I hope you all put your thinking caps on throughout the week to come up with outside the box ideas for ways to use flour or help alleviate seasonal allergies. But! If, for some reason, you couldn’t think of any crazy new ideas for either of these things, please share your favorite traditional ideas for either of them.
Because what’s inside-the-box and normal for one person may be completely fresh, new, and unheard of for another.
At the end of this post, there’s a sign-up form to participate in sharing any blog posts that you’ve written about these two topics, but if you don’t have a blog, PLEASE share your ideas in the comments section. And remember, you can also upload photos to the comments, too, making Crunchy Betty your very own blog.
I’m going to share a couple of fun ideas with flour (one with regular flour and one with rice flour) and then one REALLY simple idea for alleviating seasonal allergies.
However, the star of this production is YOU! It’s your ideas and creative thinking we’re all waiting to learn about. So do. not. be. shy. Share your hearts out.
(And I actually have several ideas for both of these topics, so if they’re not covered by your comments/blog posts, I’ll be updating the ideas in the comments section throughout the evening … so keep checking back!)
Now I’ll shut up, tell you MY ideas first, and then let you get on with being creative thinking rockstars. Ready?
Tuesdays Outside the Box: Ideas for Flour
The first of my nontraditional uses for flour is something I did regularly a few years ago, when I had a stainless steel sink. Then, I didn’t have one, and completely forgot about this tip until now.
Now that I have one again (hallelujah!).
You can use this on your stainless steel sink, or ANYTHING you have that’s stainless steel. And it only takes one ingredient.
Yes. It’s flour. Imagine that.
This is so stupidly simple and effective, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with a stainless steel polishing agent ever before this day.
All you do is:
Clean your sink (or stainless steel whatever) as you normally do, making sure to get off all chunks of crud or other sink-like dirtiness. Let it dry completely.
Then, just sprinkle flour all over the inside (1/4 c. was more than enough for both sides of my sink and the tops) and rub it down with a cloth of some sort. It really doesn’t matter what kind of cloth.
Just rub lightly.
Then dust the flour off completely, sending it down your sink or into your compost bin. Your sinks and stainless steel should be free of all those weird stain-looking marks stainless (ha!) steel sometimes takes on.
Like, for instance, the very old soap container marks that were marring my new sink. They came this way, so I’m assuming they’d been there a very, very long time. However, one polish with flour, and check it out:
So there’s the first idea.
The second incorporates white rice flour with a few other Asian-inspired ingredients to make one lightening, brightening, superfoods-packed facial mask.
White Rice Flour and Spirulina Facial Mask – For All Skin Types
White rice flour is really just an incredible facial mask base, but it’s also fab in scrubs and even as a face powder (provided you dust it off well, as it can be a little gritty). It’s been used in Asian cultures for hundreds upon hundreds of years as a beauty secret for bright, even skin tones.
It actually literally lightens the skin to some degree when left on for a while, or used over an extended period of time for a more lasting effect, and is the secret to translucent skin. However, one application of this mask isn’t going to lighten your skin entirely – just brighten the complexion a bit.
I’ve added powdered spirulina (a sea algae) for it’s otherworldly nutrient content, some homemade coconut milk (with the cream at the top skinned off to avoid any potential comedogenic issues), and a dash of lime juice for pore-tightening and a tiny bit more skin brightening.
White Rice Flour and Spirulina Facial Mask
- 1-1/2 Tbsp white rice flour
- 1 tsp spirulina powder
- 1-1/2 Tbsp coconut milk (or liquid of your choice)
- Lime juice from one-quarter of a lime
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse well, scrubbing lightly as you rinse off. Finish with a moisturizer (untoasted sesame oil would be GREAT!) if your skin feels a bit dry.
Note: If you do have dry skin, you can leave out the lime juice and substitute a dash of carrier oil of your choice instead.
Seasonal Allergy Remedy
You guys aren’t going to believe this. Just how easy this is.
But in the last two years, when I remember to do this, it alleviates my seasonal allergies (which usually only come around in the fall) IMMENSELY.
Here is my most secret weapon:
Yep. My shower.
