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A new life for old toothbrushes; how to remove tape glue from hardwood

Resident Expert

Q. Do you know of anywhere that accepts the used toothbrushes we all continue to create? - G.Y., Edmond, Okla.

A. We could find no official repository of used toothbrushes. But there are a variety of homegrown secondary uses.

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A reader from Chicago reports that she uses old brushes to clean excess fur from her dog brushes. Others use them to scrub away grime on shower tiles. Some women incorporate thoroughly sanitized recycled brushes into their toilette, for use as eyebrow-grooming tools.

Oral-B Laboratories, a maker of dental hygiene products, has published a list of uses for post-prime toothbrushes. You can, for example, use them to clean the filmy residue inside flower vases, clean bicycle chains, detail cars, and polish everything from shoes and jewelry to various metals.

Oral B stresses that brushes should be recycled every three months - and don't forget to label "retired" brushes as such.

Q. How can I remove the sticky residue left from tape used to keep rugs in place on my hardwood floor? - D.W.

A. The residue is most easily removed with a hardwood floor cleaner, which is basically "Windex without the ammonia," says Amy McCloskey, sales manager of Father & Son Floorcraft Inc. in Watertown, Mass. Various brands of the blue cleaner are available at any flooring retailer.

For hardwood floors coated with polyurethane, spray with the cleaner and gently scrape them with a plastic mesh dish scrubber. (Metal mesh will scratch the floor.)

For floors coated with wax, use the same cleaning procedure and rewax the floor.

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Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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