Sure it whitens, brightens and prevents cavities, but there are more uses for toothpaste than you'd believe possible. We've compiled tubes and tubes worth of ideas to amaze and amuse you! Better yet, you'll even find many of them useful.
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. Also be sure to check for toothpaste coupons, because we have plenty! Get the note pad ready: here are 33 unconventional uses for toothpaste.
1. Baby Bottles. Remove that sour-milk-smell baby bottles get by scrubbing them with a water-and-toothpaste mixture. Rinse very thoroughly or toss the bottles into the dishwasher.
2. Carpet Stains. Squeeze toothpaste directly onto the carpet stain and scrub it with an old toothbrush. Then rinse and repeat the process until the stain disappears. For truly stubborn or large stains, like vomit from aging cats, you might need to go with a professional carpet-cleaning product.
3. Cell Phone Screens. Unprotected mobile phone screens become hopelessly scratched over time. No problem. Lightly rub the screen with a touch of toothpaste and your finger. Rinse with a damp cloth and dry, but be sure to not get your phone too wet.
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. Use a basic toothpaste without bleaching agents for this.
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 rinse 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, especially for high-gloss paints.
6. Leather. 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. Just be sure to use a toothpaste that is free of bleaching and whitening agents.
7. Linoleum Scuffs. Scrub scuff marks with toothpaste and a dry cloth until no residue remains. This also works for floorboards and drywall.
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 piano looks in the end.
9. Patio Furniture. Apply some elbow grease, a brush and a mixture of toothpaste and water on your outdoor furniture. Use a teeth-whitening paste on white furniture for the perfect shine.
10. Silver and Brass. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub lightly with just a dab of paste. Rinse thoroughly and polish with a dry, soft cloth. Dry again and polish. For heavy-duty grunge, apply paste and let it soak overnight. Caution: never apply toothpaste to pearls as the grit will remove the shiny finish.
11. Tennis Shoes. Use a brush to rub toothpaste onto the scuffed soles of athletic shoes. Wipe with a damp cloth and let dry. If the shoes are white, use a whitening toothpaste for added brightness.
12. Bathroom Sinks. Next time you drop a glob of toothpaste into the sink, don't rinse it down, scrub it around (with an old toothbrush you don't use). The natural abrasive works like other cleansers and deodorizes the drain at the same time.
13. Blemish Cream. Seriously though! It helps reduce the redness and draws out infection. Plain white pastes work best for this purpose. To avoid everyone seeing you with a huge white dot on your face, apply right before bed and let it sit overnight. For sensitive skin, tea tree oil mixed with witch hazel also reduces blemishes.
14. Bruises. This remedy is a godsend for chronic klutzes. Before heading off to bed, apply a mixture of toothpaste and 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.
15. Bug Bites. For mosquito, ant and other small bug bites, apply toothpaste to sooth itching and cool the skin. You can also apply paste to bee stings, but seek medical assistance if you experience shortness of breath or other serious symptoms.
16. Burns. 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.
17. Chrome. Do those pesky 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.
18. Diamonds. 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.
19. Hair Gel. Toothpaste contains the same water-soluble polymers found in many hair gels. In a pinch, it can serve the same purpose (if you don't mind smelling minty). Toothpaste also is a great stick-um for baby barrettes.
20. 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.
21. 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 Jon Hamm! Well, maybe.
22. Nails. Use toothpaste to scrub up those nails! We're talking the nails on your fingers and toes; not the ones you pound into walls. 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.
23. Skin Rashes. For closed-skin rashes, avoid itching and apply toothpaste to allow it to cool down the skin. Please note toothpaste should not be applied to skin rashes that have open sores.
24. 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 them again!
25. 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.
26. DVDs and CDs. Remove shallow scratches and smudges from discs by applying a thin coating of toothpaste 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.
27. Nail Holes. Toothpaste has long been known as the poor-man's caulking agent for unsightly nail holes. If your walls are painted, you can tint the paste with food coloring or eye shadow to better match the wall. This method also works well in holes left by hanging-plant or speaker hooks, particularly on textured ceilings.
28. Auto Scratches. Scratch removers are expensive but toothpaste can hide minor car damage for just cents. Apply a dab of toothpaste to a damp sponge and rub in a circle, then wipe with a soft cloth.
29. 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.
30. Goggles. You'll never need to buy expensive goggle-defogger gels again. Rub a small spot of toothpaste into each lens of your goggles and rinse thoroughly. Don't rub too hard, however, or the abrasive properties of toothpaste could scratch the lenses.
31. Headlights. 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.
32. Skunk-Spray Deodorizer. Next time your dog (or cat) 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. Note: this process won't be easy, but fluoride does soak up a majority of the stench.
33. Teeth. Okay, so we lied in the headline about not mentioning your teeth. But 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. Happy brushing!