If you shower before bedtime, and wash your hair (or just rinse well), you’ll get off all the pollen you accumulated on you during the day. This way, you’re not sleeping with a head full of pollen right by your precious nose.
This doesn’t help as much DURING the day, but it starts my day off right. Instead of waking up with a headache, itchy eyes, and a nose stuffed to the brim, I wake up pretty fresh and ready for the day.
Of course, there are SO many other ways to help alleviate seasonal allergies, so we’ll just sit patiently here and wait for you to share your favorites.
Which is going to happen … right … now.
I’m shutting up now, and leaving the rest of the brilliance to you.
Leave Your Brilliant Idea In the Comments – NOW!
Has any one heard the one of using flour to prevent diaper rash?? Put any quantity of flour in a skillet and cook the flour until it is golden brown. (it will smell up your kitchen for a short while) I put it in a small canning jar with wax paper covering the top. Screw the top on and then poke holes using a wooden skewer! Can be used for diaper rashes on babies, or for adults….use as a powder for all those areas that tend to chafe
I’m not going to go through all the comments, but thought I should add that flour and water mixed into a paste of your desired thickness works as a simple, effective glue. We used to do this at the pizza place I worked at to affix the coupon stickers to the boxes.
I know this is an old post, but I found the nest seasonal allergy remedy for me was to stop eating flour (or any wheat/gluten foods)! Haven’t had my usual, debilitating hayfever in about 7 years now.
For those who have sinus attack this is also a super trick, if you feel your nose always dry and it hurts and the pain follow a horrible headache then this might be the trick for you. Use a q-tip and immerse it in Olive Oil ( a quality olive oil ) I use Virgin Olive Oil but it might be very strong for some people so a soft Olive oil will also do the trick. With your really wet q-tip introduce it in your sinus and start rubbing it in all the areas until you feel it all moisture and happy 🙂 do the same with a new side of the q tip in your other sinus. I hope I explain it myself, it works wonderful, I do it everytime I feel my nose dry and it avoids the horrible headache also do it before going to bed 🙂
i hope it works for you.
I just got on Facebook. Don’t start. and I read your blog a long time ago – the whole no poo blog a friend sent to me. sorry, didn’t take up that challenge, but i put nutmeg and milk on my face and it WAS like a cookie! i’m glad to be back reading you, but i tell you it’s a big task. you write very well, i want to read everything. the things you like, i have a great feeling i’d like too, thus more time spent reading on the computer – conflicted about this. i imagine i’ll need to check out your book – great cover! i digress. allergies. oh, and baking soda. i have to weigh in on these. You’re talking to someone who did the allergy shots for a while as an adult – painful, very sucky. THEN! I turned more raw in the diet. this coming from an italian who couldn’t put her bread down. SO! when i read ‘allergies and bread’ in the same title, i thought surely there were some studies now and you’re publishing…i’m here to say, that since eliminating bread, no i’m not gluten free just extremely bread reduced, no allergies. said good-bye to my allergist, i think he can manage, for over two years now. really, very very few whites in the diet now and i have to say, i look a helluva lot better too. rock on CB, i’ll be braggin’ on you to my new 15 Facebook friends. you have to be careful who you accept as friends, you know. never know who’s a real wamdinger. deodorant – just baking soda. that’s it. oh, and i’m a runner, so i do move, but i attribute no traditional BO to the diet and the baking soda.
I got one! Cornflour makes an excellent dry shampoo – sprinkle over greasy hair, massage in slightly and let it absorb all the oil, then brush thoroughly to avoid looking like the dandruffmeister all day.
But you do have to be careful with quantities.
horseradish—> Google it. 🙂 It helps a lot of things including allergies.
Used your link and signed up. Loving the site already!
For the stainless steel polish: any particular kind of flour?
For the past 5 or 6 years I have gotten really bad seasonal allergies. Major itchy eyes, sneezing and itchy throat. The kind where you make that weird noise where you’re trying to stratch the inside of your throat somehow. It sucked. OTC meds worked but they are expensive and I don’t like to be a pill popper.
