Introduction: 9 Unusual Uses for Toothpaste

Picture of 9 Unusual Uses for Toothpaste

Toothpaste. It keeps your teeth from rotting and falling out of your face. It makes you eligible for kisses you otherwise wouldn't qualify for. And it ensures that you drink your morning orange juice BEFORE brushing.

But it's got other uses. It can save you money, make you seem like a better roommate than you are, or rescue your TLC and Alanis Morissette CDs. Read on for some unusual uses of toothpaste. And if you've got a use for toothpaste that I didn't mention here, post it in the comments.

Step 1: Spackle Those Drywall Holes

Picture of Spackle Those Drywall Holes

It was 10:45, and my landlord was supposed to come around at 11:00 to do a final walkthrough of the apartment to determine if I would get back my sizeable security deposit. My place was so clean that the radiator and vertical slat blinds seemed oddly prominent, but there was still something off. I hadn't partied with Motley Crüe, I wasn't hoarding cats, and the burglars left surprisingly little damage once the broken window was cleaned up.

10:46. I'm wishing I had studied "Highlights for Children" more diligently while I waited to see my dentist. What's wrong with this picture?

Ohhhhhhh... there are a series of holes in the walls ranging in size from very tiny to small. Stupid picture frames, calendar nail, and curtain rods. Why didn't I realize that I would have to move out eventually and fill all of these holes? It's already 10:48?!

What to do what to do what to do... spackle. I need something spackly. Something white and pastey and... That's it! Toothpaste to the rescue. A quick dab here, a gentle smoosh there, and voilá! Handled.

11:15. Full deposit returned in exchange for my minty-fresh apartment. Cashier's check, you and I are going to the bank before the toothpaste dries.

Step 2: Phineas DeFogger

Picture of Phineas DeFogger

I am a terrible swimmer. I am scared of the water, and predatory sea creatures freak me out. So naturally I went scuba diving, uncertified, when I was 17. Besides abject terror, the biggest problem I had was with my mask fogging up like a strip mall Bikram yoga studio. At least I couldn't see the vicious clown fish and sea anemones trying to eat me whole.

Toothpaste can be used on a new glass mask* to remove any residue left over from the lens mounting or manufacturing process that would allow a buildup of blinding fog to ruin an otherwise delightful and terrifying dive. The fine abrasive in regular old white, non-gel toothpaste can be used to scrub off the residue. Just wet the inside of the mask, then scrub (with an old toothbrush, perhaps?) it out thoroughly. Rinse completely with warm water.

To test your recently-defogged mask, run the lens under cold water until it's nice and chilly. Take the mask into your hands like a third date, then breathe heavily and moistly into it. There shouldn't be any foggy spots. If you found some, repeat with the toothpaste until the mask is clean.

To keep the mask from fogging up in the future, use defogging solution, spit, or baby shampoo inside the mask. Now you'll see the menacing sponges before they manage to sneak up on you while you fumble with your regulator.




*Or pair of goggles. This tip works on regular old swimming goggles as well. But the ocean is far sexier than the black line at the bottom of a pool, so I focused on scuba masks. Sorry Michael Phelps.

Step 3: Unscuff Your Air Force Ones, Murphy Lee

Picture of Unscuff Your Air Force Ones, Murphy Lee

A fresh pair of clean kicks just make your day, don't they? They'll put some dip in your hips, some cut in your strut, and some glide in your stride. But the honeymoon fades fast when your fine pair of sneakers get scuff marks all around the foxing*. Your once proud gait is reduced to a miserable shuffle, all because you scuffed your shoe on a raised bit of curb.

Fear not, friends, because a little bit of toothpaste will right all wrongs. Just brush the side of your shoe with a little bit of toothpaste to take out those pernicious blemishes. With some elbow grease and some toothpaste, you'll be back to strolling and sauntering with sass.


*This trick works for white leather as well, not just the rubber foxing on your plimsolls.

Step 4: Clean Your Iron

Picture of Clean Your Iron

I hate ironing. I am vigilant in the laundry room, trying to pull out my button-downs while they're still warm in order to immediately get them onto a hanger. I'd rather hang things like crazy than have to pull out the board and the iron and the spray bottle. But sometimes I mess up the timing and my shirts and pants are Willy Loman rumpled. Even the iron-free ones.

Because my ironing skills are poor to mediocre, my iron sometimes gets gunky. Normally, I would let it collect grime and forget about it, but I had some extra toothpaste and a whimsical thought: maybe some toothpaste will clean this off. Sure enough, a little scrub with toothpaste and the iron is as good as new. (Which is great for those times when I'm thirty seconds late to collect my clothes from the dryer on a Sunday night, and one of my neighbors has placed my permanent press items unceremoniously into a pile on the folding counter.)

