Cotton swabs are handy. You can use them for makeup, cleaning cuts, and a lot more…except cleaning your ears, right? RIGHT?! (Don’t do that.) Chance are you’ve got a box of these hanging around in your bathroom, so don’t let them rest there in vain. Here are 22 uses for Q-tips that you may not have thought of.
1. Let’s see those pearly whites
It seems like white teeth are becoming all the rage these days. But that doesn’t mean you have to go to the dentist to have yours professionally done. Just mix your regular toothpaste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a whitening paste (the texture is up to you), and apply it to your teeth with…you guessed it…a Q-tip. Let it sit for a minute and then brush normally. You can do this a couple of times per week.
2. Smell like a rose…or whatever
You want to smell nice, but who wants to carry a perfume or cologne bottle around in their purse or pocket? Grab a few cotton swabs and spray your favorite scent on them, then keep them sealed in a plastic bag. Totally portable!
3. Homestead Helper
We all have spots of paint that chip off when something hits the wall. We also have a way of noticing little spots that need touching up…but never when we have a paintbrush handy. Instead, grab a Q-tip and do those quick touchups without dragging out your paintbrushes…or having to clean them.
4. Loosen up that zipper
Got a stuck zipper that won’t budge? Grab a cotton swab and dip it into some oil (anything you have in your kitchen will work) or even lip balm. Swab around the sipper and it’ll help loosen it up.
5. Bleach that spot
So you spilled spaghetti sauce on your new t-shirt (isn’t that Murphy’s Law of laundry?). It’ll be less of a pain if you use a cotton swab dipped in bleach to treat the stain very precisely…so it doesn’t ruin the colored parts of your shirt, or drip on your jeans.
6. Clean a yucky straw
Anyone else hang onto the straws you get from a restaurant or drive-thru? Got some reusable ones at home? Either way, they’re notoriously hard to clean. Grab a damp Q-tip, and you’ll probably find it’s just the right size to get the gunk. If it’s too short, grab a kitchen skewer to push it the rest of the way.
7. Clean hard-to-reach dirt
Look closely at your light switches and door hinges. Yucky, right? A cotton swab soaked with cleaner is just the right size to clean out those nooks and crannies that a rag could never reach.
8. De-lint your hairdryer
Ever looked at the back of your hair dryer? Because they suck air in the back, it gets really dirty. It can even be a fire hazard. Swab it out with a damp Q-tip and get beautiful in safety.
9. Clean keyboards gadgets
Check the rim around your smart phone screen. Now look at your computer keyboard or cameral lens. Seeing how dirty those tiny spaces can be, wouldn’t you be smart to dip a Q-tip in some rubbing alcohol and get rid of the gunk? You bet you would! You’re so clever.
10. Help your garden grow
If you like gardening, you can help things along with a Q-tip. Manually spread pollen from male flowers to female flowers, and you’ll know the job is getting done.
11. Give your oven some Q-tip lovin’
If you have any type of grates on your stovetop, chances are there is all kinds of grime down in the cracks underneath. Eww! Q-tips and your favorite kitchen cleaner to the rescue!
12. Color inside the lines
Here’s a neat makeup hack. Using a Q-tip, outline your lips with a sheer powder before or after applying lipstick. It’ll help keep it from bleeding out where you don’t want it.
13. Fix the root of the problem
If you color your hair, you likely have root issues. But all you need is a cotton swab and an eye shadow that blends with your hair color. Dip and swab those roots away, and nobody will ever know. Well, except for you, and you’re not telling!
14. Speaking of hair color…
Most of us can’t color our hair at home without getting the hair dye in places we don’t want it: your neck, face, hairline…but don’t sweat it. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and you’ll get rid of those stains before you can say, “oops!” This is easier and safer than many other methods.
15. De-scuff your favorite shoes
Got some patent leather pumps with ugly scuffs? Grab a Q-tip with some nail polish remover, and you’ll be rid of them fast.
16. Clean up your mani-ped
If you paint your own nails, it’s hard to get them perfect. But it’s nothing that a cotton swab and polish remover won’t fix. The tip is so small that you can remove any stray polish without ruining your nails. You can also use Q-tips to create some awesome nail art.
17. Get rid of those zits
I know, I know…you shouldn’t pop pimples because create scars or add extra oil from your fingers. Maybe, but did you know that using a Q-tip can help you get rid of them more safely? Wet two of them with warm water, and press them firmly on either side of that pesky pimple. You’ll be able to pop it without skin damage. Give it a try!
18. The perfect eye liner
Cotton swabs, especially the kind with the pointed tip, are great for creating the perfect drama with your eyeliner…or cleaning up when you make a makeup mistake.
19. Precise pottery
Do you dabble in pottery or ceramics? Use cotton swabs to make fun designs in your creations before drying or firing.
20. Extended wear mascara
Want your mascara to look fresher all day? Apply your first coat, then use a Q-tip to sweep your translucent powder over your lashes. Then, apply your second coat and it will have better staying power.
21. A perfectly tidy pet
Yeah, right. Well, you can at least use cotton swabs to clean the gunk out of the corners of their eyes, or get the mud from between their furry toes. You can clean the outer portions of their ears, too, to help prevent infection. But remember…never stick a Q-tip in anyone’s ear.
22. Large and in charge
Did you know your cell phone’s charging port can get super dirty, preventing a full charge or making it take longer? For better contact with your charging cable, periodically take a precision-tipped cotton swab with a little rubbing alcohol and clean the contact points.