Don’t you hate it when you’ve tried ALL the options in that one section at Target and still . . . still, your problem remains? Oh, I have been there, my friend. And because I have been there, I’ve discovered some unconventional fixes for problems we moms face on the regular.
Nope, I’m not an all-natural mama. Nope, I’m not a domestic goddess by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I’m just a mom who, like you, is busy and is thrilled when there’s an easy fix for a problem . . . especially one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
But first, a warning: we’re gonna get pretty personal here. Let’s imagine that we’re besties just chillin’ in a cozy living room with a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I’m gonna share my stuff, and hopefully, you’ll feel free to share yours. Ready? Let’s go.
10. The Problem: Dandruff
All y’all Burquenas know that there comes a point in the dead of winter where that Head and Shoulders we long ago swapped in place of our Herbal Essences just ain’t cutting it. Our scalps are dry, itchy, and flaky. Ugh.
The Fix: Coconut Oil + Tea Tree Oil
Grab both at any grocery store. Tea tree oil is often found in the skincare section. Put 1/3 cup coconut oil in the microwave for about 20 seconds or just long enough for it to become liquified. Add three to four drops of tea tree oil. Mix it together. Stand over your sink and grab globs of the stuff and massage it into your scalp. It will end up all over your hair too, and that’s ok. Massage the oil well into every part of your scalp, twist up your hair and read or watch TV for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. The relief is instant and usually lasts me about three weeks.
9. The Problem: Nighttime Cough
Nothing needs to be said about this because we all know how terrible and sleep-depriving this is already. Let’s not relive it.
The Fix: Vapor-Rub On Feet
Yup, that’s right. Take a big old glob of your favorite brand of vapor-rub (they’ll all work) and slather it on the bottom of the cougher’s feet. Then . . . brace yourself . . . as carefully as you can, put a sock over each of those feet, keeping as much of the rub as possible on the feet themselves. Obviously, this will not work for every cough and should not be done if a doctor counsels you otherwise. But for your everyday dry or drainage cough, this method has worked wonders in our house for adults and little ones alike.
8. The Problem: A Smelly Shower Drain
This happens to us on occasion, especially in the winter. It often happens because the water in the p-trap evaporates, allowing gas to escape through the pipes. It’s not a clog, so Drano won’t fix it. Before you spend any money, try this quick fix.
The Fix: Your Science Fair Volcano
Pour 1/3 box of baking soda down your drain, followed by 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Let this sit for about 15 minutes. During that time, boil a big pot of water (6 cups ought to do it). Pour the boiling water down the drain, and you’re done.
7. The Problem: Excessive Ear Wax
Told you we’d get personal. And this is just the start, my friend. Yeah, I get unbelievably waxy ears to the point that I used to have to go to the doctor and get them washed out. But no more, thanks to my mom-in-law, who introduced me to this unconventional fix.
The Fix: Linen Ear Wax Candles
Grab ‘em at any natural/whole foods type store. They’re usually around the soaps. Stick one through a paper plate (so that if little burned pieces fall, they fall on the plate), stick the pointy end in your ear, hold onto it just below the plate, and have someone light the top of it. Let it burn until only about two inches are left above the plate, then put it out in the sink and throw it away. You’ll be shocked at how much wax is contained in that candle. Shocked.
6. The Problem: A Stubborn Laundry Stain
You’ve tried everything. I know. Before you toss your favorite shirt, try this method.
The Fix: Blue Dawn + Hydrogen Peroxide
It must be Blue Dawn. Pour it all over the stain. Pour an equal amount of hydrogen peroxide right on top of the Dawn. Using a damp rag or brush, scrub that thing like there’s no tomorrow. Toss it in the wash with your next load of laundry. This has successfully removed crayon, red chile, and the ever-angering chapstick stain from many of my own clothes!
5. The Problem: Hiccups
You know what these are.
The Fix: Glass + Water + Silverware + Temple
It must be a glass, it must be water, it must be actual silverware (not plastic), and the silverware must touch the glass AND your temple while you drink at least five gulps without stopping. Seriously, if it doesn’t work, run through the checklist again. It always works.
4. The Problem: Mice
Need I say more? No.
The Fix: Irish Spring Soap
They must hate the smell of cleanliness or . . . Ireland . . . or something. But grate a bit of Irish Spring into a mesh bag or cut off the end of some pantyhose and create your own little satchel. Hang one under your grill or on a safe part of your car’s engine, and they’ll stay away from those places!
3. The Problem: A Bad Sunburn
It’s the worst, and everything you do to it hurts!
The Fix: Vitamin E
For real, girl . . . try it. I just buy the gelcaps, cut ’em open, and dribble the contents right onto the skin. This takes a while, especially if the burn is a big one. But I promise it’ll be worth the effort. I just do this once a day, right before bed. It speeds the healing time, soothes the skin, and doesn’t create that terrible stuck-to-shirt thing that happens with aloe gels and lotions. It’s pretty amazing.
2. The Problem: Diaper Rash
When you’ve tried everything and it’s failing you and your little one, try this. This was always our nuclear option . . . when all else failed.
The Fix: Milk of Magnesia + Cornstarch
Mix equal parts (or so) of these two ingredients until you’ve got a somewhat spreadable paste. You’ll be surprised at how soothing this is for your little one and how quickly it heals the skin. After it’s been on for a while, the mixture turns to a crumbly powder. A little sponge bath may be in order for the next diaper change, but your baby won’t mind because her skin will be in such better shape than it was before!
1. The Problem: Yeast Infection/Bacterial Vaginosis
Saved it for last because it’s the worst . . . but the best unconventional solution I’ve ever found. I was on the yeast infection/bacterial vaginosis roller coaster for the better part of a year. Every time I would receive treatment for one ailment, I’d end up with the other ailment as a side effect of the treatment. Flip-flop, flip-flop. It was THE WORST. Thankfully, I summoned the courage to share my misery with a friend, who told me about this miracle cure.
The Fix: Boric Acid
Yup. Seriously. These supplements come in suppository form for this very reason. You can order them on Amazon or find them at any whole food/natural grocery store around. Turns out that when our pH gets thrown off, we have problems. Makes sense. Anytime I feel a bit not right (you know what I’m sayin’), I use one of these pills and my symptoms are gone in the morning. I’ve not ever been back to the doc for this issue since then, but I did tell him about it! His reaction: “Oh yeah. That works too!”
Well now that we’re besties, I hope you’ll feel free to share your unconventional fixes too. We mamas gotta stick together! If you love a good mom hack, check out this unconventional strategy for cleaning your house in one hour. Sometimes, the easy fixes are right there in front of us–they just may take a little digging and courage!
Originally published June 2021.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.