Step 5: Polish Jewelry

Picture of Polish Jewelry

The iron isn't the only thing that toothpaste will polish. Diamond rings so filthy they look like zirconia? Scrub em with some toothpaste and rinse. You'll be burning retinas in no time. Is your watch trying to tell you the time, but the bezel and band are so nasty that it looks like you're wearing a chunky bracelet, possibly made of felt or aged leather? Rub it down with a dry cloth and some toothpaste to knock off the dirt. Your Fossil won't be mistaken for a Rolex, but at least you'll know how late you're running.

Step 6: Shine Up Your Hog

Picture of Shine Up Your Hog

Continuing our shining kick, toothpaste will shine chrome, too. When riding your hog (pictured) through the mean streets of the San Francisco financial district, you'll sometimes get a little somethin'-somethin' on your pipes. Use a paper towel or soft cloth to rub on some toothpaste, then wipe it off. Your pipes will gleam, and you might even be more visible to the oblivious cars wanting to change lines through you and your bike.

Step 7: Clean the Sink

Picture of Clean the Sink

This is a use that everyone has probably come across at some point in their tooth-brushing lives.

When you drop a glob of toothpaste into the sink, you can rub it around to clean the area around the drain, the faucet, and the basin. The mess becomes the cleaning agent. This is awesome. I have been routinely complimented for how clean I keep my bathrooms, and this is the only reason. Toothpaste is literally at hand. No digging through cleaning products, no searching for a sponge, just my fingers and the toothpaste that I accidentally let fall off of my brush/dribble out of my mouth onto the faucet.

(For any gentlemen who brush their teeth and pee simultaneously, the toothpaste cleaning method works well if you happen to be startled mid-stream and splash a bit onto the rim of the bowl. Some toilet paper, a well-aimed bit of toothpaste-y spittle, and you can go much further between full-on cleanings of your bathroom.)

Step 8: Save CDs

Picture of Save CDs

Some of you kids may not realize it, but once upon a time there were these things called "CDs" and "DVDs". They would occasionally get scratched and cause the music or movies on them to skip. With a tube of toothpaste and some luck, it is possible to rescue a scratched disc.

Put a small dab of toothpaste onto the scratched side of the disc. With a soft, clean towel, rub the toothpaste over the entire disc in concentric circles, as though you were the needle on a record player*. Wipe any remaining toothpaste off with a slightly-damp towel. You could be listening to "Tubthumping" on repeat in no time.



*Ask your grandparents what a "record" is.




Step 9: Spot Treatment

Picture of Spot Treatment

Oh no! The big dance/meeting/presentation/date is tomorrow, and you have a zit blossoming like a third eye in the center of your forehead. Instead of ignoring it or popping it and hoping for the best, try this little trick with some toothpaste.

Put a dab of it onto the blemish before bedtime. The pimple should shrink in size and diminish in redness by morning so you can go about your day without resorting to bangs like that girl from The Ring or Justin Bieber.

(This is assuming that you aren't a chronic sufferer of acne who already has an arsenal of chemical weapons to destroy any whiteheads, blackheads, zits, pimples, spots, or blemishes that might dare to erupt on your face. Or that you don't have any aspirin.)

Comments

ggadget (author)2017-08-06

"Ask your grandparents what a record is"....lol

A Record is the best achievement in a field, such as the Olympics field of Archery. LOL ;-)

TradeBarter4Win (author)2017-08-06

Better to use crest or any other toxic tooth paste for anything other than brushing your teeth.

Make your own with soda powder, coconut oil and oregano oil.

johanx4 (author)TradeBarter4Win2017-08-06

Tooth pastes not only clean, but also leave a protective layer against tooth decay thanks to the fluoride that they have, so stop making your own tooth pastes at home.

Onlynamerica (author)johanx42017-08-07

It's cheaper to make your own toothpaste using natural ingredients and there is no scientific proof that fluoride prevents cavities, but some people like fluoride toothpaste for its neurotoxicity effects on the brain.

MariellenR (author)Onlynamerica2017-08-07

I look in people's mouths all day and I can tell immediately whether a person grew up with fluoridated water. There is no question that it's effective

Fluoridated water works from the inside and is built into the enamel, there is no peer reviewed study that I have seen that says it in toothpaste is safe or effective.

Is soda powder baking soda or baking powder or something else. If the latter, where is it sold?

Baking soda

Thanks

kasssa (author)TradeBarter4Win2017-08-06

Thanks for that tip!!! Any suggested proportions?

Ferntoe (author)2017-08-12

Great article! As a jeweler, I might try it on some second hand jewelry that can't be dunked into the sonic cleaner! Will pass on your note about defogging froggy lenses.

Suebee9197 (author)2017-08-08

I have used it on blue jeans with grass stains and on white shirts that have yellow stains in the armpit area.

