important to know how to treat these pesky little bites. At first, they look innocuous. Tiny red bumps that create a sort of connect the dots on my arm. But then, the itching starts, and just doesn’t stop. A great tip is to slice a cold, fresh onion (yellow onions seem to work best) and apply the slices directly to the bites. The onion helps to draw out any saliva the mosquito left behind (which is what causes the itching) and the cool temperature helps to add some relief.

Old Socks Make Awesome Dust Rags

Grandma's Life HacksSimon Davies/Flickr
 

Ah, lonely socks. They wind up tumbling around the dryer or out on the line without a friend. By my own experience, we’ll never see that missing sock again. Where do they go? you wonder. At least the other one doesn’t have to sit in the drawer with no purpose or friend. Instead, repurpose it for dusting around the house! The fibers help to trap dust and particles found on surfaces. They are washed just as easily and it helps to save on paper towels! Reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle! Yes, even socks.

Orange Peels Freshen Up The Garbage Disposal

Grandma's Life Hackspostbear eater of worlds/Flickr
 

Garbage disposals get a lot of stuff thrown down them, from coffee grinds to food that’s turned a bit, to vegetable peelings (if you’re not composting). Grandma’s trick to keep the disposal clean, working properly and smelling fresh is to collect orange (any citrus fruit will do) rinds and put them into the freezer overnight. The hard texture of the frozen peels will help to knock away any debris left on the shredder. The citrus scent will also help to keep the disposal smelling fresh and clean for a long while.

What are some of your grandma’s favorite life hacks? Be sure to add them to the comments section below to share with the masses!

Image source: Steven Depolo/Flickr



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