15 Surprisingly Handy Ways to Use an Old Toothbrush

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Brushing twice a day keeps cavities at bay, but all that hard work causes bristles to fray. Dentists recommend buying a new toothbrush every three months, but don't chuck the old one away. It may be retired from the fight against tooth decay, but that old toothbrush is still ready to rumble, with plenty of unexpected tricks left to play. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Clean your keyboard. Use an old (but clean!) toothbrush to remove crumbs, sticky fingerprints, and other grime from in between the keys.

2. Restore jewelry. Soak in warm water and dish soap for 20 minutes and then brush your baubles with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove tarnish and leave stones sparkling.

3. Tame flyaways. Spray the bristles with a little hairspray and then carefully smooth wayward strands.

4. Revitalize Velcro. When Velcro's "hooked" side isn't fastened to its loop-covered partner strip, it's a magnet for lint, hair, and threads, which end up making it less effective. Use a toothbrush to pull free the debris and leave your Velcro as good as new.

5. Clean your ice dispenser. Ice dispensers can harbor mildew and bacteria and should be cleaned at least once a month. To clean an ice dispenser, spray it liberally with vinegar, then use a clean toothbrush to scrub inside of the dispenser and around the area where the ice comes out. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

6. Spot clean stains. Target small stains on delicate fabrics and upholstery by dipping a toothbrush in your chosen cleaning solution and working the area with small circular movements.

7. Scrub kitchen utensils. Keep a toothbrush near the kitchen sink and use it to thoroughly scrub your graters, garlic press, potato masher, and the many other annoyingly difficult to clean cooking contraptions.

8. Remove grout stains. Use a toothbrush to scrub a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in between tiles and caulked crevices to remove dirt, soap scum, mildew, and mold.

9. Clean your car's battery. Prevent your car's battery from stalling by giving it a thorough clean with a toothbrush and a can of cola!

10. Wash your showerhead. Remove grime and buildup from your showerhead by soaking it in a bag of vinegar, then scrub with an old toothbrush. Full instructions here.

11. Clean a hairbrush. Use a toothbrush to pull out errant hairs, soak in soapy warm water, and then scrub in between the bristles to remove product buildup.

12. Clean your dishwasher filter. Follow our handy guide for cleaning your dishwasher (yep, it also needs cleaning), the final step of which includes removing the filter and brushing it with a toothbrush to free it of any food buildup.

13. Remove a splinter. Put down your tweezers and quit wincing in pain! A toothbrush, baking soda, and a little bit of patience will save the day. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, apply to skin and let it sit for five minutes. Gently brush the skin with a hard-bristled toothbrush and watch the splinter wiggle free.

14. Clean old bike chains. Use an old toothbrush and a little WD-40 to scrub rust and other grime out from in between the links and then enjoy a smooth, squeak-free bike ride.

15. Remove corn silks. After removing the outer husks, swipe a soft-bristled toothbrush down the length of the cob to shed any remaining silk threads.

Read more: 13 Unexpected Ways to Use Toothpaste in Your Home


I'm a freelance writer and reporter for outlets like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, BUST, Nylon, Woolly, and the Appeal, a podcast host for Undisclosed, and once upon a time, I was the founding editor of The Frisky.

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