42 Alternative and Unusual Uses for Toothpaste

Find out why toothpaste is the most amazing thing in your house. Use it to clean faucets, soothe insect bites, polish furniture, and get rid of carpet stains.

alternative and unusual uses for toothpaste


Image from Arek Kolek on Flickr.

There is something truly wonderful sitting in your bathroom cabinet or on the side of your sink right now. And you probably have no idea how innovative and practical it really is. You use it every day and you rely on it for something very special. It is, of course, your toothpaste. Yes, the humble tube of toothpaste is just a little bit magical.

Would you believe that toothpaste, literally, has a hundred different uses? It can be used as a soothing balm for insect bites, a cleaning solution for plastic furniture, a skunk deodoriser, and a way to get crayon marks off wallpaper. You can use toothpaste to remove dirt from piano keys, to de-fog hard contact lenses, and get rid of those pesky stains on the skin when applying coloured hair dyes.

In fact, there is very little that toothpaste cannot do. Including remove scratches from CDs and DVDs and reduce the appearance of bruises. If you don’t believe it, you can try a couple (or a lot) of these alternative uses for yourself. It’s not as if toothpaste is in short supply, so why not have a little fun with it? You might just find yourself a pretty cool new life hack.

Ultimately though, toothpaste does one job better than all of the others – it keeps our teeth clean. To make sure that your teeth and gums always stay healthy, brush twice a day and floss regularly. Be careful not to brush too hard or to use too much toothpaste. It is a common mistake to overcompensate on both these things, but you really only need a pea sized amount of toothpaste and a gentle degree of pressure for pearly whites.

This guide to some of the most unusual and alternative uses for toothpaste will help you get to grips with this magnificently minty stuff.  

Medicinal and Therapeutic Uses

Relief for a Stinging Burn

The next time that you catch your wrist or finger on the stove, try applying a little toothpaste for a soothing and cooling solution. Make sure that you cover the burn in cold water immediately, as recommended, and then cover the affected area until the burn is contained within a minty barrier.

Clear Spots & Zits Quickly

This is a very old trick, so you might have heard of it before. If you develop a problem spot or zit on your face, you can dry it out and speed up its ‘lifespan’ by covering it with a dab of toothpaste. Leave it in place overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Keep Nails Strong & Clean

You can use toothpaste to strengthen and clean your fingernails. All that you have to do is apply a little to a regular toothbrush (ideally not the one that you also brush your teeth with) and scrub gently over the tops. This is only recommended for people with healthy nails. If yours are already dry and prone to breaking, this could make them worse.

Treat Poison Ivy Stings

If you are unlucky enough to get a rash or a sting from contact with poison ivy, use toothpaste to take away the worst of the irritation. Just apply gently to the affected area and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Then, wash away carefully with cold soapy water. If necessary, repeat until the stinging sensations subside.

Eliminate Nasty Odours

It is easy to get left with smelly hands and fingers after cooking, especially with garlic, onions, fish, or other pungent ingredients. These odours can actually make their way into the skin cells, which is why they hang around for so long. Eliminate them quickly by scrubbing your fingertips with toothpaste.

Reduce the Appearance of Bruises

If you have a nasty bruise and you are keen to get rid of it as soon as possible, mix together a combination of skin lotion (any kind of skin cream) and toothpaste. Apply the solution to the bruise and cover it with a large band aid, so that it does not stain sheets. Leave it overnight and wash off in the morning. Repeat for another two nights or until the bruise has subsided.

Remove Gum from Hair

To get chewing gum out of hair fast and with little fuss, spread toothpaste over the affected patches. This will be messy, but worthwhile. As the toothpaste is designed to break down the sugar contained in stuff like chewing gum, you should be able to lift it right out after a while.

Tidy Up Messy Dye Patches

Everybody gets those little patches of colour on the skin when they dye their hair. It is near impossible to make sure that none of the colour solution touches the skin, especially when there is so much of it. The dye will stain the skin, but you can use small dabs of toothpaste to reverse the process and clean the hairline.

Domestic Cleaning Uses

De-scuffing Linoleum

After a while, even high quality linoleum can develop scuffs and marks from the passage of feet. You can remove these by applying toothpaste to a dry cloth and using it to scrub the marks away. Rinse when cold water when you are finished.

Remove Carpet Stains

There are few things as frustrating as a stain on a carpet, especially if you have spent a lot of money on it. But, the good news is that you can use toothpaste to make stains on carpets and soft furnishings vanish for good. Apply toothpaste directly to the stain and then scrub at it with a firm brush. This works particularly well on ink, makeup, and grass stains.

Make Crayon Marks Disappear

It can be tough to keep little ones from making their mark on wallpaper. If your tiny monster has created an artwork in precisely the wrong place, remove it safely with toothpaste. It will not damage paint or wallpaper, so it is a really effective solution. Treat the crayon marks and then leave them to rest for a day – wash off with cold water.

