Pin Me

Ways to Recycle or Reuse an Old Toothbrush

written by: Marina Hanes•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 1/4/2010

You probably go through six or more new toothbrushes every year, and if you're throwing them away you're not using them to their full advantage. After you use them to brush your teeth, there is a whole world of opportunities. You can use your old toothbrush in the kitchen, garage, bathroom, etc.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Photo courtesty of Wikimedia. How often do you change your toothbrush in a year? If you buy new toothbrushes once every couple months, that means you go through six toothbrushes and maybe even more on an annual basis. Over 50 years, that adds up to 300 brushes! Changing your old toothbrush is important to preserve your periodontal health and to keep your dentist happy, but there are ways to reuse those plastic brushes and get more out of them. Those scrubbing bristles are capable of cleaning more than just your teeth, but you have to think outside the box.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Uses for Old Toothbrushes

    Instead of letting your old toothbrushes take up room in a local landfill, use them around your home as much as you can. For example, you can clean your faucets, bathtub tile, shoes, stove, etc. with the bristles to get a spotless shine. Or use it for your other grooming needs such as brushing the dirt out of your nails or smoothing down your eyebrows.

    Broken-down bristles can even be functional in the laundry room and garage. When you have set in stains on your clothing, spray some spot remover and work the toothbrush over the stain in small circles. If you have children, you know it’s important to get the most out of their clothing so spending ten minutes on stain removing can go along way. In the garage, the reused plastic brushes can bring the shine back to your hubcaps and tools. Or you might want to clean off work boots or other supplies that have become dusty or covered with cobwebs.

    One tip is to label the different brushes so you don’t use the shoe cleaner toothbrush on your jewelry or in the kitchen. Also, be creative and consider using the brush for art activities like painting.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Recycle the Plastic

    Some manufacturers have designed toothbrushes from reclaimed plastic that has been melted down. Depending on the plastic’s number as well as the type of plastics your recycling center accepts, you might be able to recycle it. So the next time you buy a new toothbrush, read the package to find out if it’s recyclable. If you’re unable to find a suitable recyclable toothbrush, purchase ones that have a replaceable head such as electric toothbrushes. This will reduce the amount of plastic you go through in a year.

    There are a variety of uses for old toothbrushes. You can scrub your fruits and vegetables or even apply hair dye (e.g. sections of highlights or lowlights around your face). Once you start using them, you will probably discover new ways to reuse the bristles. So take advantage of your old toothbrushes, and when you’re done, recycle them as much as you can.