You might be tempted to go for the regular cleaning products when there’s a mess, but sometimes the most useful item is the most unexpected. Who knew an old toothbrush could be used to tackle hard-to-reach grime? So make sure you keep an old toothbrush just for cleaning next time you upgrade. Read on for more cleaning hacks with a toothbrush around the house.
Cleaning expert Ashlee Edie says the coarse bristles and size of a toothbrush make them perfect for cleaning stubborn, hard-to-reach places in the home like stove tops. “Grime can quickly build up on stoves,” Edie says. “Apply some dishwashing liquid to a toothbrush and use small circular motions to buff away the dirt.” Make sure to rinse and wipe clean with a cloth.
What’s that goo hiding behind and around the base of your tap? “Mildew and bacteria can grow on taps so use a toothbrush, with a mixture of soap and water, to thoroughly clean these,” recommends Edie.
“If the kids have been using the walls as a canvas again, a quick tip to remove crayon marks is to load a toothbrush with some shaving foam or toothpaste, apply to the crayon marks, and buff them away. Then, simply wipe the surface with a paper towel,” offers Edie.
Lint and dust get stuck in anything that moves air – which includes hair dryers, car vents and the bathroom vent. Have you ever looked up at your bathroom vent? It is usually loaded with dust. Make sure the vent is disconnected before removing the cover. Take it outside to gently brush off or, if it’s caked on you can clean it in your sink with a damp toothbrush. For a hair dryer, make sure it’s unplugged from the outlet and gently use a dry toothbrush to remove dust. Same for your car vents.
Computer keyboards are typically dusty and may even have crumbs and other debris lurking around the keys. A clean, soft, dry toothbrush is perfect to clean these areas. Unplug the keyboard from the computer or, if it’s a laptop, unplug the laptop. Turn the keyboard onto its side and gently brush around the keys. Do not use any type of water or liquid on a computer keyboard.
House-cleaning expert Diane Regalbuto recommends using a toothbrush to clean sinks, including the area where the counter goes over the edge of the sink. A lot of gunk and mildew can get up in that area. A toothbrush with detergent or bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are perfect tools for cleaning this area.
“To keep grout in between tiles looking fresh, use a toothbrush to scrub a solution of bleach and water along the grout to remove any stains,” Edie says. Remember to rinse when finished.
Before cooking shucked corn, take an old toothbrush (not the one you use for cleaning) and gently rub down the ear to brush away the remaining clingy strands of silk. Then you won’t have to floss them from between your teeth after you’ve eaten the corn!
Dyeing your hair at home? Use an old toothbrush as an applicator. It’s the perfect size and it will keep the mess to a minimum.
Dip an old toothbrush in soapy water and use it to clean between appliance knobs and buttons, and raised-letter nameplates. If the appliance is electric, make sure it is unplugged from the wall.
It can sometimes be hard to remove the dirt and grime that builds up under your nails. If you don’t have a nail brush, put some soap onto an old toothbrush and use it to scrub your nails clean.
It’s easy to forget that electric juicers are traps for all manner of fruit (and therefore, food) particles. Keep it clean as a whistle to prevent bacteria build-up by cleaning it thoroughly: disassemble it, wipe out the pulp and discard it, and fill your kitchen sink with hot, soapy water. Soak everything but the motor casing for 10 minutes, remove the pieces from the sink, and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Dry well, reassemble, and juice for all you’re worth!
This article originally appeared on Reader’s Digest.