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Yuck Factor Aside, Urine Has Surprising Uses

Yuck Factor Aside, Urine Has Surprising Uses

In the beginning, we’re taught that our pee is gross, something we must quickly flush and wash away.

But, it turns out, human urine has surprises uses. It’s 95% water, and 5% urea, chloride, sodium, potassium, and other organic and inorganic compounds that make our lives better, if not sweeter.

A little research has turned up some wondrous uses for whiz. (Full disclosure: The only place I’ve put my pee, other than in the toilet, is on my compost pile.)


Hot Weather Survival: Survivalists have draped urine-soaked cloth over their heads to stay cool in the desert.

Teeth Whitener: Ancient Romans used the ammonia in aged urine to whiten their teeth. Even today, teeth whitening kits contain urea and uric acid.

(Potential) Potable Water: The chemical content in unprocessed urine makes it bad to drink, especially if you’re afloat on a raft in the middle of the ocean. But, NASA is currently working on a way to recycle astronaut’s urine to make life on the International Space Station more sustainable.

Gun Powder: Before the birth of the chemical industry, nitrogen- and potassium-rich urine was mixed with straw; then allowed to rot and eventually refined to extract potassium nitrate, a major constituent of gunpowder.

Tanning Solution: Tanners used urine to remove hair fibers from animal skins to prepare leather.

Fertility Treatment: Drug scientists have extracted fertility hormones from the urine of perimenopausal women to develop the infertility drugs Menopur and Pergonal.

Plant Fertilizer: Nitrogen in diluted urine is great plant fertilizer. You can pee directly on your compost pile to create super-rich compost.

Generator Fuel: Schoolgirls in Lagos, Nigeria, created a backup generator that extracted pure hydrogen from human urine.

Foot Fungicide: Jungle soldiers throughout history have peed on their aching feet to cure or prevent foot fungus.

Beauty Aids: Proponents of Urine Therapy say urine can clear up acne, rejuvenate follicles and make hair grow, and get rid of dandruff. Some claim urine therapy can fight cancer, though independent scientific testing has not confirmed this.

Read more: Health, Alternative Therapies, Eco-friendly tips, Healthy Aging, Household Hints, Menopause, Natural Remedies, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , ,

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Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)


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5:13PM PDT on May 25, 2015

The things you don't know.

5:13PM PDT on May 25, 2015

The things you don't know.

2:26AM PDT on Sep 28, 2014

I'm still saying, "YUCK."

11:07AM PDT on Aug 31, 2014

The Nigerian generator one sounds promising, the rest, eh, not so much. Don't like the smell of urine, so can't imagine having the compost heap smell like urine...

8:28PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

surprisingly interesting. thanx

3:48AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Don't judge only by one's appearance

6:58PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

Interesting, thanks.

3:14PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

I don't know about most of the uses mentioned because I haven't tried them. However, I have had toenail fungus for a few YEARS now, (my father had it the whole time I knew him...he was 51 when I was born and he died when he was 71, I was 20), so I don't know if I was going to get it no matter what I did or not, probably not because I would think you "catch" a fungus, but I might be apt to get it because I inherited other things from him, like severe arthritis. Anyway, when I heard at peeing in the shower will get rid of toenail fungus, believe me, being a female, and wanting to have pretty feet so I can wear sandals in the summer like I always did until a few years ago, I tried it - peeing in the shower - everyday! It didn't do a thing for the fungus-nothing! I still have it. I've been to the podiatrist and I've tried Lamisil, and every "potion" they have on the market, but NOTHING has worked. NOTHING! So, now I keep them clipped very short and sometimes I put nail polish on them to try to cover the fungus a little, plus I feel that the polish sort of seals it so it can't get air to keep growing, but I still don't wear sandals. I just don't want some little kid, a nephew or niece or a friends kid or grandkid, to ask me why my toenails look so funny. So, the only time I can go barefoot is at home. And I was always a barefoot kid! I WISH someone would tell me what to do to get rid of this fungus. I HATE it! I'll check back every so often, maybe someone will finally mention some

10:18AM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

I've known people who've done cleanses with urine. They claim it's very effective but I could never bring myself to do it.
Peeing on wounds is a very old remedy. Apparently effective as well.

1:00PM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

If it could really rejuvenate follicles and make hair grow, they'd make a fortune!

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