Toothpaste does a great job keeping our pearly whites clean and shiny but it’s another story when it gets on our little black dress. (Or, for those who wander while they brush, on the upholstered sofa or bedroom carpet!) Sure, you can blot away the surface stuff, but what about that stain that’s left behind? We asked two cleaning experts to pass along their favorite tips for lifting these stained spots.
How to remove toothpaste from clothing
According to cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper, “Many ‘green’ or eco-friendly toothpastes contain titanium dioxide powder, which is impossible to remove without a detergent. That’s why some toothpaste comes out in the washer, but not when you blot it with a wet cloth.” Beginning with that pearl of wisdom, Kuper shares the following tips for removing toothpaste.
- Scrape off excess toothpaste with a spoon or dull knife.
- Blot the stain with a moistened cloth.
- Mix a few drops of laundry detergent or stain remover in a cup of water. (Do not put the laundry detergent or stain remover directly onto the stain as it would require a lot of water to be removed. Plus, if it’s a dyed detergent, it could leave a dye stain on the fabric.)
- Dip the cloth in the sudsy water and gently blot/scrub the toothpaste area.
- Once the detergent penetrates the toothpaste stain, it should release and lift out.
- Blot the spot with water to rinse.
- Allow the spot to air dry.
- If the stain is stubborn, dislodge the toothpaste by gently brushing with a clean, soft-bristle toothbrush and some sudsy water. Blot with dampened cloth to rinse and allow area to air dry.
- Repeat as needed.
How to remove toothpaste from carpet and upholstery
“Toothpaste is water soluble, therefore, it’s typically easy to remove from carpet and upholstery,” says Jack White, vice-president of technical services for Rainbow International, a full-service restoration company. “That means, a water-based cleaning solution should do the trick.”
- Dip a clean, white cloth into a cup of water mixed with a small amount of detergent.
- Dab the stain with a light, lifting motion.
- Repeat as needed.
- Blot the area with a moistened cloth to rinse out dirt-attracting detergent residue.
- Blot to dry.
“In the rare case where a colored toothpaste may stain carpet or upholstery, the safest approach would be to dab the stain with 3% hydrogen peroxide,” adds White. (Note: test in an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it's safe). Allow it to work for a minute, then rinse by dabbing the area with clear water. Blot to dry and repeat as needed.