Ear candling is a home remedy used for removing earwax, treating a sinus infection, and getting rid of headaches. The problem is that this technique is not beneficial at all. In fact, it can actually push earwax deeper into your ear canal and introduce bacteria to your sinuses.
Whiskey for Teething Babies
This is an old-fashioned method that has been marked as a huge no-no. Obviously, no amount of alcohol is safe (or acceptable) for children to consume, and rubbing whiskey on a child’s gums won’t help their pain. Other than having no real medical benefits, the whiskey can numb your baby’s throat and make swallowing difficult.
Toothpaste for Acne
The idea behind putting toothpaste on a pimple seems fine, but it’s actually doing more harm than good. It doesn’t dry out your pimple and reduce swelling, the toothpaste will just dry out the whole area of skin it’s on. This causes redness and peeling, which might trick you into thinking the pimple is being treated, but you’re really just making the problem worse.
Butter for Burns
Putting butter or oil on a burn might seem like a good idea, but it really just slows down the healing process. You want to allow the skin to breathe and release the heat trapped inside, so things like cool water are the best bet for immediate relief. Butter will only stop heat from leaving the skin and introduces bacteria, which could lead to an infection.
Rubbing Alcohol for Fever
You might have heard that if you have a fever you can put isopropyl alcohol on your skin. When it evaporates heat is released from the skin. This popular home remedy does work, but the potential side effects are not worth the risk. Rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly—and that’s the problem. Cooling down too fast causes shivering, which signals your body to raise its internal temperature, making you hotter than before.
Colloidal Silver for Sinus Infections
Colloidal silver has been used as a home remedy for everything from fungal infections to cancer. We don’t know how colloidal silver works, but it’s thought that the silver particles attach to cells and kill them in order to relieve your symptoms. However, colloidal silver doesn’t have standardized production, so the quality of strength can vary widely. You can also develop argyria, a condition that turns your skin a blue color because of a buildup of silver in the body.
Colon cleansing is used in medical procedures to flush the colon of debris, usually for a colonoscopy. You shouldn’t try this at home because it’s dangerous and ineffective. Your digestive system gets rid of toxins and waste naturally, and a DIY colon cleanse can cause dehydration, an infection, and vomiting.
Yogurt for Yeast Infections
This home remedy is as gross as it sounds. The idea is that the type of bacteria in yogurt that is helpful for relieving the symptoms of a yeast infection both internally and externally. Putting the yogurt in such a sensitive area can make the problem much worse—especially if you use yogurt with sugar in it. Just eat yogurt and use antifungal cream on your body instead. You’ll still get the good bacteria, feel relief faster, and won’t run the risk of making the infection worse.
Cranberry Juice for UTIs
Many people believe that drinking cranberry juice or taking supplements can help get rid of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Consuming cranberry after you’re already sick won’t ease your symptoms at all, and if you’re drinking juice, the sugar could make your infection worse. However, eating cranberries helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, which will prevent future UTIs.
Coconut Oil for Acne
Much like with toothpaste, this home remedy does more harm to your skin than anything else. Coconut oil has lauric acid in it, which helps kill acne-causing bacteria. Unfortunately, the oil can clog your pores and give you even more pimples than you started with.
Kerosene for Lice
Lice are an annoying part of growing up in public school. Other common home remedies for lice include vinegar, petroleum jelly, and baby oil. Kerosene, amongst other things, is used to suffocate the lice. It might kill the bugs, but eggs are left behind to hatch and start the process all over again.
Much like colon cleanses, enemas done at home can be dangerous. You need to have the proper tools and training to be able to perform an enema safely. Even something as small as using tap water can leave you with a serious infection. If you think you really need an enema, go to the doctor.
Urine for a Jellyfish Sting
You might have heard about this popular home remedy. If a jellyfish stings you, you shouldn’t pee on it. There’s no evidence to support that urine can heal, sanitize, or relieve pain from a jellyfish sting. If you get stung, you should keep the injured area as still as possible and pour seawater on it to soothe your pain and prevent the toxins from spreading. Vinegar works best because of its acidity, but if your symptoms worsen you should go to the hospital.
Copper Penny on a Bee Sting
Copper coins have been used in a variety of home remedies including chronic pain, warts, and fever. This method has no scientific support, only the testimonies of people who have tried it. The problem with this treatment is that coins are filthy, and by rubbing a penny on your open wound, you could introduce yourself to infection.
Bread and Milk for Boils
Making a bread and milk poultice has been touted as an effective pain-relieving and healing remedy for a long time. You can find endless amounts of comments in support of this treatment. Milk has a soothing effect on boils but won’t reduce inflammation. Soaking them in warm liquid helps boils mature and release the fluid inside. With milk, you run the risk of getting bacteria in an already sensitive area.
