Are you aware of Listerine’s long and rather complicated history? The history of Listerine® is quite fascinating, chronicling the shifts in which a product takes along its way to becoming famous.

I’ll say this right now as a hygienist, I hate Listerine as a mouth rinse, and never recommend it for patients to use as a mouth rinse. I can look inside someone’s mouth and 99% of the time tell if they use Listerine on a regular basis. Why? Because it dries out the tissues and strips the mouth of the good bacteria as well as the bad. I will say as a product, it works….but the problem is, that it works too well! If you are a daily user of Listerine, look at the inner lining of your cheeks. Do they have a whitish film on them? Do they have white lines on the cheeks? This is a reaction to the alcohol and is basically your bodies way of creating a callus because of the irritation.

Listerine is named for Doctor Joseph Lister, who pioneered the idea of using disinfectants in hospitals and during surgery. Lister’s work paved the way to modern antiseptic operating rooms, and he is responsible for a dramatic downturn in patient death from infection in surgery which occurred in the 19th century.

No one imagined it’s amazing future back then. It is the reason mouthwash would become a popular oral hygiene product. It’s ads worked hard to convince the population that they needed to do something about their bad breath and it worked wonders. Here is a timeline of its changes throughout the years.

1879 – created as a surgical antiseptic by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert. It was used to clean surgical sites and irrigate wounds, reducing the risk of dangerous infections after surgery.

1895 – it was given to dentists as a mouthwash

1914 – it became the first mouthwash available over the counter

1930 – it was marketed as the perfect way to get rid of dandruff

1921-1970 – it was also marketed as a product that could help prevent colds and sore throats

Over the years it has had a few purposes and several claims of it being a wonder product that can do a lot of good for a lot of things. While many of these claims aren’t backed up with scientific evidence or research, it seems that it certainly is worth trying and won’t hurt to see if it works for you.

Again, I don’t recommend it as a mouth rinse, instead, I recommend Tooth and Gums Tonic, a natural antiseptic mouth rinse that kills the bad bacteria, but helps the good bacteria thrive, is alcohol-free and packed with herbs and essential oils.

To learn more about Tooth and Gums Tonic, click here. But for now, I give you the MANY uses of Listerine outside the mouth!

Miscellaneous Personal Uses:

Cleaning Your Toothbrush

Listerine is great for killing germs, so why not use it to clean your toothbrush after each brushing? Swishing your brush in Listerine and letting it air dry works wonders.

Soothe a sore throat

Gargling with Listerine can really help soothe a sore throat, as will gargling with apple cider vinegar. If a sore throat persists, see your doctor.

Wound cleaner

Because Listerine is an antiseptic it is good for wounds and can be used like many other wound care options.

Getting rid of dandruff

Dandruff can not only be embarrassing, but it can be extremely uncomfortable and itchy. Listerine is a great remedy for dandruff. To use Listerine as a dandruff treatment, apply Listerine to your scalp before getting in the shower. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then shampoo as normal. You will need to do multiple treatments.

Banish stinky feet

Many of us often have foot odor, even if we don’t want to admit it! Luckily, the alcohol and extracts found in Listerine make it an extremely effective remedy. To keep foot odor at bay, soak a cotton ball in Listerine and rub it all over your feet. You can rub a small amount along the inside of your shoes, as well. Using Listerine has more than one perk for feet – it has been shown to help alleviate athlete’s foot, as well.

Solving Skin Issues:

Stop the itching from bug bites

Listerine is my go-to source for stopping bug bites from itching like crazy. I use a ton of it during the months when mosquitoes are biting! This is probably one of the most common alternate uses for Listerine.


While it is unsure why Listerine would work in helping psoriasis or many of the other skin conditions it is said to help many people claim that it makes a huge difference.

Allergic reactions

Many also claim that it works well on allergic reactions including those to poison oak, ivy, and sumac. Some who have frequent problems use it regularly throughout the summer to avoid breaking out.


Much like with other skin conditions many people say that it relieves the symptoms of shingles and stops the itching.

Cradle Cap

Soak one cotton ball with Listerine (original formula only) and rub on child’s head, being very careful to avoid the eye area, etc. Wait five minutes. Then, very gently and carefully take another cotton ball with water and wipe off the Listerine from the hair. If the cradle cap does not go away within a day, repeat once. It sounds crazy but it works so well! This was recommended by a pediatrician recommended this as a homeopathic remedy, but ask your doctor first if you are unsure.


Nail Fungus

Nail fungus problems can make your toenails or fingernails thick and discolored, and once you’re infected it’s incredibly difficult to eradicate. Make up a 50/50 solution of Listerine and vinegar, and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball (use a new one each time) two-to-three times per day. Be warned, nail fungus is stubborn….you won’t likely see results for at least a few weeks. Soaking your nail for 20 minutes is also helpful.

Jock itch and athlete’s foot

For jock itch, athlete’s foot, and trucker’s bottom, apply it with a spray bottle, or apply a little to a cotton ball or cotton square and then rub the area. Multiple treatments needed

Household Listerine uses:

Killing germs and odors in your garbage disposal

Speaking of stinky things, have you ever been cooking in your kitchen and noticed a foul smell emanating from your sink? To eliminate sink odors, simply pour half a cup of mouthwash down the disposal.

Get rid of mold and mildew

Don’t throw away your old toothbrush. Instead, dip the old toothbrush in mouthwash to clean mold in your bathroom.

Deodorize toilet

Clean your toilet by pouring a half of cup down the toilet and swish it around not with your tooth brush but with a toilet brush. Not only will it clean your toilet but it will also give it a great shine and a good smell.

Cleaning the bathroom mirror

Put a little mouthwash on a clean cloth and wipe your mirrors, cabinet fixtures, sink handles and toilet flush lever. Also, clean up water stains with that same cloth.

In the laundry room

Keep a bottle of mouthwash in the laundry room. Add a cup of it to a load of laundry along with your detergent. This will kill germs off your clothes and keep your washer smelling good.

Cleaning cast iron

Use a splash of Listerine and salt to clean cast iron pans. It cleans without stripping the coating of the cast iron. Great tip for camping!

Pet uses:

Horse hoofs and legs

Listerine original (yellow) works wonders on rain rot and other nasty fungus on horse legs and hoofs. Just pour all over the affected area and let dry, it won’t hurt their hair color.

And finally……

Listerine can stop your bike seat from squeaking. Spray on a little mouthwash and you’re squeak free.

There you have it folks, more uses for Listerine than you could have ever imagined! I’m sure there are more out there, do you have a favorite use for Listerine? If so, we’d love to know so that we can add it to the list.

Remember, if it is the health of your mouth that you are concerned with, I would highly recommend you check out Tooth and Gums Tonic, it is quite amazing, and delivers the best results I have seen on the market.