Instructables
Picture of 9 Unusual Uses for Aspirin
It's 6:30 AM and you feel a tightness in your chest. Antacids don't help. Your jaw is tightly set and your arm feels numb. Heart attack? Or is it an unreasonable response to a new zit? Either way, aspirin can help.

From heart attacks to zits, in the garden and the laundry room, aspirin has a ton of uses beyond relieving pain. Some of these I've tried, others I should try but haven't, and a few I hope to never try. You, the reader, are left to judge which is which. 
 
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Step 1: Heart attack mitigation

If you're feeling a bit of a heart attack coming on, pop some aspirin and dial 911. (Or your local emergency number.)

The aspirin has an anti-clotting effect that inhibits platelets from doing their little plateletty jobs. You know, hanging out together in large groups, getting rowdy, and creating thromboses. This is perfect for those occasions when you're on the verge of death due to an unplanned cardiac episode.

According to the American Journal of Cardiology, chewing the aspirin has a more immediate effect than washing the pills down with a cool glass of water. So that's good to know. Especially if you're a man over 50 with less plaque on your teeth than in your arteries.

Step 2: Remove sweat stains

Picture of Remove sweat stains
Sure, the collar of that undershirt looks fine, but the armpits are caked and yellow like you're developing uranium for a nascent nuclear weapons program. Gross. Apparently the aluminum salts in most antiperspirants mixes with sweat to create a mostly-waterproof stain. The salicylic acid in aspirin makes a nice little anti-yellowcake mixture that can eradicate those sweat stains.

Crush up enough pills and mix with water to create enough paste to cover the sweat stain of your choice. Let it sit for several minutes then rinse. Launder as usual. This treatment is good for any protein-based stain, so pull it out for those times when you get some of that nosebleed on your shirt or dribble egg yolk onto your pants due to over-over-easiness.

Note: pound for pound, this is an expensive method of removing sweat stains (compared to using lemon juice, enzymatic meat tenderizer, or white vinegar), but it's a good thing to bear in mind if you're surprised by a serious stain in a random hotel room that stocks aspirin, but not meat tenderizer, in the lobby gift shop.

Step 3: Restore hair color

Picture of Restore hair color
Big swimmer? Blonde? If so, you know that chlorine can do a number on your hair. But a little aspirin can take care of that.

Dissolve 6-8 aspirin pills in water, then rub the solution into your hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse it out. The greenish effect should start to disappear after a couple of aspirin washes.

When I was in fifth grade, there was a girl in my class with hair so blonde and fine it looked like fiberoptic wire. She was a swimming fiend, so her hair was always just a touch too green in the summertime. In middle school, she acheived the Edenic self-consciousness of Eve and began to use aspirin to fix the greenness. She is now incredibly successful and one of 17* female engineers in the whole world. Aspirin helped her become a foxy materials engineer, imagine what it could do for you.


*I know that there are more. But there are still too many girls being discouraged from careers in science and math. The real number is probably in the low to mid 50s.

Step 4: Zap zits and punish pimples

Picture of Zap zits and punish pimples
Salicylic acid. It's one of the topical applications used for acne treatment, and it just so happens to be a natural part of aspirin.

Crush up the pill and add some water to make a paste. Apply the aspirin paste to your pimple and wait for several minutes. Rinse off without rubbing too much, and the pimple should diminish in redness and size. Spot treatment for those "haven't showered since Friday" weekend camping trips where you want to look your best.

Possibly true fact: the taste of salicylic acid can discourage bears from gnawing on your face.

Step 5: Treat bug bites and stings

Just like the acne treatment, a little dab of aspirin paste will do you when it comes to mosquitoes, flies, and the other stinging and biting bugs out there.

A great little camping piece of know-how: willow trees and their ilk contain the natural equivalent of Bayer. Some bark will have a similar effect to the paste described earlier. When I was a Boy Scout in Colorado, we used to strip small sections of bark off of aspen trees and treat the bug bites we brought upon ourselves by being fragrantly scrumptious.

