We all love how sharp we look in a new pair of shoes, but breaking them in can be sheer agony. Plus, once they finally fit just the way you want them, it’s not too long before they’re stinky, covered in dings and holes, and unfit for polite company.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Nope, simply using these easy-as-pie hacks, you can have your shoes looking and smelling just like they did the moment they came out of the box! Here’s how…
1. Restore shoe whiteness using toothpaste: That Colgate in your bathroom cabinet doesn’t just whiten your teeth; the stuff that helps your enamel retain its bright color will efficiently strip dirt and grime off of your kicks.
2. Clean leather with rubbing alcohol: If you pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and run it over leather shoes, you won’t believe how much dirt it picks up. The alcohol immediately cuts through even the most stubborn grime.
3. Freshen up your sneakers with baking soda: We’ve all had our noses suffer due to stinky shoes, so what exactly can be done about it? Pour a bit of baking soda inside them! It’s a natural deodorizer, and it’ll give them that “brand new” smell once more.
4. Use a nail file to banish scratches: It’s nearly impossible for a shoe to live its whole life without suffering a scratch or two. The good news is there’s a solution for unsightly scratches! Rub a nail file over the affected areas and those marks will buff right out in no time.
5. Soak shoes in a vinegar solution to get rid of bad smells: For this trick, mix equal parts water and white vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. Then douse your shoes with it to refresh even the smelliest kicks.
6. Shine patent leather with petroleum jelly: You might think petroleum jelly is only used for cosmetic purposes, but it actually works wonders on footwear, too. If you apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your shoes, they’ll gleam like diamonds.
7. Use cornmeal to absorb suede stains: Suede is a very fickle material. It looks great, but as soon as something stains it—even water—it’s almost impossible to remove. Luckily, a sprinkle of cornmeal is the answer!
8. Use a hair dryer to stretch out new shoes: Sometimes you try on shoes in the store and they seem to fit perfectly, but when you get home and put them on, they’re a little tight. Don some woolly socks and use a hairdryer to “dry” your shoes to help mold them to your feet.
9. Loosen too-tight shoes in the freezer: Another way to help loosen shoes is to fill plastic bags with water, place them in your shoes, and then pop the shoes in a freezer. As the water turns to ice, the bags will expand, stretching your shoes to the ideal size.
10. Rub sandpaper on soles to enhance the grip: When you buy new shoes, the soles are intact and the rubber allows you to traverse even the slipperiest surfaces. Over time, however, the soles wear thin, but if you give them a good sanding with some coarse sandpaper, it will actually turn your shoes from no-grip to no-slip!
11. Gel deodorant helps prevent blisters: If you don’t wear socks with shoes, your Achilles heels can chafe due to the constant contact. But, if you smear a bit of gel deodorant on the heel area, it prevents this problem completely! Plus, it makes your feet smell nice.
12. Tape your toes together to avoid pain: High heels typically squeeze your toes together, there’s a solution! Taping together your middle toe and the toe next to your pinky will alleviate a lot of the strain put on your feet during those long nights out.
13. Waterproof shoes with beeswax: A rainstorm can hit at any moment, and let’s face it: your footwear isn’t always prepared to face a downpour. However, if you spread a thin layer of beeswax over any shoe, it becomes waterproof!
14. Absorb moisture using newspaper: If you happen to step in a deep puddle, it might seem like the insides of your shoes will never dry. But, if you crumple a few newspaper pages inside, they’ll help absorb the moisture.
15. Embrace no-tie shoelaces to avoid tripping: The new wave of no-tie laces has been quickly taking over shoe stores everywhere. They may cost a little more than regular sneakers, but if you’re the kind of person who frequently trips over untied laces, they’re worth the investment.
16. Use a bread tag to fix broken flip-flops: The straps on flip-flops tend to pull out of their holes. If you can’t get to the store and you need a quick fix, try attaching a plastic bread tag to the bottom to keep them in place!
17. Alleviate shoe squeaks using baby powder: No one wants to be the person strutting through a completely silent room with squeaky shoes, which is caused by the friction of your foot against the inside material. To avoid the embarrassment, just sprinkle baby powder in there.
