Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

author
BobH160 made it!(author)2017-07-17

I get problems with my thumb slipping on my trackball mouse, rubbing toothpaste on my thumb then washing it off will take away the smoothness.

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MichaelH820 made it!(author)2017-03-19

As a landlord, I wouldnt appreciate the toothpaste in the wall. A for effort but lets just say I would be deducting some money depending on how many holes i needed to remove toothpaste from and spackle with compound and repaint.

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DamienM11 made it!(author)2016-03-19

Apparently you can also use it to clean your teeth!

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Logan8435 made it!(author)2017-03-05

lol

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giz49 made it!(author)2016-11-20

I have no teeth anymore so all of these ideas have actually saved me money. I have used toothpaste to clean my jewelry for years. Try it! Use a old toothbrush in doing this, rinse your jewelry & brush at the same time, then your done!

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radharc made it!(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...

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RaNDoMLeiGH made it!(author)2011-04-06

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.

author
lovethebackwoods made it!(author)2016-03-13

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.

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

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.

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gabrielle.forshaw made it!(author)2017-01-22

?

No Books?!?

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gabrielle.forshaw made it!(author)2017-01-22

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

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uksize36 made it!(author)2017-01-09

Try it on your subs anus for a slow warming effect!

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PeterL243 made it!(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.

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offseid made it!(author)2016-11-13

Haha! That's fun and informative. Thank you!

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kohenkatz made it!(author)2016-03-13

The best unusual use I have found for toothpaste is as treatment for Mosquito and other bug bites. It stops the terrible itching like almost nothing else does, even specialized anti-itch treatments. I told a camp nurse about it a number of years ago and now she swears by it.

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catgoil made it!(author)2016-11-13

Awesome and HUGE THANKS! Living in the south, the skeeters are BIGGER as are ALL of the bugs. The itches just don't get quenched by ANYTHING. Now .. just have to REMEMBER the next time a bite sets it to grab my tube of toothpaste! Delighted :-D

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

I have also had this experience , my huwsband stepped into an ant's nest while working outside so I bought a special oitment. That ointment didn't do a darn thing. He couldn't believe how quickly the toothpaste took the itch away.

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wgriffith26 made it!(author)2014-06-01

believe it or not, this may sound crazy bt i know it works firsthand. Okay, so when my oldest daughter was 3 she drew all over our brand new flat screen tv, wall, and 3 day old laminate flooring. I freaked, her dad was gonna be livid. So out of sheer panic of having no cleaners on hand, i grabbed my toothpaste, the good ol original white Crest. Rubbed it on the TV screen, floor, and wall area w my fingers. Left it on while i ran and grabbed a wash rag, kind of buffed n a circular motion... BAM! ALL of the permenent marker was GONE! ive tried it several times since then and its worked everytime. It can remove perm marker off any hard surface ive tried. Washer, dryer, floors, walls, tv screens, computer screens, ipad screens, refrigerator, etc.

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catgoil made it!(author)2016-11-13

Cool!

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

Busy little girl. Is she an artist now?

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catgoil made it!(author)2016-11-13

Not only were these tips brilliant, but the writer's voice - hilarious and FUN! Thanks a ton for great tips written with wonderful wit!

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Tbeeps made it!(author)2016-11-08

coool

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EvaO made it!(author)2015-04-09

We moved into an apartment where someone had used the toothpaste-as-spackling tip. A week or so after we moved in, I began finding these little white balls all around the floor near the walls. I inspected the walls and found dozens of little holes that had once held the now dried toothpaste. Works for you, but not much for the next occupant!

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

Hilarious, I'm laughing out loud.

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Pravus made it!(author)2011-04-03

Another great way to prevent goggles from fogging (which I use on paintball goggles and would only assume would work for diving goggles as well) is to take paraffin wax or an old birthday candle and draw an X on the inside, then take a cloth and rub it into the goggles in little circles to coat the entire inside with a fine layer of wax.. it doesn't last forever and wears off quicker in high heat but it works amazingly, I've done it with paintball goggles (which would be the same as ski goggles) my glasses (because those fog bad under goggles as well) bathroom mirrors (for kicks to test it).. First time I tried it I held my glasses over a pot of boiling water and they didn't fog up or collect any vapors at all.

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raja681 made it!(author)2011-05-30

i make the x then bring a hammer down in the middle
seems to work well no more fogging

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

You are all making my day. Such wonderful sense of humour. Thank you :).

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Nostalgic+Guy made it!(author)2015-10-22

I used to do that with my motorcycle visors years ago, it also works well if you coat the outside, rain runs off like water off a duck great for screens to, I had a full touring fairing and a few minutes before a long ride with a tea candle kept in one of the storage compartments and an old T-shirt kept everything clear of water and fog.

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edisonofthefuture made it!(author)2011-09-19

thats pretty smart i was just thinking about this knda stuff but with turtle wax super hard shell 12 month lasting. RE: "pravus" username is that from the chronicle of vladimir todd?