Step 6: Organic gardener's dream

Picture of Organic gardener's dream
A crushed aspirin in water (one pill to one gallon) helps plants to fight infection and stay alive during traumatic plant experiences like transplanting, cutting, cloning, or zombie attacks. If your plants are dying in front of your eyes, it can be tempting to resort to extreme measures to rescue your little green friends with a water-soluble fertilizer. When stressed, however, plants can't really absorb all those delicious nitrates and phosphates. Dumping fertilizer on a dying plant is like giving a heart attack victim a multivitamin: not quite the ideal time for bioavailablility. Aspirin is the solution (pun!) for your mild flora emergency.

According to the exhaustive research I just performed on Wikipedia, salicylic acid can induce specific changes in root, stem, and leaf structure that create more robust plants. It can also help fruits and vegetables grow bigger and stronger. It will help your plants resist disease, insects, and unusually weak hailstorms.

Additionally, an aspirin solution will also help your cut flowers last longer in the vase so you can go nearly a full week before raking up the dead petals. Unless you're playing the "he loves me, he loves me not" game, in which case you should just count the petals in advance to determine your romantic status and let the aspirin keep the bouquet pretty.

Step 7: Treat dandruff

Picture of Treat dandruff
Itchy flakiness got your shoulders looking like snowdrifts? If you wear a black American Apparel hoodie that looks a bit like a heather gray American Apparel hoodie, perhaps you should consider using aspirin in your daily head-washing regimen.

Crush up two aspirins into the normal amount of shampoo you use, then leave it in for several minutes. Don't do it with a dandruff-specific shampoo, but this is a great method of maintaining great-smelling hair without distributing enough fine white powder to cause an asbestos scare or DEA raid. If you're concerned about wasting water while you wait, shut off the water and just hang out for a minute while the aspirin does its job.

Step 8: Squeeze the last juice from a car battery

Electrolytes. They're not just in sports drinks and the athletes who drink them. They're also an important part of a car's battery. But sometimes your car's battery needs an extra shot of juice to crank out just a little more energy to get your car moving. Aspirin apparently makes a lovely electrolytic stimulant that'll get you out of a really serious pickle. Because if you're popping open your car battery, things are probably pretty serious and AAA isn't coming any time soon.

Pry off the cover of the battery with a screwdriver or pry bar and drop two crushed aspirin into each cell of the battery. Theoretically, this should cause a chemical reaction that changes some of the sulfuric acid into acetic acid and provide just enough oomph to get the engine to start turning over.

For bonus MacGyver points, try using cola to take any corrosion off of the terminals. If it's really cold outside, heat up the battery with whatever you've got on hand. Pouring hot water over the engine and battery itself (with everything disconnected) might help. YMMV. Literally.

Step 9: Treat a hangover

Picture of Treat a hangover
Acetaminophen + alcohol = vicious, liver-destroying poison. Don't take Tylenol when you've been drinking.

After a long night out on the town, if you are in any condition to do so, take two aspirin before bed. These will help decrease the severity of the hangover in the morning by inhibiting prostaglandins. (You know you don't want those prostaglandins running around inside of your body like evil elves while you have the spins.) Then take two more in the morning with some breakfast. It'll decrease the severity of the morning headache and decrease the elf- or prostaglandin-related swelling.

If it's one of those mornings where the hair of the dog sounds as appetizing as actual canine fur, aspirin's your ticket to a productive day.
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bo88y6 months ago

#1 Cayenne pepper is also good to have on hand for a heart attack. Two teaspoons, if you can get it down.

ibwebb6 months ago

I didn't know this about the battery. When I was still working in the Auto Body repair field there was an older guy that answered the phones. Never had a lot to say, but when he did it seemed like something really important. Anywho, he taught me that Epsom Salt will bring a dead battery back to life for a little while, but only in the ones you can open the cells to. Honestly, I don't think I have seen one that opens up in years.