RussellS8 (author)2017-08-07

10. Scrape off dried toothpaste from the sink and use it as those after-dinner mints!

Anne46 (author)RussellS82017-08-08

Noooooo!

luckyladyX2 (author)2017-08-07

It also works for carpet stains and the scummy film on inside of windshields

another oldie (author)2017-08-07

When we moved into a new (old) house some 15 years ago the only decent room in the place was the bathroom, re-furbished as a selling ploy.
One day our 4-year-old daughter apparently bumped a tile which promptly fell off. It was a day or two later when it fell off again and I realized that she had stuck it on with toothpaste; I was so proud of her initiative!

jeffclopp (author)2017-08-07

Toothpaste works great on small burns. If you burn yourself rub some toothpaste on the burn as quickly as possible and leave it. It will sooth the pain and heal the burn quickly also prevents it from scarring.

Zano64 (author)2017-08-07

You may also use the toothpaste to soften the pain from a slight burn on your skin, such as a finger.

Just apply a small quantity of toothpaste so as to cover the burn.

As it is fresh you will have the impression that the pain is quickly disappearing.

Of course the medic is there in case of a serious burn.

KingCronical (author)2017-08-07

No one mentioned to clean headlight covers on car as toothpaste de yellows and fills cracks cheaper the headlight polishers and way cleaner.. but i also use oven cleaner for really bad headlight covers then repolish with toothpaste dont wish to offend poor bugs taking there lives on night time drives... now they willingly go towards light... versus driving to hit them... not a bug fan....

wynirvine (author)2017-08-07

One use not mentioned is to use toothpaste when hard soldering jewellery and you need to protect something close to the place being soldered, coat it with toothpaste and wash off after you have soldered the part. Works like a charm and saves time cleaning and buffing the piece if you don't use toothpaste.!!

PunkRocketScience (author)2017-08-07

One use I didn't see listed above or in the comments below...
I use both the paste and gel as a masking fluid when spray painting cosplay props! Brush a layer on and paint. After the paint is dry, wipe off the bump and the layer below is exposed! Just don't let it sit for more than a day or so, or it becomes difficult to wipe off.

MadeByGloria (author)2017-08-07

Here's what NOT to do with toothpaste: Be helpful and clean the face shield on your husband's motorcycle helmet. OOOPS! (Hey, I was very young.)

CharlesD82 (author)2017-08-07

It's also very useful in removing water rings from furniture. Take a dab and rub it in a ciruclar pattern.

RobertS423 (author)2017-08-07

Also when your car headlights go yellow and mat, just use the toothpaste to polish it and shine it back to a new one !

der_fisherman (author)2017-08-07

Nice instructable, thanks for sharing.

Some are new to me, some are not.

If you would like a new one, I have used toothpaste to "shed heat" from pieces of metal (usually jewelry), so that one older repair/or joint is not damaged by the heat of a new one close to the other one....as heat travels fast over short distances in gold and silver....

Also, you can make your own thermal paste for PCs and the like, check here:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ6mQVnqNpw

Then you can post :- "10 or maybe 11 Unusual Uses for Toothpaste!"

Regards

Andy

PeterL243 (author)2017-01-02

You missed by far the most important (after brushing your teeth) use. Removing scratches from glass, especially TVs and monitors. It is absolutely astounding - take your TV, put a big gouge in it (generally, I find this happens without assistance if you have kids around). Scream loudly at the kids, and then pull out your toothpaste, fill the gouge with toothpaste, wipe off the residue to leave it smooth and the scratch is entirely removed. I've done this several times for several very bad scratches - it is amazing.

TheOldGrouch (author)PeterL2432017-08-06

I have found it to be easier (and less costly) to simply not have kids.

You could not have eyes or CDs. Not always kids as problems

Yep!!!

yomango (author)TheOldGrouch2017-08-06

Good thing your folks used toothbrush instead of not having you

jwzumwalt (author)yomango2017-08-06

When you brush your teeth in the morning, it is too late to use it as a global contraceptive :)

dbenedetto (author)TheOldGrouch2017-08-06

Amen!

Does that also work on reading glasses that are scratched?

I have used it on my reading glasses and scratched CD roms. It "improves" them but does not eliminate the scratches. It does not seem to work on DVD's because the data tracks require better resolution.

Drake88 (author)jwzumwalt2017-08-06

It does work, you just have to save the whitening toothpaste for when you are trying to fix a bad scratch - most whitening toothpastes have small bits of granular 'stuff' for abrasive. It can be anything from glass/sand to volcanic pumice. Some brands may also have chemicals designed to leech or bleach the dyes, stains, and smoke from teeth - these can sometimes do nasty things to a data disk, so you kinda have to experiment if you wish to try using the whitening toothpastes.

I usually use a toothpaste made for people who have poor gums. These have very little amounts of abrasives and nearly zero or the chemicals for removing stains and such. They may take longer to repair that disk, but they also will not ruin it, either.

