Toothpicks are for more than fondue night — they are a great tool for home hacks, too. Read on for clever ways to use toothpicks for DIY cleaning, manicures, decorating, and more!
Mend glasses in a pinch
Argh! You reach for your sunglasses and realize one arm has come loose and is missing its screw. For a fast fix so you can wear them right away: Align the screw holes of the arm with the frame and insert the tip of a toothpick. Then break off the excess. The wooden sliver will fit right into the opening to hold the parts together until you can replace the screw.
Get a keyboard sparkling
With so much time spent on devices, it seems dust and crumbs regularly get lodged in your keyboard. To clear it out quickly, try this: Dip a clean toothpick in rubbing alcohol and run it in the cracks of the keyboard. The pick’s narrow tip will remove the debris, while the alcohol will kill any germs.
Add pizzazz to a manicure
For wow-worthy nails without a pricey trip to the salon, enlist the help of a toothpick. To do: Paint nails a solid color and allow them to dry completely, then dip a toothpick in another shade and use it to draw dots, flowers, loops and other patterns on your nails. Just be sure to let each layer dry before adding more details and use a new pick for each color.
Keep plants well-hydrated
You want to keep your patio greenery hydrated and healthy without drowning the flowers. To check if the plant is properly hydrated, simply poke a toothpick into the soil and pull it back out. If it comes out clean, your plant needs more water. If it’s damp and covered in soil, you can hold off for now.
Decorate a cake like a pro
The last time you tried to write “Happy Birthday” on a cake, you ran out of space for all the letters! A better way: Use a toothpick to write your message on the cake. Then trace the lines with the icing bag. You’ll be able to map out the design (and wipe out mistakes) for a flawless celebration.
Plug a leaky garden hose
While watering your lawn, you notice your hose has sprung a leak. Simply insert a pick into the hole, break off the excess and secure with duct tape. The water will cause the toothpick to swell so it snugly fills the opening, preventing water from dribbling out.
Avoid overpouring salad dressing
Oops! You opened a bottle of dressing to drizzle on your salad and ended up pouring out a waterfall. To avoid this kind of soggy mess, next time you open a new bottle, leave the foil or paper seal on and poke a few holes in it with a toothpick. This allows for more controlled pouring so you can get the right amount every time. You’ll cut calories and save money!
Ensure perfectly cooked sausages
Everyone in your family loves grilled sausages, but because they roll around on the grill, it’s difficult to keep track of how long each side has cooked. To ensure they’re evenly browned, pop a toothpick into each side of each link. (You can even connect sausages together in a “raft.”) The toothpicks will keep the links from moving around on the grill, so you can perfectly time their flipping.
Safely light any candle
There’s still a bit of wax in the bottom of your jar candle, but you can’t reach the wick without burning your fingers on the match. The simple solution: Hold the jar on its side, light the end of a toothpick and use it as you would a match. The wood burns more slowly than a match and is slightly longer, so you have enough time to safely light the wick.
Clean a pet brush in seconds
In these “dog days” of summer, you’re grooming your pup more often to help him stay cool. The only downside? His hairbrush is loaded with fur. To remove it, simply run a toothpick down each row of the bristles, pulling up the fur as you go. The pointed tip will easily get under the tightly wound strands, so no fur will get left behind.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.