11 Unusual Uses For Aspirin That You Never Knew About

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11 Unusual Uses For Aspirin That You Never Knew About

Getty images/Cleveland Clinic

Aspirin is one of the most common medications you will find in households across America. The popular drug is mainly used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and fever. However, there is a lot more than be done with the circular white pills.

Aspirin contains Salicylic acid, an ingredient found in a number of products, especially in beauty and skincare. The acidity of the medication also gives it similar powers to vinegar when it comes to getting rid of stains, rust and skin issues.

Now that your curiosity is piqued, here are 11 unusual uses for aspirin*:

1. Get rid of pimples

Why bother spending money on expensive skincare products when you can use aspirin and water? For a cheap and effective acne solution, just crush an aspirin and mix it with a few drops of water to create a paste. Apply the dermatologist-recommended mixture on the pimple and leave it for a few minutes or even overnight. The salicylic acid in the aspirin will unclog the pores by removing excess oil and dead cells. It also helps reduce inflammation, pain, and redness.

2. Eliminate stubborn stains

Next time you have to deal with a stubborn stain, including ones caused by oil and sweat, reach for aspirin instead of chemical-laden stain removers. Crush up three pills then add it into a half-cup of warm water. Soak the stain in the solution for two to three hours before adding it to the rest of the load. According to Huffpost, aspirin works well in fighting stains because the salicylic acid functions just like the acetic acid found in vinegar, which also effectively gets rid of stains.

3. Soften tough calluses

Don't have hours to spare for a pedicure at the salon? You can do it at home in much less time and it won't cost you a dime. All you need is 10 minutes, a couple of aspirin tablets and some lemon juice. Make a paste by crushing the tablets and adding in half a tablespoon of each water and lemon juice. Rub the mixture on the affected areas then wrap your feet in a warm towel and cover with a plastic bag. After at least 10 minutes, use a foot file or pumice stone to get rid of the softened callus.

4. Stop a heart attack

When it comes to a heart attack, knowing the symptoms to look out for and early intervention are key. One of the ways a heart attack can be managed while waiting for 911 to arrive is by popping an aspirin. According to Harvard Health, aspirin inhibits the platelets, which "are the tiny blood cells that trigger blood clotting." Researchers have also found that chewing the tablet works faster than swallowing it with water.

5. Restore hair color


Maintaining colored hair is not easy, especially if you're someone who likes washing your hair multiple times a week or swims in chlorinated pools. To restore your hair back to its fresh-out-of-the-salon glory, dissolve six to eight aspirins in a cup of warm water the apply it to your locks. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off with shampoo.

6. Control dandruff

Dealing with dandruff can be frustrating, and let's face it, it is embarrassing too. Nobody wants tiny white flakes on your shoulders, making it seem like your hair hasn't been washed in days. To get rid of stubborn dandruff, add crushed aspirin––about two tablets––to amount of shampoo you need to wash your hair. Leave it on for a minute or two before rinsing it off with water. Wash your hair again with plain shampoo to make sure there isn't any residue left behind.

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital, aspirin can also "make psoriasis lesions thinner and can help reduce itch."

7. Nurse a hangover


Suffering from a hangover can make it feel like it is the end of the world. Contrary to popular belief, hair of the dog doesn't cut it. What you really need to alleviate the pain, is some aspirin and coffee. According to researchers, this combination––best taken right when you wake up––will help soothe your sore head.

8. Soothe bug bites

The itchiness and pain that result from bug bites and stings can make you feel extremely uncomfortable. According to Dr. Zeichner, the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of aspirin makes it ideal for treating bites and stings. You can make a paste by crushing a tablet and mixing it with drops of water, or just dampen an uncoated tablet and apply it to the affected area.  

9. Grow your garden


Just like it does for your skin, aspirin can work wonders for your indoor and outdoor plants. Dissolve an aspirin in a gallon of water and use it to water your plants. According to Judy Jernstedt, professor of plant sciences at UC Davis, the salicylic acid reduces ethylene production, which in turn delayed floral senescence, making flowers last longer. She added, "The anti-fungal properties of salicylic acid dissolved in the vase water may also slow growth of mold, which if it enters the cut stem, can damage or clog the vascular tissue."

10.  Remove rust


Rust doesn't only make metal objects appear unsightly, it damages them. An easy solution to get rid or rust is to dampen the object then apply crushed aspirin on it. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then wipe it clean.

11. Treat ingrown hair

Ingrown hairs are a common issue for many people who shave or wax. It is extremely painful and happens when the hair grows back into the skin or if the follicle is blocked by dead skin. Crush an aspirin and mix it with water to make a paste. Apply the mixture on the ingrown hair and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it off. As it does for pimples, the salicylic acid will exfoliate the dead skin cells, making way for the ingrown hair to finally come out.

*Some people are severely allergic to aspirin. If you are one of them, do not ingest the medication or apply it topically. Always consult a doctor before using any medication, including aspirin.

Do you have an aspirin hack? Share it with us in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.