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Cheez Wiz Shaves, Kitty Litter Facials

Cheez Whiz Shaves, Kitty Litter Facials, and Other Wacky Product Applications

By Buck Wolf

Nov. 19, 2002 --   You can't get a duck to wash your dishes, but you can wash a duck with dishwashing liquid. In fact, some animal lovers think it's the kindest thing you can do.

Dawn dishwashing liquid is the No. 1 tool to clean and rehabilitate wild birds trapped in oil spills, according to Alice Berkner, founder of the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calif.

"Dawn played a huge role in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill," Berkner says.

"We use it wherever we can. It is gentler on the animal and a better de-greaser than anything else we've tried."

The sinking of a giant tanker today off the coast of Spain will almost certainly call for more of these unconventional birdbaths.

Until the mid-1970s, rescuers used mineral oil on distressed ducks. But they found a warm, sudsy solution of 5 percent Dawn works much better, even compared to other leading brands.

Hardware Store Beauty Secrets

Dawn's secondary value as a duckwashing liquid is hardly the strangest alternative use for a conventional household product. Just open your pantry and let loose your imagination.

How's this for a home remedy: Removing warts with a piece of duct tape.

Don't take my word for it. That advice was published a few weeks ago in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which offers proof that duct tape is more effective than freezing warts off with liquid nitrogen — and a lot less painful, too.

Researchers had patients leave a piece of duct tape over a wart for six days. On the seventh day, they removed the tape and filed the spot with an emery board. The procedure was repeated for up to two months or until the wart disappeared. A Strange Place for Hemorrhoid Cream

You might ask yourself what sick, twisted individual would put hemorrhoid cream on her face. There's a simple answer — a fashion model, according to Diane Irons, author of The World's Best-Kept Beauty Secrets.

Hemorrhoid cream reduces the puffiness under your eyes and gives you a smoother, refreshed appearance. "In the fashion industry, you learn how to scramble and be resourceful in a hurry," Irons says. "You simply do whatever it takes to look good."