Two Dozen Uses For Toothpaste (Aside From Cleaning Your Teeth)

by Nora Dunn on 6 August 2008 42 comments
Photo: Nora Dunn

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.

 

Stained Clothes

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.

 

Baby Bottles

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.

 

Jewelry Cleaner

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.

 

 

Skin Remedies

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.

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Defogger

 

Goggle Defogger

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.

 

Hanging Posters

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.

 

Deodorizer

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.

 

Car Freshener

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!

 

 

Disclaimer

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.

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Guest's picture

Since toothpaste can be used on a standard iron to de-gunk it, I'm curious to see if it will work on my flat iron? I use a lot of product in my hair, and the gunk is almost like concrete and nearly impossible to get off (short of a box-cutter, but I'm worried about damaging the heating plates).

I'm really excited to try this.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hey great list! Will have to try some of these out!

One thing though. Using toothpaste on spots can be a bad idea. My brother swears by it but the one time i used it I woke up next morning with a huge red sore about 1/2 inch across, right by my nose where my spot had been. It was horrible, it lasted for weeks and I still have a scar from it.

So I would strongly advise against trying it for the first time the day before a big job interview/whatever!

Andrea Karim's picture

The key to the zit thing is to use the toothpaste on an unruptured pimple. I, too, was told to use it on a massive zit that appeared on my chin when I was 13 - I did so, and it became massively infected. I, too, still have a scar from it.

I like to use aspirin for pimples instead. Toothpaste, especially at the tip of the tube, can contain backteria from your toothbrush.

I heard that the toothpaste with baking soda in it can be used to clean silver - is that true? I can imagine trying it on jewelry, but I'm thinking of the heavier stuff, like tea sets.

Guest's picture

Tooth paste is great. Aside from using it for a clean mouth, tooth paste is my go to medicine for bug bite relief. I've been using it this way since I was a kid and will probably continue to for the rest of my life. It works great.

Guest's picture
Guest

Toothpaste is also great for fixing minor scratches on CDs or DVDs. If you apply a small dab of toothpaste to a damp cloth and then gently rub with a circular motion along the grain of the disc (versus against the grain, from center to edge), you can safely smooth out the scratches.

Guest's picture
Nemo

My piano-teacher mother insists on using only rubbing alcohol on a cloth to clean the ivories. Never anything with abrasive, even as mild as toothpaste.

Guest's picture
Lori

My grandmother and mom always swore by using toothpaste for minor burns. And it works. I've never heard of it being used for cleaning though! Pretty cool.

Guest's picture
Michelle

Foggy bathroom windows?

Rub some men's shaving cream on the glass... let it sit for five minutes, then wipe off.

I saw this on TV and was amazed. I tried it out and it works!

Guest's picture
Amanda

...it works miracles on things that have been accidentally marked with Sharpie--white boards, plastic tables, photocopier glass, etc. Just rub with regular toothpaste (not the fancy stuff) and a paper towel, and the marker will come right off.

Guest's picture
Amal

Toothpaste can also polish silver and rid wood (with a good varnish) of water stains :).

Guest's picture
Suz

Wow... That's an AMAZING list. And you tried them! That's crazy!

I'm off to buy some good old-fasioned toothpaste now!

-Suz

Guest's picture
Herbert

Why old-fashioned toothpaste is so awesome is because of the baking soda. Using a baking soda & water paste (with salt and/or vinegar depending on circumstance) can pretty much do all these things. It's also cheaper and uses less packaging than the toothpaste.

A google search for [baking soda cleaning] will yield some good results.

Guest's picture
Ash

Wow! Impressive list. It reminds me of jiff. Good for everything!

lghbob's picture
lghbob

The store boughten' ceramic top cleaner costs about $5 - $7.  Toothpaste works.

 

my opinion only

lghbob's picture
lghbob

The store boughten' ceramic top cleaner costs about $5 - $7.  Toothpaste works.

 

my opinion only

Guest's picture
Robin

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!

Guest's picture
Guest

use it to clean a bone folder

Guest's picture

Wow. These are great economical tips for a single necessity. Some tips here are very new to me. I have to try these for myself. Thanks for the tips, Nora!

Guest's picture

It is really interesting to learn so many uses of toothpaste. I liked especially the idea of cleaning stained clothes with toothpaste.

Guest's picture
Guest

toothpaste can be used for a simple face wash it works great for getting rid of blackheads on the face,,,, but mostly for women with a concern of an oder in there pelvic regine it is a great way to stay fresh on the days when you do not toothpast will eliminat the oder from the skin as well as the pubic hair with an unbealiveable feeling of comfort ,,,, try it ive been useing it for years and it works....

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi guest,
What ratio of toothpaste to water do you use? and how do you use it, i.e. exterior, or via syringe? Cheers

Guest's picture
Molly Vaughan

Newly married couple's car decorated w/toothpaste that stayed on for 3 days in freezing weather, will this damage car?

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi Molly,
In response to your post, are your newly married friends still your friends? If anyone put toothpaste on my car, that was left there for 3 days, I would strangle them. But to hear that the car had been in freezing conditions over those 3 days, almost spells out that the toothpaste would have definitely stripped the paintwork on their car.

Guest's picture
Guest

Toothpaste does not cure burns.

A srory from my days back on the ambulance. There was an old wives tale about toothpaste curing burns. And from what I hear back in the old days toothpaste had a clay base and might have been slightly accurate.

But a few years ago a child was brought into an er with severe burn wounds covered head to toe in toothpaste. The family thought they were helping by resorting to this old wives tale but in actuality the hospital had to scrub of ever inch of toothpaste (painfully i might ad) before they could even start to treat the burns). Dont put toothpaste on burns. Or anything else you dont want scrubed off later.

