Treat everyday aches and pains with rubber bands, pencils, matches, and more oddball items buried in your junk drawer.
by Reader’s Digest Editors
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Use a pencil to: Ease foot pain
New shoes a little too tight? Did you walk a little too far, or stand in line a little too long? Ward off a foot ache with this simple floor exercise. Place a few pencils on the floor and pick them up with your toes. You’ll stretch your feet and feel relief.
Use a clothespin to: Stop a bloody nose
Give your fingers a break next time you use the tried and true remedy for a bloody nose (pinching it shut). Sit up straight and tilt your head forward. Pinch the tip of your nose with a clothespin and use it to hold your nose shut for at least 10 minutes. The flow should stop shortly.
Use a book of matches to: Smooth a broken fingernail
Whether you break a nail barbecuing or realize while grilling that your nail is snagged, use a box or book of matches to smooth out the problem. Instead of striking a match against the emery board-like strip, rub your nail on it.
Use duct tape to: Cover a blister
Breaking in a pair of shoes? A heel blister makes walking miserable, and many heel bandages rub as you go, worsening the pain. Put a gauze square over the sore, then cover your heel with a wide strip of duct tape and you’ll be back on the road.
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Use an uninflated balloon to: Help a cut heal
Helping a cut heal means keeping it clean and protected and dry. Getting through the day without getting a cut on a finger wet is almost impossible, unless you get help from a balloon. Slip a balloon over your affected finger when you need to get your hands wet (in the shower or doing dishes, for example), and you’ll keep your cut nice and dry.
Use a popsicle stick to: Make a temporary splint
If you have a broken finger, you’ll need to go to the emergency room to be sure. But until you get there, hold the injured digit stable by laying it against a popsicle stick and wrapping it with gauze.
Use adhesive tape to: Remove a splinter
As long as the splinter is sticking out of your skin, you may be able to remove it without tweezers or a needle. Lay a piece of adhesive tape over the affected area, and rub your finger over the tape until it makes contact with the splinter. Pull the tape up and the splinter may come with it. This method works particularly well if you find many small splinters near the surface of your skin. It also works if you need to remove small cactus prickles from your fingers.
Use a rubber band to: Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome
Avoid the effects of repetitive motion by stretching your hands every couple of hours. Touch your fingertips to the tip of your thumb, then surround your hand with a rubber band just below your fingernails. Slowly open your hand, spreading your fingers, then close them. Do this 10 times for each hand.
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Use a bandanna to: Cure a headache
Tie one around your forehead, tightening it until you feel pressure at several points around your head. The bandanna will reduce the flow of blood to your scalp, which in turn will reduce the head pain you feel from swollen blood vessels. For extra benefit, soak the bandanna in vinegar. You may not like the smell, but you’ll like the added relief.
More Cheap and Useful Solutions!
The book 99-Cent Solutions has more than 1,300 smart uses for everyday items, from grocery store staples to cleaning supplies to beauty products. Learn more and buy the book here.