A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

16 Uses for Toothpaste

Still living off the high of discovering the internet last year, one of my uncles, bless his heart, is a well-meaning email spammer. Occasionally he's a little click happy with the "Forward" button and I see 3 or 4 items in my "Inbox" coming hot on the heels of the one before. Naturally, I'm a polite, well-brought up adult, respectful of my elders so I generally feel obliged to look, albeit warily. (I've had a couple of slightly ribald items come my way) As far as I know he hasn't discovered Facebook as yet so I suspect that it's his way of keeping in touch and saying, "I care". Mostly it's harmless stuff about the latest scientific/medical discoveries making their rounds on the internet. Normally I pay a glancing interest to the stuff he sends, skimming through the "amazing", "previously unheard" facts about some nutritional breakthrough.

But this one caught my eye:


Thought it was just for maintaining a healthy smile? Guess again! Toothpaste has 16 unexpected uses!

Remove scuffs from shoes
A little toothpaste does an amazing job of removing scuffs from leather shoes. Just squirt a dab on the scuffed area and rub with a soft cloth. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. The leather will look like new.

Clean your piano keys
Has tickling the ivories left them a bit dingy? Clean them up with toothpaste and a toothbrush, then wipe them down with a damp cloth. Makes sense, since ivory is essentially elephant teeth. However, toothpaste will work just as well on modern pianos that usually have keys covered with plastic rather than real ivory.

Spiff up your sneakers
Want to clean and whiten the rubber part of your sneakers? Get out the non-gel toothpaste and an old toothbrush. After scrubbing, clean off the toothpaste with a damp cloth.

 Clean your clothes iron

The mild abrasive in non-gel toothpaste is just the ticket for scrubbing the gunk off the bottom plate of your clothes iron. Apply the toothpaste to the cool iron, scrub with a rag, then rinse clean.

Polish a diamond ring
Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.

Deodorize baby bottles

Baby bottles inevitably pick up a sour-milk smell. Toothpaste will remove the odor in a jiffy. Just put some on your bottle brush and scrub away. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. 
Prevent fogged goggles
Whether you are doing woodworking or going skiing or scuba diving, nothing is more frustrating (and sometimes dangerous) than fogged goggles. Prevent the problem by coating the goggles with toothpaste and then wiping them off.

Prevent bathroom mirrors from fogging

Ouch! You cut yourself shaving and it's no wonder -- you can't see your face clearly in that fogged-up bathroom mirror. Next time, coat the mirror with non-gel toothpaste and wipe it off before you get in the shower. When you get out, the mirror won't be fogged.

Shine bathroom and kitchen chrome

They make commercial cleaners with a very fine abrasive designed to shine up chrome, but if you don't have any handy, the fine abrasive in non-gel toothpaste works just as well. Just smear on the toothpaste and polish with a soft, dry cloth.

Clean the bathroom sink

Non-gel toothpaste works as well as anything else to clean the bathroom sink. The tube's sitting right there, so just squirt some in, scrub with a sponge, and rinse it out. Bonus: The toothpaste will kill any odors emanating from the drain trap.

Remove crayon from walls
Did crayon-toting kids get creative on your wall? Roll up your sleeves and grab a tube of non-gel toothpaste and a rag or -- better yet -- a scrub brush. Squirt the toothpaste on the wall and start scrubbing. The fine abrasive in the toothpaste will rub away the crayon every time. Rinse the wall with water.

Remove ink or lipstick stains from fabric
Oh no, a pen opened up in the pocket of your favorite shirt! This may or may not work, depending on the fabric and the ink, but it is certainly worth a try before consigning the shirt to the scrap bin. Put non-gel toothpaste on the stain and rub the fabric vigorously together. Rinse with water. Did some of the ink come out? Great! Repeat the process a few more times until you get rid of all the ink. The same process works for lipstick.

Remove watermarks from furniture
You leave coasters around. But some people just won't use them. To get rid of those telltale watermark rings left by sweating beverages, gently rub some non-gel toothpaste on the wood with a soft cloth. Then wipe it off with a damp cloth and let it dry before applying furniture polish. 
Remove beach tar
Getting that black beach tar on your feet can put a small crimp in your vacation, but it is easy enough to remove. Just rub it with some non-gel toothpaste and rinse.

Clear up pimples
Your teenager is bemoaning a prominent pimple, and the day before the dance too! Tonight, have her or him dab a bit of non-gel, nonwhitening toothpaste on the offending spot, and it should be dried up by morning. The toothpaste dehydrates the pimple and absorbs the oil. This remedy works best on pimples that have come to a head. Caution: This remedy may be irritating to sensitive skin.

Clean smells from hands
The ingredients in toothpaste that deodorize your mouth will work on your hands as well. If you've gotten into something stinky, wash your hands with toothpaste, and they'll smell great.


Needless to say, my brain went into overdrive. While I can't vouch for the veracity of these claims... I am psyched by the possibilities that a $3 or $4 tube of minty teeth goo can bring to the average householder. Except, woe is me... I use an $8 plus tube of blue, sometimes green, minty teeth goop... which puts a damper on things. It's not cheap but I kinda have to... otherwise my gums go into mind numbing agonies when I'm gargling cold drinks and slurping ice cream. The 9 year old calls it "brain freeze".

Sounds nifty though. Still I have to ask... Should we be worried... that toothpaste can be used as a cheapie, makeshift polish? What's in those darn things? I mean, the stuff is supposed to go into our mouths. I know technically we are supposed to rinse and spit all of it out after brushing, some of it still manages to go down the food tunnel and into the digestive system. I'm hoping it's more like lipstick than arsenic in that regard. Anyway the kiddie version should be okay. I'm sure the 3 year old must have eaten at least 1 kilo of the stuff last year. She's still standing.

Still this could be immensely useful when going out station. I imagine MacGyver would approve although it doesn't say anywhere in this list that toothpaste can be converted into explosives. A little toothpaste trivia can be just the thing to pull out of the memory banks when one doesn't quite have all the benefits of home at hand. Unless of course, you forget to pack it in your case.


  1. Intresting fact, I bet the best one for this is the cheapest black and gold toothpaste (not gel). Might have to try this.

  2. Quite likely.
    Let me know how you go with your experiments.

  3. Sounds like gumption. Toothpaste also good for putting on green ant bites. It's what they use at school. My kids are good at leaving it in the backyard in case they get another green ant bite.

  4. What a great tip, Jillian! I must remember it.
    When I get green ant bites, I am in agony for a couple hours at least. My foot has been known to swell up too.


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