Sure it whitens, brightens and makes Julienne fries, but there truly are more uses for toothpaste than you'd believe possible. We've compiled tubes and tubes worth of ideas to amaze and amuse you. Perhaps you'll even find many of them useful.
But a few caveats first: We strongly recommend you use one of the more inexpensive toothpastes -- not gels, tartar controllers or whiteners unless otherwise specified. Look for a mild abrasive, stain fighter. Avoid toothpastes containing "triclosan."
Naturally, you'll find the best prices on toothpastes with coupons from major drug stores.
Without further ado, here are 35 unconventional uses for toothpaste:
IN YOUR CLEANING KIT
1. Baby Bottles
Remove that sour-milk-smell baby bottles get by scrubbing with a water-and-toothpaste mixture. Rinse very thoroughly with water or toss the bottles into the dishwasher.
2. Carpet Stains
Squeeze toothpaste directly onto the carpet stain and scrub it with a toothbrush. Then rinse and repeat the process until the stain disappears. Not much different than brushing your teeth, is it?
For truly stubborn stains, like vomit from aging cats, you might need to go with a professional carpet-cleaning product, like those available with Pet Street Mall coupon codes.
3. Cell Phone Screens
Unprotected mobile-phone screens become scratched to heck over time. Lightly rub the screen with a touch of toothpaste and your finger. Rinse with a damp cloth and dry. This also works on watch crystals, for those of us Luddites who still wear watches.
4. Clothing Stains
If toothpaste works on your carpets, it should work equally well on cloth. Apply the toothpaste directly to the stained area with a bit of water and rub hard before popping in the washer. This may not work on all fabrics or stains but it's quite effective on ink and shirt-collar stains. You may have to repeat this process if the stain is old.
Of course, you don't want to use whitening toothpastes on colored fabrics. Instead, use a basic toothpaste without bleaching agents for this purpose.
5. Crayon on Painted Walls
Children, crayons and walls are natural attractants. No need to panic. Just gently rub a damp cloth and some toothpaste on your child's masterpiece, then inse with a wet cloth and dry.
Make sure you run a test on a small area of the wall before applying to a large area, just in case the paint can't handle even a mild abrasive.
For high-gloss walls where toothpaste might remove some of the shine, purchase the exceptionally handy Goo Gone. As with toothpaste, make sure you try a test run first.
Put a dab on leather scuffs, rub in with a soft cloth, and rinse with a damp cloth. Works well on shoes, purses, coats or anything else made of leather.
7. Linoleum Scuffs
Scrub scuff marks with toothpaste and a dry cloth until no residue remains.
8. Piano Keys
Tidy up those ivories before you tickle them. Rub each key gently with a damp, cotton swab and a touch of paste. Wipe dry and buff with a clean cloth. It takes time, but you'll be stunned by how nice your keyboard looks at the end of the project.
9. Patio Furniture
Apply some elbow grease, a brush and a mixture of toothpaste and water. Use a teeth-whitening paste on white furniture for the perfect shine.
10. Silver and Brass
Use a soft toothbrush to scrub lightly with just a dab of paste. Rinse thoroughly and polish with a dry, soft cloth. If toothpaste remains in any cracks, clean the toothbrush thoroughly and brush under water to dislodge the white paste. Dry again and polish.
For heavy-duty grunge, apply paste and let it soak overnight. Whatever you do, however, don't apply toothpaste to pearls as the grit will remove the shiny finish.
11. Steam Iron Grunge
Apply a little toothpaste and rub into the iron's plate, then remove the residue with a dry and clean cloth.
12. Tennis Shoes
Use a brush to rub toothpaste into the scuffed soles of athletic shoes. Wipe with a damp cloth when your done and admire.
IN YOUR BATHROOM
13. Bathroom Sinks
Next time you drop a glop of toothpaste into the sink, don't rinse it down, scrub it around. The natural abrasive works like other cleansers and deodorizes the drain at the same time.
14. Blemish Cream
Anyway who's watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" knows toothpaste is a great emergency zit cure. It helps reduce the redness and draws out puss. Don't pop the pimple before application, however. (Please excuse the indelicacy.)
Apply a pinch of menthol toothpaste and leave it on for several minutes, then wash off before you head to the church. Some recommend leaving the toothpaste on overnight but this can leave you with dry and cracked skin. No matter how long you've left on the pasty poultice, apply a good lotion immediately afterwards to replace moisture.
If you find your facial skin reacts badly to the toothpaste, next time crush an aspirin, mix it with water or witch hazel, and apply it to your skin. Aspirin works because it contains salicylic acid to clear up the blemish. For even more sensitive skin, tea tree oil mixed with witch hazel also reduces blemishes.
This remedy is a godsend for chronic klutzes, like me. Before heading off to bed, apply a mixture of toothpaste and skin lotion to the bruise and wrap with an ace bandage or a band-aid to keep the sheets clean. Wash the paste off in the morning and reapply for two or three nights. Bruises that normally take a week or two to fade disappear much faster.
16. Bug Bites
For mosquito, ant and other small bug bites, apply toothpaste to sooth itching and cool the skin. You can apply paste to bee stings, as well, but seek medical assistance if you experience shortness of breath or other serious symptoms.
