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The Many Surprising Uses of Listerine

Listerine has a long and rather complicated history. Created in 1879 by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert originally as a surgical antiseptic. No one imagined its amazing future back then. In 1895 it was given to dentists as a mouthwash. In 1914 it became the first mouthwash available over the counter. It would be the reason mouthwash would become a popular oral hygiene product. It's adds worked hard to convince the population that they needed to do something about their bad breath and it worked wonders!

From 1921-1970 Listerine was also marketed as a product that could help prevent colds and sore throats. In the 1930s there were even a few ads suggesting it was the perfect way to get rid of dandruff. Over the years it has had a few purposes and several claims of it being a wonder product that can do a lot of good for a lot of things. While many of these claims aren't backed up with scientific evidence or research, it seems that it certainly is worth trying and won't hurt to see if it works for you!


Listerine has cured many fungal infections, according to many. It can be used for nail and toenail fungus, jock itch, athletes foot, and even trucker's bottom. To apply it you can use a new spray bottle, apply a little to a cotton ball or cotton square and then rub the area, or you can soak it. Soaking it is recommended for nail fungus which is harder to get at. Soak for 20 minutes. The best kind to use is the original amber colored Listerine, but any flavor is supposed to work.


It was once advertised as a dandruff cure. Whether or not that is backed up by any science, I certainly don't know. However, there are lots of people who claim it works wonders. Simply massage it into the scalp before you get into the shower and then shampoo as normal. Cradle cap, which is a sever case of dandruff usually found on a baby's scalp, can also be cured with Listerine. Gently pour over the scalp and make sure to avoid getting it on the face. Wash your baby as normal.

Miscellaneos Personal Uses

After Shave- Many people say that Listerine is the perfect aftershave. Not only can you pick one you like the smell of and feel fresh, it sooths irritated skin, and leaves you feeling soft and smooth.

Body Deodorant- This germ fighting mouthwash can also fight germs in other places and through that process leave you feeling fresh and odor free. Use a spray bottle or cotton ball to apply to the underarms or other smelly areas.

Wounds- Because Listerine is an antiseptic it is good for wounds and can be used like many other wound care options.

Lice- While this one is the scariest, many people claim that Listerine is a good way to kill lice. Whether or not it works, I can't say though it might be worth a try because it is less expensive and safer then many lice treatments. It is also claimed that it is a good way to prevent the spread of lice by treating the scalps of those without.

Skin Issues

Many different people have claimed to have success with Listerine in treating a wide range of skin issues. For applying you can use a cotton ball or square, a squirt bottle, slosh it on the area, or even add it to the bath.

Psoriasis- While it is unsure why Listerine would work in helping psoriasis or many of the other skin conditions it is said to help many people claim that it makes a huge difference.

Allergic reactions- Many also claim that it works well on allergic reactions including those to poison oak, ivy, and sumac. Some who have frequent problems use it regularly throughout the summer to avoid breaking out.

Shingles- Much like with other skin conditions many people say that it relieves the symptoms of shingles and stops the itching.

Rashes- A wide range of rashes are said to be healed by it, both those listed above and mysterious ones as well.

Acne- Many people claim that if you dab Listerine on blemishes they will clear up leaving your skin soft, healthy, and acne free.

Bug bites- Because it is known to stop itching of all sorts, many people claim it is also wonderful at bug bites. Just dab it on the bite and enjoy the fact that the itching stops.


There are many claims that Listerine was marketed in the past as a floor cleaner and a toilet cleaner. This isn't true, but that doesn't mean that the product can't make a good cleaner. It kills odors and disinfects. Because of this it works well cleaning toilets, as a floor cleaner, and even an all purpose cleaner. You can put it in a spray bottle and water it down (half and half is a good mixture) and use it all over the house. It is also supposed to kill mold and mildew.

Another thing that it can do well is to disinfect a washing machine. Add a cup of it to the washing machine for cleaner, germ free clothing. This can be especially handy at a laundry mat. You can also use a cup of Listerine in an empty load just to clean your washing machine at home.

While Listerine isn't going to replace a million and one items in your life, it can be used for a surprising number of things. Plus if it works for could become a life saver. Many people who claim it works for their various skin conditions have said that it helps heal them faster, easier, and less expensively then if they had to go to the doctor. Plus it isn't expensive to try, is safe, and if it doesn't work...well, what have you lost?


ispraket on April 11, 2013:

great! never heard this before that listerine can be use as a underarm odor fighter..i had this problemabout ten years.. and i haven't tried but am willing to.. hope this is the answer that i been waiting for for that long years.. am sick and tired of deo's and other products that no effect for my underarm odor..thanks to hubpages.. tommorow i'll start use this one for my underarm problem...which one should i use?.. is it the blue one?