18. Store your kicks the right way: Most people just toss their shoes into a pile by the door when they get home. But did you know it actually does more harm that good? If you invest in a shoe organizer, your footwear will stay in better condition for longer.
19. Use heel protectors to prevent sinking into sand or gravel: When you wear heels on uneven terrain, you’re taking gamble with your ankles. Heel protectors offer a widened end for those super-skinny heels so you won’t roll your ankle if you accidentally step into a gap in the sidewalk.
20. Soak feet in tea to soothe blisters: This hack may not necessarily have to do with shoes, but since your feet sit in them all day, it’s important! The anti-inflammatory properties in tea work magic on your feet, soothing both blisters and chafing.
If you struggle with your shoes, tips like these are definitely worth checking out. They’re bound to change your shoe game forever! But in the meantime, here are the most popular cures for swollen feet that you can find right in your pantry!
Cabbage wrap: This might seem weird, but it works! Start by storing your cabbage leaves in the freezer. (They should be pliable, though.) Elevate your feet, wrap them in those leafy greens, and wait for a half-hour while the cabbage draws out excess fluid.
Dandelion: This plant works as a natural diuretic, which helps with any extra fluid in your body—such as in your feet. You can sip dandelion tea, or even create your own dandelion vinegar using apple cider vinegar.
Water: Simply drink a glass of water! Your body might be trying to retain water since it doesn’t have enough. Hydrating yourself with eight to 10 glasses a day helps release toxins from your body and prevent swelling.
Tonic water: Tonic water contains a natural anti-inflammatory called quinine (which also makes it glow under a black light). If you soak your feet in water that’s cold or room temperature, you can get the relief you need—plus that satisfying tingling sensation!
Compression socks: Sometimes swollen feet can be caused by chronic illnesses that result in an excess of fluid buildup. If this is the case with your feet, you might want to try compression socks, which apply pressure to your legs to help improve blood flow.
Eucalyptus bath: Pour a few drops of eucalyptus into a bath and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Try adding lavender or chamomile, which have anti-inflammatory properties. As a bonus, it’ll make your feet smell great.
Ice cubes or crushed ice: A cold compress may be the simplest solution to help treat pain and swelling. Press ice cubes or crushed ice against your feet with a wet towel, and soon enough you’ll start to feel better.
Magnesium: You may not have enough magnesium in your diet, which helps your blood circulation. Try eating more fish, seeds, avocados, and leafy green vegetables, or take a 200-milligram magnesium tablet twice a day.
Epsom salts: Fill a bathtub or shallow bucket with water and a few cups of Epsom salts, and let your feet soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Not only will this improve circulation and reduce swelling, but it can treat dry skin and odor.
Ginger: This wonder root can treat all kinds of different ailments. Because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can naturally be a great form of treatment for swollen feet.
Rice and baking powder paste: Boil rice along with two tablespoons of baking powder. Once cool, cover your feet in the resulting paste. Let it dry and check out the healing effect when you rinse it off!
Massage: These soothing treatments don’t just work out the kinks in your neck; the right form of massage can actually help improve the functioning of your lymphatic system, which should reduce swelling.
Lemon water: Drinking water can always help your body, particularly when the issue is swelling. If you add lemon—a natural diuretic—to the mix, you’re bound to cure that swelling even faster!
Yoga: While exercising might be the last thing on your mind when your feet and ankles feel tight and swollen, doing gentle stretches like those in yoga can actually help drain the fluid from your body.
Grapefruit essential oil: This stuff doesn’t just smell great, it’s also got—you guessed it—loads of anti-inflammatory properties! Massaging this oil into your legs and feet will help big time.
Elevation: Sometimes the most obvious solutions are also the best ones. Try lying on your bed or a floor mat with your legs up against the wall. This is especially helpful for pregnant women, who often suffer from swollen ankles and feet.
Swimming: This is another form of exercise that can help improve the function of your lymphatic system. It’s also a great and gentle form of exercise for beginners who aren’t very flexible yet.
Rose oil: This essential oil simply works wonders. It balances out your oil glands which can help straighten out your lymphatic system. Balanced lymphs mean less smelling. Plus, it smells nice!
Avoid caffeine: As much as you might love a nice cup of coffee to start your engine in the morning, the sad truth is that caffeine can dehydrate you and make you retain a lot of water. That’s not something you want when you’re swelling!
20. Quit smoking: There are roughly eight million different reasons why smoking is super bad for you. It can lead to heart disease, which can cause foot and leg swelling. Ditch the buds and stop the swelling. It’s that simple!
Smoking cigarettes invites a list of side effects and health risks so long that even your worst enemy would never wish them on you. But now there’s an easy way to reverse some of those effects.
Chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide, and nicotine can infiltrate and inflame a smoker’s lungs. Even after quitting, some ex-smokers feel like their lungs have been damaged beyond repair. But have they?
Tntenigma / Flickr
A remedy to fight some of those side effects has gained steam on the Internet in recent years. Smokers who have quit or want to quit are now finding great success in clearing up their lungs. However, this answer wasn’t found in a lab…
Rather, in a kitchen. The simple ingredients that comprise this recent remedy are so common, you may have all four in your house right now. Here’s what you need to begin…
Samantha L. Quigley / Defense Department
To start, you’ll need an onion. Onions contain phenolics, flavonoids, and quercetin, which are fancy names for anti-inflammatory antioxidants. What’s more, research has shown that onions can actually kick some butt in the fight against cancer.
Don’t believe it? Well, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, onions boast a powerful compound called allicin, which helps fight oral, esophageal, and a handful of other deadly cancers! What’s next in the lung remedy?
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Fresh ginger should be the next item pulled from the fridge or put in the shopping cart. Since it’s an allergy preventative, most natural smoking medicines include the stuff; it also helps prevent nausea. But for this, it has a more important function…
Wherever there’s inflammation, a little ginger can do wonders. And since we’re talking about soothing and healing heavily inflamed lungs, this homemade cocktail would be incomplete without it. Up next?
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Grab a bit of honey from your pantry, a farmer’s market, or any grocery store. A study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine showed that a spoonful of honey was a big help for fighting coughs.
More specifically, the research shows that a spoonful could go toe-to-toe with any over-the-counter cough syrup, so it only makes sense to include some honey in this recipe! Now it’s time for the last ingredient in the healthy lung mixture…
David Glasser / Honey
The final ingredient you’ll need is turmeric! While you’ve heard that this spice does wonders for aching joints, turmeric — like onions — can provide some unbelievable assistance in the fight against cancer.
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Researchers found, for instance, that turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, suppressed the growth of lung cancer in lab mice! For smokers, the spice would be all kinds of therapeutic. Now that you’ve got the ingredients, it’s time to make the… drink!
Step 1: Roughly chop about 14 ounces of onion—almost a pound of the stuff. Grate two tablespoons of turmeric, and prepare a teaspoon of fresh ginger. Set that all aside.
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Step 2: Get a small saucepan of about a liter of water over medium heat. You don’t even have to wait for it to boil; just toss in the onions, turmeric, and ginger and allow the spices to mix in the slowly heating water.
Flickr / Eddie Welker
Step 3: Before the water starts boiling—just when you can see it start to form bubbles and ripples—reduce the heat and let the pot of water simmer. And simmer. And simmer. Until only about half the water remains…
Step 4: Finally, when you’re down to only about a half-liter of fluid, turn the heat off completely. Again you’re going to play the waiting game as you let it all cool for awhile.
Step 5: When the healthy lung remedy has cooled just a bit, add in five tablespoons of that honey. Stir it into the water. By now, you should have a pretty thick mixture going.
Love in Dublin
Step 6: Pour your drink through a strainer and into a cup with a lid. Cover up your concoction and stick it in the refrigerator until it’s so cool you could take a drink of it. That’s actually crucial for the last step…
Step 7: Take two tablespoons of the solution each morning on an empty stomach and two at night right before bed. As you sleep and digest your food, the solution is said to work its medicinal wonders…
Flickr / Andy Rogers
Within just a few days, you should notice your lungs feeling clearer! And hey—you don’t have to be a smoker or ex-smoker to benefit from this drink. It never hurts to give your lungs a helpful boost!
