What kind of implement would you use to clean out hard-to-reach places like the seams of couch cushions, the inside edge of your car’s cup holder, or the grout between your bath tiles?
Why not a toothbrush?
@tiny_waste The many lives of toothbrushes. #reuse #lowwastelifestyle ♬ Good Vibes (Instrumental) – Ellen Once Again
First, (presumably) they start as just a regular toothbrush for a while, cleaning teeth until the bristles get too warped to use.
Then, rather than throw them in the trash, the TikToker uses them to dust hard-to-reach places that a conventional duster or rag would have quite a hard time accessing. The splayed nature of the bristles does a great job of grabbing and holding onto those pesky dust bunnies.
A toothbrush also makes a great scrubber for shoes, with a smaller surface area for targeting the creases and seams that a rag or bigger brush would struggle to clean.
Those stiff bristles are also strong enough to scrub bath tiles, which is the next cleaning assignment for her toothbrushes. They’re well suited for the job, as their narrow design is perfect for getting into those tiny spaces and keeping the cleaning action localized.
Finally, once the bristles are too worn out to be much use, she snaps off the head, throws it in the trash, and composts the wooden handle.
Not a bad resume for an old brush!
How it’s helping
There are two key benefits worth highlighting about reusing a toothbrush for so many different jobs.
The first is saving a bit of money. Once your new toothbrush becomes an old one, you’ve now got a pretty dependable cleaning implement on hand.
So if you have a cleaning job where tough but non-destructive bristles are needed, there’s no need to go out and buy a new one when you’ve already got a tool that’ll do the job just fine. Plus, a new cleaning brush will likely come with plastic packaging.
The second benefit is less about the wallet and more about mother nature. Many products (including most toothbrushes) are made with plastics, which not only release planet-warming polluting gases into the atmosphere when they’re produced at a factory, but they’ll also take hundreds of years to break down in landfills.
So as long as they’re here and we’ve already created them, it’s up to us to use them for as long as we can. And, as long as you already paid for it — why not use it for as many things as possible?
What everyone’s saying
The audience on TikTok appeared to be broadly full of praise for her frugality. “THEY ARE THE BEST SHOE CLEANERS, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them,” one viewer exclaimed.
There were also dozens of comments highlighting some of the other items successfully cleaned with an old toothbrush.
“I used one to clean my window frames today!” one person commented.
In a similar vein, another said, “[Toothbrushes are] also great for cleaning coffee machines and grinder[s].”
So what will you clean with your old toothbrush?
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