3 Savvy Uses for Toothpaste


Consumers are wising up about ways to save money and avoid exposure to toxins. Do-it-yourself remedies abound for everything from crayon graffiti to red wine fiascoes. Our grandmothers taught us that vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice can get us out of just about any scrape, but what about toothpaste?

Save the pricey stuff for keeping those pearly whites at their shiniest. Any inexpensive brand of white, non-gel toothpaste is a versatile addition to your cleaning toolbox. After you’ve cleaned your jewelry and polished your piano keys, try three more savvy uses for toothpaste.

Keep Discs From Skipping

If you have kids or a cat, your favorite CDs and DVDs have likely suffered damage.

Using your fingertip or a paper towel, gently smear toothpaste over the playable side of the disc. The paste will harden and fill in the dings and scratches that cause annoying skips. Allow plenty of time for the paste to dry, and wipe up the excess with a soft rag. Hold the disc flat at eye level to make sure that the surface is completely buffed and smooth.

With any luck, your cat won’t care for the new taste.

Keep Car Headlights at Their Brightest

Headlight covers accumulate a lot of gunk. Bug spray containing Deet is one solution, but who wants to handle and inhale it more than he has to? Deet may also damage car paint if not handled correctly.

Skip the harsh chemicals. You’ll have to use a little more elbow grease than bug spray calls for, but a worn vegetable brush and a teaspoon of toothpaste will get the job done. Remove the casings and buff with toothpaste inside and out. Rinse them thoroughly with warm water, and allow them to dry before reassembling the headlights.

Keep Your Hands Smelling Clean

Sniff your hands at the end of the day, and you’re likely to get discouraged. No matter how many times you wash up, activities like gardening, peeling garlic and scooping dog food can result in revoltingly smelly hands.

There’s not much mystery to this one. If toothpaste is a remedy for bad breath, it will surely combat odors on your skin. Just squeeze a bit onto your fingertips or palm. Rub your hands and fingers together for several seconds, and allow the paste to sit for a minute or two before rinsing with warm water. The toothpaste won’t dry out your skin as you might expect, and there’s an added benefit: It’s excellent for whitening nails.

What if you’re so resourceful cleaning with toothpaste that you come up short when it’s time to brush your teeth? Use scissors to cut the tube. You’ll find several days’ and more than a few cents’ worth of toothpaste there for the scooping.