Then I read about Bee Pollen here http://mynewroots.blogspot.ca/2011/05/whats-all-buzz-about-bee-pollen.html and then I found some at my local health food store so I bought it. Then I started putting a tsp on my peanut butter and toast every morning. Didn’t even notice it. And then… my allergies pretty much disappeared. So did my husbands. So now I swear by it. But I have read it is important to buy fairly local bee pollen so that the pollen collected would be allergens from your area. Also you shouldn’t take it if you are allergic to bees… anyway hope this info helps someone else! I’m really glad it worked for me!
For allergies we use raw, unfiltered local honey as well. I am also trying a fire cider/super tonic recipe that is supposed to be good for allergies, colds and more http://goincrunchy.blogspot.com/2012/04/diy-fire-cider-supertonic.html
Use flour to wash mushrooms, add a couple tablespoons of flour to a bowl of cold water, swish it around a bit, then swirl the whole mushroom in the water. Rinse and let dry. The dirt sticks to the flour and they get really clean.
you should never wash mushrooms with water. ever. They should just be wiped with a cloth.
My comment didn’t show up so I will try again. I also buy raw, unfiltered local honey. It makes a huge difference for my husband and son who suffer from allergies. I just made a batch of fire cider or supertonic to try, it’s supposed to help with allergies and all sorts of ailments. It won’t be ready for a few weeks however. My recipe is on my blog: http://goincrunchy.blogspot.com/2012/04/diy-fire-cider-supertonic.html
For a flour use, use it to wash mushrooms. Just put a couple tablespoons in a bowl of cold water, swish it around and rinse the mushrooms with it, then set them on paper towels to dry. The dirt sticks to the flour and gets them really clean.
*Bows Down* to the creative brilliance of using flour to shine the sink. My sink has Never been this shiny (well maybe once when we first bought it) Even bleach couldnt get it that shiny! Dirty Sink Shame Begone! (thank you!)
I’ve got a flour tip for ya! You know when you feed the kids rice for supper, and your hardwood is Covered with it. Nasty stuff to sweep up. Welll (and this is hubby’s trick) sprinkle a little clour over the floor and rice and other supper stuffs, and it sweeps right up!
For allergies, I made a greek salad once with a rediculous amount of onions (allium sepa is the homeopatic cure hay fever) I ate, I cried, and then I slept… and I was able to breath… Ahhhhhh.
Just learned that taking 1500 mg of vit C every 4-6 hours…for allergies. This has worked for my husband…only need to do this for about 4-5 days. He has suffered with them for years…now we are telling everyone about this great “cure” for year round allergies.
” Take vitamin C and quercetin: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and
also a mast cell “stabilizer.” Mast cells are tiny cells that line the
mucous membranes, which when exposed to an allergen, release histamine.
Histamine in the bloodstream is the cause of symptoms such as, eye
irritation, sneezing, and a runny nose. Vitamin C makes mast cells less
reactive, thus reducing allergy symptom, and quercetin is a powerful
flavonoid that enhances the effects of vitamin C.
Take 1500mg of vitamin C with 500mg quercetin at the first signs of
allergies and repeat every four to six hours as needed. This crafty
combination can put a sneezing attack to rest within 20 to 30 minutes.
Another great product, Natural D-Hist also contains singing nettle leaf,
bromelein (an enzyme), and N-acetyl cysteine (thins mucous).”
It’s important to be carfeul about that much vitamin C though – it can induce a miscarriage very early in a pregnancy if you have too many vitamin C tablets
Be very careful about taking lots and lots of vitamin C though – it can induce a miscarriage early in a pregnancy
I second vitamin C for allergies! Started it years ago, as part of the recommended vitamins for being on the Atkins diet, and haven’t see my allergies since. That being the case, when we were trying for our first child (who will be 5 in a couple weeks), I did a lot of research on vitamin C and pregnancy. Saw several “reasons” not to take it, such as Tara’s above. Another was that “the baby would need extra vitamin C after birth”. I could not find ANY scientific support for any of them, despite looking for it specifically. So…I’ve taken 2000-3000mg of C/day throughout 3 pregnancies, with no problem, and I have 3 kids, none of whom have ever had anything more serious than a mild cold. Vitamin D also helps with allergic rhinitis–several studies have shown this. Besides, getting your vitamin D levels up where they should be is a huge preventative for several important things, especially for women. Breast cancer is one. Easier pregnancy and birth, with healthier babies is another.
