I am just loving the community of people I am getting to connect with through these series of challenges. Thank you to everyone who has been joining me on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook group (the title of the book I am working on if you are wondering). I am now doing a Facebook live session every week, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. The latest one last night was about my secret cleaning ingredient – toothpaste.
Toothpaste can be very cheap if you buy the cheap white stuff from ALDI, or on special from a discount pharmacist. ALDI toothpaste used to be an absolute bargain at only 99c a tube; it has gone up but is still cheap. Discount pharmacies/chemists often have specials on toothpaste – I picked up three boxes of AIM for 99c from Priceline not that long ago. The simple white stuff is the best for these tips. It is kind of like Jiff or Gumption, except it is non-toxic. You could even put it in your mouth if you wanted to!
There are many uses for toothpaste around the home, but these are some of mine:
- Cleaning your teeth. Okay, an obvious one. But I wanted to make the point that the advantage of using toothpaste for cleaning is that you reduce clutter by not needing speciality cleaning products. One simple, cheap product that works across a range of things will do the trick fine. That said, some people, in fact, do not use toothpaste. If you have run out, simply brushing your teeth for several minutes will do okay. You can also make your own (although I haven’t done that).
- Walls. I first discovered the miracle of toothpaste after Little A had an artistic burst on one of the walls. Ahhhhhh! “No worries, try toothpaste,” said my dad. “It works just like commercial products but is less abrasive so won’t hurt your paint.” It worked brilliantly – so much so that I now use it for all scuff marks.
- Shower screens. After returning from posting to a home that had been rented out privately for three years, I found I had a lot of soap scum on my shower screens. I tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. It budged a bit, but not much. Then, hey presto, a bit of toothpaste, some water and one of those green scourer things and, working in circles, it just disappeared. It was easy to wash off the resulting foam and it was non-toxic so I could easily do it while in the shower.
- Grouting. A bit of toothpaste on an old toothbrush and bit by bit those horrid marks on grouting will disappear. A note on bleach: this will just make mildew lighter and will not kill it. Brushing it off with toothpaste, however, will vanish it forever.
- Sinks. Toothpaste is great for washing sinks. I find it works especially well to get rid of those mouldy bits near the sinkhole. The good thing is that you can do this after brushing your teeth (sometimes I am super frugal and use the toothpaste globs that drop off).
- Toilets. I have young boys, who seemed to take forever to toilet clean and who have bad aim. Let’s just say that sometimes I lift the toilet seat up and find some yellowish, sticky surprises. Not fun to remove. But wait – squeeze a bit of toothpaste on some toilet paper, dampen it slightly, wipe and it is gone so easily. Even better, you can either flush the paper or throw it out. And you don’t have to rush into the laundry to remember to get another cleaning product.
- White outdoor furniture. I have a white metal outdoor furniture set out on my balcony. I love sitting out there in summer. The only problem is that it gets dusty and dirty very easily. I have tried many different sprays and products, but none work nearly as well as a bit of toothpaste lathered up on a sponge. It is so easy to use and very quick.
- Pewter. I have a pretty pewter cheese knife. The only problem is that it turned black and blotchy. I bought all sorts of silver and bronzing stuff to try to clean it. In the end, toothpaste worked. I smoothed the toothpaste on and waited three to four minutes, then wiped it off with a soft cloth.
- Cracks in white walls. For minor hairline cracks or small holes, white toothpaste works like putting. Smooth it on and allow it to set. Easy.
- Swimming goggles. Until recently I splurged on a pool membership. I loved the tranquil zen space at lunchtime. Then I started cycling so focused on that instead. Oh, and my ex-boyfriend – the one who cheated on me – went to the same gym so going there kind of wasn’t a peaceful zen experience anymore. One of the things that can be annoying about swimming is when your googled fog up. One way to keep them clean and sparkling is to clean them with a damp cloth and a little bit of toothpaste.
- Zap the zits. If I have a large pimple forming on my face (or elsewhere), especially those big, red, under the skin type, I simply put a bit of toothpaste on it and leave it for several hours or preferably overnight. This is one miracle beauty treatment that has saved many pre-event angst moments.
- Nail care. I was making borscht over the long weekend and my fingernails became all stained from grating beetroot. I could, of course, have worn gloves but well, I’m frugal and didn’t want to waste them. Toothpaste to the rescue! I simply rubbed in and washed off, and soon my fingernails were white again. Some people also use toothpaste to remove nail polish! I haven’t used this personally – if you do, please leave a comment to let me know how it goes.
- Facial Cleanser. When I lived in China and Taiwan I used a Japanese facial cleanser. It was white, foamy and slightly granular. In summer I would use a cooling version that was pepperminty. One day I just decided to use toothpaste instead – worked exactly the same, if not better. I actually try not to wash my face too much especially in winter. I like my skin to retain its natural oils. But on a hot, humid day my oily skin just melts and I love the refreshing burst of a toothpaste cleanser.
- Cleaning the oven. I once gassed myself very badly when trying to clean the oven. I am now very sceptical of commercial oven cleaners. The best thing is to avoid ovens getting so dirty in the first place by regularly wiping them down after cooking. You can also clean metal racks with some toothpaste and a steel scouring brush. Yes, it will take a bit of work but much better than destroying your lungs.
- Carpet Stain Removal. A little bit of toothpaste on a cloth can help get rid of some carpet stains, especially on lighter coloured carpets.
Your challenge now is to try at least one of these methods for using toothpaste. This one is easy as I am assuming you like to brush your teeth:) I would love to hear how you find cleaning or grooming with toothpaste.