This smoker’s lung remedy seems incredibly easy to make, and if it helps negate any adverse effects at all, it’s more than worth a shot. Another common problem that many people face is cramping, and you can bet there’s an easy remedy to fix that as well.
People tend to think of leg cramps as a result of overexerting yourself during exercise. No one is all that surprised that heavy exercise—like running—can lead to cramping, of course. But rarely do you expect it to happen in a far less active environment: your bedroom.
If you’ve ever been struck by terrible leg cramps in the middle of the night, you know how painful they can be. Almost everyone has experienced them. They’ll come on without warning, too!
As the name suggests, nocturnal leg cramps are simply muscle cramps that occur during the night. You might be familiar with their other nickname, Charley horses, which refers to cramps that can occur during any hour of the day.
You’ll usually feel them in your calf muscles, but sometimes these pains strike the thighs, too. In fact, severe cramping of your leg can actually be felt all the way to the tips of your toes.
These cramps occur in spasms that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and the discomfort can range from mild to extreme, depending on the level of muscle contraction. So, what can we do about them?
When you’re experiencing a painful leg cramp, all you want is for it to stop. You probably aren’t thinking about what you can do to prevent them in the future, but maybe you should be! As such, it’s important to know the causes of these cramps.
Leg cramps can be caused by practically anything, from sitting too long during the day or standing too long. That’s why it’s good to mix it up wherever possible—stagnation is no bueno! To do so, a convertible standing desk might be a great option, even a DIY one!
There are plenty of other factors that can cause nightly leg cramps, too. They include overexertion of muscles for prolonged periods of time, which typically comes from heavy exercise, or even just sitting with poor posture!
However, there are other reasons you might be getting leg cramps. So if you made it through that list and didn’t see anything that applies to you, keep going—leg cramps are a very common symptom of all sorts of other conditions, too.
If you’re pregnant or you suffer from diabetes, alcoholism, or Parkinson’s disease, you might experience nocturnal leg cramps more frequently. If you fall into this group, it might be wise to talk to your doctor as soon as possible…
Muscle spasms like these could also be a sign that you’re dehydrated. If your hydration levels have reached this point, you might need to go to the doctor and get a fluid drip—sipping a glass of water just won’t cut it.
Now that you know what causes leg cramps, let’s talk about what you can do if you feel one coming on. Here are a few simple suggestions that will surely put a stop to those excruciating late-night wakeup calls that have you looking like Will Byers from Stranger Things…
Start by gently massaging the area where the muscles are cramping. Sit on the floor and extend both legs in front of you. Don’t race through this: the key to the massage and the stretch is that you work gently. If you have a foam roller lying around, that’s even better!
Once you’ve extended both of your legs in front of you, flex your feet, resisting the urge to let your toes point while the muscle contracts. Don’t worry if you can’t hold this position for long. That will come with time!
Another solution to these leg cramps is a little bit of light exercise. That’s right—just get up and walk around a little. It might sound somewhat contradictory, but putting those cramping muscles to work really helps.
Walking isn’t the only thing that should help loosen up those tight muscles. If the cramps persist, riding a bike will redirect that painful energy to the given task rather than to the contractions.
You should also be sure to check that your blankets and sheets are not so tightly wound around your legs. This isn’t always obvious, so look carefully. If they are, they might actually be forcing your muscles to contract!
If all else fails, try swallowing a tablespoon of yellow mustard. No, this isn’t a prank! Believe it or not, there is really a valid reason to turn to this trusty sandwich condiment when it comes to curing cramps…
Yes, it might sound odd, but the high magnesium content in the mustard is thought to replenish any deficiencies in your system that could be contributing to your cramps. Who knew?
This is often why people suggest eating a banana when cramping, as it also contains magnesium. So if you aren’t a mustard fan, don’t worry about it. Just grab a banana as quick as you can!