22 February 2021

3 mins read

5 Ways To Upcycle Your Old Plastic Toothbrushes

Don’t know what to do with your old manual toothbrushes? Here are 5 ways to repurpose them in your household!

Did you know that healthy teeth were needed for war?

It wasn’t till the 19th century that the concept of dental hygiene trickled into public consciousness. One of the main drivers of its adoption was war. In order to eat dry and tough military rations, one needed 6 healthy opposing teeth to chew properly. The otherwise young and healthy men became unsuitable for war – and this posed a major problem. 


Toothbrushes thus became mainstream and mass production followed – plastic toothbrushes dominated ever since.

Toothbrushes can’t be recycled

However, toothbrushes contribute significantly to plastic pollution and are found in abundance on beaches – sometimes weighing as much as a blue whale. 

Toothbrushes also do not get recycled because they jam up the machines that do, and require special machinery which often does not make economical sense for business owners. However, using brushes that come with a reusable handle results in less waste.

So, consider brushes with a reusable handle, and upcycle your old plastic ones!​

And if you are keen on switching to electric toothbrushes but feel guilty about throwing out away your old manual plastic ones, here are 5 ways to upcycle them:

1. Clean your jewelry

After sanitising your old brushes with hot water, you can use them to clean your jewellery that needs a little polish. If they are made of sterling silver, a simple trick is to use ketchup (yes, the ones from McDonald’s will do) and brush your jewellery with it! The sulfur compounds in ketchup will get the gunk right off your trinkets.

2. Use them for nail art

You heard us right. By simply dabbing your toothbrush with some nail polish, you can create a splatter paint effect on your nails! Your nails will never look quite the same.

3. Clean the mud off your shoes

sneakers GIF by Wantering

Soaked your shoes in the rain? Old plastic toothbrushes are effective at scrubbing off the mud and gunk off your shoes. They work well on rubber, fabric and mesh but do not use them for leather shoes.

4. They make a unique brush for kids!

Kids love new activities to stimulate their creativity and spend their energy. Similar to using them for nail art, they give a unique splatter paint and streak effect. They are also much more economical than actual paint brushes.

5. Clean the keyboard you snack on

Most of us snack at our desks and leave more crumbs than we’d like. Toothbrushes are small enough to reach the nooks and crannies of your keyboard.


By upcycling your plastic manual toothbrushes, you not only can extend their lifetime, but help to reduce waste, thereby indirectly offsetting carbon emissions associated with their manufacture. And as we’ve shown above, there are a myriad creative, and relatively simple ways to reuse your old toothbrushes when you switch to using an electric toothbrush.

zenyum sonic cta

Switch guilt-free to electric today!

While keeping all the features you love for cleaner and healthier teeth.

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5 Ways To Upcycle Your Old Plastic Toothbrushes