How to Remove Toothpaste Stains From Clothes and Carpets

person dabbing a damp cloth on a garment

The Spruce / Sarah Crowley 

Overview
  • Working Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins

You have probably done it, more than once. You get a little too exuberant when brushing your teeth and little white or blue specks appear on your clothes right as you are heading out of the door. (Perhaps this is why mom said to brush teeth before getting dressed!) Removing these little dots seems so simple: Just wipe them away with a damp cloth; however, water alone will not cut it. Sometimes these spots reappear or simply will not go away.

Read the Label on the Tube

Important note: Some people just remove their shirt, put it in the hamper, and put on a clean one. This is fine if the toothpaste has titanium dioxide, but if the toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide, you will need to wash that out immediately, since it is a form of bleach and may discolor some articles of clothing.

The culprit is likely titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in toothpaste to that make the paste look whiter. It does not whiten your teeth; it just makes the toothpaste white. However, the remedy is simple and can be done at home in minutes.

Stain type Chemical-based 
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water temperature Cold

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or plastic edge
  • Clean white cloths

Materials

  • Water
  • Liquid laundry detergent

Instructions

materials for toothpaste stain removal
The Spruce / Sarah Crowley

Before You Begin

If you do not have time to clean the toothpaste-speckled garment and choose to just change clothes, the stains will be removed when washing the garment. The surfactants and enzymes in the laundry detergent will take care of the problem. Simply wash as usual following the care guidelines of the garment.

For clothes that are labeled as dry clean only, carefully remove any large blobs of toothpaste with a dull knife or spoon to prevent the paste from working deeper into the fabric. Do not rub the stain into the fabric. 

If the toothpaste contains titanium dioxide, it is best to take the garment to a professional dry cleaner and identify and point out the stain. If the toothpaste does not contain titanium dioxide and the fabric does not water spot (water can often leave spots on dark silks), use a white cloth dipped in plain cool water to remove the stain. Gently rub the spots with the cloth and then blot with a dry white cloth to remove moisture.

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit to clean the entire garment, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

If removing toothpaste from silk or vintage upholstery, consult a professional upholstery cleaner or if you need more stain removal tips.

How to Remove Toothpaste Stains From Clothes

  1. Lift Off the Solid Residue

    If a blob of toothpaste lands on your clothes, use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to lift the stain away from the surface of the fabric. Do not rub because you will only push the toothpaste deeper into the fibers and make it harder to remove.

    using a dull knife to remove solids
    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley 
  2. Dilute Laundry Detergent

    Mix one teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent in one cup of water. Stir to mix well.

    diluting detergent in water
    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley 
  3. Rub Away the Stain

    Dip a clean white cloth in the solution and gently rub away the toothpaste. Do not oversaturate the fabric. Finish by dipping another clean white cloth in cool water and wipe away any detergent or toothpaste residue.

    person using a damp cloth to wipe away stain remnants
    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley 
  4. Air-Dry

    Allow the stain to air-dry.

    allowing the garment to air dry after stain removal
    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley

How to Remove Toothpaste Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

For the most part, the instructions are the same for cleaning toothpaste from carpet or upholstery; only the detergent is different. A milder soap, like liquid dishwashing detergent, should be sufficient to remove the stain. Upholstery is cleaned the same way as carpet, only take extra care to not overwet the fabric to avoid excess moisture in the cushions.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Water
  • Liquid dishwashing soap

Tools

  • Dull knife or plastic edge
  • Clean, white cloths, sponge or soft-bristled brush
  1. Scrape Away the Residue

    When the toothpaste blob hits the carpet or bathroom rug, quickly remove it with a dull knife or spoon to prevent the stain from getting spread deeper into the fibers.

    Prevent the Stain From Worsening

    If you cannot clean right away, blot the area with a white cloth or paper towel dipped in plain water. Work from the outside edge to prevent the stain from getting larger. It is especially important to treat it as soon as possible if the toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide and the carpet is dark in color.

  2. Dilute Dishwashing Liquid

    Mix a solution of two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and two cups cool water.

  3. Blot the Stain With the Solution

    Dip a sponge, white cloth, or soft-bristled brush in the solution. Start at the outside edge of the stain and work the cleaning solution into the stained area. Blot with a clean white cloth or paper towel to transfer the stain out of the carpet. Keep moving to a clean, dry area of the cloth until no more stain is transferred.

  4. Rinse the Area

    Dip a clean white cloth into some plain water to rinse the area. It is particularly important to rinse away any cleaning solution that can attract soil to the area. Blot until no more soapy residue remains.

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

Toothpaste stains are pretty straightforward. Most all will come out in the first attempt. If for any reason, the stain persists, repeat the steps as necessary. Do not put the garment into a clothes dryer until the fabric has been checked to be sure the stain is gone.