9 Great Uses for Toothpaste Besides Brushing Your Teeth

Toothpaste is great for cleaning teeth, but there are many more practical uses for it that you may not have thought about trying. Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock

A lot of people see toothbrushing as a chore (especially when trying to brush a dog's teeth), but the truth is that it's a whole lot more enjoyable than it used to be. Back in the day, ancient Egyptians used powders made from things like crushed eggshells, and the Romans even opted for toothpaste and mouthwash made with urine. Fortunately, modern toothpaste products started coming together in a more palatable form in the 1800s, and since then collective society has generally enjoyed fewer cavities and better dental hygiene as a result.

Although toothpaste was developed for the express purpose of improving oral hygiene, like many products it has since been shown to have some serious side potential as well. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use regular old toothpaste (in white paste form — not gel or some other froufrou option, like charcoal) that have absolutely nothing to do with those pearly whites.

1. Eliminate Coffee and Water Stains

Most people have coffee stains scraped or polished off their teeth at their dental cleaning appointments. These stains would undoubtedly be much worse without daily toothpaste use. The next time you spill coffee, water or some other staining liquid on a table, just squeeze some white toothpaste onto a clean rag. Rub it into the stain and scrub gently. The stain should come out completely or significantly lessen. If that's not quite getting the job done, try lightly scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristled toothbrush. When working with wood furniture, be sure to test an inconspicuous spot first, just in case the finish doesn't work well with the toothpaste.

2. Make the Shower Sparkle

Hard water and other ick factors often turn the shower area into an unsightly mess. Add some toothpaste to a clean washcloth and scrub away soap scum on the shower door or tub to cut through the unsightly soap and water residue.

3. Remove Nail Polish

Whether you're all out of bottled nail polish remover or just aren't a big fan of acetone, consider using toothpaste to remove that past-its-prime paint. To accomplish this, get a soft toothbrush or nail brush. Apply some white paste, then work it into the nail area in a circular motion. This should cause the polish to start peeling. Rinse with warm water and repeat until the nail polish is all gone.

4. Refresh Hair Care Tools

Hair care tools like curling irons and straighteners quickly develop buildup from all that exposure to hair products. Get them squeaky clean by using a soft cloth to rub toothpaste into the appliance (make sure it's unplugged and cool first, please). Then, wipe it down with another clean cloth and some water, if needed. This should get rid of all that built-up hairspray, mousse, dry shampoo and whatnot.

5. Use as a De-stinker

Baking soda is a major ingredient in many kinds of toothpaste. Since it's a fabulous deodorizer, it only makes sense that baking soda would help toothpaste eliminate nasty smells. So, the next time you chop an onion or have a plastic food storage container that still seems to smell like its last occupant, scrub some toothpaste into the affected area. Rinse and repeat as needed.

6. Patch Holes

Toothpaste is designed to prevent holes in teeth, but apparently it's also good at the occasional patch job. The next time you're all out of spackle or caulk, use a bit of toothpaste to fill the odd nail or screw hole. Using a cotton swab or something similar, simply dab a little on the hole until it's filled in. If it's a teeny-tiny hole, place some paste on the end of a toothpick and fill it that way. Be sure to push the paste in as far as you can to adequately fill the space. Next, grab something flat like a scraper or knife to flatten it out on the surface. Allow it to dry for at least several hours, then paint over it (if needed).

7. Clean Piano Keys

Piano keys can go from bright white to dingy yellow over time. Rejuvenate those ivories (or plastic keys) with a little bit of toothpaste. Once again, use only plain, white toothpaste. No one wants turquoise piano keys! Apply some paste to a clean cloth and gently scrub the keys. Then, dip a flannel cloth or cheesecloth into whole milk (the lactic acid helps to removes stains) and wipe them clean.

8. Brighten White Shoes

Cleaning white shoes may seem like an uphill battle since they get dirty in a hurry, but a little bit of toothpaste can breathe new life into even the dingiest kicks. Using a white paste that contains baking soda, squirt some toothpaste onto a soft-bristled toothbrush. Gently scrub in circles directly on the stains. Let the paste soak into the shoes for at least 10 or 15 minutes, then wipe it off the shoes using a clean, damp sponge or towel. Repeat as needed until the shoes are back to bright white.

9. Buff Out Scratches in Car Paint

Car buffs spend a lot of money on their vehicles, but this hack is as cheap as they come. The next time your car is scratched, get rid of the offending mark with toothpaste. This may or may not work, depending on how deep the scratch is, but it won't hurt. To do this, clean the area with soap and water, then dry with a soft, cotton towel. Next, rub the toothpaste into the scratched section. Allow the paste to sit for about 10 minutes. Using a clean towel, carefully rub the toothpaste out. With any luck, the scratch should be gone!

Now That's Important

It's a common myth that toothpaste is good for cleaning jewelry, but it's actually too corrosive for many metals and gemstones. Opt for a few drops of dish soap in a warm bowl of water instead.

Original article: 9 Great Uses for Toothpaste Besides Brushing Your Teeth

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