Toothpicks are the oldest instruments used for dental cleaning, long before toothbrushes came into play.
The main job of the modern day toothpick is to pry out food that’s stuck between your teeth after a meal. But did you know that they work very well as a household tool, too? Yes, a household tool. It is easy to find excellent uses for toothpicks in everyday life.
These little, pointed wooden sticks have some surprising uses that will put them in the category of tools you’ll want to keep handy at all times.
From working in the kitchen to fixing leaky pipes, from helping you master nail art to supporting new plants in your garden – there is nothing these little sticks cannot do.
Below are 11 excellent uses for toothpicks in everyday life to help in your daily chores and make your life a little easier. Try them yourself and be amazed at how many purposes these little sticks can serve.
- Method 1: Keep Unused Vegetables from Spoiling
- Method 2: Find the Cut End on a Roll of Tape
- Method 3: Light Lots of Candles
- Method 4: Bake a Potato without Dirtying Your Microwave Plate
- Method 5: Clean Tech Gadgets
- Method 6: Prevent Food from Boiling Over
- Method 7: Fix Loose Screws
- Method 8: Support Budding Plants
- Method 9: Fix a Leaky Pipe
- Method 10: Create Nail Art
- Method 11: Check if Baked Goods are Fully Cooked
Method 1: Keep Unused Vegetables from Spoiling
Are you a salad person but find that a whole cucumber is more than you need for a salad for one? Do you often use only half a lemon in your cooking or making beverages, and the other half dries out before you have a chance to use it?
Toothpicks are just the thing you need. Using this toothpick hack can save your vegetables from spoiling due to exposure to air, and save you money since you won’t have to throw away the unused portion.
Single-Step Method: Pin the vegetable end over the remaining portion with a toothpick
Simply save a little piece from the end of the used portion of the vegetable, and use it to cap the fresh part of the remaining portion. Use a toothpick to secure it in place.
This will protect the vegetable from exposure to air, preventing it from drying out and spoiling. It should be good for a day or maybe even two, until you cook next.
Method 2: Find the Cut End on a Roll of Tape
Finding the cut end on a roll of adhesive tape is always an irritating task. You know it is there, but don’t know where. You keep on rolling the tape over and over, struggling to locate the end. And when at last you find it, you have probably forgotten why you needed the tape in the first place.
A toothpick can help you locate the cut end of the tape without all the hassle, not to mention all the time it will save you.
Single-Step Method: Stick a toothpick under the cut end
Keep a toothpick handy each time you use a roll of adhesive tape. When you’re done wrapping that gift for your friend, simply stick the toothpick under the open end of the tape before securing it back onto the roll. This way you’ll know exactly where the loose end is the next time you need to use the tape.
Method 3: Light Lots of Candles
Candles are festive, but if you’re trying to light a lot of candles at once, the matchstick you’re using may burn its way down to your hand before you’ve finished. Save yourself from that trouble and use toothpicks to light up a number of candles.
Single-Step Method: Use a toothpick when lighting a lot of candles
Toothpicks are longer than most matchsticks and can last longer when you’re lighting several candles at one time. Plus, they burn a little slower than matchsticks (because of the polished wood), which will allow you to safely light more candles than you probably could have with a matchstick.
Just light up the end of a toothpick and use it to carry the flame to each of the candles. This trick works for lighting a lot of candles on a birthday cake, too.
Method 4: Bake a Potato without Dirtying Your Microwave Plate
Baking a potato in a microwave is easy, and it’s even easier to eat the deliciously baked potato. But sometimes it can turn into more work, when the potato makes a mess of your microwave plate.
You don’t want more work, that’s probably why you started baking the potato in the microwave in the first place. Cleaning the microwave plate wasn’t in the plan. Again, toothpicks can come to your rescue.
Single-Step Method: Prop up the potato with toothpicks before baking
Stick 4 toothpicks in the potato like the legs on a table or cot, so that they keep the potato from touching the microwave plate. Now, go ahead and bake the potato.
Propping up the potato with toothpicks will eliminate any need to clean the microwave plate. Plus, it will help the potato bake more evenly.
Method 5: Clean Tech Gadgets
With the ever-increasing use of technology, we all have so many gadgets lying around our houses – be it a camera, smartphone, laptop or other trendy tech items. Although they make our life easier, cleaning them can seem like quite the chore – especially the hard-to-reach parts like charging ports, the camera lens of your smartphone and your dirty laptop keyboard, to name a few.
But to make the task easier, you can use toothpicks as a tool to clean the gunk off your gadgets.
Things you’ll need:
- Toothpick (to reach the crevices of the gadget)
- Some cotton (assists cleaning and cushions the sharp end of the toothpick)
Step 1. Wrap cotton around the end of a toothpick
Wrap a little cotton around one of the pointed ends of the toothpick. This will be used for cleaning hard-to-reach parts of the gadget.
