I aim for natural and safe when it comes to choosing products for our homestead. I have chosen not to use toothpaste as toothpaste in our home because many contain sodium fluroride (a by product of aluminum manufacturing and highly toxic), Triclosan (a pesticide), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a chemical that accumulates in the heart, liver, brain, and lungs), and DEA (which disrupts hormone functions). I’ll let you go read your toothpaste bottle and come back to better ways to use up the stuff…
So toothpaste for dental care… not safe. Toothpaste for other uses around the house… totally okay. It’s like Coke. I don’t drink it, but it beats all at cleaning a chalkboard.
How are we going to use up that bottle that you no longer want in your bathroom? We are going to find other uses for it (please only use paste for these ideas, not gel). Such as…
#1 Make Your Car Headlights Shine
This is the one that spurred on this post. I just finished cleaning my car headlights because days will be getting shorter before we know it and they weren’t throwing off much light anymore. All you have to do to clean your headlights with toothpaste is brush them with an old toothbrush just like you would your teeth. Tiny circles. Then wipe off the majority of the paste before rinsing with a hose so it doesn’t drip toothpaste all over your car’s finish.
#2 Clean Crayon off Walls
Back in our renting days, we had done a final cleaning and painting of our apartment because we were moving the next morning. Wouldn’t you know that that was the first time my son ever thought drawing on the walls was a good idea. Maybe it was the newly painted white surface calling to him. Red and black crayon covered one of the walls of his room. I tried washing with dish soap (I mean Crayola is washable, right?). The crayon texture was gone, but the color remained. I called Crayola and apparently every color is washable, except black and red. Doesn’t that just figure. I berated them that they should say Mostly Washable on the carton. Either way, I had an apartment inspection in just a few hours and I wasn’t about to lose my deposit. A gentle scrub with toothpaste removed the stain left behind from the crayon. This may remove some of the shine from higher gloss wall paints, so it’s best to use it on flat or eggshell paint finishes.
#3 Whiten Your Piano Keys
This is one of the first cleaning things I ever did with toothpaste. My husband got me a gorgeous player piano on craigslist and the keys were very grimy and yellowed. I figured ivory is much like teeth, so I went and grabbed a cheap tube of whitening toothpaste. Using a child’s toothbrush I brushed every key then wiped off the excess toothpaste with a clean rag and followed up with a vinegar rinse (1 part white vinegar; 2 parts water). They sparkled and most of the yellowing disappeared. I think doing it a few times over the course of the month would probably get them back to white, but I have kids that play with sticky fingers, so I didn’t bother.
#4 Remove Scale from Your Iron
You know how sometimes you are ironing and the iron seems to drag? It’s because minerals from your water are accumulating on your iron’s surface. Scrub your cool and unplugged iron with some toothpaste on a rag and the minerals will lift off. Rinse with water and dry immediately so that residue from your rinsing water doesn’t stick.
#5 Defog Mirrors and Goggles
Is fogging a problem for you? I hate when the bathroom mirror fogs after showers and my husband and kids are always complaining about their ski goggles fogging up. Buff these surfaces with a little bit toothpaste (don’t rinse) and they won’t fog anymore. Be sure to use adult toothpaste for this one, since children’s toothpaste may contain sweeteners that causes the surface to get sticky.
#6 Remove Rust and Hard Water Stains
We get hard water stains on the porcelain around our bathroom sink drain. We also occasionally get rust around the bolts of the toilet when the temperatures spike during the summer. An old toothbrush and some toothpaste gets the stains to lift easily. I usually prefer vinegar for bathroom cleaning, but it just lacks the power to remove these stains.
#7 Get Rid of Water Rings
I didn’t care much about water rings until two things happened. First, someone (who will stay anonymous, but knows who he is) put a glass of milk on top of my player piano on a hot day. Second, we remodeled the kitchen with gorgeous handmade oak counter tops and people have grown accustomed to putting things on it like they did when we had linoleum. To clean water rings, buff the area with a bit of toothpaste on a clean rag. Rinse with a damp cloth. Let the area dry completely before using furniture polish.
#8 Clean Scuffs from Leather
This works for all leather items from shoes, to purses, and even on furniture. Rub toothpaste on the leather with a soft cloth and rinse with a damp cloth. I love using toothpaste to clean the grass stains from my kids’ sneakers.
#9 Revitalize Your Plastic Patio Furniture
My patio furniture looks gross every spring. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if I remembered to store them out of the elements every fall and winter, but I don’t. Not only do they get that black gook staining, they become powdery so you end up with a white bum when you sit on them. Well, that’s just not attractive. Scrub the patio furniture with a scrubbing brush and a line of toothpaste. You can use a toothbrush to get in the nooks and crannies. Rinse well. Rubbing a thing coconut oil over them after cleaning will help them stay cleaner for longer.
#10 Clean Your Refrigerator Seal
My fridge gets so gross because I live with boys. Other people who dwell with boys will totally get it. I love them, but even right out of the shower, they manage to leave their mark all over the house. Because our refrigerator handle seems to be purely decorative and they open the door using the side of the door, the seal in that area gets grimy fast. Don’t even get me started about the things spilled on the top seal. I’m not even sure how that happens, but it does. Rub the seals with some toothpaste and rinse clean and they will be white again.
#11 Fill Nail Holes
Yes, you could go out a buy putty, but toothpaste is cheaper and I already have it sitting in my cleaning closet. Just rub the toothpaste over the hole with your finger, pushing a bit, and it will fill the hole right in. Don’t worry, toothpaste is paintable.
#12 Polish Your Silver and Chrome
I don’t have much that is real silver. I’m a minimalist sort of girl. We do have some nice silverware that we pull out for special occasions. If it needs a little polishing, I buff it gently with some toothpaste and it sparkles again. This also works on jewelry, but I urge you to go to a real jeweler if it’s an expensive piece or it has a lot of sentimental value. Your inexpensive silver earrings are fine though. While you’re on a polishing kick, do a quick once over on your bathroom faucets. You’ll see the best results on your tub spout where water collects and causes scale.
So now that you know that toothpaste has the ability to remove rust stains, polish car headlights, and clean your home from top to bottom, you might be hesitant to put the stuff in your mouth. I don’t blame you. I’ve got some natural dental care alternatives that you might prefer to use.