I've been using my grandmother's tip for years on mild burns and it's only recently come into popular favor.
Next time you burn yourself on the stove or a hot pan, plunge the affected area under cold water to rapidly bring down the skin temperature. (Not butter! This is a myth.) After the acute phase is over, smear non-gel toothpaste thickly over the burn until the skin cools permanently and the sting is gone. Finally, apply a healing agent, such as aloe vera.
If you receive a serious second-degree or third-degree burn, wrap the area in cold, wet, smooth towels or a sheet. Call 911 or have someone drive you straight to the hospital.
Do those water spots on your bathroom faucets bug you while brushing your teeth? Apply a dab of paste, rub it in and rinse. Now you can admire your reflection while making those strange brushing faces.
After finishing with your teeth, take your toothbrush and run it over your diamond ring to make it sparkle. Clean off any residue with a damp cloth.
20. Hair Gel
Toothpaste contains the same water-soluble polymers found in many hair gels. In a pinch, it can serve the same purpose. Toothpaste also is a great stick-um for baby barrettes.
21. Hand Deodorizer
Remove the stench of onions, fish, garlic and other odoriferous foods from your skin by scrubbing briefly with toothpaste. Apply lotion after to moisten hands.
22. Mirror Defogger
Gentlemen: Next time you're brushing your teeth in the shower, smear a bit of toothpaste on the mirror before shaving and wipe it dry. It'll keep the mirror from fogging so you can see your face clearly. No nicks, no cuts and a face like John Hamm: Well, maybe.
We're talking the nails on your fingers and toes; not the ones you pound into walls.
Next time you're out of enamel, give your nails a natural shine with a touch of toothpaste and a soft brush. It only takes a mild buffing to bring out the brilliance, so don't go overboard.
A whitening toothpaste with peroxide also will remove the orange or yellow tinge created by extensive use of nail polish. Again, make sure you buff lightly.
Finally, the grit in toothpaste helps remove grunge in the cracks around your nails after cleaning the fireplace or working in the garden. Use a nail brush and scrub around the edges. Avoid polishing too vigorously on the nail itself or you'll remove the natural sheen.
24. Refrigerator Seals
Toothbrushes are the perfect size for cleaning refrigerator seals and toothpaste is perfect for whitening those seals. In other words, altogether a perfect combo.
25. Skin Rashes
For closed-skin rashes, avoid itching, apply toothpaste and allow it to cool down the skin. Please note toothpaste should not be applied to skin rashes that have open sores.
26. Shower Doors
Dampen a sponge and smear it with a bit of whitening toothpaste. Clean the shower doors with a circular swipe and rinse thoroughly and you'll be able to see through your doors once again.
IN YOUR LIVING ROOM
27. Coffee Table Water Rings
This is an oldie but goody: Simply rub some toothpaste into the irritating ring with a soft cloth and wipe dry with a clean, damp cloth. Apply a finishing shine with a touch of furniture polish or oil (olive oil works, too). Then break out the coasters and make sure they get used.
28. DVDs and CDs
Remove shallow scratches and smudges by applying a thin coating of toothpaste to the disc and rubbing gently. Rinse thoroughly and buff with a soft, cotton cloth. The mild abrasive evens out the playing surface but too much grit will make things worse, so make sure you're gentle. (I'm told smooth peanut butter also works well but haven't had a scratch on which to test this theory.)
Toothpaste works especially well on the marks made by multi-disk changers that use "grabbers" and dig gouges into the disks.
29. Nail Holes
Toothpaste has long been known as the poor-man's caulking agent for unsightly nail holes. If you don't have matching paint, you can tint the paste with food coloring or eye shadow to match the wall. It's even easier if the walls are white.
This method also works well in holes left by hanging-plant or speaker hooks, particularly on textured ceilings.
30. Auto Scratches
Scratch removers are expensive but toothpaste can hide minor damage for cents. Apply a dab of toothpaste to a damp sponge and rub in a circle, then wipe with a soft cloth. Don't rub too hard or you'll damage the paint job.
You'll never need to buy expensive goggle-defogger gels again. Rub a small spot of toothpaste into each lens of your google and rinse thoroughly. Don't rub too hard, however, or the abrasive properties of toothpaste could scratch the lens.
The dings and scratches sustained by headlight glass diffuses the light and makes it harder to see. Eliminate this haze by thoroughly cleaning the headlight, then rubbing in a glob of toothpaste. Follow up with a good buffing to even out the glass, either by hand or with the buffer on an electric drill.
34. Skunk-Spray Deodorizer
Next time your dog gets in a battle with a skunk, wet him down, rub toothpaste into his fur, leave the mixture on for several minutes and rinse thoroughly. I'm not saying this process will be easy, but fluoride does soak up a majority of the stench.
Okay, so I lied in the headline about not mentioning your teeth. There's a reason they call it "tooth" paste.
If you have moral objections to standard toothpaste formulas, many naturalists prefer the Tom's of Maine brand. Others highly recommend combining essential oil of mint and clove with baking soda and peroxide. I say, "To each his own."
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