15 ways to Recycle toothbrushes


51% of Indians use toothbrushes for dental care. Though a relatively small number, the figure tells us that roughly 2.6 billion toothbrushes find their way to the trash can each year. 2.6 billion, assuming people change their toothbrushes at least twice a year (though it is recommended to do so every 3 months). Recycling these toothbrushes can get tricky – there’s the nylon bristles, the plastic hand, the metallic wire frame (in some cases) that holds the bristles together that needs to be segregated for recycling. If that doesn’t happen well, there’s a lot of plastic reaching landfills. Of course, being a basic necessity, there’s no avoiding them, but there are definitely ways of reusing toothbrushes and giving them a new life. This would stop them from choking the already clogged landfills, helping us do our little bit towards reducing air pollution.

Listed below are ways to reuse and recycle toothbrushes for better and prolonged use:


Toothbrushes: The soft nylon bristles of toothbrushes can work wonders and can be used in plenty of ways.

  1. Hair dye: Skip looking for a hair dye brush and instead stack up on old toothbrushes for this. Just dip them into your hair colour and get going. Not only will it work effectively, it’s also not messy.

  2. Smoothen clumpy mascara from those lashes: Mascaras can often leave the lashes looking clumpy, which definitely isn’t appealing. To get rid of the extra mascara, simply use an old toothbrush. The bristles will do so effectively. Great way to recycle toothbrush right?

  3. Apply dry shampoo: Running against time and want to quickly use the dry shampooUse the toothbrush to apply it to the roots. This will ensure you don’t make a mess and don’t have the shampoo all over you.

  4. Clean fingernails: Skip a visit to the salon and get yourself clean nails right at home. All you need to do is take a toothbrush and scrub them lightly. You could also dip your toothbrush into a little Baking Soda and then scrub them for gentle exfoliation around the nail beds. Isn’t it a great way to reuse toothbrushes?

  5. For de-tanning hands: To get manicured looking de-tanned hands and for getting rid of dark spots mix together lemon juice, a little bit of Baking soda and water. Apply this mixture onto the hands and then gently exfoliate hands with the toothbrush.
  6. For gentle exfoliation: Use an old clean toothbrush for gently exfoliating dead skin from your face, heels, or even underarms. This can help remove dead cells that give the appearance of darkened underarms. Of course, you’re also recycling toothbrushes you would have discarded otherwise.

  7. Get rid of laundry stains and wall stains: Limited surface stains (i.e. stains only on specific areas) on clothes can need a little scrubbing. Do so effectively by applying a cleaning agent onto the area and using a gentle old toothbrush to clean the area. Likewise, if you have kids at home, who love drawing all over surfaces with crayons, use a toothbrush with a little all-purpose chemical free cleaner and wipe off stains. If you are looking for all-purpose  chemical free cleaners, do read our posts on cleaning with Vodka, and Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Image Courtesy: http://www.fabhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/step-4-rub-it-throughly-with-tooth-brush.jpg

    Image Courtesy:

  8. Keyboard/Hairbrush cleaning: The bristles from an old toothbrush work well in cleaning off the surface dust from the keyboards of computers. Likewise it can also be used for cleaning a hairbrush. Use the bristles of the toothbrush to remove hair stuck in the brush.

  9. Clean ‘hard to reach areas’: Put these gentle bristles to use for cleaning various surfaces that are ‘hard to reach’ in the bath area or kitchen, like the space in between tiles, or use it to clean the taps and faucets.
  10. Clean kitchen appliances: Kitchen appliances need a bit of scrubbing at times, especially ovens and toasters. Using steel scrubbies on them can cause damage to the appliance. So pull out that old toothbrush and get a good homemade chemical free kitchen cleaner to get those appliances squeaky clean.  
  11. Clean jewellery: Delicate pieces of jewellery, need delicate handling. Use one of your old soft bristles toothbrush and a mild cleaning agent to do the job.

  12. Clean veggies: Potatoes and other root veggies could do with a bit of scrubbing to clean them. Use an old toothbrush to dust off the mud from them.
  13. Clean shoes: If you do spend a lot of time in the garden or have kids, then messy shoes is something you must be often dealing with. Instead of trying to get the mud off and having it splutter all over, use a toothbrush for cleaning. This works well on suede shoes too – a dry brushing on suede shoes, ensures they are dust free and as good as new.
  14. Toothbrush holder from old toothbrushes: Collect old toothbrushes. Cut off the bristles part and the head as can be seen here. Glue on the body to a wide slightly biggish cap. Stick a vacuum suction cup at the bottom of the holder and stick it on next to your brushing area.

  15. Toothbrush bracelet: Give your toothbrush new life and convert it into a fashion accessory. Here’s how to transform your old toothbrush into a pretty bracelet.

We hope you can put some of these ideas to use prior to discarding the toothbrush from home. Also, do read our post on 10 ways to upcycle cardboard, to ensure even the packaging from the toothbrushes don’t go to the trash cans.

If recycling isn’t for you, then do your bit and make sure you segregate the garbage well. Consider reaching out to local companies for recycling your dry waste if you don’t have someone doing so for you already in your local area. They not only pick up the waste from your house but also compensate monetarily for it. Their details can be found online quite easily.

We hope you found our post useful, if you do have any more ideas, please do share them with us.

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