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Mrs Thacker on September 14, 2012:

Listerine is also a great facial astringent!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on September 07, 2012:

Great hub of information. W will now see Listerine in a new light. Thank you.



hope75 on August 15, 2012:

Not sure what was going on with my scalp for the pst two years. My scalp would get really bad dandruff, really irritated, causing pus bumps, bald spots, and scaling. Been to several doctors and they all gave differnet diagnoses lke folliculitis, dermatitis, gentics, or staph. And each time they would precribe me antibotic, steroid creams and shampoos, which they would work for a short time then symptoms just come back. Until serching internet that Listerine help controls dandruff, so i tried it, what did i have to lose. And to my surprise not only did it help with the danfruff, but also cleared up the pus bumps and irritation on my scalp. There is also no more itching..i use Listerine as a presoak on my scalp for about 10 minutes twice a month.then go about my regular wash routine and styling.Listerine works wonders!!

Snigdha Shahi from India,mumbai on August 11, 2012:

Very informative hub. I have never used listerine for anything besides mouthwash. It has multiusage. Voted up . Thanks for sharing.

moonlake from America on August 03, 2012:

I can say for sure it will not cure psoriasis. My husband has terrible psoriasis and we had heard Listerine would help but it didn't. Listerine has been sued a few times for their false advertizing on what it can cure. Interesting hub enjoyed reading it. Will have to try a few of these.

pankaj1990 on July 13, 2012:

Hi All,

Thanks for proving a such thing it is very useful for mouth problems,

today i used it first time.

It was great experience.

Pankaj Bansal

lynn865 on May 21, 2012:

Another use not listed. Owned a travel trailer/camper. Knats and other biting-flying-tiny-annoying bugs LOVED the screens. Listerine (the brown type, not blue) in a squirt bottle blended with H20 (3 parts listerine, 1 part water) sprayed inside and out of screens as well as all around the doors kept them away!

aidenofthetower (author) on April 16, 2012:

I haven't heard the cancer issue, but I will have to look into that now. There are some all natural mouth wash recipes out there. Most contain alcohol (such as vodka), but there may be others (another thing I now want to look into).

Jon Hanna on April 13, 2012:

I have used Listerine as a mouthwash for over 20 years now (I'm 38). A few years ago I was suffering from cold sores on the inside of my lips and under my tongue, and tried all sorts of cold sore medicines that did not work, and then I noticed that when I swished with Listerine (the Green mint flavor with Fluoride) the pain of the cold sore went away (probably because of the alcohol in Listerine), so I swished with Listerine regularly, and now whenever I feel a cold sore coming on, I swish with Listerine several times (every few hours) and the cold sore goes away really quickly. I use Listerine every night before bed, after brushing and flossing, and have not had a cavity in over 20 years. My fear is that I have read some articles saying that prolonged regular use of Listerine could cause oral cancer - I don't know for sure if that is true, but as a result, I am looking for an alternative natural mouthwash, or possibly using it only when I have cold sores.

reagu from Los Angeles on April 12, 2012:

I've used Listerine with water to clean "hangover residues" in absence of Windex. Works well enough, especially if you're in someone else's apartment.

Xenonlit on October 09, 2011:

I have used it with peroxide for a mouthwash. But being allergic to mosquito bites, I will definitely use the Listerine! Thanks for an interesting and helpful article.

Dawn on September 01, 2011:

It does work for lice. Today's lice are resistant to all of the OTC stuff. I spent over 60 bucks for nothing. I then used Listerine and it worked great.

slhayes on August 30, 2011:

I discovered many of your uses by chance years ago, but you definitely expanded my list now. It started with a case of impetigo that would return over and over around my nose, very embarrassing, but it recurs all the way down to my lip at times. The doctor gave me ointments that took a very long time to clear it then it just wouldn't work so by chance I ran across something on the internet that suggested these properties, so I tried it and I use it every time it returns and it is so much faster. I have used it on my dog, my husband uses it at times. It is a good overall "cure", although at times the conditions were super resistant, but yes it does work.

barbbennett54 on July 31, 2011:

my father used to brush his hair with a hard bristle brush after putting listerine on his hair and i think he died with every strand of hair he was born with.thanks for the other uses also.

LULU SUE1987 on June 13, 2011:

All I know is that I have been using Listerine for about 10 years, and very seldon get sick. I think it kills germs before they can take hold. thanks for the other tips.

april on June 13, 2011:

for ladies with long hair it is really hard to make your hair smell fresh and stay that way very long. listerine with your favorite shampoo works wonders!

Hal Hanna on June 12, 2011:

Good Show. Gonna try the stuff. Have not used it for mouth wash in years. Willtry on itchy skin and toilet bowl. Will let you know results.

Sweetsusieg from Michigan on May 02, 2011:

A few years ago a wandering wild cat picked our house to stop at. She seemed very friendly and sweet. My dog surprised her and her claws attacked my husbands head, eye lids etc.. The only disinfectant we had on hand... Listerine. There was no infection, no scars etc... A little sticky, but he was fine.

