10 Surprising Ways To Use Ordinary Toothpicks

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

Toothpicks are a handy little tool to keep around the house, and not just for picking food out of your teeth! I always keep a small container of them in my kitchen cupboard to use for testing if cakes or cupcakes are cooked all the way through, but lately I’ve come across even more toothpick tricks that I just had to pass on to you!

If you have a clever use for toothpicks that isn’t listed here in this post, we’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments below the post, and your tip could be featured in a future blog post! :-)

10 Surprising Ways To Use Ordinary Toothpicks

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

1.  Use a toothpick to test the moisture content of the soil of your potted plants. Insert a toothpick into the soil and remove it. If the toothpick comes out with wet dirt or mud attached to it, your plant is getting enough water. If it comes out clean and dry, give your plant a bit of extra water today!

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

2.  You can use a toothpick to carefully clean out cracks and crevices in your smartphones and other electronic devices.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

3.  Use a toothpick as an applicator to apply glue or paint to small crafts and projects.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

4.  Use colored toothpicks to signify differences in foods. For instance, which brownies have nuts and which don’t, or which steaks are medium and which are rare.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

5.  Use toothpicks to serve finger foods. It minimizes messes and drips, and reduces the transfer of germs.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

6.  Stick a toothpick between the top of a cooking pot of food and the lid. This will allow steam to escape, which will reduce the chance of it boiling over.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

7.  Make the perfect “baked” potato in your microwave by creating “stilts” with toothpicks. Stick several toothpicks into once side of your potato so that it balances evenly, and microwave the potato for 4-7 minutes (depending on the size of your potato). Delicious, and perfectly cooked on all sides!

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

8.  Mark the end of your roll of tape by sticking a toothpick to it.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

9.  Use toothpicks to light candles! Toothpicks burn slowly, and are a bit longer than matches, giving you a bit of extra reach when you need it.

10 Clever Uses for Toothpicks

10.  If your soup or marinade calls for cloves of garlic that will be removed later, stick a toothpick through each clove. This will make them MUCH easier to find and remove later!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Thank you! So many uses that we don’t always think to use toothpicks for. I like that glue idea. I’ve broken ‘precious gifts’ and didn’t know how to get that tad of glue into the tight cracks.

  • This one is for knitters:

    Toothpicks make great cable needles, holding 4 or 5 stitches out of the way while knitting the next stitches on the needle. Then transfer the stitches from the toothpick back to the knitting needle to be knit.

  • When you have to bring an iced or decorated dessert somewhere, icing can stick to the foil or plastic covering it. Stick a small piece of corrugated cardboard to the tip of a tooth pick and set it into the corners of a cake or the cupcakes on the edge of your plate. The cardboard prevents the toothpick from piercing the wrap. Now The plastic wrap will sit above the icing!

    To add the piece of corrugated cardboard, be sure to keep the corrugations at a 90degree angle to the toothpick or the cardboard will slide down the toothpick. Alternately, stick a marshmallow or other soft candy to the toothpick ends.

    • I make a homemade from scratch cake of 3 layers plus extra filling so the cake ends up being tall so I use skewers to keep layers in place and elevate the covering do it doesn’t stick to the topping

  • Love your tips!
    If you have little kids who love Playdough, toothpicks are wonderful for removing it from cracks and crevices in the various tools and especially the “hair” holes! Toothpicks have saved my sanity cleaning up after Playdough sessions!

  • Those are super cool ideas to use toothpicks. :)
    Thank you for sharing.
    If you can’t even reach the candle with the toothpick, try it with an uncooked spaghetti. :)

  • My kids love the demos when we grocery shop, so we often have meat, cheese, fruit and veggie ‘demo’ plates for lunch. The kids love creating their own, and eating off the toothpicks. Healthy and happy!

    Toothpicks keep plastic wrap or foil from sticking to frosting when transporting cupcakes.

    God bless you for your blog!

  • My Kindle is cranky today! The page disappeared on me right in the middle of a word, so did my comment! Nevertheless, I really like your blog. P.S. Did you even get my comment? It was just thanking you for your great job that you do, and saying I use your tips and recipes often.