Flour on a Burn
A lingering home remedy that needs to retire is that you can put cold flour on a burn to feel pain relief and heal the wound faster. This just isn’t true, and flour isn’t something you want on an open wound—unless you want an infection. Try cool water instead, followed by an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Not Getting Vaccinated
The anti-vaxxer movement is starting to pick up a lot of momentum, which is dangerous for everyone and not just those going unvaccinated. When everyone has all their shots, we enjoy something called “herd immunity” that protects people who can’t get vaccines, such as pregnant women or infants. Any kind of home remedy used in place of vaccines is irresponsible and dangerous for everyone.
Cutting Off Your Own Warts
Warts are small bumps on the skin caused by HPV. They’re very common and pretty easy to treat. Doctors will usually freeze or burn the wart off, leading many people to try and do it at home. There are some kits that can help with at-home wart removal, but you should never try to cut it off. You can easily get an infection from dirty tools, bacteria getting in the wound, or hurting yourself with the sharp object. If you really want that wart removed, go see a doctor.
Glue on Dentures
Look, we all understand not wanting to pay for a repair job or whole new set of dentures, but you have to be extra careful with what you put inside your body. Using glue to fix broken dentures might seem fine, but chemicals and small pieces of glue can get absorbed or swallowed and make you sick.
As tempting as it is, you need to show some restraint and leave those blisters alone. A blister is filled with fluid to protect the injured skin below, so you’re actually making your body work harder to heal itself. On top of that, opening a blister leaves that super-sensitive skin exposed and at risk of infection.
Castor Oil for Constipation
Castor oil can provide relief from constipation, but it’s easy to overdose and not everyone can safely ingest the oil. Side effects can include vomiting, dehydration, and swelling of the bowels. That doesn’t really seem like it’s worth the risk.
Milk for Heartburn
Heartburn happens when stomach acid comes back up into your esophagus and can make you feel like your insides are on fire. There’s plenty of over the counter medicines to choose from that can quickly and safely treat heartburn, but many people reach for the milk to soothe the burn. Calcium helps relieve the symptoms of heartburn but drinking full-fat milk makes your stomach produce more acid, making the problem worse.
Gargling Mouthwash for a Sore Throat
If you’re looking for simple pain relief then this home remedy can help you. However, gargling with mouthwash won’t cure a sore throat—and it certainly won’t cure strep throat. If you swallow some of the mouthwash, you can get sick or throw up. You’re better off going to the doctor and getting real medicine.
Charcoal for Detoxification
The myth that activated charcoal is a great detox tool comes from its medical use: activated charcoal is given to people who have overdosed or consumed poison because it binds to toxins. Unfortunately, it can also bind to vitamins, medicines, and causes constipation. Using activated charcoal or supplements can cause you to be malnourished, bloated, and reduce the efficacy of some medicines.
Popping a Sty With a Needle
Much like with blisters, the fluid inside a sty needs to be left alone in order to properly heal. A sty is an infection in the eyelid and is often filled with pus. If you use a needle to pop it then you’re entering dangerous territory. You could accidentally damage your eye with the needle, cause a worse infection, or just prolong the healing process. Let it heal naturally or go to the doctor.
Headache Powder on Gums for a Toothache
You might be familiar with headache powder—the foul-tasting medicine that delivers fast headache relief. One home remedy for a toothache is to rub the powder on your gums around the sore area. This is a terrible idea because you can cut up your gums, which can lead to your gumline receding.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Hemorrhoids
Apple cider vinegar is popular in many home remedies because of its antibacterial properties. However, apple cider vinegar doesn’t have any pain relieving benefits and can actually cause more irritation and burns than you started with. Don’t apply apple cider vinegar directly to your skin—if your condition is that bad then you should see a doctor.
Steak on a Black Eye
You might have seen this in movies or cartoons: someone gets a black eye and slap a steak on there to make it heal quickly. This has nothing to do with the meat and everything to do with the cool temperature. You should just stick to an ice pack because putting meat on your eye can cause a nasty infection.
Coffee for a Hangover
The only good coffee does for a hangover is to keep you from going through caffeine withdrawals, which Excedrin can help with. The coffee won’t sober you up or relieve your headache, it actually constricts your blood vessels and makes your headache worse! Drink a cup if you need the caffeine, but drink lots of water and get rest to cure a hangover.
Orange Juice for a Cold
There’s no solid evidence that suggests drinking orange juice will help you get over a cold faster. It can help prevent colds, however, because vitamin C helps keep your immune system strong. Drinking juice can actually have some adverse side-effects because of all of the acid and sugar. Stick to your doctor’s advice on beating the common cold instead of home remedies.