Home Remedies That Don’t Really Work

Asian man got an Acne


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Common “Cures” Debunked

Sometimes even the thought of taking the time to call a doctor and schedule an appointment is daunting, let alone actually taking the time out of your day to visit the office for an exam. For a variety of ailments, home remedies often seem like the easier route to take, but they are not always reliable. Sometimes your best bet really is to seek professional help, but in the meantime, here are some home remedies that don’t work that you should avoid trying.

Related: Lies You Need to Stop Telling Your Doctor


Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting

While getting stung by a jellyfish isn’t an overly common occurrence for most of us, you’ve likely heard that if you do find yourself in this situation, having someone urinate on the affected area will take the pain away. As it turns out, this remedy isn’t actually the ticket. The best thing outside of actual medical treatment to soothe a jellyfish sting is actually saltwater. While there can be high levels of salt content in some urine, those amounts are constantly shifting, making the method unreliable.


Related: Lifesaving Skills Worth Learning for Emergencies

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Treating Burns with Butter

Would you reach for vegetable oil or a glass of water to put out a fire? The choice is pretty clear. Stick to your gut instinct and don’t use butter to soothe a burn, despite widespread suggestions that it soothes burns. Not only can butter trap heat, it can also create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, causing infection. If you do happen to burn yourself, always opt for cool water for immediate (albeit temporary) relief.

Related: Emergency Items You Should Put in a First Aid Kit 

Depressed girl complaining on a coffee shop terrace

Coffee for Hangovers

From aspirin and electrolytes to Alka-Seltzer and carbohydrates, there are tons of ideas for hangover cures. While some remedies help, one of the more common suggestions actually does more harm than good. You might have heard that caffeine, particularly coffee, is helpful for your morning-after funk, but all it actually does is raise your blood pressure, thin your blood vessels, and dehydrate you. Refrain from your usual morning pick-me-up if you have a hangover and stick to water instead. 

Related: From Mocha to Java: The Secret History of How Coffee Took Over the World

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Hydrogen Peroxide on Cuts

This one might come as a surprise. For generations, parents and grandparents have sworn by reaching for the hydrogen peroxide anytime someone gets a cut, swearing those white bubbles that appear upon contact are the peroxide magically washing away any potential infection. Using hydrogen peroxide on cuts can actually damage healthy cells too, further delaying the healing process. When it comes to cleaning a cut, stick to soap and water.

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Gargling Mouthwash for a Sore Throat

While there isn’t a cold symptom that’s pleasant, a sore throat is particularly annoying and painful. To alleviate a sore throat, gargling with mouthwash is more harmful than helpful. Gargling only further irritates an already inflamed throat. 

Related: Mistakes You’re Making When Brushing Your Teeth

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Garlic for Earaches

Leave garlic for cooking and please, keep it out of your ears. If you’ve heard that placing a garlic clove in your ear is the best way to cure an ear infection or earache, you heard wrong — and not just because your ears hurt. The garlic can actually cause an inflammatory or even an allergic reaction, making your ear hurt even worse.


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Castor Oil to Jumpstart Labor

Late pregnancy can be so physically taxing that it starts to become mentally and emotionally draining as well. If you’re approaching your due date or you’ve passed it, you might find yourself looking up home remedies to jumpstart labor. While eating spicy food or going for a walk won’t cause you imminent harm, you should avoid consuming castor oil to move things along. 

Related: Got Allergies? 9 Home Remedies to Try — and 1 to Skip

Close up of  a woman cracking an egg.

Raw Eggs for Facial Masks or Hair Conditioning Treatments

Recipes for facial masks and hair conditioning treatments that contain raw eggs have been around for a long time, but just because they’re tried doesn’t make them true. Any time you come into contact with a raw egg, you’re risking a potential salmonella exposure, so the next time you see a beauty treatment suggest adding a raw egg to your mixture, look for an alternative instead.

Asian man got an Acne

Toothpaste or Coconut Oil on Acne

Acne is irritating, unsightly, and often painful. There are plenty of acne treatment ideas from medicines and ointments to home remedies. While some home remedies might be effective to a degree, there are a couple that are definitely not worth the effort. While toothpaste might dry a pimple out, it can also damage the surrounding skin, causing redness and peeling. Coconut oil, although useful in plenty of other remedies, should not be used on your face since it can actually clog your pores.

Related: 12 Winter Skin Care Tips for Seniors

Man Refusing Glass Of Milk Offered By Person

Apple Cider Vinegar or Milk for Heartburn

Feeling like there’s a small fire blazing in between your chest and throat is such an obnoxious sensation that you will likely start looking for any and every way to help soothe your heartburn. While apple cider vinegar might be beneficial in other home remedies, it is definitely not a good idea to treat acid buildup with more acid. On the other hand, milk might temporarily calm your heartburn symptoms, but it actually stimulates the production of acid in your stomach which can lead to a rebound bout of heartburn later on.