12 unexpected uses for toothpaste: Removing stains, polishing brass and more

We use it twice a day to keep our gnashers clean and our breath fresh, but did you know there are a whole host of alternative uses for toothpaste?

From cleaning product to medicinal aid, the powers of that squeezy tube extend well beyond the bathroom.

They do NOT include, however, using toothpaste on spots, which is a long-held myth. While toothpaste does contain ingredients that can dry out zits, it will also irritate the skin, so you’re better off sticking with chemist-approved spot treatments instead.

And remember, for most of these toothpaste ticks, you’ll need to use good, old-fashioned opaque white toothpaste, not any of these new-fangled blue gels or whitening treatments.

So next time you reach for the Colgate, consider whether you could be benefiting from these 13 fresh toothpaste uses too…

1. Polishing chrome

Toothpaste has a gentle exfoliating effect that works as well on chrome as it does on teeth. Spread a non-gel toothpaste on your chrome fixtures then wipe off with a dry cloth and see how they gleam!

2. Removing tough stains

That exfoliating property can also work wonders if you’ve got ink or make-up on a piece of clothing. Smear the toothpaste on the stain and rub it into the fabric well then rinse with water. Repeat as many times as you need.

3. Keeping goggles fog-less

Stop your skiing or snorkelling goggles from fogging up by coating the lenses with non-gel toothpaste then wiping it off. The residue will stop condensation forming. Same goes for bathroom mirrors.

4. Making diamonds sparkle

Give your diamond jewellery a new lease of life by scrubbing gently with an old toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste. Remove any residue with a dry, clean cloth to reveal the sparkling stones.

5. Soothing bites and blisters

A life-saver if you’ve been badly bitten by mosquitoes or bugs on holiday and can’t stop scratching, add a dab of toothpaste on bites before bed to help decrease the swelling and itching. It’ll also help blisters heal faster by drying them up.

6. Deodorizing your hands

Been chopping garlic and can’t get rid of that pungent whiff on your fingertips? Washing your hands with toothpaste will neutralize the odour and leave them smelling fresh.

7. Cleaning trainers

Keeping the white part of trainers clean is really tricky, even with heavy-duty shoe polish. Try going at them with an old toothbrush, a generous squeeze of white toothpaste and some elbow grease, then wipe off with a damp cloth.

8. Removing chewing gum from hair

Has one of the kids got a clump of chewing gum stuck in their hair? Spread toothpaste over the gum, leave for a few minutes, then you should be able to gently pull the gum free. Apparently the toothpaste breaks down the sugar in the gum, as it does when you’re brushing your teeth, thereby loosening it from the hair.

9. Cleaning hair appliances

You know that crusty coating that forms on hair straighteners or curling irons? It’s due to a build-up of products, but rubbing toothpaste over the metal (when the appliance is off and cool, of course) will gently scrub it off.

[How often should you wash your bra, jeans and pyjamas?]

10. Filling holes in walls

Need to quickly fill a hole in a wall where a nail used to be but don’t have time to go and get some plaster filler? White toothpaste makes an excellent stand-in, and no one will be any the wiser. Be careful if you later decide to paint the wall, however, as not all toothpastes will allow paint to adhere.

11. As a car air-freshener

Has that little tree-shaped dangler long since lost it’s piney odour? Then here’s how to DIY a car air-freshener: squeeze a line of mint toothpaste on a piece of kitchen towel, fold it up and place it under your car seat. As the toothpaste dries it will fill the car with its fresh scent.

12. Sprucing up sinks

Whether metal or ceramic, your sinks will benefit from a hardy scrub with a generous dose of toothpaste. Plus, when you rinse it off the residue will get to work on any nasty smells lurking down the drain.

12. Sticking posters to walls

Sick of the stubborn marks that Blu-Tack leaves on walls? Try toothpaste instead. A few drops of thick, white toothpaste on the edges of the poster will be enough to make it stick, and any white marks left when you take it down can easily be removed with a damp cloth.

More from BT