14 Genius Tips For Using Toothpaste At Home

Toothpaste is one of the most common items you'll find in the medicine cabinet, but its uses go far beyond cleaning teeth. And given the fact that it's used inside human mouths, the ingredients are all non-toxic — an added bonus if you're looking to replace harsh chemicals commonly found in store-bought cleaners. So what can you accomplish with a dab of toothpaste? Everything from removing stains, polishing materials, and getting a clean sparkle.

When cleaning household items with toothpaste, most tasks call for the OG white toothpastes, not the newer gel types. According to Pro-Sys, gel toothpastes are silica-based and less abrasive, which won't work as well when you really need to scrub something. Along with a tube of toothpaste, most tasks require a cleaning toothbrush, a soft cloth, or a wet sponge to get the job done. Read on to find out what surprising things your tube of toothpaste can get done around the house.

1. Nail polish remover

If you're out of nail polish remover, a simple toothpaste scrub can also do the trick. Rub over your nails, then wipe the polish off with a cloth. Healthline writes that toothpaste with baking soda will add some extra abrasion. Another method to try, per Family Handyman, involves soaking your polished nails in a toothpaste, lemon juice, and water mixture, then scrubbing the polish off. Toothpaste can also help brighten nails. Per Today, scrub your nails, making sure to get underneath as well, using an old toothbrush or a nail brush, then soak in lemon juice.

2. Brighten shoes

A dab of toothpaste can clean up the scuff marks on rubber sneaker bottoms and toes. Per The Spruce, add toothpaste to a cleaning toothbrush and scrub along the rubber portions of tennis and athletic shoes. After, wipe with a moist towel.

Let's Get Tidy got great results cleaning white leather and synthetic sneakers with toothpaste. Whereas a baking soda paste turned the materials a little yellow, a good scrub of white toothpaste (left to sit for a few hours, then wiped clean with a moist towel) brightened the shoes. They used a similar method to clean shoelaces, but you should spot-check any material before going to town.

3. Polish jewelry

Toothpaste is a great jewelry-cleaner, but proceed with caution, as you shouldn't use it on certain metals and stones. Avoid cleaning pearl and opal with toothpaste, Jewellery Nerds writes, as well as soft gemstones, which are too delicate and may sustain scratches. You also want to avoid cleaning gold jewelry with toothpaste.

Silver, on the other hand, benefits from a good toothpaste scrubbing. With a cleaning toothbrush, scrub white (not gel) toothpaste to remove tarnish and polish silver, then rinse and buff (per Today). Toothpaste can also make diamonds really sparkle, but be careful if they are set in gold, and be sure to clean with a very soft bristled toothbrush or a microfiber cloth.

4. Clean an iron

Cleaning your iron might not be top of mind, but if it's time to give it some love, toothpaste will work wonders on its soleplate. Ironing Lab recommends using a teeth-whitening toothpaste, not a gel, which you can apply directly to the soleplate. Wet a cleaning toothbrush and scrub in circular motions. Rinse the iron bottom (without submerging in water) when you've finished, then dry it.

To make sure the steam holes are not clogged, turn the iron on to high heat once it's completely dry. Apply the steam burst button a few times, which should blast out any toothpaste that entered through the holes.

5. Clean the bathroom sink

Toothpaste can clean the bathroom sink in a snap. Just squeeze some into the basin, wet a sponge, and scrub the interior of the sink, Reader's Digest says. Rinse once the job is done. As an added bonus, toothpaste will remove old smells coming from the drain. While you're at it, The Spruce notes that you can also clean chrome fixtures with toothpaste. Rub the toothpaste in small, circular motions, then buff dry.

6. Remove crayon and other wall marks

When kiddos gets a little too creative with crayons, sometimes your walls pay the price. Toothpaste can come in handy once again in this case, Clean Zen writes, because it does an excellent job cleaning off the waxy colors. Apply a baking soda-based version to a toothbrush or moist rag and wipe the crayon away. And per Bob Vila, since toothpaste is non-toxic, you can let kids help wipe away the mess they made. You can rub off marker marks with the toothpaste as well.

7. Polish silverware

Like silver jewelry, toothpaste can bring back the shine to your kitchen silver. Merry Maids has some tips on polishing your silverware with toothpaste. Dab some on a soft cloth, and gently rub it along the surface. For detailed areas, use a soft cleaning toothbrush, but be careful not to scrub too hard or you can scratch your silverware. Rinse in warm water, then dry them, and you can kiss those dull utensils goodbye!

8. Remove soap scum

Soap scum is usually to blame for foggy shower doors in the bathroom. But with a little toothpaste and some elbow grease, they will be clean and clear in no time. Anita's Guide recommends mixing toothpaste with a bit of water before smearing it on a cloth, then scrubbing the soap scum in circular motions. If the soap scum is really packed on, let it sit for a few minutes before dampening a sponge with water and rinsing the toothpaste in the same circular motion until it's washed away.

9. Clean the toilet

Like the enamel on your teeth, the porcelain enamel on toilets can be scrubbed clean by toothpaste. Binkies & Briefcases notes that when you have company coming over on short notice, toothpaste will help tidy your bathroom as you scramble to clean up. Just squirt a dollop into the bowl, and scrub it with a toilet brush. The results will be clean, without the harsh smell of chemical toilet bowl cleaners (though they don't recommend using it to clean the toilet seat).

10. Clean grout

Rather than demolish a pack of Magic Erasers to clean or lighten your grout, One Lucky Pickle writes that toothpaste can do the trick. They recommend wiping the area a with wet cloth as you scrub grout lines with a toothbrush — this will help minimize cleanup after. Molly Maid notes that white toothpaste works best, and liquid dish soap can help with the clean up if you need an extra boost.

11. Deodorize containers

If scents linger in your food containers, you can use toothpaste to deodorize them. Bob Vila suggests smearing some toothpaste along the sides and scrubbing them clean. Wash away the residue and allow them to dry — the odors should be gone once it's time to fill them again. Reader's Digest also notes that toothpaste can deodorize baby bottles if they start to smell like old milk — just be careful to rinse out any residue completely.

12. Remove water rings

Water rings on your hardwood furniture don't have to be permanent mishaps. In fact, a little toothpaste might remove them. Bob Vila says you'll just need to squeeze white toothpaste (not gel) onto a rag and lightly rub over the stain. Charles and Hudson also recommends scrubbing gently for a short duration (under one minute), which should do the trick — otherwise the friction could wear away at the wood finish or its topmost layer.

13. Lift ink or lipstick stains

Toothpaste won't just remove stains from your teeth; try using it on machine-washable fabrics as well. House Cleaning Central writes that lipstick stains can be lifted with extra-whitening toothpaste. Apply some toothpaste to the stain and gently rub it with your fingers, then rinse with cold water. You may need to reapply if the stain hasn't completely vanished. According to Reader's Digest, the same process works for zapping ink stains on your clothes, too.

14. Relieve bug bites

Have an irritating bug bite that won't stop itching? Don't worry if you don't have expensive creams on hand — toothpaste can help relieve the itching in a pinch. Per MedicineNet, toothpaste acts as an astringent with bug bites by drawing out venom. Additionally, if you use a toothpaste with menthol in the ingredients list, it can help soothe the irritation with its cooling powers, much like ice. Just dab a bit on your bite and let it dry — and be careful it doesn't flake off all over your house.