Many of us will have toothpaste in our homes; after all, dental experts deem it essential in keeping our teeth clean and healthy. But these 40 hacks have nothing to do with oral hygiene. Instead, they reveal the ingenious – and often unexpected – ways that toothpaste can solve our daily problems.
40. Soothe insect bites
Anyone who’s fallen victim to insect bites will know that they can be as irritating as hell. However, you can soothe the itching little lumps with just a dab of toothpaste, according to Reader’s Digest. Simply apply to the affected area and allow it to cool the skin right down. Top tip – toothpaste can apparently also be used in the same way to treat burns.
39. Freshen up your toilet cistern
If you want to keep your toilet smelling good between cleans, why not use toothpaste? Simply pierce holes into the tube and place inside your cistern. The nifty trick will release a fresh, minty scent into your bathroom without you having to scrub away, The Sun says. The menthol in the paste can also act as a mild disinfectant – making it a double win.
38. Eliminate scuff marks from shoes
Rather than reaching for expensive polishes next time you come to clean your leather shoes, Reader’s Digest says that you should give toothpaste a go. Rub a drop onto any scuffs with a soft cloth before and then clean the area with a damp rag. The marks should come off before your eyes – leaving your footwear looking and smelling fresh.
37. Dry out pimples
If you need an overnight fix for a pesky spot, simply dab on a bit of toothpaste before you go to bed. The formula with help to dry out the pimple and absorb excess oil, according to the publication. The trick works best when used on a spot that’s already got a head, but this hack may not be for you if you have sensitive skin.
36. Get crayon off walls
Don’t despair the next time that your kids use your beautiful, clean walls as a blank canvas. Instead, Reader’s Digest says, just grab some toothpaste and use it to scrub the crayon away. The slightly abrasive nature of toothpaste makes it perfect for removing waxy messes. Furthermore, you can finish the job by rinsing the affected wall with water.
35. Hang posters
If you live in a rental where you can’t fix nails to the wall, Home Hacks also claims that you can use toothpaste to hang your pictures. As we’ve covered, the bathroom staple can be used as a nifty makeshift adhesive that will come in handy when sprucing up your place. And unlike blue-tac, nails or glue, it won’t damage your walls when you come to take it off.
34. Deodorize hands
Home cooks will know that there are some smells that just seem to stick on hands like glue. Sometimes no matter how much you wash with soap, the stink just won’t shift. However, according to Reader’s Digest, the ingredients in toothpaste which deodorize your mouth do the same thing for your hands.
33. Remove fabric stains
Toothpaste also works like a charm when it comes to removing stubborn lipstick or ink stains from clothes, the magazine says. Use a non-gel variety to treat the fabric and rub it vigorously to work the paste in. Then repeat the process until the offending mark is removed. After that, you might want to place the item in the laundry to remove the remaining menthol smell.
32. Clean up piano keys
If all your piano playing has left the keys looking grubby, it’s time to call upon your trusty toothpaste. According to the good people at Reader’s Digest, you can simply apply some with a toothbrush and then use a dampened cloth to clean the keys off. This method might sound strange, but if you think about it, ivory is basically pretty much elephant teeth. However, toothpaste will also work a treat on modern plastic keys.
31. Tackle carpet stains
While it might seem counterintuitive to rub toothpaste into an already soiled carpet, the publication argues that the bathroom staple is actually an effective stain remover. You simply rub the paste onto the offending mark and rub it into the fibers using a sponge or toothbrush. Then rinse with water and repeat until your carpet’s clean.
30. Banish watermarks
Coasters are the easiest way to avoid unsightly watermarks on furniture. However, don’t worry if you or someone else has forgotten to use one. Reader’s Digest suggests applying some non-gel toothpaste to the stain using a soft cloth, and then wiping away with a damp one. Let the wood dry before giving it a spritz of polish.
29. Clean phone camera
If your images are coming out hazy on your camera phone, it might be worth giving the lens a little clean. By now, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that toothpaste is perfect for this task. According to imply smooth onto the camera and wipe away to remove any debris, and see how much your photography game improves.
28. Remove gunk from straighteners and curling irons
Many of us use multiple products on our hair, and this can lead to a sticky build-up on our heated implements. Luckily, lifestyle website The Spruce says that toothpaste works amazingly to remove unwanted gunk without damaging hair straighteners or curling irons. Simply rub onto the surface of the styling tools before removing the excess product. Complete the process by wiping with a damp cloth and allowing the appliance to air dry.
27. Deodorize baby bottles
After a while, baby bottles can wind up smelling of sour milk. To eliminate this unpleasant odor, Reader’s Digest recommends that you take some toothpaste and a bottle brush to the offending item before rinsing it thoroughly with water. The same method can be used on Tupperware and plastic storage boxes to remove the smell of last night’s leftovers.
26. Quick toilet clean
If your toilet’s in need of a quick fix but you’re fresh out of cleaner, use toothpaste instead. According to The Spruce, you can simply squirt it around the bowl and work it in with a toilet brush. The toothpaste won’t kill all the nasties as your regular cleaning product might, but it will leave your toilet sparkling and smelling minty fresh.
25. Defog goggles
Whether you’re doing some DIY or diving the deep seas, fogged-up goggles can be a problem. To prevent your eyewear from steaming up, rub toothpaste all over them and then clean it off, Reader’s Digest says. Not only will you be left with perfectly clear glasses, but they should stay see-through while you work or swim.
