While cucumbers are well-known for being a healthy addition to salads and sandwiches, you may not realize just how versatile they actually are. They’re a vital component in some of the most effective home remedies, and they can even be used to simplify certain common household tasks. At least one of the following eleven amazing uses for cucumber is sure to be of use to you.
1. Deter pests
If there are too many slugs in your yard, you may notice that your formerly pretty plants are looking worse for wear. However, you don’t need to use any poisonous chemicals to get rid of these creatures, and you don’t have to kill them. Instead, try cutting a few slices of cucumber and putting them in a small aluminum tin near your plants. Cucumber contains compounds that initiate a chemical reaction with the aluminum, releasing an odor that human noses don’t notice. However, this same smell is powerfully unpleasant to garden pests, leading them to go elsewhere.
2. Counteract bad breath
If you’ve eaten something that leaves you with the unpleasant breath, try reaching for some cucumber slices instead of a sugary mint. Cucumber encourages your mouth to produce more saliva, which in turn helps to get rid of the bacteria that produce bad breath as a byproduct of their lifecycle. Just try using your tongue to hold a slice of cucumber against the roof your mouth. Keep the slice in place for 1-2 minutes, and your breath should be fresh once again.
3. Polish your shoes
The next time you realize you forgot to shine your shoes before an important meeting, don’t panic! While you might not have a chance to give them a proper polish, you only need a couple of minutes to rub freshly cut cucumber over the surfaces. The resulting shine will dramatically improve the look of your shoes, and also provides the handy benefit of repelling water on rainy days.
4. Reduce stress
You may not always be able to afford a proper treatment (such as a massage or a spa day) when you’re stressed, but you can certainly get your hands on a cucumber! Studies show that soothing steam is released when you add a whole cucumber’s worth of slices to a pan of boiling water. In fact, groups of students sitting college exams and new mothers coping with sleep deprivation have both reported feeling more relaxed after being exposed to this aroma.
5. Preserve your mirror
It can be annoying to step out of the shower and realize you can’t style your hair or apply your face cream because the mirror has steamed up. With the help of cucumber, you can enjoy long, hot showers without the pesky mirror fog. Just rub a cucumber slice along the mirror. As a bonus, it leaves a lovely, fresh scent behind too.
6. Get rid of a hangover
It’s not good to take strong painkillers after a hangover—doing so puts your liver under even more stress, and regular painkiller use can eventually undermine kidney function as well. So, the next time you’ve indulged in one too many alcoholic beverages, try raiding the fridge for a fresh cucumber instead. Combine half a cup of cucumber slices with 2tbsp of lime juice, a quarter tsp of salt, 1 liter of sparkling water and a couple of cups of cubed watermelon if it’s available. This delicious drink will send your headache packing. You can also try chewing a few cucumber slices before bed, as some people swear this reduces the severity of the next morning’s hangover.
7. Fix squeaky hinges
If you have a drawer or a door that won’t stop squeaking when you open it, you can use cucumber instead of smelly products like WD-40. Just rub some cucumber against the hinge, and the problem should disappear.
8. Tighten skin
Although cucumber isn’t some miracle cure that will permanently transform the look of your skin, it can be used to quickly and easily improve the appearance of cellulite or wrinkles. Cucumber is a source of phytochemicals that are said to tighten and firm the outer layer of skin, which makes cellulite and wrinkles less visible to the naked eye. Perfect before a trip to the beach!
9. Treat constipation
When you don’t have regular bowel movements, your abdomen can feel bloated and crampy (and going to the bathroom often becomes extremely painful). As well as increasing your fluid intake, try eating a plate of cucumber slices. They’re a fantastic source of fiber, and they also have a high water content that helps to keep things moving through your colon. For those who don’t like gulping down big glasses of water, cucumber can be a great solution.
10. Revitalize tarnished objects
If a formerly adored piece of jewelry or cutlery is looking dull and tarnished, just take a cucumber slice and rub it across the surface of the item. This will remove the tarnished look without leaving any streaks or requiring any harsh chemical treatments. You can also try this trick with faucets and stainless steel appliances.
11. Get rid of pen and crayon marks
Finally, if you accidentally get ink on your tablecloth or your children use a crayon to scribble on your walls, whip out the cucumber once again. Just gently rub the outside of the cucumber against the offending marks, and they should slowly start to disappear.