I am a creature of habit, and I find myself going into autopilot for many of my daily activities. When I get in the car, for example, I pull out of our driveway and immediately hit the speed dial button to call my mom or sister (often as a merged call with all three of us). We get to talk, and the kids enjoy talking to their Lola (grandma) and Auntie.

The daily chats allow us to skip the encompassing, “What is new in your life?” catch-up sessions and muse about the mundane instead. On one of our recent phone calls, my mom advised my sister and me to use toothpaste to clean our jewelry.


“It will make the metal shine,” she said.

This got me thinking more about toothpaste as a tool rather than just something for brushing teeth. Toothpaste combines powerful ingredients that are strong enough to clean and protect our teeth with a gentleness that makes it safe to consume in small amounts. It turns out that you can use toothpaste to solve many problems around the home.

Erase markers

As much as we try to keep them from her, our toddler inevitably gets her hands on markers and rarely keeps them on paper. Luckily, toothpaste can erase marker stains from wood. Apply it directly to the stain and rub it with a damp rag. This may take a couple of minutes of rubbing. Check the rag often to ensure you are always using a clean spot. You may have to reapply and move the rag around a few times in the process. A bonus is that this works for crayons on painted walls, too.

Tackle your shower


Apply toothpaste to a damp sponge. Then, use the sponge on your shower door and walls. If you have heavy soap scum, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.

Clean your carpet

Pets, kids and clumsy adults often leave stains behind on the carpet and rugs. Apply toothpaste directly to the stain, and scrub with an abrasive brush. Use a squirt bottle to rinse it with water and a clean rag to blot dry. You may have to repeat the process a few times for tougher stains.

Shine on

Use toothpaste to clean metal jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse after cleaning and polish with a lint-free cloth. For especially dull pieces, mix a small amount of toothpaste in a cup of water until it is dissolved. Then, soak your pieces for several minutes before cleaning. You can also use this same method for any silver you may have in the home.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.