Guest's picture
Guest

It's the baking soda in some toothpaste that takes the burning sensation out of the burnt flesh. Severe burns are still severe burns and will need medical attention. But does toothpaste stop burns from burning? The answer is yes, as long as it has baking soda in it. Do you have baking soda in your house? Maybe, maybe not, but most people have toothpaste, so check the ingredients, because it works and it works quickly.

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

Thank you, guest for clarifying that toothpaste is not a burn remedy.

Guest's picture
Guestguest

you havent read it all yet then, cause it says it is a good burn remedy as long as it has baking soda in it ,( toothpaste that is.)

Guest's picture

Abrasive Technologies is the world's leading manufacturers of products that Abrasive Brushes, Fickert Brushes, Chamfering Brushes and Giano Finish Brushes.

Guest's picture

Granito Brushes is the world's leading manufacturers of products that Abrasive Brushes, Fickert Brushes, Chamfering Brushes and Giano Finish Brushes.

Guest's picture
Alice

My son found that toothpaste helped to take the heat out of insect bites when he was away at prep school.

Guest's picture
Guest

The toothpaste on my wedding ring worked great and even used an old toothbrush that i sanitized in the dishwasher to get it into the nooks and crannies and to rinse it out if them.

Guest's picture
angela

works excellent on jewerly....i've been cleaning my herringbones,rope chains and rings with it for years...you will be amazed @ how well it works..on
rings and rope chains i use an old soft tooth brush..apply toothpaste with warm water..scrub wih toothbrush, rinse and wipe with a nonabraisive soft cloth.on herringbone apply toothpaste, let dry,rinse with warm water,wipe with softcloth...

Guest's picture
Guest Rachel Cleveland

#1 Turquoise & Silver Jewelry Cleaner I'm over 70 yrs old. For over 40 yrs have been using plain white toothpaste to clean my Turquoise & Silver jewelry. ( SW Indian) Almost any other type of jewelry cleaner will pit turquoise. Toothpaste is safe to use on turquoise. As far as I know it cleans/shines any type metal jewelry. It's all I use on any/all of my jewlery. I also keep/use an old soft toothbrush just for cleaning jewelry.

#2 Another tip-different catagory. Months ago you had a section on camping & out door plumbing (or lack of) One thing my mother & grandmother did was a early day recycling tip. After cleaning the ashes out of the wood stove (or from campfire) the bucket was set in the outhouse with an old cup or scoop in it. After using the outhouse each person sprinkled a cup/scoop of the ashes over the "deposit"; to help control odor. Lye was not always available; ashes were always available, & free! They work surprisingly well.

Guest's picture
Colleen

I found your website because I was looking for the banana peel trick to remove splinters and low and behold came across the toothpaste post too. Just so happens that today I was given 2 silver rings for free and both were quite tarnished. I've never had anything silver in my life and was dreading having to clean them. I tried "plain" paste on it although I didn't have any non-colored stuff so I used what I had (light blue). Worked like a charm. My 10 yr old daughter who is sitting with a banana peel taped to her big toe right now wants me to tell you that you are a genius. =)

Guest's picture
Betina Cook

I used toothpaste to clean my diamond bracelet and WHAT A SPARKLE ! the bracelet looked brand new.

Guest's picture
Guest

You can also fill nail/tack holes on the wall is you use the white toothpaste. Just fill the hole and let it completely dry. Then wipe off excess with a damp rag.

Guest's picture
Angie

All that I got is this blue gel toothpaste. I've used the toothpaste and an eraser pad on my chrome kitchen sink and on the counters. The chrome is gleaming and the counters are really clean and fresh after using it. I have used it on the stove top also and in the bathroom on the sink counters in the bathtub. I've found that it's worked quite well

Guest's picture
Linda Moberg

Guest, as a retired Army wife who has had to do a lot of hole filling both in our quarters, apartments and an apartment complex we were assistant managers of DO NOT use toothpaste. Oh, it'll help you with passing your cleaning and broken objects, etc to get your deposit back or for the Housing Office to ok your quarters as clean and all, but when they come into paint, the toothpaste foams up and is a mess to clean! We found this out after we had to paint an apartment while being assistant managers in El Paso, TX and had to fill holes and paint a horribly left apartment. What a mess! We never used toothpaste again. This was back in the 70s so we were using the old tried and true toothpaste and it really was a mess and also the Housing Office for the military quarters also told anyone who used it would fail the inspection and have to fix before they could clear quarters. Just a note on that part. I meant to mention it with my first comment though.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thank you! I am also in Property Management and our residents will not pass an inspection if they use toothpaste and will be charged an additional fee for the cleaning and refilling of any holes where toothpaste is used. It is an awful mess to try to paint over.

Guest's picture
Curtis

You forgot one. Use it on your composite headlights to get the yellow off. I tried it and my headlights are clear again! Must be the old paste...not gel.

Guest's picture
Linda Moberg

After reading some of the uses for toothpaste I realized that in my teens and when I first got married I had used regular ordinary white toothpaste to clean sinks, chrome, and yes, I even had used it on my face as a teen. It really does work and 42 yrs ago when we first got married hubby was in the Army and money was pretty tight so finding ways to save was great! The vinegar is another great cleaner, you can even use it after washing your hair to rinse it. It doesn't dry it out and the smell evaporates almost immediately! The shine is remarkable as well!

Guest's picture
Cathy

What a great list.. just an FYI, with the goggle defogger make sure that the lens is tempered glass, not plastic lenses. The plastic lenses will scratch, I found out the hard way. lol