Give Silver Jewellery Some Sparkle

You can give silver jewellery and accessories some real sparkle by rubbing them with toothpaste. Leave them overnight to rest and then wipe clean with a soft cloth in the morning. This should really make your jewellery shine.

Improve the Look of Diamonds

You can even make diamonds look prettier with a little bit of toothpaste. Just take an old toothbrush, add a pea sized amount, and sprinkle with a little water. Use this mixture to gently scrub at the face of the diamond. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. You should never use this method for cleaning pearls, as it will damage them.

Eradicate CD/DVD Scratches

While this will probably not work for very deep scratches, it can reduce the impact of shallow marks and scuffs. Apply a thin layer of toothpaste to the shiny surface of the disc. Using your fingertips, stroke the toothpaste gently, so that it moves slowly to the outside edges of the disc. Rinse with cold water. You must make sure to run in circular motions, from the inside out. Avoid back and forth gestures and do not apply too much pressure.

Keep Piano Keys Clean

Piano keys get dirty quickly, because the oil from fingertips accumulates on their surface. This then draws in dust and dirt. You can use toothpaste to clean the keys by wiping gently with a soft cloth. Once clean, take a second (lint free) cloth and wipe until dry again.

Clean Baby Bottles & Containers

It is not uncommon for baby bottles to develop a slightly sour odour of old milk. But, you can get rid of this with a little toothpaste and a regular bottle scrubbing tool. You must rinse the bottles out very thoroughly afterwards, because ingesting too much fluoride can cause sickness in babies.

Make Straighteners More Efficiently

If you use hair straighteners, you have probably noticed that, as they age, they start to develop a grimy coating on the surface of their plates. This is caused by a build-up of everything from hair spray to mousse, shampoo, gel, and anything else that you might put in your hair. To remove it, let the silica in toothpaste gently ease it off the plates.

De-fog and De-mist Goggles

A lot of keen swimmers will be aware of this handy little trick. Rub a small amount of toothpaste on the lenses of goggles to remove that misty, foggy effect. You can also use this technique to get rid of foggy patches on hard contact lenses, but you do have to have a steady hand and a good eye for this – too much pressure can cause damage.

Polish a Metal Instrument

Use toothpaste to give metal instruments a brilliant shine. All it takes is a dab of the minty stuff on a soft cloth, followed by a vigorous rub. Once you are satisfied that you have cleaned thoroughly enough, use a damp cloth to remove the residue. If you are concerned about the toxicity of commercial polishes, this can be a very natural and organic alternative.

Hide Holes Left By Frames

This is a bit of a sneaky life hack, so use it carefully. If you are moving out of a rented flat or home and are worried that the landlord will question you about holes left by nails, screws, or picture frame hangers, fill them in with a little toothpaste. This will, of course, only work for very small hole. And, there is no guarantee that the spot will paint over later, so think before you paste.

Polish and Clean Chrome

Rub a little bit of toothpaste on to chrome fixtures to give them a real shine. Make sure that you rinse with cold water afterwards and buff with a soft rag or cloth.

Repair Marks on Leather

You are bound to be frustrated if your leather furniture develops scuffs, marks, or scratches. But you can make them disappear with just a little bit of toothpaste. Apply it to a soft cloth and gently rub at the affected area. The scuffs should start to subside.

Remove Watermarks from Furniture

Similarly, you can use toothpaste to get rid of watermarks and stains on furniture. Apply the toothpaste to a soft cloth and then scrub it gently – do not apply too much pressure – before wiping it dry again with a dry cloth.

Give the Drain a Nice Smell

Squeeze a line of toothpaste out and around the rim of the sink hole in your kitchen. Leave it to rest for minute. Then, turn on the tap and let the toothpaste get directed down the drain. It should coat the inside of the pipe with a pleasant smell.

Refresh Tupperware Boxes

If plastic Tupperware containers are sat unused for a long time, with their lids on, they are likely to start smelling musty and old. You can get rid of this smell by brushing the insides with a little toothpaste. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off. Store the containers without their lids to avoid unpleasant smells in the future.

Freshen Your Car Interior

Take a couple of smears of toothpaste, on a paper towel. Fold the paper up and place it underneath your car seats, but only when the vehicle is parked in sunlight. Once it heats up, the toothpaste will begin to melt and soften and the car will fill up with a minty smell.

Polish Off Your Car Headlights

If you get scratches and scuff marks on your headlights, you need to clean them off quickly so that they do not obscure your view while driving. Rub a generous amount of toothpaste over the glass covers. Use a soft cloth to rub until the scuff marks have vanished.

Revive Tired Cell Phone Screens

When cell phones are used constantly, but not protected with a sturdy cover, they develop lots of little scratches all over the front screen. You can remove these, but you need to cover a fingertip in toothpaste and lightly rub it over the scratched areas. Rinse with a damp cloth and then leave to dry.

