16 Surprising Uses for Toothpicks

Think toothpicks are only good for picking teeth or checking cake? Think again. Check out these toothpick tricks in the kitchen, around the house, and in the garden.

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Keep pots from boiling over

Keep pots from boiling overiStockphoto/Thinkstock
We've all done it--turn the burner on high, walk away, and before you know it, water is boiling over the sides of your pot. Avoid a messy stovetop by sticking a toothpick, laid flat, between the lid and pot. This small space will let steam escape, which prevents the pot from boiling over. 

Control the use of your salad dressing

Control the use of your salad dressingiStockphoto/Thinkstock
Never pour half a bottle of dressing on your salad again! Instead, leave the foil seal on a brand new bottle in place and use a toothpick to punch holes in it. This helps prevent a dressing avalanche, which will make it last longer and save you some calories, too!

Microwave potatoes faster

Microwave potatoes fasteriStockphoto/Thinkstock
Next time you make a baked potato, give it toothpick legs. Stick four toothpicks in one side, which will suspend it and allow it to cook much faster since the bottom, top, and sides are all exposed.

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Clean your phone

Clean your phoneCiaran Griffin/Thinkstock
When dirt, dust, or grime gets between the buttons of your phone or keyboard, dip a toothpick in alcohol and run it through the area. You can also use this trick in any hard-to-reach crack or crevice. 

Light candles easier

Light candles easierBrand X Pictures/Thinkstock
Don't burn your fingers trying to light a candle's hard-to-reach wick. Instead, light a wooden toothpick and then use that to reach the burned down wick.

Mark the start of a tape roll

Mark the start of a tape rolliStockphoto/Thinkstock
Finding the beginning of a tape roll is a waste of time, not to mention frustrating. Next time you cut a piece of tape, wrap the end around a toothpick when you're done. 

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Touch up paint jobs

Touch up paint jobsiStockphoto/Thinkstock
The secret to a good paint touch-up is to use as little as possible, which is why toothpicks work perfectly. Dip the end of a toothpick in paint and dab it where you need it. Unlike with a brush, you won't apply more paint than you need and also won't have a brush to clean.

Keep track of everybody's meat

Keep track of everybody's meatiStockphoto/Thinkstock
Keep track of who wants what on the grill by using multicolored toothpicks to color code the meat by doneness--rare, medium, well done. 

Cook sausages evenly

Cook sausages evenlyiStock/Thinkstock
It can be hard to cook sausage evenly when it rolls back in forth. Connect pairs of sausages with toothpicks, which will keep them in place and make flipping them easier.

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Keep track of garlic in a marinade

Keep track of garlic in a marinade
If you marinate foods with garlic cloves, stick a toothpick through the clove so you can easily remove it when you're ready to serve.

Repair a bent plant stem

Repair a bent plant stemComstock Images/Thinkstock
If the stem of your favorite plant has folded over, it's not doomed. Straighten the stem and support it by placing a toothpick against the stem and wrapping it with tape. Keep your eye on it and the stem should regain its strength. When this happens, be sure to remove the splint so you don't strangle the stem.

Repair small holes in wood

Repair small holes in woodiStockphoto/Thinkstock
Did you drive a nail into the wrong spot in your pine project? Don't panic. Dip the tip of a toothpick into white or yellow glue, then stick it in the hold and break it off. Sand the toothpick flush to the surface and you'll never notice the repair.

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Fix a leaky garden hose

Fix a leaky garden hose
If your garden hose springs a leak, don't go out and buy another one. Find the hole, and insert a toothpick. Break off the excess part of the toothpick and water will make the wood swell, plugging the leak every time.

Repair a loose hinge screw

Repair a loose hinge screwiStockphoto/Thinkstock
Have you ever encountered a stripped hole that prevents a screw from properly tightening, the after-effect of removing a door or hinge? Solve this problem by putting some glue on the end of a toothpick and sticking it in the hole. Break it off and add one or two more until the hole is tightly filled. Re-drill the hole and you're ready to screw the hinge in place.

Apply glue to sequins

Apply glue to sequinsiStockphoto/Thinkstock
If your craft project calls for sequins or buttons, toothpicks will leave you with less mess. Squirt a little glue on a piece of paper, dip in a toothpick and use that to apply dabs of glue.

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Make sewing easier

Make sewing easier
Make sewing projects faster and easier by using a round toothpick to push fabrics, lace, or gatherings under the pressure foot as you sew.

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