17 alternative uses for toothpaste, from bee stings to cleaning rings

Toothpaste cleans and polishes your teeth and freshens your mouth but it can also be added to your arsenal of cleaning supplies to polish, shine and freshen a whole host of other things. For these applications, skip the fancy toothpastes and stick with the white paste kind. Here are 17 alternative uses for toothpaste:

1. Clean ceramic cook tops. Who knew? I actually tried this and toothpaste works at least as well as those expensive ceramic cook top cleaners.

2. Remove crayon from painted walls. Put some toothpaste on a damp cloth to clean the wall, then rinse.

Wish I'd known about this when my daughter was three and decided to draw huge crayon circles on a bare living room wall. It can also take stains out of carpets and clothes. As some toothpastes contain bleaching ingredients, you might want to try it on an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it doesn't take the color out of whatever you're cleaning. For a carpet, use a scrub brush with the toothpaste, then rinse. For fabric, apply the toothpaste directly on the stain, rub briskly and rinse. Repeat as needed. It might not work for all stains or on certain fabrics.

3. Clean running shoes.
Use the same method as for carpet cleaning and rinse with a damp cloth. You can also remove scuffs from leather shoes by putting a dab of toothpaste on the scuff and rubbing it in with a soft cloth and rinsing.

4. Clean piano keys by scrubbing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Wipe with a damp cloth.

5. Remove the sour smell from baby bottles using a bottle scrubber and toothpaste. Rinse well.

6. Clean the iron. Apparently, you can remove the build-up from the bottom of an iron with the same stuff you use to remove the yellow from your teeth.

7. Clean your kitchen and bathroom taps using toothpaste instead of bathroom or glass cleaner.

8. Clean fingernails and toenails. Your nails are made of similar stuff as your teeth, so why not? Just use a nail brush instead of a toothbrush to put a shine on your digits.

9. Remove water rings from the coffee table by rubbing some toothpaste into the mark and wiping off with a damp cloth.

10. Clean your jewelry with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. I happen to know that this works great, especially on gold and diamond jewelry. Not good for pearls, though; you'll mar the finish.

11. Clear up a zit. This may work for some people but proceed with caution. Evidently, pimples have become infected by bacteria in the toothpaste from the end of a tube that's been in contact with a toothbrush. Then things get really ugly. However, if you're careful to avoid paste that's touched a toothbrush, the idea is to leave it on your face overnight and wash it off in the morning.

12. Soothe a bee sting.
After you take the stinger out, a dab of toothpaste can help to ease the pain.

13. Relieve the itch of a bug bite. Hmmm. I'm gonna try this on my next mosquito bite.

14. Cure a cold sore. Toothpaste is purported to relieve the itchiness and swelling of cold sores. Best as an overnight treatment for obvious reasons.

15. Defog the bathroom mirror or your swim goggles. A little dab'll do it. Rub in thoroughly and rinse.

16. Fix scratches on DVDs
by rubbing with a soft cloth in the direction of the grooves.

17. Fill in nail holes. Seriously? Apparently, you can even paint over it once it dries.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes tips and ideas for home decorating using only items from the dollar store.

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