Regarding the allergies, I spent decades of my life either taking antihistamines daily or suffering. Pretty much year round with pollen, mold, etc. A few years ago I started eating vegan/raw/gluten free to deal with some other health issues, and I do not need allergy medication anymore. Occasional issues are of the barely annoying variety. I do eat honey every day, not always local but always raw, and I’m not sure of the effect on allergies but I do feel like it contributes to my overall health. Plus it’s a great face mask/wash.
The neti pot thing was horrible for me – made things much worse and I did follow all the proper guidelines. Worth a try as I know it’s helped others but it’s not for everyone.
I didn’t think honey was vegan, being an animal product?
Technically that’s true – there are hardcore vegans who don’t eat honey (or use beeswax candles, etc.). I do not consider it the same thing and I know from my personal experience that honey does not have the negative effects on me that meat, eggs or milk have. I always buy from beekeepers with happy bees, living their natural lives, sustainably made. The rest of my family is not vegan and I buy sustainably raised animal products for them.
I agree with everyone about using local, raw honey for allergies. It makes a huge difference for my husband and son who suffer with seasonal allergies. I am making some “Fire Cider” right now, it is supposed to be great for allergies and colds. You basically take equal parts of chopped horseradish root, ginger root, onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper, put it in a quart jar, fill the rest the way with apple cider vinegar. Cover and let sit for a couple of months. When its done you strain the vinegar into another jar and thats it. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and just take a tablespoon or two up to 3 times a day when you feel allergies kicking in or for colds. You can add honey if its too spicy for you.
A unique use for flour? Never tried it myself because I don’t like mushrooms, but I saw a friend put a few tablespoons of flour into a bowl of cold water. She used it to wash her mushrooms and they came out really clean. She swore it was the best way to wash mushrooms as the dirt will stick to the flour.
If a recipe calls for rubbing butter into flour try this instead: keep dipping the stick into the flour and it will grate easily. Much better than getting it all stuck under your fingernails.
Try a teaspoon of local honey each day to ward off seasonal allergies- really does help. Might need to stick with it for awhile to see lasting effects.
Yep–raw, local, unheated honey is the way to go for pollen allergies.
I forgot another thing that helps my allergies. If you have a pet, give them a bath! They bring the outside in, and when you snuggle them they get it on you!
I second the showering before bed! Also, while I’m showering I brew a cup of (caffiene free) peppermint tea! Sipping on it while breathing in the minty steam helps tremendously to clear out my sinuses. When I’m done I leave the mug with the tea bag on my nightstand so I can smell the peppermint until I fall asleep : )
Use flour to make temporary marks in your yard–for landscaping, party games, whatever.
My mother told me that when we were babies she would burn some flour in a cast iron skillet and use it to dust our bums when we had diaper rash.
That second idea is a new one to me! I used to use cornstarch when my kids were babies. When they were older I started seeing baby powders made with cornstarch! Wish I had thought of putting cornstarch in a fancy container and then charging an outrageous amount for it : )
I see a lot of people saying raw honey but if you can get local bee pollen to eat, even comes in pill form, try it! It’s more effective then raw honey. Not as tastey but it sure does rock!
I mix flour and salt w/ some water to make paper mache “glue”. It is so much cheaper than buying it and works great!
I go to the chiropractor regularly and this keeps my allergies at bay. Keeping your body alligned keeps the immune system working properly which helps allery symptoms
I know I’m late, but here is my idea for flour. I see others suggested the flour/salt dough. I was a very craft/art oriented child so my mother made that for me a lot but I also loved to create collages (I called them mirages). Mom made paste out of a little white flour and water. So much cheaper than buying playdough or white glue!!
I know I’m a day late (as usual), but here’s my remedy for itchy allergy eyes — tear-free baby shampoo! I’ve been doing this for 7 or 8 years now. Once or twice a day (in the shower is a good time) dampen a washcloth with warm water and squeeze on a little baby shampoo. Close your eyes and gently wash your eyelids/lashes with the shampoo and rinse. This washes away pollen, dust, and whatever else might be lurking there.
