23 Things You Should Be Cleaning with a Toothbrush
Most of us clean using sponges, cloths, dusters, vacuums, etc., but sometimes your most effective tool is sitting right in your bathroom.
Unusual cleaning hacks
You might be tempted to go for the regular cleaning products when there’s a mess or a spill, but sometimes the most useful item is the most unexpected—and the most ordinary. From these uses for coffee filters that don’t involve coffee to the massive amount of household uses for vinegar, household staples can have some seriously great cleaning uses. Who knew the handy toothbrush can be used to tackle carpet stains? Read on for several more toothbrush uses that don’t involve oral hygiene. Plus, find out some handy uses for toothpaste that also don’t have anything to do with your teeth.
Use as all-purpose cleaners
Don’t throw out your old toothbrushes. Instead, use them to clean a host of diverse items and small or hard-to-reach areas and crevices. Use a toothbrush to clean artificial flowers and plants, costume jewelry, combs, shower tracks, and toilet hinges. Also clean baseboards (if you don’t have your Baseboard Buddy handy), can-opener blades, and the seams on shoes where the leather meets the sole.
Ashlee Edie, cleaning expert at Handy, says the coarse bristles and size of a toothbrush make them perfect for cleaning stubborn, hard-to-reach places in the home like stovetops. “Grime can quickly build up on stoves,” Edie says. “Apply some dishwashing liquid to a toothbrush and use small circular motions to buff away the dirt.” Make sure to rinse and wipe clean with a cloth.
What’s that goo hiding behind and around the base of your faucet? “Mildew and bacteria can grow on faucets so use a toothbrush, with a mixture of soap and water, to thoroughly clean these,” recommends Edie.
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Upholstery and carpet stains
A toothbrush can be used to tackle small but stubborn stains on carpets and upholstery. To remove those deep stains, try using a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush, dabbing it gently to work in the stain-removing agent (vinegar, for example, or one of these homemade carpet cleaners). “Apply some stain remover to the spot and use a toothbrush to apply pressure to the stain,” Edie advises. “Scrub in circular motions to loosen the stain and repeat until it is gone.”
Removing crayon from the wall
“If the kids have been using the walls as a canvas again, a quick tip to remove crayon marks is to load a toothbrush with some shaving foam or toothpaste, apply to the crayon marks, and buff them away. Then, simply wipe the surface with a paper towel,” offers Edie.
Hair dryer, car, and bathroom vents
Lint and dust get stuck in anything that moves air—which includes hair dryers, car vents, and even the bathroom vent. Have you ever looked up at your bathroom vent? They are usually loaded with dust. Make sure the vent is off or disconnected then remove the cover. Take outside to gently brush off or if it’s caked on you can clean it in your sink with a damp toothbrush. For a hair dryer, make sure it’s unplugged from the outlet and gently use a dry toothbrush to remove dust. Same for your car vents.
Using a toothbrush to get into your fridge’s plastic shelves with grooves is the best way to clean those hard-to-reach areas, says Diane Regalbuto, a housecleaning expert and owner of Betty Likes to Clean in Philadelphia and South Jersey. The same goes for the rubber seal between the door and the main part of the fridge where dust, grime, and crumbs can gather.
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Think your garbage disposal is an uncleanable realm? Well, a toothbrush can at least help you clean part of it! The Family Handyman recommends using a toothbrush to clean the splash guard, where food often builds up. Lift up each flap individually and give it a scrubbing.
Computer keyboards are typically dusty and may even have crumbs or other debris lurking around the keys. A clean, soft, dry toothbrush is perfect to clean these areas. Unplug the keyboard from the computer or, if it’s a laptop, unplug the laptop. Turn the keyboard onto its side and gently brush around the keys into a trashcan or sink. Do not use any type of water or liquid to clean a keyboard.
Sink edges and drains
Regalbuto recommends using a toothbrush to clean undermounted sinks where the counter goes over the edge of the sink. A lot of gunk and mildew can get up in that area. The same goes for the sink overflow drain, usually a series of small holes opposite the spigot. A toothbrush with cleaner is the perfect tool to clean that area.
Have you looked at your toaster oven lately? It’s probably full of crumbs and burnt-on junk. Regalbuto recommends a toothbrush for cleaning these areas. First unplug the oven and use a dry toothbrush to get the crumbs out and then clean the grill in the sink with soap and water. Rinse and thoroughly dry.
Brush your cheese grater
Give the teeth of a cheese grater a good brushing with an old toothbrush before you wash the grater or put it in the dishwasher. This will make it easier to wash and will prevent clogs in your dishwasher drain by getting rid of bits of cheese or any other item you may have grated.
“To keep grout in between tiles looking fresh, use a toothbrush to scrub a solution of bleach and water along the grout to remove any stains,” Edie says. Remember to rinse when finished.
Clean silk from ears of corn
Before cooking shucked corn, take an old toothbrush and gently rub down the ear to brush away the remaining clingy strands of silk. Then you won’t have to brush them out from between your teeth after you eat the corn!
Apply hair dye
Dyeing your hair at home? Use an old toothbrush as an applicator. It’s the perfect size and it will keep the mess to a minimum.
Clean gunk from appliances
Dip an old toothbrush in soapy water and use it to clean between appliance knobs and buttons, and raised-letter nameplates.
Tame flyaway hairs
Spray hairspray on a toothbrush that you don’t use and comb back the small hairs that always get in your face. This simple trick will give you a more put-together and clean hairstyle.
Brush away espresso
If you’re a fan of espresso, you’re also familiar with how finely ground Italy’s favorite coffee is. To keep it from clogging up the filter screen on your espresso maker, scrub the screen gently after each use with a soft toothbrush. If any bits remain, remove them with a straight pin.
De-pulp your juicer
It’s easy to forget that electric juicers are traps for all manner of fruit (and therefore, food) particles. Keep it clean as a whistle to prevent bacteria buildup (and illness!) by cleaning it thoroughly: disassemble it, wipe out the pulp and discard it, and fill your kitchen sink with hot, soapy water. Soak everything but the motor casing for ten minutes, remove the pieces from the sink, and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Dry well, reassemble, and juice for all you’re worth!
Clean your veggies
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean mushrooms and other sensitive vegetables before cooking. A medium- or hard-bristled brush is more suitable for potatoes.
- Ashlee Edie, cleaning expert at Handy