Just because a toothbrush is old and worn-out doesn’t mean it’s destined for the trash. Get your creative juices flowing and you’ll be amazed at the ideas you come up with. Recycling and upcycling are gaining momentum and this isn’t just a trend. It is our responsibility as inhabitants of this world to help it heal. Finding other uses for items that have outgrown its efficiency is a way to contribute to Mother Earth. Read on and get ideas on how to revamp that toothbrush and save the world.

  • Use the old toothbrush as a paintbrush. Why buy new, expensive paintbrush sets for your toddler when a toothbrush will do the job just fine? The splayed bristles can stamp unique designs. You can assign a color for each toothbrush and let your happy kid paint away. Of course, this doesn’t only apply to kids, adults can experiment with designs and colors using them too! Take a look at this wonderful project from firspallete.com and let your imagination run wild.
  • Make a toothbrush Christmas tree. Hang trinkets on the bristles or let it stand out like a snowy pine tree. Make your holiday season at home a season of learning. Dispel the commercialism and teach your family the true essence of Christmas. It is about family, reflection, and togetherness. Throw in a lesson in recycling and you’re guaranteed to have a meaningful time.
  • Make sculpture and art pieces. Make a masterpiece by incorporating it into mixed media art projects or sculptures. These versatile pieces have much freedom on materials and several renowned artists have produced magnificent works out of simple materials. Artists often use recycled objects to evoke powerful messages of support for environmental causes. Be inspired by these sculptures, unleash that hidden talent of yours and make your voice heard.
  • Make a robot toothbrush. If you are into gadgets and technology, this project will surely catch your fancy. Breath life into those toothbrushes and turn them into moving characters or mini machines. Perhaps you can program them into cleaning on their own. Now, that’s one project with entrepreneurial potential. Watch this video to make your bristle bot.
  • Toothbrush house. A house made of toothbrushes! Now, that is something for the books. While there really are houses built from toothbrushes and other recycled objects, we are thinking of a smaller scale like one that will house your beloved Barbie and Ken. After all, toothbrush handles are just sticks and you can build anything with sticks. Do you want it modern or Victorian era? Maybe a bare minimalist design is more like your style. Dream away and build it stick by stick. 
  • Upcycle into a hook. For this one, you need to boil the plastic so that it will become soft and bendy. Leave it to harden again after bending and viola, hooks for your clothes, bags, and kitchen tools. Gather your materials and head over to dollar store crafts to see the simple tutorial.

Now, aside from turning them into fun, colorful pieces, toothbrushes can also be reused for another purpose. While the worn-out bristles are bad for the teeth, they can be good for other body parts. Cleaning is another well-known use for them. Below are some examples to make you hold on to this simple tool and delay their trip to the dumpsite.

  • Brushing and cleaning tiny objects. Whether they are miniature toys or furniture screws, their tiny heads can reach and remove the dirt. Notice that there are not many brushes that are designed to specifically clean them in stores. Could it be because everybody knows an old toothbrush has been delegated this role?
  •  Cleaning and applying oil on bicycle chains. The small head of the toothbrush is ideal for hard-to-reach areas. Dip the old toothbrush in oil and apply it around the chain. This should make your trusty bicycle feel like new.
  • Removing grout stains. The narrow nature of grouts makes them one of the most difficult household areas to clean. Stain and mildew accumulate on them. They are unsightly as they are unhygienic. Keep a stash of old toothbrushes for cleaning grouts in different areas of the house in separate jars. Make sure you label them. You don’t want the ones that clean the bathroom grout to touch the toothbrush that cleans the kitchen sink, do you?
  • Removing old skin from your lips. Our skin including mucus membranes like our lips shed off regularly. Sometimes, excoriated skin accumulates in our lips especially the corners, and looks disgusting. The soft bristles of an old toothbrush are just the perfect consistency to remove them without damaging the underlying lip tissue.
  • Use it as an eyebrow brush. Sure, there are affordable commercial eyebrow brushes but if you happen to leave one while on the road and you desperately need a touch-up, use an old toothbrush instead. It will do the job just as well.

With environmental challenges devastating the world, we cannot just leave the job to environmental professionals. Our world needs help. It has provided for and helped us survive for generations, it is about time we return the favor. Little ways like toothbrush recycling and upcycling may seem like a negligible contribution but if more people do it, the ripple effect will make a big difference.