Plastic Garden Furniture

Stains and unsightly marks stick to plastic garden accessories more easily than you might think. However, if you combine toothpaste and water, you get a tough paste that is great for making plastic furniture sparkle again.

Reinvigorate the Kitchen Sink

This is a really easy tip, because it starts with something that most of us do all the time anyway. The next time that you are cleaning your teeth and accidentally drop a spurt of toothpaste in the sink, use it to clean and deodorize the ceramic. It works just as well as other mild cleaners and will leave your bathroom smelling divine.

Dig Grime from Refrigerator Seals

The dirt that collects in the folds of refrigerator seals is some of the hardest to clean and remove. But this is only because cloths and sponges aren’t always effective at cleaning tiny spaces. Take an old toothbrush, cover it with toothpaste and use it to clean the inside folds.

Wipe Down Shower Doors

Use a damp sponge, with a small amount of toothpaste on one side, to clean the scum and dirt that accumulates on shower doors. If you use a circular motion – moving your hands in wide circular patterns – the grime will fall away easily. After a rinse with cold water, your shower doors will look like new again.

Buff Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

You can keep your kitchen and bathroom faucets looking tip top, by scrubbing them with toothpaste, rather than a standard bathroom cleaning product. They will shine twice as bright and smell three times as sweet.

Remove Finger Marks on Keyboard

If you are very careful and gentle, you can use a tiny amount of toothpaste to rub the grimy fingerprints off your computer or laptop keyboard. Just makes sure not to drop or smear any toothpaste in the gaps between keys – a dab on each with a finger is enough.

Domestic Laundry Uses

Get Rid of Tough Stains

While toothpaste will not remove every stain, it is always worth a try, because it can’t harm fabric. In fact, even if it does not remove the mark, it will make your clothes smell nice. Again, use an old toothbrush to scrub at the stain, because this will give you more precision.

Bring Old Shoes Back to Life

If you have a pair of sorry looking leather shoes or trainers, turn to toothpaste to get them looking fine again. Just apply the toothpaste directly to the dirtiest spots. Then, take an old toothbrush and scrub with a generous amount of pressure. Throw them in a bucket of cold water or splash them with a hose to remove the foam.

Miscellaneous uses

Stick Up Posters and Signs

In many ways, toothpaste is an even better adhesive than blu-tac or drawing pins for bedroom posters. It does not leave a mark, so it can be removed without leaving a single trace. To stick up a poster, smear a little toothpaste on each corner and a few of the edges. It should then just stick to the wall without trouble and stay there until you are ready to take it down.

Cleanse a Dirty Horse Bit

For horse owners, toothpaste is a really effective cleaner for bits and other accessories. As the bit tends to collect a lot of dirt, grime, grass, and saliva, the mild abrasive properties of toothpaste make it a great cleaner. You must make sure that you rinse all of the toothpaste away before use, because too much fluoride can be harmful for horses.

Neutralize a Skunk Attack

Yes, finally – a simply remedy for nasty skunk attacks. If you find yourself (or your dog) at the mercy of a mean skunk, get straight in the shower. Get nice and wet and then rub toothpaste over the bits of your body that were exposed. It might feel weird, but it will be worth it. After a few minutes, the fluoride will absorb most of the smell.

Maintain Die-Cast Models

Toothpaste is a really useful cleaner when it comes to intricate die cast models, especially cars and battle figures. These little models always have lots of awkward edges and corners, so get right in there with an unwanted toothbrush.

Whiten Your Own Teeth

You don’t necessarily have to splash out on expensive whiteners for sparkling teeth. You can make your own whitening solution by mixing together baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a 3-4 drops of peppermint or spearmint flavouring. Use this mixture as a rudimentary, homemade toothpaste and it will have you teeth looking shiny in no time.

Keep Stubborn Stray Hairs in Place

Not a lot of people know that gel toothpaste contains many of the same water soluble polymers that are in commercial hair gel products. So, the next time that you are heading for a big night out, but can’t find any hair gel anywhere, slick a little bit of toothpaste on the hair. It will smell nice and it will keep stray hairs in place all night – remember, only use gel toothpaste.

The Endless Possibilities of the Toothpaste Tube

So, we have come to the end of our toothpaste odyssey. It should now be clear that this minty wonder stuff can be used for much more than just keeping your teeth clean. If you want to try any of these weird and unusual life hacks for yourself, it might be useful to wait until you have finished using toothpaste tube in the regular way (for brushing) first.

Then, take the almost empty tube and cut it across the middle with a pair of kitchen scissors. You can use a knife or a small spoon to get inside the tube and scoop out all of the toothpaste that you couldn’t get to before. You’ll get the chance to spruce up something special in a surprisingly effective way and it won’t cost you a penny either.  

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