Design & DIY

8 ways to repurpose an old toothbrush

keyboard cleaning with toothbrush Photo by GeniusKp/Shutterstock

Dentists tell you to replace your toothbrush every three to four months—way before they get crusty and mashed down. (You do that, right? Right?) But…this amounts to a lot of damn toothbrushes going to the landfill. Don’t trash them, reuse them! You can use old toothbrushes to clean practically anything that isn’t your teeth: silverware, jewellery, appliance filters, machinery—plus, all of this other stuff. Note: clean and disinfect the toothbrush first; you can put them in the dishwasher.

1. Tackle your bathroom tile grout. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, scrub with your discarded toothbrush, and rinse. You can also use an (old) electric brush.

2. Since you’re in the bathroom anyway, use the brush to scrub hard-to-reach nooks and crannies around faucets, drains, and toilet seat hinges.

3. Use a clean, dry toothbrush to dust between the keys of your laptop or keyboard. The teeny bristles are good at dislodging food crumbs. Because, don’t lie: you totally eat at your computer, even though you’re not supposed to.

4. Use a toothbrush to scrub veggies such as potatoes, zucchini, or mushrooms. Who needs a vegetable scrubber? (Oh, as long as this toothbrush has been disinfected. Obviously.)

5. Scrub conditioner into the grooves of finely tooled leather: boots, purses, horse saddles, and so on. You can also use a clean toothbrush to get the excess soap or oil residue out. (Too much of a good thing will make the leather greasy.)

6. Hey, clean the bits of your kitchen that you’ve probably never thought to clean before in your life: the seals of your fridge and the microwave vents.

7. Head outside: use a toothbrush to clean and oil bicycle chains, to detail your car (you can even clean the tire rims), and, with the plastic end, dig out pebbles from the tire treads.

8. Scrub off wall smudges. (If you have kids, chances are there is crayon on the walls.) Not no more, thanks to your old toothbrush. You can dip it in white vinegar or non-gel toothpaste—both are good crayon removers. 

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