How to Dispose of Toothpaste

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Toothpaste is healthy for your teeth, but can be harmful to children and pets if consumed in excess.
Toothpaste is healthy for your teeth, but can be harmful to children and pets if consumed in excess. (Image: brush with toothpaste image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com)

People use toothpaste every day, but its ingredients are not safe for consumption in large amounts. Children and pets may mistake toothpaste as a treat because of its flavor, color or texture. While the fluoride in toothpaste is safe enough for tooth brushing, it can make a child or animal sick if it is ingested in excess. The artificial sweeteners found in many toothpaste brands can cause serious conditions in pets as well. Toothpaste is relatively safe when stored away in a medicine cabinet, but when you dispose of it, you run the risk of a child or pet accessing it from the trash can.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothpaste tube
  • Scissors
  • Sink
  • Trash can

Run hot water in the sink.

Squeeze any large amounts of remaining toothpaste in the tube into the running water and down the drain. Squeeze from the end of the tube to the tip.

Cut across the crimped end of the toothpaste tube using scissors.

Pinch together the two ends of the cut tube, using your thumb and forefinger, until the flattened tube opens.

Hold the open tube under running water to rinse out remaining toothpaste. Use your fingers to dislodge toothpaste from corners or folds in the tube.

Throw the clean, empty tube into the trash can.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some toothpaste tubes can be recycled when they are thoroughly cleaned. Check your local recycling regulations.
  • Some toothpaste tubes are made from aluminum. Take care not to cut yourself when opening aluminum tubes or using your fingers to rinse the inside of the tube.
  • If toothpaste is on the tube's cap, rinse it before throwing away.

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