We all use a toothbrush for (ahem) at least four minutes a day. But these little scrubbers can multitask outside of your mouth—and even outside of the bathroom—like rock stars. Keep a few clean toothbrushes on hand for some of the tasks below, and don’t toss used toothbrushes after they’re retired; they still qualify for plenty of jobs around the house.
1. Brush silk off fresh corn: After shucking ears of fresh corn, grab a clean toothbrush to help with detail work: Going “against the grain,” drag the bristles between the kernels, to remove any hard-to-reach silks or embedded bits of husk.
2. Remove crayon scribbles on walls: With a little dollop of shaving cream or toothpaste and a toothbrush, you can actually erase crayon marks from painted walls. Scrub a little over the surface with the cream, then wipe the surface with a clean paper towel.
3. Groom eyebrows: That’s right—no need to buy a special tool for combing those brows. A toothbrush with a compact head works perfectly when it’s time to do a little brow maintenance.
4. Remove dirt from under nails: Pre-mani, take some time to remove any particles that might be trapped under your nails. You can do this with a dry toothbrush, or with a little soap and water over the sink. Psst: This trick works well on kids’ toes, after a day of running around in the yard barefoot.
5. Get dirt out of shoe treads: Notice mud (or worse) that’s melded itself to the treads in your shoes (or your kids’ shoes, for that matter)? Outside, use an old toothbrush to get your soles squeaky-clean; you might need a little water from the hose to loosen up any caked-on dirt.
6. Wash your cheese grater: Or garlic grater, or garlic press. Recruit a toothbrush for any dishwashing job that a sponge or dish brush is slightly too big for.
7. Scrub tile grout and clean around faucets and drains: Those little bristles can make short work of scrubbing anywhere in the kitchen or bathroom where dirt, gunk, and grime collects. A little all-purpose cleaner and a few strokes with the brush are more effective on stained areas than a sponge.
8. Make a bracelet: This project’s a great rainy-day activity with kids. Through a process of boiling a bristle-less toothbrush, bending it, and throwing it in an ice bath, you can form your very own toothbrush bangle bracelet. (h/t Instructables)
9. Exfoliate your lips: Swipe a little moisturizer on your lips, then gently brush them with the bristles of a clean, soft toothbrush in small circular motions (not unlike brushing your teeth). This trick removes any dry flakes of dead skin for smooth, lipstick-ready smackers.
10. Add it to your kids’ art supplies: An old toothbrush can work wonders when it comes to adding texture to paintings, clay, even Play-Doh.
11. Detail your car: Why spend top-dollar at the auto-body shop when you can use a toothbrush to dust air vents, clean cupholders, knobs, and buttons, and remove any grime between panels on the dash?
12. Tame fly-aways: If you’ve got a stubborn piece of hair—but don’t need a generous spritz of product—cover a toothbrush with hairspray before applying it to your part.
See more clever uses for household products: