Household And Health Hacks Using Black Pepper (That Aren’t Cooking)

Black pepper is one of the most common spices in the world. But did you know that you don’t just have to use pepper for cooking? From health benefits to household hacks, black pepper has several unique uses.

For instance, black pepper can deter garden pests from ants to deer. It can also soothe a cough, cool a fever, and even relax tight muscles. Read on to learn more about the household and health benefits of black pepper.

Stop Ants From Entering Your Home

Several ants walk along a clothesline.
A&G Reporter/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
A&G Reporter/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Ants absolutely hate black pepper. They stay away from areas that smell spicy and will tell their friends, too. Sprinkle black pepper wherever you see ants gathering, and they’ll run away.

If you don’t want pepper all over your house, create a spray solution instead. Mix one teaspoon of black pepper with two tablespoons of baby oil. Then, combine it with 12 ounces of vinegar or vodka. Spray it in ant-infested areas, but don’t spray it near your eyes!

Now, Your Clothes Won’t Fade In The Wash

Colorful clothes hang from clotheslines on a narrow street.
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Have you ever wondered why clothes fade after washing? It’s because the detergent and wash cycle literally rub it out. If you want to prevent it, place a teaspoon of black pepper in the wash. Yes, pepper!

Because black pepper is acidic, it balances out the alkaline detergent. The soap then becomes less abrasive and maintains the color of your clothes. And no, your clothes won’t smell like pepper. One teaspoon is not enough to upset the entire laundry load.

How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Home

A variety of black peppers pour out of glass containers.
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Just as black pepper wards away ants, it also scares off mice. Rodents are very sensitive to respiratory ailments, and breathing in ground pepper will harm them. Plus, pepper contains an ingredient called piperine that is toxic to rodents

If you spot areas where mice have been, sprinkle black pepper there. You can use a liquid solution, but it might not work as well. Mice need to smell and see the pepper to stay away. This a non-lethal way to keep rodents out.

Soothe A Wet Cough

A woman coughs into the crook of her elbow.
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Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A wet cough is one that accompanies mucus. Black pepper is an anti-inflammatory that can relieve your throat and reduce some of the mucus. By making pepper tea, you can suppress a constant cough.

Fill a mug with boiling water, and add one teaspoon of black pepper and two tablespoons of honey. After letting it steep for 15 minutes, strain the pepper out (if possible) and drink. If the tea is still too spicy, add more honey or a tiny bit of milk.

Here’s A Temporary Radiator Fix

A YouTuber demonstrates how to put black pepper into a car radiator.
Isaac it’ll be fine/YouTube
Isaac it’ll be fine/YouTube

If your car radiator is leaking, grab a container of whole black peppercorns. Pepper cannot fix your radiator, but it will clog the leak temporarily until you find a permanent solution. Plus, you need whole peppercorns, not ground pepper.

Open your radiator and pour in some black peppercorns. The corns will clog up the tiny holes temporarily. However, if you have large holes in your radiator, this will not work. Try the same technique with egg yolks that you separate from the whites.

Relax Tight Muscles

A woman rubs her shoulders in pain.
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Fairfax Media via Getty Images

If your muscles feel tight and immobile, try using black pepper oil. Because pepper is a spice, it contains an ingredient called piperine. Piperine is “warming,” meaning that it increases heat and blood circulation, which is fantastic for sore muscles.

You can buy black pepper oil or make your own. To make a pepper oil, sprinkle a bit of black pepper into a skin-healthy oil, such as baby oil or coconut oil. Massage it into your tight muscles for relief.

Deter Deer From Your Garden

Several deer graze in a person's backyard.
Jack Milton/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Jack Milton/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Deer are lovely, but you don’t want them eating your garden. According to the University of Vermont, pepper spray is the most effective nontoxic, nonlethal deer repellant. Make your plants smell like pepper, and deer won’t want to eat them.

