We use toothpaste daily to clean our teeth and keep our breath fresh, but you might be surprised to learn there are several household uses for toothpaste that have nothing to do with your teeth. The next time you encounter any of these situations, give it a try. One disclaimer for most of these tips: make sure you use a white paste that isn’t a gel and isn’t a whitening paste.
- Cleaning stains and polishing - when we were first married, my wife and I were given a wooden dining table that had a lot of crayon, marker, and pen stains from years of abuse from the previous owners’ children. We first thought that we could clean up the table with different cleaning solutions, but nothing worked. Just as we were about to invest in refinishing the table, we thought of using toothpaste. The tough stains and markings disappeared like magic! Toothpaste works like a charm for carpet stains, clothes stains, crayon marks on the walls, shoe scuffs, dingy piano keys, and soap scum. Toothpaste makes a great polisher as well; give it a try on chrome faucets or jewelry and watch them become instantly shiny again.
- Foggy Car Headlights – I tried this trick years ago on my good old Camry that took me through college and dental school. The plastic that covers the headlights of your car is exposed to lots of environmental wear (dings and scratches) from rocks, bugs, etc. as you drive. As long as you don’t have a moisture problem on the inside, toothpaste can be a cheap way to make your headlights brighter.
- Defogging Mirrors- Every dentist knows this because of the little dental mirror, but the trick works at home too. Do you have a mirror that fogs up easily? Rub a little toothpaste on it and then rinse. The mirror will be much harder to fog. This works pretty well for goggles and glasses too.
- Plugging Nail Holes – This is a common use that many people know about, but toothpaste makes a great putty for nail holes in your walls. I once had a landlord insist that I not do this, but I ignored their advice and did it anyway. The trick worked perfectly and my landlord never knew the difference.
- Removing Strong Odors – Are your hands smelly from some project you’ve been working on out in the garage? Do you have a baby bottle that smells like sour milk even after repeated soap and water washes? Use a little toothpaste to scrub away the odor. It works perfectly.
- Sores and Burns – Bug bites, burns, zits, cold sores, etc. can all be made more comfortable with a little toothpaste. It sounds weird, but it actually works.
Do you have any other good uses for toothpaste?
-Nicolas K. Young, DMD