I have done a lot of research on aspirin as a facial treatment, so I'd like to add a couple things:
For those that use this method: It's a great treatment, but DON'T use it too often if you want to keep using it. Your skin can build up a tolerance to the aspirin, and make the treatment cease to be effective. This is good to help calm skin in emergencies, but not on a regular basis.
ALSO, Salicylic Acid (asprin) makes your skin more susceptible to sunburns. if you are going to use this treatment, use sunscreen as well.

For face masks like dollgrownup suggested, you can dissolve one or two (depending on the size) uncoated aspirin in some aloe or honey . Aloe moisturizes and soothes skin, where honey has natural antibacterial properties. Combined with the aspirin, which has anti-inflammatory properties (duh), and exfoliating properties, it makes a great mask to help sooth skin and fight acne. Just remember to use sunscreen when being out in the sun after using this treatment.
I have also read rumors about "aspirin burns" due to aspirin used on the skin. It is always a good idea to test whatever you are using on a small area of skin to make sure you do not react.
Aspirin is used in a lot of store bought face washes and whatnot, but there are certain risks involved in making your own mask that you might want to look up if you are in the least bit concerned.
CatArt1012 years ago
I actually work at AAA answering road service calls, and I may have to suggest this to my customers. Lol.
Mig Welder2 years ago
Basically, this (and your barf one) is my all-time favorite Instructable. Also, you are my favorite Instructable author. The sense of humor, usefulness, and diverse vocabulary, all coupled with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation makes for a winning Instructable. Finding people on the internet that know how to spell is oh so difficult.
I learned a bit and had some good laughs while reading your 'ibles.
Thanks!
wilgubeast (author)  Mig Welder2 years ago
Thanks MW. I'm working on unusual uses for disposable diapers right now, and it should come out by the end of the week. Or simply a week. The article is somewhat in question.
-max-2 years ago
so asprin + sulfuric acid -> vinigar? cool
nsmith12 years ago
And how about shaving in the shower while the aspirin does it's job.
koldham2 years ago
car battery's are 12 volt. peeing on it wont hurt you, it might short out the battery tho.
LogM8133 years ago
Best hangover cure is weed. Don't say it isn't if you haven't tried it.
No, not even close... If anything, weed makes it worse. No offense, but please know what you're talking about before suggesting something as ridiculous as that.

The best cure for hangover is not going overboard with your drinking, if you must get trashed, drink quality liquor instead of the cheap $10 bottle of vodka... The reason you have hangovers is due to the way the liquor was distilled, lower quality liquor is usually only distilled once, so there's still methanol left in the final product after the distillation process, which is what causes hangovers... Higher quality liquors are distilled multiple times (usually 4-5 times, but some have been known to be distilled up to a dozen times) to further reduce the amount of methanol left after the distillation process, and therefore the higher quality liquor is less prone to cause hangovers...

If you must drink cheap booze, drinking lots of water throughout the night and eating a couple slices of bread before you go to bed helps avoid or reduce the intensity of your hangover in the morning as well
The medical benefits of marijuana have only recently been realized...
As a lifelong migraine sufferer (albeit, slightly different than a hangover...) I've use weed as a pain reliever, and as a preventative. It's been found to have so many medical benefits - right down to relief of irritable bowel syndrome...so whose really to say that it might not work for hangovers? Until unbiased medical studies are done, no one can attest to that.
Hangovers are caused by dehydration/Fusel oils. There's less fusel oils in higher quality liquors due to more distillation cycles. Darker liquors have more fusel oils (they purposely leave them in whiskey to give it taste) whereas vodka their going for just ethanol and water. According to scientific studies marijuana reduces nausea and dulls headaches. So yes it is effective to reduce a hangover.
That's new information for me and I am not a chain drinker of liquor but I would like to know what liquors are considered higher quality liquors??. Thanks. AL.
Ndawg m1ndtr1p3 years ago
I disagree, weed is a great cure for hangovers. I've used it many time.