To make a pepper spray, combine two tablespoons of black pepper, vegetable oil, and liquid soap. Mix it. Then, add the mixture to a quart of clean water and stir thoroughly. Spray your plants until they’re dripping wet.

Ironically, This Spice Can Cool Down A Fever

A woman places her hand on her son's face while checking his temperature.
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BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Although it might seem contradictory, eating pepper can cool down a fever. During a 2015 animal study, pepper was able to lower fevers from colds and flu. Spices encourage sweating, which cools the body down and flushes out toxins.

If you feel sick, try making a black pepper and ginger tea. Boil water, and steep some fresh ginger and black pepper in it. After a few minutes, strain it, and add some milk or honey to taste. It may help!

Look Ten Years Younger

A woman looks at her face in the mirror.
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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Black pepper can shrink wrinkles and reduce signs of aging. The pepper contains many antioxidants such as vitamin C, which wards off dark spots and lines. To reap these rewards, you can eat more black pepper or make a DIY skin scrub.

To create a scrub, combine a teaspoon of ground peppercorns, a teaspoon of curd, half a teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of turmeric. Mix it well. While applying the scrub, rub it in circles for 15 to 30 seconds before rinsing.

Eat Black Pepper To Relieve Constipation

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Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you’re struggling with constipation, eat some black pepper. In 2010, researchers discovered that pepper can help with many gastrointestinal disorders, including constipation. It makes the body excrete hydrochloric acid, which speeds up digestion and expels gas.

By adding more pepper to your food, you can help and prevent constipation. You can also create a black pepper beverage to drink in the morning. Add one teaspoon of black pepper to boiled water and let it steep for a few minutes before straining and drinking.

Garden Pests, Go Away!

Two snails are on a garden box.
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Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Are bugs eating away at your plants? Well, black pepper is a natural insecticide. It can keep pests away from your garden. Like all peppers, black pepper contains piperine, which creates heat and pushes bugs away.

You can sprinkle black pepper directly on plants to ward off pests. Or, you can mix half a teaspoon of black pepper into a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spray it over your plants, but remember that a solution might not work as effectively.

Keep Squirrels Out Of Your Bird Feeder

A squirrel clings to a hanging bird feeder.
ULRICH PERREY/DPA/AFP via Getty Images
ULRICH PERREY/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Bird feeders are for the birds, not squirrels! If you see squirrels frequently possessing your bird feeder, add black pepper to the feed. Squirrels do not like the smell of black pepper, but birds don’t mind it.

To prevent the pepper flakes from flying away, use whole peppercorn kernels. Or, you can mix black pepper with warm water and create a spray. Spray your bird feeder daily to ward off squirrels. It will also keep them away from your yard!

Clear A Stuffy Nose

An ill woman blows her nose while laying in bed.
Anke Thomass/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Anke Thomass/ullstein bild via Getty Images

As a spice and anti-inflammatory, pepper can help a congested nose. It irritates membranes in the nose, making it a natural decongestant. That does not mean that you should sniff black pepper! Instead, create a solution that you can sniff.

Boil a small pot of water. Include five shakes of ground black pepper to the pot with two drops of eucalyptus oil. Hover your head over the steam and inhale through your nose. If it doesn’t work, add a bit more pepper.

Alleviate A Toothache

A woman touches her jaw because of a painful toothache.
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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There are many household remedies to stop tooth pain, and one of them features salt and pepper. Both ingredients are anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterials, and analgesics. For the best results, use black pepper and Himalayan salt.

According to Maryland Holistic Dentistry, you should combine a mixture of 50% salt and 50% pepper. Place the mixture on the gum of your aching tooth (don’t rub!). Leave it on for several minutes. If this doesn’t work after a while, add crushed garlic cloves to the mix.

Say Bye To Acne With This Exfoliant Mask

A salon owner uses a brush to exfoliate a man's face.
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Black pepper is a natural anti-bacterial and antioxidant. It can unclog pores, exfoliate your skin, and shrink pimples. That’s why some beauty companies put black pepper in their skincare products.

