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I love (and many readers agree) finding and teaching ideas to better and creatively utilize an everyday product. By producing lots of other goodies from an inexpensive, ordinary item, we save kaboodles of cash. Smartlifetricks.com offers some tried-and-true techniques for simple home remedies, so I'm borrowing from their site this week various cheap methods to incorporate plain 'ole aspirin into other outstanding therapies.

Loyal readers may recall I've urged everyone to never again be attacked by a mosquito; simply swallow one Vitamin B1 tablet per day. My entire family, as well as many friends, no longer suffer from those vicious little varmints; in fact, none have bitten me in almost 10 years! Unfortunately, we might not be able to pack that bottle or enough different repellents if traveling to a country where all kinds of insects and bugs thrive. What to do, what to do? Something light that reduces swelling and itching is necessary and aspirin rides to the rescue. Once "Savage Skeeter" dive bombs our bodies, take a tablespoon of water, dampen an uncoated aspirin in it, then apply the mixture on the affected area. Just be certain to return to that bottle of B1 once you've the first opportunity to do so.

Ladies (and gents) of a certain age hate those "age spots" we develop after a certain age, particularly on our faces. Regardless that the more correct terminology is "sunspot," our skin isn't as attractive as it once was, and the billion dollar "remover" industry isn't for every person, nor do the products work on everyone. However, aspirin can serve as a skin spot remover because it contains a component used in making skin cleansers and lightening creams. Instead of buying an expensive beauty cream, mix together three tablespoons of yogurt, one tablespoon of honey, and seven uncoated aspirin. Place the mask on your face and leave it for fifteen minutes. After removing it, enjoy smooth and radiant skin, at least according to Smartlifetricks.

Although summer's end is fast approaching, sandals still will be around for a while; therefore, pleasing feet is a must. With a little help from aspirin, dead skin on one's feet can disappear. Fix a paste, using lemon juice and seven uncoated aspirin. Place the paste on your feet's soles and cover them with a warm cloth. After ten minutes, use a pumice to slowly remove the hard areas slowly and afterwards enjoy wearing sandals with the added satisfaction of knowing others admire your now-pretty feet!

some text Ellen Phillips

Nope, we're not movie stars, but we can look more like them by using a specific hair product that utilizes aspirin. Take a cup of warm water, dissolve in it two aspirin, then apply the paste on your hair. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse it off. No more need to pay for a deep conditioner to avoid breakage of your hair. Along this same line, dandruff is not only unsightly, it causes scalp itch like nobody's business. The next time you decide to treat the problem in your shower, mix shampoo with two crushed pills of aspirin and wash your hair with the mixture. Voila – no more flakes!

(Note: because aspirin can cause irritation on some sensitive skin, test a small section of hair or body before applying.)

Sweat stains on white t-shirts is surely exasperating; plus, the time and energy expended to remove the stains is enough to make us throw away the shirts and buy overpriced new ones. Again, aspirin to the rescue. Apply a paste made of the pain reliever mixed with warm water. Leave the paste on the sweat-stained clothes overnight and then machine wash as usual.

Not much is more disgusting than soap scum. Not only can it spoil your relaxing bath or shower, it also can blemish the tub or shower. Many of us use some sort of dry cleaning solution like Comet, but to make the cleanser more effective, add five aspirin to the amount you're using. Sprinkle the area and wait for thirty minutes; use a cloth to remove the scum.

And, certainly, those of us who enjoy fresh flower arrangements know the aspirin trick to keep them fresher longer. Just dissolve an uncoated aspirin in your vase's warm water and do so again each time you change the water. (This "prescription" is particularly healing for roses.)

Contact Ellen Phillips at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com.

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