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10 clever uses for toothpaste: Clean teeth are just the tip of the iceberg

white toothpaste tube with mint leaves in green background - 10 clever uses for toothpaste

From fixing footwear to polishing metals, here are some unconventional ways to use that tube of white paste in your bathroom

Toothpaste – it’s for cleaning your teeth, right? Well, yes and no. It might have been formulated with the sole purpose of keeping your gnashers whiter than white, but there are actually lots of potential uses for toothpaste that go far beyond rudimentary oral hygiene.

It might surprise you to learn that the tube of minty paste sitting around your bathroom sink is actually a multipurpose household wonder solution, up there with the likes of vinegar and WD-40. And while it’s probably not a great idea to use it for cooking or for lubricating bicycle components, there’s certainly no shortage of surprising things it can do.

The mildly abrasive ingredients, which often include chemicals commonly found in household cleaning products, can lift dirt and grime from more than just your molars. Here are a few surprising ways you can put your toothpaste to work, from cleaning shoes to rejuvenating dull jewellery.

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Uses for toothpaste: Cleaning shoes

Mucky midsoles can make even a relatively new pair of sneakers look grubby and tired. Dust and dirt can quickly accumulate on the rubber or foam, leaving it discoloured and dull, especially if your shoes are white.

Applying a small amount of toothpaste to an old toothbrush and giving the problem areas a good scrub is a great way to break down the dirt and get your shoes looking fresh and bright again… and with a nice minty smell to boot.

You can also use toothpaste to fix scuffs and scrapes on leather footwear. Just work a small amount into the affected area with a soft cloth and then buff it clean with a fresh one.

Uses for toothpaste: Removing limescale

Unsightly limescale making your taps look grubby? Before you go splashing out on an expensive specialist cleaning agent, try applying a bit of toothpaste, rubbing it in and leaving it to work its magic for an hour or so.

Once the toothpaste has had time to get to work, simply wash it away with water, giving the affected areas a good scrub in the process.

Uses for toothpaste: Polishing metal

Some metals are prone to tarnishing over time, but toothpaste can help to restore them. Whether it’s copper, silver or some other metal, scrubbing with some toothpaste (not gel), water and an old toothbrush can help bring back the shine. If you find a once-over with the toothpaste doesn’t bring the results you’d hoped for, simply rinse and repeat.

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Uses for toothpaste: Marking walls

Hanging pictures, shelves and the like isn’t the most advanced of DIY tasks, but it can still feel daunting for those who lack practical skills.

One ingenious cheat code you can use is to put a spot of toothpaste on the back of whatever it is that you’re hanging, in line with where the fixings will be. Simply press it onto the wall to transfer the toothpaste onto the hanging surface, and you’ll be able to see exactly where you need to put your screws. The best part? The excess paste can simply be wiped away without leaving a trace.

Uses for toothpaste: Removing water marks

Water marks from cups and mugs don’t look great on wooden furniture, but they’re surprisingly easy to remove. Of course, there are special products you can buy to get the job done, but we would suggest giving the toothpaste method a shot before you spend any additional money.

Get a clean cloth and apply a pea sized amount of white toothpaste. Gently work the paste into the stain, moving the cloth in a circular motion until it begins to disappear. Once the water mark is gone completely, you can remove any excess toothpaste using a dry paper towel.

hand cleaning iron with towel - 10 clever uses for toothpaste

Uses for toothpaste: Cleaning the iron

Over time, you might find that your iron’s base plate has become dirty. It might even be leaving unpleasant residue on your clean clothes.

The abrasives in toothpaste can help to loosen and remove this buildup, so get a small dollop and rub it all over the plate using a rag. Now simply clean the paste off using a damp cloth – with any luck, it will come right off taking the mess with it.

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Uses for toothpaste: Cleaning mugs

Toothpaste removes tea and coffee stains from teeth, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to learn that it can do much the same for your mugs.

Plant compounds called tannins found in tea and coffee are notorious for leaving brown stains behind, but by cleaning affected mugs using some toothpaste and good old-fashioned elbow grease, you should be able to remove them, or at least reduce their appearance.

dirty mugs from an aerial view on a grey surface - 10 clever uses for toothpaste

Uses for toothpaste: Prevent fogging

Wait – before you spend hundreds of pounds on an expensive heated mirror for your bathroom, consider this: you can achieve the same anti-fogging effect using something that’s already right there on your bathroom shelf.

That’s right, not only can toothpaste clean, descale and polish various household odds and ends, it can also keep your mirror mist-free. Just get a small amount on a paper towel, rub it all over the mirror, wipe it clean and enjoy fog-free grooming, even after a steamy bath or shower.

Uses for toothpaste: Removing smells from hands

Toothpastes are designed to neutralise nasty smells in the mouth, but they can do the same thing for hands, too. Perhaps you’ve been chopping garlic or using a particularly pungent cleaning product. Plain old soap might not be sufficient to remove the smell entirely, but washing your hands with a blob of toothpaste should do the trick.

This is partly due to the strong minty fragrance of most toothpastes, and also thanks to the fact that some toothpastes contain baking soda, which is well known for its ability to kill odours.

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Uses for toothpaste: Removing marks from walls

Sometimes a rogue toddler will take a box of crayons and channel Picasso all over your living room wall. It’s simply an occupational hazard that comes with being a parent. When that time comes, it pays to have a trick up your sleeve, because simple soapy water often won’t suffice.

Thankfully, another one of toothpaste’s lesser known perks is that it’s great for removing crayon from walls. Simply use a clean rag to rub a small amount into the mark until it disappears, then wipe away with a damp cloth.

Uses for toothpaste: Conclusion

As we’ve shown, heading to the bathroom cabinet and reaching for the toothpaste instead of going out and buying expensive cleaning products could save you money in a number of scenarios. It’s a quick, minty solution to a number of common household cleaning conundrums, and it’s often a reliable fallback when the usual stain-removal methods have been exhausted.

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