Creating a black pepper mask is an excellent way to exfoliate and reduce acne. To make your own mask, stir half a teaspoon of black pepper into a few teaspoons of yogurt. Gently apply it to your face and leave it for ten minutes. After rinsing, your face should feel less inflamed.

It Helps Your Hair Grow

A teenage girl brushes her hair while sitting on her bed.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

By now, you’ve probably read that black pepper has a “warming effect.” The spice encourages blood flow to a particular area. When more blood flow reaches hair roots, it encourages growth. That’s how black pepper can speed up hair growth.

To make a scalp treatment, combine one teaspoon of black pepper with half a cup of coconut or jojoba oil. Massage the solution into your scalp and ignore it for 30 minutes. Afterward, rinse it out and wash your hair.

Make Turmeric’s Nutrients Even More Effective

Bowls of turmeric and ground black pepper are seen.
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Turmeric is famous for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. But did you know that your body does not absorb all of it? Its main ingredient, curcumin, is not active in the body. Black pepper can make it more active.

Black pepper has an alkaloid called piperine, which makes curcumin far more active. In other words, when you eat turmeric with pepper, the turmeric works better. Whether you’re eating turmeric for extra vitamins, lower inflammation, or skin health, add some pepper to it.

Destroy Dandruff With Black Pepper

A doctor investigates a woman's hair for dandruff and lice.
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

If you develop dandruff, create a scalp treatment with black pepper. Pepper can both kill bacteria and exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells. Plus, the vitamin C in black pepper is perfect for cleaning your scalp.

Combine a teaspoon of black pepper into a cup of virgin olive oil. If you need more, double this mixture. Massage it into your hair, let it be for at least 30 minutes, and then wash it off. Repeat if necessary.

Relieve A Headache

A man clutches his head in pain.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Did you know that pepper can relieve pain? A 2009 study on piperine, an ingredient in black pepper, shows that it can assuage pain. Black pepper oil creates a warming sensation that can relax the muscles on your face.

Before your rub pepper oil on your skin, dilute it in a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or almond oil. Otherwise, it could be too strong and make your headache worse. Combine one or two drops of pepper oil with a cup of carrier oil and massage it on your temples.

Gargle Pepper For Fresh Breath

A woman gargles water.
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H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images

Although it might sound strange, gargling a black pepper solution can reduce stinky breath. Pepper is an anti-bacterial. Research in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that black pepper can kill microbes, even in the mouth.

Of course, you can’t gargle raw pepper. Throw a dash of pepper and one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. After stirring it thoroughly, use that water to gargle. Aim for 15 seconds, and spit it out.

It Can Even Stop Bleeding From Small Cuts

A man wraps a Band-Aid around his finger.
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

In 2014, a Mongolian woman was on vacation with her husband. The husband cut his leg, and to stop the bleeding, the wife poured black pepper on it. According to the Seattle Times, pepper isn’t ideal for large wounds, but it can stop the bleeding from small cuts.

People who have covered cuts with black pepper say that it does not interrupt the wound’s ability to clot, says The People’s Pharmacy. But remember that larger wounds require pressure and medical attention.

Ease And Prevent Diarrhea Symptoms

Black peppercorns lie in a large pile.
Veronique DURRUTY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Veronique DURRUTY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

One health myth says that eating too much black pepper can cause diarrhea, but the opposite is true. Black pepper can prevent diarrhea and alleviate the symptoms. Animal studies in the Journal of Medicinal Food saw lower diarrhea.

Black pepper limits the number of muscle spasms in the digestive tract. Usually, these would prompt diarrhea, but pepper can control them. You only have to eat black pepper to take advantage of this health hack.