ShyeAnne from Qualicum Bay, British Columbia, Canada on April 24, 2011:

Lots of useful info. Very good!

aidenofthetower (author) on March 15, 2011:

Anita...I personally wouldn't do that or recommend it. While there are some bad bacteria that come from the bowel there are a lot of good bacteria in the feminine region and using Listerine could disrupt the positive bacteria as well as the negative. For some this could lead to yeast infections. This is especially true for those that already struggle with yeast issues.

It's great that you haven't had any bladder infections, but there are other ways to prevent them. For those interested in preventing bladder infections you can see my article on that very issue at

Anita on March 14, 2011:

Please consider making a personal wipe permeated with Listerine (for perineum area).

You can call it "Listerclean." I wet toilet paper with regular golden colored Listerine to finish my "paper work" after using the toilet. Working from front to back, I haven't had a bladder infection in 30 years and if any, soothes irritation. owe me a nickel.

Matt on February 03, 2011:

I read an article for removing well water stains in a toilet bowl ,that listerine worked rather well I have not tried this yet. Hope this will work for you.

Nancy on January 23, 2011:

I use Listerine in my HOT TUB to disinfect the water instead of clorine, keeps the musty smell away that hot tubs can aquire.

Christy Zutautas on December 11, 2010:

Great tips, I've used Listerine to disinfect toothbrushes and the toothbrush holder, but I never thought about using it to clean other things as well. Very interesting hub!

Chris on October 21, 2010:

I have used golden Listerine on my dogs to keep tics away. Once the ticks invaded the house, called in an exterminater who said his may not work.Sprayed Listerine on carpet and walls daily, dogs too and ticks disappeared.

Brad on September 02, 2010:

I wonder if it would work on pets to get rid of fleas? Has anyone tried it?

judi on August 15, 2010:

Also works to keep away mosquitoes - spray around you on the deck or patio!

msanniebaby on July 16, 2010:

All I can say is......WOW.........and thanks for this very good info!!! Thanks

Dawn Michael from THOUSAND OAKS on June 30, 2010:

wow had no idea that listerine had so many uses thank-you for the great information!

brownbeauty on June 16, 2010:

It really works I used it on my hair because I Would have a really stinky odor in my hair and it completely gets rid of the stinch!Listerine really works wonders for all kinds of wonders!!

B VanDerLey on June 12, 2010:

I use it as an alternate cleaner for my dog's ears. Smells better than the regular cleaners, so if we are going anywhere this is my choice. Soak a cotton ball and rub gently in the outter part of the canal and the inside of the "leather."

Carol Rucker from Cincinnati on June 05, 2010:

Another great article. Thank you!

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on April 04, 2010:

I love listerine and have since I first learned about it. I've only used it as a mouthwash. I didn't know about all of these uses. I've got to save this hub. I totally rated you up on this one.

judy daniel on April 02, 2010:

As a dental hygienist for decades, I have had my patients brush their gums with listerine and then gargle once a day. This is terrific for gingivitis and preventing sore throats and colds! Also there are a myriad of uses. This is a fantastic antiseptic. Just do not overuse.

Judy D. Atlanta

Rachel B. on March 30, 2010:

And here I thought it was just a mouthwash. Shows you how much I know! Ha!

Lois on March 01, 2010:

Has anyone heard of using a watered down solution on your pet for allergies. He is losing his hair in spots, the vet thinks it is as allergy.

Carol on September 03, 2009:

Listerine is the BEST deodorizer for cat urine bar none! I bought at least half a dozen expensive products that claimed to deodorize pet stains, but did not. One day I decided to try Listerine - full strength - and it actually works! And believe me, that's a tough smell to get rid of.

RoadLessTraveled from Florida on July 13, 2009:

I just found out I have Psoriasis - definitely going to try Listerine. The medications offered have SO many side effects that it's very discouraging. Thanks for the post.

Dee on June 03, 2009:

i have grade school girls(3) the mouthwash REALLY WORKS for lice... my girls came home from school with it. i put it on their hair with a showercap for 30min. sinsed it out...lice is like a charm

Twin XL on May 07, 2009:

Can't wait to tell some of my friends about this. I'm hoping that the dandruff part really works!

ladyvenus on May 06, 2009:

Wow I never thought that is has some other uses aside from mouth wash. Thanks for the info.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on May 06, 2009:

Thank you so much. I had a teacher tell me that it helped keep the mosquitoes away. Haven't tried it yet.

James A Watkins from Chicago on May 06, 2009:

Thank you for this interesting history and good tips that are useful.

Mary K Weinhagen from Minnesota, usa, Planet Earth on May 06, 2009:

Love this! I had heard that Listerine has multiple uses but no one ever suggested what they might be -- now I know a lot more than I did! ;-)


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