Aren’t baby shampoos tear free because companies add formaldehyde to them which numbs the eye? Not sure I’d want to be rubbing that into/around my eyes… Then again, I could mistaken.
Go into your bathroom, dust off the neti pot you’ve been avoiding for three years ’cause, I know, it’s weird, and actually use it! It helps, people. Stop avoiding it!
Just be SURE to use distilled water! Here in the south we’ve there have been deaths due to Neti Pot users using unboiled tap water. There’s an amoeba in some tap water – totally safe to drink, but not a friend to your nose/ears/brain. I think it’s a greater problem in warm southern states, though.
I still use my Neti Pot – I just warm up distilled water.http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/19/143960631/second-neti-pot-death-from-amoeba-prompts-tap-water-warning
A large bowl of steaming water with a few drops of peppermint EO, face over bowl, towel over head. Now breath in deep, blow nose into tissue. Repeat. Best way to clear a stuffy head.
Natacha DarDar Philpot
my husband says that if you fill a container that has a lingering kimchi smell with flour and water and let is sit for a day, it will get the smell out. And for those of you wondering, kimchi is fermented vegetables and has a very strong smell. But it’s so good and very healthy…hmmm I wonder what kimchi on my face would be like…
Gram flour face mask: 2 tbsp gram flour, 1/4 tbsp turmeric, 2 tbsp milk (fresh, full fat, or I’m sure yogurt will work too:) Mix into paste, apply to freshly cleansed and dry skin. Leave on for 20-30 minutes. Once the mask is dried, wipe away and rinse with warm water. This will lighten the skin, improve complexion, help acne, redness, puffiness, facial hair, etc. This is an Ayurvedic recipe.
I also make my kids’ play dough with flour, cornstarch, salt base. It’s fun to find natural color sources too, like turmeric for yellow, etc.
Eating local honey can help with allergies, I would recommend that, BUT (how’s this for outside the box-ness!) you could use flour (get that) and bake honey cakes, and drizzle honey on top as well. Yum.
Know how you get “tupperware” type containers and sometimes the lid fits really super tight? Dip the rim of the container (like you would rim a margarita glass with salt. but without lime juice first) in flour before you put food in it/put the lid on…It will help the lid slide on and off more easily.
And I totally agree with the raw honey for allergies. I even used Really Raw Honey (reallyrawhoney.com) last year because I couldnt find a local wildflower honey. Its not local to me, but its wildflower honey and it helped keep allergy problems at bay. (and that stuff is just plain delicious!)
Also if Im having a sinus attack, I like to put some peppermint and eucalyptus EO on a wash cloth and put it in the bottom of my shower while Im in there. The hot water and steam mix with the EOs to help open me up. I also like to add about 4 capfuls of Braggs ACV to my herbal teas when I have a sinus headache. I sip on it and usually by the time Im finished, my headache will be gone!
Pledge Dust and Allergen cleaning cloths. I figured they were a gimmick, but they helped me so much. Dust makes my allergies worse, but dusting sends dust up my nose. These allergens cloths grab and hold the dust. I wiped down everything in my bedroom. I also encased my mattress and pillows in allergen covers. Helps a ton with dust mite allergies!
I already neti pot (well, NeilMed’s sinus rinse, but same difference). I also spray some diluted eucalyptus oil in my bedroom. I plan to try the evening showers and look for the raw local honey. Thanks for the tips!
How’s this for out-of-the-box: I once had to photograph some cracks in a ceramic piece (long story) and they weren’t showing up because of the shiny glaze. I sprinkled flour all over it and blew the excess off… the flour stuck in the cracks and they could be photographed easily.
I haven’t suffered from seasonal allergies once since I left my awful job… stress leaves you susceptible to all kinds of things. Look at your whole sphere and see if removing a source of stress, in addition to some of these other great ideas, doesn’t help.
Ginger tea with a stick of cinnamon. Boil slices of fresh ginger with a stick of cinnamon fpr 5-15 min. You want this combo to be so spicy that you almost can’t stand it,
some add a pinch of cayenne but that irritates my throat. You can add some honey to make this easier to drink, but as someone previously mentioned don’t waste your raw honey in this. Drink up and 5-10 minutes later your nose should be extra runny, clearing away all that gunk. This can be a great alternative to a neti pot or a good way to kind of pre-clean/loosen everything up before using your neti.
Daily neti pot rinsing! It’s the first thing I do every single morning, without fail. A total lifesaver.
My seasonal allergies have improved since I cut out the processed food. I’m going to try the honey though! My son really needs it.
I toss my shredded cheese in some flour before putting it in a sauce. Or if it’s going to sit out in a buffet or something. It keeps the cheese from clumping. We always use rice flour since we are a gluten free family.
I also run rice flour through my coffee and spice grinder to clean them out. It stays just gritty enough to come out of the grinder when I’m done.
When I was a kid, I always kept a small bowl of flour within reach when trimming my pet rabbit’s nails. If I accidentally cut a quick, I would grab the bowl and dip the rabbit’s paw into the flour, concentrating on covering the tip of the injured nail. Flour staunches bloodflow very quickly, and I’m pretty sure this technique would work on cats and dogs as well. The best method, of course, is to be very, very careful when trimming a pet’s nails. But if you do happen to cut a quick, flour is the perfect remedy.
Ken and Diana
I was going to suggest that too, except that we use it on our chickens!
Flour power. =)
I really need to find a local source of raw honey… One thing that helps my son sleep when his nose is stuffed, because of allergies or even a cold, is to put a glass of water with 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in his bedroom at night time. Don’t drink it, just smell it!
This year his spring allergies are much better, it may be because he drinks water kefir everyday…
Natalie, if you’re in Nor. Cal. try Beekind in Sebastopol or at the Ferry Bldg. in S.F. (or beekind.com) for local raw honeys. They have a really great selection.
Thanks Stephanie. I am going to SF next week, perfect timing!
Craigslist for your area is the way to go, thats where I find mine
I’ve linked up a post about earthing. It’s been shown to alleviate seasonal allergies (among other things.) It’s an easy free way to get some good energy from the earth. (Literally.)
I also love my neti pot. 🙂
Nettie pot all the way! I shower before bed and then use the nettie and i can breathe easy and fall asleep. Use it again in the morning and I’m 10 times better throughout the day!
A sinus flush. Netipots. Helps alleviate the itchy and the excess mucus. For kids, keep pets. Seriously. Infants who lived in a home with pets were far less likely to develop allergies to animals later in life. Especially if they were breastfed.
I’ve never seen flour as a polish. Good one!
Totally agree with the raw, local (within 100 miles) honey suggestion! Literally has transformed my life — showers are wonderful too, but with the honey every day, the seasonal allergies vanish, except for maybe when you are digging around in the garden all day — but even then, it is a few sneezes, rather than the calamity that used to be.
Sarah J P
Mix flour and salt with just enough water to make a sturdy dough – great for kids to make models with plus you can bake and varnish after for keeps!
My mum used to do that – only she also put in a shirtload of salt, otherwise we’d just eat it when she wasn’t looking haha 😛
My mom did this too and would dye it with food coloring as well. We would use it as modeling clay. She also put salt in it, but we still ate it when she wasn’t looking. We were strange children…
Loving Tuesday already! (Just past midnight here on the “left” coast…)
My allergy alleviation technique is to eat a teaspoon of local raw honey every day a few weeks prior to your allergy season and keep it up during the season. Aim for honey made from bees who pollinate your allergen. I know, sounds like a recipe for disaster. Not so. If you cannot find local AND raw AND from your allergen, do the best you can and focus on LOCAL. I have tree allergies in the Fall / Autumn, so I start eating 1 teaspoon of local honey on my birthday (early August) and keep it up until December. If you can find raw, don’t “cook” it in hot liquids like tea. Before “raw” honey became available, I used local honey and it took nearly a full season of treatment to see improvement. Raw works a lot faster!
Using honey from your allergen is basically the same as homeopathic remedies.
Thanks so much for your added info on the ‘raw’ side of local honey- will change over!