Zestril (author)recycledgrandma2017-08-06

With reading or driving glasses only use if you don't have any coatings on them.

If your glasses go dark when in the Sun keep any abrasive away from them also if your glasses have the UV or anti-glare coatings or any coatings for that matter.

With glasses unless they are from the Dollar store go to your optometrist to repair as their is nothing worse than a dull spot in the middle of your glasses.

Their is another product that is quite cheap compared to toothpaste when quantities are compared and that is cutting polish for Automobiles, it can do all the above way better than toothpaste and comes in larger better sealing containers as well ;)

Not sure how well it works on your teeth though ?

Maybe some one will let me know ;)

isa_k (author)2017-08-06

So many comments, so little time. If it was already mentioned and answered, my apologies.

Toothpaste on swimming goggles/masks goes my attention, as I occasionally go snorkeling.

Wouldn't the minty "gasses" burn one's eyes? Or is there a non-minty type of tooth paste?

Drake88 (author)2017-08-06

Use caution when cleaning jewelry - some toothpastes can remove thin electroplated metals from the base metal.You can try it on a small area(like the inside of a ring) first and if there is no effect after rubbing on and washing the toothpaste off, you may be safe using it for cleaning that one piece.

Basically, never use if think you think your jewelry might be cheap, fakes, or the costume stuff.

mountainstick (author)2017-08-06

I used tooth paste on a popcorn ceiling at a hotel to hide the sword hit marks from a practice session. Worked great. Only its hard to find white tooth paste these days.

radharc (author)2011-04-03

Great Instructable! I used to run a used record/cd store, and toothpaste was an effective tool to remove scratches (I always used Pear Drops). I recommend rubbing from the center of the disc to the edge, rather than concentric circles, though. Turtle Wax also makes a good finishing step...

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)radharc2011-04-06

I've used Armor All too for finishing, but Turtle Wax is also a good product. DON'T use Future floor wax or the other floor wax that contains Future. It makes it nice and shiny, but the disc will no longer play.

I just got a new TV (my 20 year old POS finally crapped out). Then I had to update my DVD player because my fantastic old carousel didn't talk to the TV. Then we had to get a new Thing, I don't even know what it's called, for all the other thingies to plug into. (The last time I got one of these it was called an amp, where you plugged in all your components.) THEN we had to get a new cable box, and we got a dealie to read off flash drives and SD cards for all the crap we downloaded. And finally, we bodged in a way for the VCR to play (looks like sh*t now on the fancy-pants TV). The record player required a new pre-amp to plug into this amp-on-steroids, and now I can listen to my A-Ha and DuranDuranDuran records again. Woot! They sure sound great through the Polks.

Day after we finally got it all working, the next door neighbor came over and asked if we wanted his old TV coz he was going to go hi-def. We told him to expect to pay a lot more than just for the TV to upgrade his system.

Why do they keep changing things? It's not like the shows are getting any better. You'd think with all the sparkly new A/V stuff, they might show happier news on TV, play better music on the "radio", or have better shows on TV. But no, it's just more channels of crap to choose from. If I rub toothpaste on the remote control, will it spiff up the programming? Maybe I should rub toothpaste on the dudes in charge.

Drake88 (author)RaNDoMLeiGH2017-08-06

Heh. I don't even HAVE a TV anymore. I use my PC and it's monitor for watching the few shows I wish to waste time watching. I agree with you about the quality of TV shows, it seems like all the studios have their heads firmly placed where the sun no longer shines, because they keep trying the same old plot tactics to increase viewers - and then keep them watching.

I mostly watch British or other foreign murder mysteries or police shows now, the American studios cannot seem to figure out how to make a show interesting with repeating dialog or events from other shows. It's all copy, paste, and "Action!" for most American shows. American sitcoms make me want to throw things at the screen, so I quit watching those years ago.

I've saved SO much more money than I ever realized - by Not "having to buy" all the above-mentioned items. You even mention that "the shows are not getting any better." Our TV (which I literally do not even know how to turn on) has this amazing thing called an "Off button." Works like a charm. I make my husband use it every time he leaves the house. If it were up to me we would not even have a TV. Why watch fake things happening when you could go out and do a lot more exciting things yourself? (Like finding other uses for all that money you're saving...) OK, rant's over.

Well said!

Smart person. Don't you especially enjoy seeing a television being the main attraction of a living room and then there's not a book insight.

I have hearing difficulties. It drives me crazy when I visit someone who has a TV in the background, always on. I hear about half of the real conversation

?

No Books?!?

TheOldGrouch (author)RaNDoMLeiGH2017-08-06

"Things" and "dealies"! Darn, it's so hard to keep up with all the technical terms these days.

I believe those "Things" are called "Speakers" or a "Sound System".

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