8 Household Uses for Witch Hazel
In your medicine cabinet, next to the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol, you may have a bottle of witch hazel. Thanks to its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, it has a number of holistic health and beauty uses—everything from soothing itchy mosquito bites to cleaning minor cuts and scrapes. Perhaps most commonly, it can be incorporated into a daily skincare routine as a facial cleanser or toner. But what else can it do?
Much like its shelf-mates hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol, witch hazel has a number of household uses beyond skincare and home remedies. Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids® have a few suggestions below.
Witch Hazel Is Not a Disinfectant
One important note before we get into its multipurpose uses: Witch Hazel is not an adequate substitute for proper disinfectant. Though it is often found in commercially prepared hand sanitizer or DIY hand sanitizer recipes, it is included for its skin-soothing benefits rather than any germ-fighting ones. While limited research suggests that witch hazel may be mildly effective against some types of bacteria, it is not an EPA-approved disinfectant against any viruses.
Stick to store-bought disinfectants or, for DIY disinfecting, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or isopropyl alcohol. Merry Maids® also offers enhanced disinfection services using effective 3M disinfecting products for extra peace of mind. Reach out to us to learn more!
Now, let’s get back to what you can do with witch hazel!
1. Clean Your Window Blinds
Window blinds deliver function and style to your home, but they can be tricky to clean. Depending on the location of the window, your blinds may be subject to anything from cooking grease splatters to heavy moisture or dust. Enter witch hazel. It’s grease-cutting properties make it ideal for removing any residue lingering on the slats of your blinds, but it won’t damage them or dry them out.
To clean your blinds with witch hazel:
Combine 1 cup of witch hazel, 1 cup of water, and a drop of dish soap in an empty spray bottle and shake well.
Start at the top of the blinds and spray in a side-to-side sweeping motion, working your way down.
Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down blinds, again starting from the top down and wiping side to side.
Alternatively, you can spritz the witch hazel solution directly onto the microfiber cloth and wipe down blinds, refreshing the cloth with additional sprays of solution as you go.
2. Leave Chrome and Glass Spotless
Spritz undiluted witch hazel onto chrome fixtures, mirrors, or glass and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. Because of its alcohol content, the witch hazel will dry quickly—no need to rinse—and you’ll be left with a clean, streak-free shine.
3. Clean Vinyl, Linoleum, and Tile Floors
Mix up a simple yet effective mopping solution for vinyl, linoleum, and tile floor. Just add ½ cup of witch hazel to a gallon of warm water for a cleaning combo that will break down and dissolve old wax and other dirt and leave a streak-free shine. For a little extra boost of cleaning power on heavily soiled floors, add 1 tablespoon of borax to the mopping solution.
Looking to do some quick maintenance mopping? Fill a spray bottle with witch hazel and lightly mist floors, then give them a pass with a microfiber mop. Tip: This works best on high-shine flooring, including marble!
4. Refresh Yoga Mats and Other Workout Equipment
A vigorous workout is good for your health, but all that sweat can leave your yoga mat, weights, workout bands, yoga blocks, or other personal fitness equipment a little smelly. Create a simple yoga mat spray using witch hazel, distilled water, and tea tree oil. The witch hazel helps to neutralize odors trapped in your mat while being gentler on your skin than something like vinegar, and tea tree oil contains antimicrobial properties for a little extra peace of mind.
In a small spray bottle, mix equal parts witch hazel and distilled water and about 10 drops of tea tree oil, then spray down your equipment after your workout. It’s even great for fighting odors in stinky gym shoes! Keep a bottle near your home workout area or in your gym bag for exercise on the go—though we recommend not using this on communal equipment in case others are sensitive to any of the ingredients.
5. Make Your Jewelry Shine
Did you know that witch hazel is an effective jewelry cleaner? It is, and we have its gentle yet powerful degreasing properties to thank for that. Dampen a cotton ball with witch hazel and wipe down rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to rid them of the oils they pick up from your skin during wear. Witch hazel is safe enough on metal and gemstones that you can do this regularly. For jewelry that hasn’t been cleaned in some time, you can also soak pieces for about 20 to 30 minutes in a small dish or glass filled with witch hazel.
6. Create an Effective Room Spray or Air Freshener
Use witch hazel and essential oils to customize a room spray that will freshen the air in your home and help neutralize odors. Add equal parts witch hazel and distilled water to a spray bottle, then add your favorite essential oil or oils. Witch hazel provides the dual benefits of encouraging the oil to mix with the water and helping the scent last longer. Depending on the size of your spray bottle and how strong you’d like your scent to be, you’ll want to use anywhere from 10 to 30 drops of essential oil. Tea tree or eucalyptus oil packs a powerful odor-busting punch, but you can experiment with any combination of scents you prefer.
7. Get Set-In Blood Stains Out of Clothing
Blood is one of the most feared stains in the average laundry room. It can be difficult to remove when not addressed right away, and many a garment has been lost to the mindset that nothing can be done once a bloodstain has set. However, witch hazel can break down and dissolve the proteins in blood—even once it has dried and set—giving new life to the stained item.
To remove set-in blood stains using witch hazel:
Use an elastic band or hair tie to isolate the stain from the rest of the garment (think tie-dying)
Soak the stained portion of the garment in witch hazel for approximately 30 minutes
Discard witch hazel and rinse the stained area with cool water
Launder as you normally would
8. Remove Stickers and Label Adhesive
Leftover residue from stickers, price tags, or labels can be maddening—and notoriously tough to eliminate completely. Witch hazel to the rescue! The astringent breaks down the sticky bonds for easy removal. Press a cotton ball soaked with witch hazel firmly on the sticky gunk for about 2 minutes, then gently scrape away residue with the dull side of a butter knife or similar tool.