Step 2. Use it to clean the hard-to-reach areas
Use the cotton-covered end of the toothpick to clean the small places where your fingers refuse to fit, and soon you’ll have a gunk and dirt-free gadget.
You can use this trick to clean your keyboard, mobile phone, camera and any other gadgets.
Method 6: Prevent Food from Boiling Over
If your pot of pasta has a notorious tendency to boil over the moment you turn your back, you’re not alone. Even seasoned cooks have to deal with a mess in their kitchen owing to the food in their pans boiling over.
But one little toothpick can prevent your food from boiling over.
Single-Step Method: Stick a toothpick between the top of the pot and its lid
Stick a toothpick between the top of the cooking pot and the lid. This creates a small gap for steam to escape and prevent your food from boiling over. Now you can easily make mashed potatoes without making a mess that you end up cleaning.
Method 7: Fix Loose Screws
Every home has at least one annoying screw that automatically loosens itself every few days. No matter how tight you screw it in, it will work its way back out again.
No, your house is not haunted and neither is the photograph hanging on that screw cursed. This occurs when the hole in the wall is a tad bit too large for the size of the screw. It may have happened when predrilling the hole or even as a result of all the repeated screwing in hopes of fixing the problem.
Toothpicks are a great tool for fixing loose screws. The screw tightens and grips easily to the soft wood of the toothpick, making it difficult to work its way out again.
Things you’ll need:
- Toothpicks (to hold the screwdriver in place)
Step 1. Fill the extra space in the hole with toothpicks
- Put the screw in the oversized hole.
- Fill the extra space with a few toothpicks. You may need to use 2 or 3, depending on how much extra space there is in the hole.
- Finish tightening the screw into the hole using a screwdriver.
Step 2. Break off the excess toothpick pieces
Break off the excess pieces of toothpicks that are extending out of the wall after you have finished tightening down the screw.
The screw is now tightly fit and you can rest assured that it will not come out of the wall – at least for a long time.
Method 8: Support Budding Plants
A wilted seedling does not always mean your plant is dying. Sometimes it’s just too dry. Other times, it may have grown big enough that it can’t support its own weight yet. With the help of a few toothpicks, you can support the stems and then water the plants to help them grow bigger and better.
Single-Step Method: Support the wilted stem with toothpicks
Support the wilted plant by placing toothpicks on either side of the stem. This will help the stem stand up straight and prevent it from breaking off.
You can also lightly wrap a rubber band or tape around the toothpicks and the stem, if you feel the seedlings are too droopy and cannot stand up straight even with the support of the toothpicks.
Method 9: Fix a Leaky Pipe
Leaking pipes can cause a lot of wasted water. They also make the area slippery and messy by spreading water where it doesn’t belong.
Toothpicks can help you fix a leak in leaking pipes. This will ensure no water is wasted and will also keep your house cleaner.
Things you’ll need:
- Toothpicks (to fill in the hole)
- Adhesive tape (to secure toothpick in the hole)
Step 1. Stuff the hole in pipe with toothpicks
Completely fill the leaking hole in the pipe by sticking toothpicks in the hole. You may need 2 or 3 toothpicks, depending on the size of the hole.
Step 2. Cut off the excess toothpick pieces and tape it up
- Cut off the excess parts of the toothpicks sticking out of the pipe.
- Wrap adhesive tape around the pipe, completely covering the hole stuffed with toothpicks.
Method 10: Create Nail Art
Nail art may seem like a skill that can only be mastered by a few. But a toothpick can help you master this art with ease. You just have to let your creative side come out, and the toothpick will guide you all the way.
Single-Step Method: Create different designs and patterns on your nails
After taking off the old nail polish, apply different colors of nail polish on your nails, then use a toothpick to create various designs and patterns. You can use more toothpicks when using different combinations of colors.
Create anything from a simple dotted-pattern to a flag of any country on your nails. Your nails are the canvas and the toothpick is your brush – let the creativity begin.
Method 11: Check if Baked Goods are Fully Cooked
Every time you bake a cake, it looks good on the outside. But the dilemma is whether or not it has cooked thoroughly on the inside. You cannot cut into the cake to check because it will ruin the cake immediately. So what do you do?
Toothpicks serve as the perfect tool to check weather a cake or pastry is fully baked, without disturbing the texture and shape of your delicious creation.
Single-Step Method: Stick a toothpick in the cake to check doneness
Stick a toothpick in the cake, then take it out. If the toothpick comes out clean, it means your mug cake is evenly cooked on the inside. If it comes out coated with liquid batter, it means the inside still needs more time to cook, in which case you can put the cake back in the oven and check again after a little more time.
- Exercise caution while lighting candles with toothpicks. Even though a toothpick burns slowly and lasts longer, you should always be careful while working with fire.
- Just like baking a potato on toothpick legs, you can use toothpicks to soften your butter without melting it. Simply prop up a butter tab over a toothpick tripod and pop it into the microwave. Remove the butter from microwave when it starts to fall down the toothpick with its own weight. The result is perfectly spreadable butter.