When Michelangelo looked at a slate of rock, the artist understood the potential beauty inside what others saw as a simple hunk of granite. Similarly, when DIYers look at a tube of toothpaste, these arts-and-crafts artisans see opportunities, hacks and new ways to innovate everyday tasks and objects. These 10 unusual and surprising ways to use toothpaste are evidence that everything — from salt to lemons — has a second act.
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1. Stain Removal
Not only is toothpaste brilliant at removing stains from our teeth, it turns out that it's an effective general stain remover also. Toothpaste is a gentle abrasive that can clean up crayons and markers from walls, countertops, clothing and, our favorite, sneakers. Check out our step-by-step tutorial on using toothpaste to rehab an old pair of shoes!
Among toothpaste's many little-known super powers is its ability to cause moisture to dry away to nothing, which makes toothpaste an effective topical acne agent. Toothpaste has been used as a home remedy for pimples for decades because many pastes contain drying compounds like baking soda, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Bonus hack: This toothsome trick also works with healing bruises faster.
Toothpaste polishes our teeth until they're pearly white. So it makes sense toothpaste can also polish other things. It's a mild abrasive that can make quick work of stainless steel surfaces, piano keys, jewelry, and plastic containers!
4. Repair Holes in Walls
It's a wonder that we don't have a tube of toothpaste in every drawer! You can also use toothpaste as an affordable alternative to spackle and fill in small holes in your drywall. Be sure to use the paste-style toothpaste and not the gel varieties. We recommend not using this hack to fill any holes larger than an eighth-inch, but nail and screw holes left by wall hangings and picture frames are perfect candidates for a good, ole pasting.
5. Alleviating Pain
If you're looking to relieve the itch and irritation of bug bites and poison ivy stings without the harsh use of chemicals or medications, then try rubbing a dab of toothpaste into the affected area. Toothpaste is a natural astringent, and it can be used to both reduce swelling and soothe inflammation.
6. Buffing Scratches
Because of toothpaste's mildly abrasive nature, it can be used as a delicate sanding tool. In fact, toothpaste is the equivalent of a super-fine sheet of sandpaper that catches imperfections on exteriors and wears away uneven surfaces. While it won't be any use in sanding your deck, toothpaste is great for smartphone screens, watch faces, DVDs, SD cards and some small scratches on your car's paint job.
7. Clean Your Sink and Mirror
Cleaning our teeth and mouth in the morning is frequently a messy endeavor. When bits of toothpaste fall into the sink, take the opportunity to wipe your basin clean! Bits of last night's dinner on the mirror from flossing? No prob, Bob! Clean them off with a bit of toothpaste. Bonus hack: Buffing the bathroom mirror with a bit of toothpaste before a shower actually prevents fog from forming. So you won't have to wait for the steam to dissipate before you primp!
8. Hanging Picture Frames
Is there anything that is more insufferable than trying to evenly hang a picture frame by yourself? Well, you're never alone when you have a tube of toothpaste! Get those stunning family portraits straight as a rod by putting little dabs of toothpaste on the frame hooks. The toothpaste leaves marks on the wall, so you exactly where to mount your frame. No hooks? No problem! Just lay a bead of toothpaste along the top of the frame (backside, clearly).
9. Cleaning Up After Coffee
Ahhh … coffee, dirt, mud, hot brown work water — whatever you call it, the blessedly-brewed bean is a morning ritual for millions of Westerners. But ask any devotee about the one thing that annoys them most about coffee, and they'll probably serve you up a piping-hot tale about a stain. Whether it's coffee stains on teeth, stains on mugs or the little brown rings coffee cups leave everywhere they sit, toothpaste can remove them all. Bonus hack: You can also use toothpaste to remove water rings from soda cans, tumblers or anything else that may leave a wet mark on hardwood flooring or wood surfaces.
10. Hand Deodorizing
Let's face it; our hands touch a lot of stinky, smelly things. Regardless if it's a three-day old scent of garlic or an unidentifiable funk from the recycling bin, washing our hands with soap and toothpaste will remove strong smells. Bonus hack: This little toothpaste trick can also deodorize Tupperware and baby bottles! See our step-by-step tutorial for details.