  • I used to use toothpicks when doing crafts either for gluing and/or part of the craft itself. Have made holiday picks to put on cupcakes, birthdays, etc. They at times help get something out that fell in a tight crack. Or make a price for a bake sale or bazaar by putting price on it by writing price on paper and tape to the outside of container especially if it’s a container with packs of candy or cookies all the same price. Bet all of us have used one for things we will remember later on.

  • When my girls were younger I would use toothpicks to get better detail when painting little flowers or lady bugs (for example) on their finger nails. Dry before adding a color on top of another one. Do a layer of clear so it lasts longer. :D
    If I need to keep the cling wrap off of something I put in toothpicks part way so the wrap rests on the toothpicks rather than the frosting or cheese.

  • I use toothpicks when I have a screw hole that has become too loose. You put a piece or two inside the hole then screw the screw in. The toothpick pieces get pushed into the sides of the hole and the screw stays in tight.

  • Hi Jillee,

    I enjoy your helpful blog so much! Earlier this year when I was planting my garden seeds indoors, I used toothpicks for marking labels in the grow trays. I printed out the seed name in Word using small font (but you could simply write out the seed names). I cut the little labels then used transparent tape to tape labels on toothpicks. By using a long strip of tape to cover label completely, front and back then on to the toothpick to make little flags, I had plant markers. It was a temporary solution that worked for me.

  • Cut up a peeled potato into approx. 1/3 in. Pieces. Stick into styrofoam too dry . Then paint them with nail polish. When dry ,string them for a neckless thru the hole left from the toothpick

  • The toothpicks in the potatoes is such a perfect idea. My hubby loves his baked potatoes so I will try your idea. Thanks for all of your great ideas.
    I too am a Californis girl now a Utahn. Took awhile to coast down. And now in retirement and lovin our decision.

  • You can clean the crevices around your kitchen sink with toothpicks, or an old tooth brush. I use the. To clean any crevice that needs cleaning. Have used them to clean the crevices on my kitchen cabinets.

  • My favourite was using different coloured toothpicks to identify ingredients in food.
    Your ideas have really helped me out, as I’ve come to realize that I need to “copy” from others or else I draw a blank.

    I’ve also read your story. It seems to me that the title you chose for this helpful blog speaks of “Gratitude”. You are not only sharing creativity, you are subtly reminding your readers to recognize and appreciate something positive in their everyday life. I think that’s nice. Thank you.

  • When sewing on buttons that will get a lot of wear and strain, like on a coat or jeans, elevate the button off the surface of the fabric with a toothpick under it to sew the button with some give. Stitch as usual, but when you remove the toothpick, the loops of thread will be slightly loose to allow ease of buttoning without pulling the button off.

  • If you want to grow your own sweet potato plant just cut it in half put tooth picks in the sides and stick it in a cup of water and the roots will start and the vine will begin to grow!

  • I use toothpicks all over the house for cleaning all the tiny little crevices on all sorts of things. It’s amazing how much gunk is in those things especially in the kitchen & bathroom.

    • When I wash my windows inside and out, two of my tools are toothpicks and Qtips. The other tool is a narrow screwdriver. Invariably I will need them. Now they are a part of my window cleaning kit to git ‘er done!

  • Not much quality control in China (read the news). I would not knowingly eat anything or put anything in my mouth that came from China. Not racist, just common sense.

  • I use toothpicks to knit tiny tiny object that are trim on larger objects. Also knit a swatch on toothpicks and put swatch and toothpick needles inside a clear Christmas ornament.

  • I water my violets from the bottom by putting the pots in pie tins with toothpicks to hold them up so the water can get to the holes in the bottom of the pots

  • I use a small piece of toothpick inserted under the corner edge (at a forty-five degree angel) of a toe nail that hurts and is threatening to become ingrown.
    My “little” brother used to make elaborate toothpick sculptures using elmer’s glue. He has since moved on to clay…

  • when i read your daily post titles i say “oh that’s dumb” or “what the heck could that be”.

    i guess i’m trying to say that i think i know it all but then i read your posts and you know it all.

    i so enjoy this blog all the time. good job(s) jillee.

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