That being said, If you have the 'spins' at all, weed will just make you spin more and eventually throw up.

At least this is what I've found to be true.
Smoke weed everyday.
weed?your'e using a drug to get rid of the side effects of a drug. That's like shooting into a bullet wound to get the bullet out
Aspirin is a drug too.
Sorry i meant a drug with negative effects to get rid of a drug with negative effects
Aspirin can have some rather serious negative side-effects, including:
1) gastritis : irritation with possible bleeding in the stomach
2) make a disease-based or drug-induced 'anti-coagulant' state into a serious problem.
3) make worse a cerebral bleed type of stroke
4) cause gout (as it competes with uric acid for the kidney's method of ridding your body of uric acid (urate). So, the urate increases and in some individuals gout can onset.

I'm not aware of anything ingested that can't have any negative side-effects ... yes, including food and water!
tverma tkjtkj3 years ago
too much water is a very bad thing.
weeds not bad
and weed makes you thirsty, so you drink more water. Haven't tried the aspirin, but a 32 oz powerade helps me every time!
Indeed.
jooijen LogM8133 years ago
the best cure for a hangover is...... to keep drinking lol!!!
mattyfu LogM8133 years ago
It cures the nausea and makes drinking a ton of water more likely.
wilgubeast (author)  mattyfu3 years ago
A bit on the expensive side, as the aspirin will only set you back about $1.29 for 100 325mg tablets whereas weed is often a bit more expensive. Even assuming a bottle of aspirin will last you 25 hangovers max (4 pills/hangover), the price differential is astronomical. Aspirin is also more convenient. In California, you can get aspirin over the counter, even without a medicinal use card.
15zhangfra2 years ago
so does aspririn restore blonde hair color, or does it somewhat bleach your hair? i have a dandruff problem and i'm thinking of using aspirin to get rid of it, but i'd hate for my hair to get bleached (i have black hair and any amount of bleaching will look odd and lead to funny scenarios....)
wilgubeast (author)  15zhangfra2 years ago
No bleaching effect, especially since you'd only leave it on for about 2 minutes.
Phoghat2 years ago
For a hangover, besides the aspirin, take some high dose of a B-Complex tablets (usually known as b 100, a 100mg of each of the B vitamins), and drink something with a bit of salt like V8 or Clamato juice. Alcohol really depletes the B vitamins and drinking causes dehydration. You have to replace those electrolytes and water to feel better fast!
taria2 years ago
I got number 10 for yeah if no ones already mentioned it. drop an aspirin in with cut flowers and it extends the life of the flowers a bit longer. I do it all the time.

just thought id share...:)
jibblesmgee3 years ago
The only truly safe cure for hangovers is to quit drinking... but you'll still need an asprin once in a while. This is a nice instructable, I learned alot!
YESSSSS! agreed. Quit drinking. Or if you do... 1 or 2 is enough alcohol is a drug not a hydrating drink...dont even get me started on how bad soft drinks are for you!
codongolev3 years ago
even more bonus points if you think to use urine to heat the battery.

negative points, though, if you forget that it's a battery you're peeing on and shock yourself.
The likelihood of that happening is nil, since a urine stream is usually too broken to conduct electricity up to the, um ... source.
I think if you got close enough the stream wouldn't be broken.
True, but that'd be pretty darn close.
chances are, the urine pooling up on the battery would make a better circuit than back up into you, then through rubber shoes, rubber tires, and back into a ground on the car. Just my 2 cents.
Even if it *could* happen... peeing on a battery... the current would go from the positive to the negative of the battery, hence , not to or through the pee-er...
Besides... wouldn't it be more likely that someone would pee in a container first, then pour it on? One would have to have a 60" inseam, or climb up over the engine...

This is such a dumb subthread....

LOL
the train of conversation tends to derail quite often here lol
Mythbusters did a thing about peeing on a hot rail. Totally busted. I doubt a battery would do something a hot rail couldn't.
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