How can I reuse or recycle … old toothbrushes?

ToothbrushesAnd from toothpaste tubes to the toothbrushes themselves.

John has a habit of splaying the bristles all over the place in a single use so we go through quite a few. We’ve got a small collection of them in the bathroom cleaning products cupboard with the idea that we’ll use them for cleaning around taps (something that rarely happens and when it does, a cloth usually suffices) and they occasionally get used to cleaning the cat hair/food/assorted beverages out of computer keyboards – but has anyone got any other suggestions from how we can use up the stash?

They’re mostly bog-standard manual toothbrushes but we’ve got a few to go on the top of an electric toothbrush from John’s short dalliance with power-assisted cleaning so suggestions for both the long and short would be appreciated.

(Photo by kadrip55)

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29 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … old toothbrushes?”

  1. Susan says:

    I use them to clean mud off shoes and especially if we get any dog poo on them as can then throw brush away. Also same use for mobility scooter wheels.

    Also use to clean overflow on sink.

  2. I use them when cleaning bicycle chains, they make good scrubbing tools.

  3. Raintree writer says:

    If you have a lot then use them to clean the cat box out. I clean my catbox a lot and I don’t like to use something that needs to be cleaned because it just seems gross.

    So, you can use it and throw it away!

  4. Liz says:

    If they are small enough they make good tools to clean jewelry, especially rings and the like.

  5. Regina says:

    I use Terradent toothbrushes. I’ve had the same toothbrush for the past couple years because Terradent allows you to change the brush part. It’s still an issue- what to do with th old brush part? Here’s Terradent’s website:

    • Kristina says:

      I was just about to post the same thing. I’ve had the same Terradent 31 toothbrush for a year or so now, and I love it. At least when you throw the brush head away it’s a much tinier contribution to the landfill than a whole brush every few months.

  6. Erika says:

    I use them as a paintbrush/paint splatter-er. When I’m through with that, I take the bristles off and bend them into bracelets ;)

  7. Amanda Kerik says:

    After soaking them in hydrogen peroxide I use them to clean the inside threads of baby bottles.

    I soften the neck with a candle flame so I can bend the head back at an angle to be able to scrub bottom seams of bottles and the like.

    I also use them to clean the gunk out of my combs.

    I use old toothbrushes as an eyebrow brush.

    Basically – any hard to reach area or places that need a gentle touch can be cleaned with an old toothbrush.

  8. Jillian says:

    I use them to clean off rocks! playing out in the mud at the reservoir with the dogs finding crystals and agates, the old toothbrush gets into all the nooks and cranny’s either while your there in the creek or at home in the sink!

  9. Laura says:

    If you’re using a plain, older, standard toothbrush, you can turn them into cool-looking bracelets. Varying colors can give you a unique set of bangles.

    You can do this by boiling them for a few minutes. Using pliers, pull out the bristles. Then boil them a few minutes more and then mold them around a glass or other object, then try it on and make adjustments for it to fit your wrist.

    Mine is a great conversation starter whenever I wear it.

    Here’s a picture I found to give a visual aid:

    Good luck!

  10. Answerer says:

    Use for cleaning small spaces. Also, if you are an artist, toothbrushes make interesting strokes.

  11. renee says:

    take out the bristles and wow! space age action figure weapons! Kids love ’em

  12. Elliott says:

    remove the bristles, soak in boiling water (BE CAREFUl!) and bend to form a unique bracelet.

  13. Pat says:

    I use them to clean the battery terminals on my car.

  14. Hollie says:

    Ya, you have to use a certain kind of tooth brush to make one, so make sure you have the right tooth brush. I think this is an AWESOME idea!

  15. louisa says:

    Not into the idea of a toothbrush bracelet? If you’ve got stretched ear-lobes (or other bits), you can make plugs out of slices of the handle instead:

  16. Tin says:

    I keep an old toothbrush to clean the algae off of my fish tank’s glass. The long handle lets me scrub without getting arm-deep in fish water, and the bristles are effective at cleaning the algae off and not scratching the glass.

  17. Bad Monkey says:

    For all you fishermen, and women out there, cut the head off the toothbrush, and then drill a hole in either end, attach a swivel to one end and then the hook at the other end, make great spinning lures as they are often bright and multi coloured and the bodies make the perfect shape.

  18. Carrie says:

    Lift the lid and look at the hinges of your toliet seat. Gross? Use an old toothbrush to get that.

  19. Check out the early work of jeweller Peter Chang. He is trained in sculpture and jewellery design. His work in the 80’s used recycled plastic taken from toothbrushes, felt tip pens and discarded toys.

  20. What about novelty toothbrushes, like those Zooth Batman ones? Their handles are like action figures, and much too nice to be discarded. I reuse all my toothbrushes as pet toothbrushes, and when I am through with using them on my dogs, I use the toothbrushes to clean tiles, bathroom fixtures and hard-to-reach places with. What happens when they outlive their useful lives — when the bristles are so damaged and flattened that I can’t use them for cleaning anymore? What can I do with the action-figure handles, apart from displaying them in a glass in the bathroom? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • cheri fisher says:

      Howdy CovertOperations78!
      Those novelty toothbrushes are my favorite ones to repurpose!
      They’re way too cool to go to the landfill. Try this: cut the head(bristles)
      part off, then drill a small hole in the handle and glue in a kitchen
      skewer (you could use those small ones that are usually used for trussing poultry). You can then make fruit kabobs (melon, pineapple,
      etc…)or stab one into each end of an ear of corn on the cob. Also,
      use em to spear pickles, olives, or Jalapenos, whatever. I use the
      cut off heads(bristles part) for “scrubbers” in the bathroom/kitchen.

    • cheri fisher says:

      Cut the bristle heads off and drill a small hole in each handle. Then, glue in a kitchen skewer (like those small ones that are used to truss poultry). Use it to make fruit kabobs (melon, pineapple, whatever…).
      Or stab one into each end of an ear of corn on the cob. Or use the
      skewers to stab olives, pickles, jalepenos……I hope this helps you.

  21. Thank you, Cheri! Sorry it took so long for me to reply to you! I will try making fruit skewers with them.

  22. Renee says:

    Although, you may already do this, I use mine for cleaning. Great for tile & around faucets & any other tight spaces!

  23. pouch says:

    I never know what to do with old toothbrushes – I have loads sitting in a jug in my bathroom, waiting to be used for household chores – it drives my husband mad! These suggestions are great, so glad I found this website!

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