It Can Aid Arthritis

A x-ray shows hands of a person with rheumatoid arthritis.
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Eating black pepper can reduce symptoms for people with arthritis. Since pepper is anti-inflammatory, it can significantly lower redness and swelling in joints, according to Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Simply eating black pepper can aid arthritis, especially if you pair it with another anti-arthritic spice, such as turmeric. You can also combine black pepper with an oil, such as coconut oil, to create a paste. Massage the oil into your joints and leave it for at least 20 minutes.

How Pepper Makes You Feel Less Nauseous

Black peppercorns are seen in a shaker.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Eating black pepper can relieve nausea. An ingredient in pepper, piperine, can accelerate digestion. During a 2016 study, scientists found that piperine can have a positive effect on people with chronic illness. It can aid nausea and poor digestion.

You can make an anti-nausea tea with black pepper. Boil water, and steep it with a teaspoon of black pepper, a teaspoon of minced garlic, and a teaspoon of honey or lemon for flavor. Let it steep for three to five minutes before drinking.

Pepper Makes Your Memory Last Longer

Black peppercorn kernels are on a wooden cutting board.
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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Several studies have found that eating black pepper helps peoples’ cognitive health. According to the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, piperine in pepper can improve memory. Over time, this can delay cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.

In animal models, pepper has prevented the brain from degenerating. Although more research is necessary, the current studies look promising. All you have to do is eat more pepper. For more memory-boosting nutrients, grind fresh peppercorns instead of buying pre-ground pepper.

Enhance Your Mood By Eating…Pepper?

A woman stars at a lake forlornly.
@paolitta/Unsplash
@paolitta/Unsplash

Although it might sound strange, researchers have linked black pepper to lower levels of depression. According to the Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, you can thank pepper’s ingredient, piperine. Researchers believe that piperine has “antidepressant-like effects.”

Scientists also believe that piperine can help people manage chronic stress by increasing dopamine and serotonin levels. Of course, black pepper cannot cure any cognitive illnesses. But eating it might make a difference, according to several different studies.

Soothe An Earache

A man presses a bundled cloth to his ear, using an herbal remedy for an earache.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

If your ears hurt during a cold or flu, it could be because of congestion. In this case, a bit of black pepper can clear up the congestion and relieve an earache. Don’t pour pepper into your ear; just place it on a cotton ball and stick that in.

But first, mix a dash of black pepper with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is an anti-bacterial that can evaporate trapped water in the ears. Dip a cotton ball or cloth into the solution, and press it to your ear for a few minutes.

Black Pepper Oil Helps People Quit

A container of Plant Therapy black pepper essential oil lies on black peppercorns.
Mary/Pinterest
Mary/Pinterest

Black pepper oil might help people quit smoking. During a 1994 study, researchers created a vapor made from pepper oil. When participants inhaled the vapor, they felt less inclined to smoke because of the rancid taste.

Some e-cigarettes offer a black pepper flavor that can aid people trying to quit. Never inhale ground pepper! It will irritate your airways and cause a very unpleasant cough. Only use oils that are approved for safe inhalation (not essential oil).

Add Speckles To Your Nail Polish

A woman's nail polish is white with black speckles and a black vine pattern.
Cirque Colors/YouTube
Cirque Colors/YouTube

Have you ever seen painted nails with black speckles? You don’t need a fancy nail polish to do that. You just need ground black pepper to add to your drying nails. It’s easy!

Paint on a protective base and apply your nail polish as usual. As it’s drying, sprinkle some black pepper on it. Then, add another clear protective coat. Your nails will look like they have a dusting of black speckles with no extra cost.

…Or Stop Yourself From Biting Your Nails

A man bites his nails.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’re trying to kick a nail-biting habit, pepper might be able to help. First, dip your nails in water. Then rub them in a small bowl of ground black pepper. The taste should stick and deter you from biting your nails.

Some people have tried rubbing lemon or a whole red pepper on their nails. But according to SELF, your fingers will feel sticky afterward. Ground pepper won’t do that. If the pepper taste isn’t strong enough, try doing the same with cayenne.