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TorreyBlackmon made it!(author)2014-11-17

Does it work on vhs tapes and could u use it to clean inside vhs player?

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neilcp made it!(author)2016-03-13

yeah... you first brush your teeth with the paste and then just spew the wad thru the tape insert slot on the VHS player...

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

Oh my gosh lol.

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Jilly58 made it!(author)2016-03-13

It won't work on VHS tapes as far as I am aware, because the problems with tape are usually magnetic, not optical. Rubbing with toothpaste will not change whatever magnetic hiccups have caused your problem. If the tape has obvious dirt on it, you could try a solvent to remove it, but I'm not sure what solvents might damage the tape (Do NOT use acetone!) If you want to try it on a tape (one with visible gunk), I would try Methylated Spirits or Ethyl Alcohol because these will leave the least residue. The reason toothpaste can work on CDs and DVDs is because it can 'polish out' small scratches in the surface that might be stopping the laser-reader from properly detecting the pits in the surface.

As for the VHS Player, what do you want to clean? A vacuum cleaner can remove a lot of the dust you'll find (Use a small one if possible, not a powerful house one.) If it is the head you are concerned about, again use Ethyl Alcohol or something similar. Do NOT use anything abrasive like toothpaste. The 'gap' in a VHS head is very fine and even a fine abrasive could damage it. The alcohol should remove any deposit on the head. I did this a number of times over the years and, in almost every case, it helped. (In one case we decided that the VHS player was just past it.) A note about alcohols: any alcohol that has water in it (spirits, etc) could cause problems because the dissolved substances will be left behind and can clog the heads, plus water in any form is not recommended for the insides of electronic equipment. I don't know about rubbing alcohol, but it probably has a water content, too. You need something that is essentially ONLY alcohol. Methylated Spirits isn't 'pure', but it is a mixture of 2 alcohols: methyl and ethyl. At one stage, I asked a chemist for some ethyl alcohol, and when he heard what it was for, he sold it to me. Things stronger than alcohols, like acetone or petrol, are not recommended because they may do damage. I'm not suggesting kerosene or turpentine because these can leave oily residues behind. But if the alcohols don't work, and you don't care if the equipment is damaged, try whatever solvent you like. I was an electronics technician for many years, and the one we used was isopropyl alcohol.

Hope this helps (and isn't too long), Antony Wells

author
nisoe made it!(author)2011-07-31

also you can just spit in them if you brushed your teeth at morning (diver trick!)
IN WORKS!!

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

So funny lol, although true also lol.

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cabeza321 made it!(author)2016-03-13

probably because of the toothpaste you used to brush before spitting in your goggles/mask ?

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luvchocolate4 made it!(author)2012-05-08

Sorry, but... the zit thing is just another beauty myth, it really just irritates the blemish further. The best spot treatment is to leave it alone.

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Mauigerbil made it!(author)2012-08-24

Sorry Ms. Smarty pants but this works like a charming Big Macintosh. I tried leaving a zit alone and it didn't go away. It got bigger. I put toothpaste on it overnight and it went away like Discord. Not a brony? IT WORKED WELL. Don't diss somebody that tried it themselves. The best motto for Instructables and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Screw YOLO.

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

Good for you. Hilarious, love your sense of humour lol and your straight forward honesty.

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casugi made it!(author)2016-03-13

It only works with white toothpaste, NOT gel. I've used this trick for years too. Works great on most pimples.

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skylane made it!(author)2016-03-13

The gel doesn't work well on little holes in the walls either... ;)

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wilgubeast made it!(author)2012-05-09

Scroll down to the "Zits" paragraph. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52086

Audrey Kunin, MD, seems to know her business.

author
namora made it!(author)2016-03-13

I haven't tried tooth paste for this so I can't address the permanence factor but I have used another common household product, scouring powder, for this problem and can attest that Ajax sets up quickly and is durable and paintable. I reccomend Ajax because it is white.

author
DougM2 made it!(author)2016-03-13

Please use the correct product for repairing walls. Otherwise your passing a problem on which will show up one hole at a time (not all at once for an easy repair and repaint - instead it will be fill two holes and touch-up paint, oh, then 2 weeks later fill two more holes and touch-up paint - on and on - been there, got paid to repeatedly go back because a tenant cheated and hid the problems rather than repair them correctly before they moved out).

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skylane made it!(author)2016-03-13

I filled a .32 cal hole in a friends wall with Colgate brand white toothpaste. It was still undectible after 12 years.

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monetgardening made it!(author)2016-04-12

LOL!!

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ClintM11 made it!(author)2016-03-13

@DougM2; I had the same thought. It is dishonest to use tooth paste to hide the damage. It's not a permanent repair.

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namora made it!(author)2016-03-13

Tooth paste also works well to clear the fogging due to weathering of auto headlight covers. Ite processes isn't effortless but worth the time considering the cost of replacement.

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joeslops made it!(author)2011-04-05

Interesting uses, some of them never crossed my mind honestly.

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lovethebackwoods made it!(author)2016-03-13

They crossed your mind dishonestly?

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