Two Dozen Uses For Toothpaste (Aside From Cleaning Your Teeth)
Didn’t you know that toothpaste (despite its name) is for so much more than your teeth? It’s truly handy to have on hand (I pity the household - and their teeth - that has no toothpaste at all), because it is quite multi-functional. Here are a few ways you can get your toothpaste working extra hard for you:
Stain Removal and Cleaning
Crayon on Painted Walls
So the kiddies decided to express their artistic side all over the walls, huh? No worries. Rub a damp cloth and some toothpaste on your marked-up wall and rinse with a clean wet cloth.
Carpet Cleaning/Stain removal
Scrub away with an abrasive brush and toothpaste, rinse, and you’ll scrub the stain right out. You may even realize how dirty the rest of your carpet is in the process.
Cleaning Running Shoes
Similar to above, scrub away (especially on those scuffed up white rubber soles), wipe with a damp cloth, and watch your tootsies gleam.
Scuffed Leather Shoes
Put a dab on the scuff, rub in with a soft cloth, and rinse with a damp cloth.
It stands to reason that if toothpaste works on your carpets, it will work on clothes too. Apply the toothpaste directly to the stained fabric and rub the fabric together with all you’ve got. Rinse with water. You may have to do this a few times to fully remove the stain. This may not work on all fabrics or stains.
Cleaning Piano Keys
A well-used piano usually means some darker piano keys after a while. Scrub with toothpaste and a toothbrush, then wipe dry with a damp cloth, and you’ll be tickling some ivory ivories again.
If your baby bottles are getting a sour-milk smell, clean them out with some toothpaste using a bottle-scrubber, and rinse really well with water.
Cleaning The Iron
I guess I don’t use an iron enough for it to get gunky (wait a minute – I don’t even own an iron), but apparently crap can accumulate along the plate and bottom edge. Toothpaste has just enough abrasive in it to do the job nicely.
Make Chrome Gleam
Ran out of your bathroom or kitchen cleaner? Use some toothpaste in a pinch, and watch your taps shine.
Scrub Those Nails
Fingernails and toenails are made of similar stuff as teeth are. So scrub away using toothpaste and a nail brush for some shiny extremities.
Wash your Watch Band
I tried this on a plastic watch band I have that is embarrassingly dirty with only minimal results. Then again maybe this watch band was beyond repair.
Obviously if the watch itself is not water-resistant, be careful to keep it dry in the cleaning and rinsing process.
Take water rings off coffee table
Simply rub some toothpaste into the offending mark with a soft cloth and wipe dry with a clean damp cloth. Finish off with some furniture polish to help protect grandma’s antique table from staining again. Better yet – use coasters.
I tried this on some seriously dull-looking jewelry the other day, and was very impressed with the results. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub lightly with a dab of toothpaste, rinse it, and polish it dry with a soft towel. You’ll discover a whole new shine to your precious accessories.
If you are dealing with a lot of grunge, dab some toothpaste on and let it sit overnight. Or better yet, dissolve some toothpaste in a small amount of water, and drop the jewelry in it for an overnight soak. Then follow up with the steps above.
Note: Do not use this technique on pearls, as you may damage the finish.
Overnight zit cream
Inevitably it happens right before a big job interview, or while you’re on the road without having brought along your trusty zit cream: the pimple of the century emerges. Never fear though: your toothpaste will do in a pinch to reduce the redness and dry out your greasy disaster. Just don’t forget to wash it off in the morning, or else they’ll be giving you some strange looks at that job interview.
Bee Sting ointment
I try not to get too close to these useful but annoying insects, but occasionally they like to get close to me. A touch of toothpaste can take the edge off the pain, and soothe the wound. Be sure to take the stinger out first of course.
Bug Bite Relief
Aaahh. Instead of scratching those pesky bites until they swell up and become unbearable, dab a little toothpaste on it and forget about your itchy worries.
Cold Sore Ointment
I know people who swear by this. It uses the same principle of relieving the itchiness and swelling of bug bites and acne. Again, best used as an overnight treatment.
Anybody who scuba dives knows that toothpaste is a great alternative to pricey defogger gel, and is particularly handy in taking the manufacture film off of a brand new mask or pair of goggles. Simply squirt a dab in each lens and rub in thoroughly with your fingers. Rinse well.
Bathroom Mirror Defogger
Using the same principle as above, it stands to reason that toothpaste can help keep your bathroom mirror clear as a bell while somebody is in the shower. This is great for a couple or household who shares a bathroom on a tight timeline, or for somebody who needs the mirror right after getting out of their hot shower.
More Wacky Uses
Fill in Nail Holes
If you are moving out of your digs quickly, have white walls, and don’t have any spackle to fill in the holes in the wall, you can use toothpaste to fill in the holes.
For painted walls, you can let the toothpaste dry and it’s good to paint over in a jiff.
Some people claim that toothpaste can be used to hang posters on the wall. If it works, then at least it saves having to fill gaping nail holes with the stuff when you move out!
Fix Scratched DVDs
Yes, toothpaste even fixes scratched DVDs, folks. Paul wrote about it a while back here. Admittedly, he didn't have much success with it, nor did I when I tried. Then again, the DVD I was using was pretty banged up.
It makes your mouth smell pretty, so why wouldn’t it work for other things? It deodorizes your sink drain pipes pretty nicely, and if you got your hands into something stinky it will help make your hands smell pretty again with a good scrub. Heck – it cleans your nails too in the process.
This one is really out there, but it might be worth a try. Put a dab on a paper towel, crumple it up, and stick it under your car seat. Park somewhere in the sunshine, and the heat of the car will warm up the toothpaste and make your car smell minty-fresh.
What Kind of Toothpaste to Use
These days, you can get toothpaste in all sorts of flavours, colours, and consistencies. For the applications in this article, stay away from the fancy stuff though and go with the original tried and true; make sure you have good ol’ white non-gel toothpaste.
Getting the Most of your Toothpaste Tube
Before you dismiss that tube as being empty, soak it in warm water for a few minutes. Use something flat like a knife handle or toothbrush handle to push the remaining warm toothpaste out of the tube. Get more for your money!
I haven’t tried all of these strategies, and certainly advise you to be cautious before squirting toothpaste all over that precious heirloom (be it a watch, piano, dress, or table). If possible test a small inconspicuous patch first.