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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

6 New Uses for Old Toothbrushes

Time for a new toothbrush? Save your old one from the trash and reuse it with these fun and easy tips.

It’s a good idea to swap your toothbrush for a new one every three months. “As soon as the bristles start getting frayed or they’re not standing upright anymore, your brush is no longer effective,” says Dr. Rhea M. Haugseth, a dentist in Marietta, Ga. But that doesn’t mean your old toothbrushes have to end up in a landfill. Here are some neat ways to put them to good use.

1. Drain and Sink Cleaner
If your sink regularly gets clogged, an old toothbrush is your new best friend. Just stick the brush down your pipe in place of a snake; the head is perfect for removing clumps of hair. It’s also great at removing grime from tight places, such as the space around faucets.

2. Scribble Eraser
Your child’s scribbles -- even those made with a permanent marker -- are no match for an old toothbrush. Check out these before-and-after photos from Pinterest user Monica Reksiedler. Just wet the toothbrush, dab on some white toothpaste, scrub off the marks and wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth.

3. Grout Applicator
Next time you have to switch out your child’s toothbrush, toss the old one in your toolbox. When it comes time to re-grout your bathroom, you’ll find that the smaller head is the perfect size for applying grout between tiles.

4. Corn-on-the-cob Prepper
If you love eating corn in the summer, you’ll be happy to learn that you can use a toothbrush to easily remove stubborn silk from a freshly shucked ear. Just disinfect your old toothbrush first by throwing it in the dishwasher.

5. Jewelry Polisher
Are your favorite bracelets too tarnished to wear? Quickly give silver jewelry its shine back by dipping it in ketchup (yes, ketchup!) and then gently rubbing it off with an old toothbrush. The acid of ketchup dissolves tarnish. Get instructions here.

6. Lip Exfoliator
Old toothbrushes also make a great beauty tool: Gently rub one over your lips with a little bit of water and sugar to slough off any flakes. After about 30 seconds, you’ll have a perfectly smooth pout.

Robin Hilmantel is an associate editor at Food Network Magazine. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, USA Today and Maxim, among other publications. She is a frequent contributor to Completely You.

Also read: “Give Your Bathroom a Healthy Makeover”

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