24. Keep silverware gleaming
With just a little bit of toothpaste, you can make tarnished silverware a thing of the past. Just rub on using a soft cloth and watch as the dull build-up comes away before your eyes. According to The Spruce, the hack even works on copper pots that are badly tarnished – though you may need to leave the paste there for a few minutes before removing. When you’re done, rinse well with hot water and then shine with a new cloth.
23. Remove soap scum
Toothpaste is also particularly effective in tackling soap scum build up in the bathroom, the website adds. It works perfectly on shower doors when applied with a damp sponge before being rinsed off and buffed with a dry cloth. You’ll be left with a pristine finish devoid of any unsightly build-ups or water marks.
22. Make coins shine
We’ve already covered how good toothpaste is at making things sparkle, and that goes for your money too. According to the YouTube channel Addyology, you should stir in some paste with a cup of water and leave old coins to soak in the formula. When you come to remove the coins, they’ll look so good that you might want to think twice about spending them.
21. Glue for your scrapbook
If you’re caught on the road without a gluestick and need to keep photos and memories in order, look no further than your trusty tube of toothpaste. The YouTube outfit Bokin DIY argues that the handy substance can be used as a make-shift adhesive – using it the way you would with any regular glue. Now, you can keep all your mementos together as you go.
20. Fix scratched glasses
Before you’re tempted to throw scratched spectacles away, try this handy hack. Rub them using a cotton ball and some toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. After a couple of goes, scratches might start to disappear, according to budgeting website A Cultivated Nest. However, beware of trying this on glasses with specialist coatings, as the toothpaste may damage these.
19. Brighten up your bling
Reader’s Digest argues that you can spruce up a diamond ring to its former glory using toothpaste. Simply use a toothbrush to apply the formula to your jewelry and wipe off the residue using a damp cloth. You should be left with bling that truly glistens – meaning you might never want to take it off.
18. Keep your fingernails clean
If your nails have been stained from cooking, cleaning or gardening, turn to toothpaste for help. According to A Cultivated Nest, simply put some on a toothbrush and scrub away at your fingers for around a minute. When you rinse the excess paste away you should be left with sparkling clean fingernails. However, this hack is best left for emergencies only, as too much toothpaste could dry nails out – making them brittle.
17. Prevent your bathroom mirror from steaming over
Trying to brush your teeth, shave your face or apply makeup can be downright impossible with a fogged-up mirror. So to help your morning routine go more smoothly, Reader’s Digest recommends wiping it down with toothpaste before you hop in the shower. That way, it will remain steam-free while you’re getting ready.
16. Clean white patio furniture
Toothpaste – particularly that with whitening properties – can come in handy when cleaning your white patio furniture. And according to A Cultivated Nest, it’s great at removing grass stains; just rub on, then rinse and repeat until clean. If you need to, you could wash the entire piece of furniture in this way – though you might need a big tube of toothpaste.
15. Fill small holes
If you need a quick fix for small holes in your walls – from nails, for instance – consider filling them with toothpaste. The frugal living blog recommends pushing the formula into the crevice before smoothing it off with an old credit card – ensuring it’s flat on the wall. And once the paste has dried you can paint it as normal.
14. Polish kitchen chrome
Many supermarket chrome cleaners contain a very gentle abrasive to help make surfaces shiny. And guess what? Toothpaste is also slightly abrasive in order to clean our teeth. So, if you don’t have your usual product handy, simply smear on some toothpaste and polish off using a dry cloth, according to Reader’s Digest.
13. Clean car headlights
Car headlights can become cloudy over time as they oxidize. This can decrease your visibility in the dark and can, therefore, become a danger. To get your car headlights shining brightly, once more use toothpaste, the publication argues. Grab a sponge and rub the substance onto the lights in circular motions before rinsing off with water or a damp cloth.
12. Remove nail polish
If you’re out of nail polish remover but need to fix up your talons, look no further than toothpaste. Simply rub it on your fingernails in the same way you would use acetone, the website Home Hacks argues. As an added bonus your hands will be left smelling lovely and minty – which makes a change from lots of other removers.
11. Restore your white sneakers
When the white, rubber parts of your sneakers become marked try cleaning them with non-gel toothpaste. Reader’s Digest using a cleaning pad or toothbrush to apply the formula and letting it dry onto the shoes. When you come to wipe it off, use a cloth dampened with water and soap. As you do, the dirt should lift off before your eyes – leaving your sneaks gleaming white.
10. Clean your iron plate
The semi-abrasive nature of toothpaste makes it perfect for cleaning sticky, starch build-ups off irons. Wait for the plate to cool before rubbing the paste onto the metal with a cloth and then scrub it clean once more with a damp rag, the publication says. You should be left with gleaming iron that will make smoothing out laundry a breeze.
9. Repair CDs and DVDs
CDs and DVDs may seem pretty old school nowadays, but many of us still have piles of them in our homes. When they were released back in the day, CDs were cited as being “indestructible.” Nevertheless, the nostalgic discs are susceptible to scratches. But, according to the website Awesome Inventions, you can easily fix them up by wiping them over with toothpaste.
8. Remove permanent marker from wood
Next time your children’s doodles make it onto your wooden furniture, do not despair. Awesome Inventions claims that even permanent marker can be removed with a squeeze of toothpaste. Just rub it gently on to the affected area and take it off after a few minutes. However, you might need to repeat the process if necessary.
7. Clean the bathroom sink
Toothpaste is pretty miraculous stuff, so don’t let it go to waste if you drop a dollop in the bathroom sink. Scrub it into the basin using a sponge before rinsing it away with water, Reader’s Digest says. You can even squeeze a bit down the drain to leave it smelling fresh.
6. Get gum out of hair or clothes
Removing gum from clothes or hair can be a difficult task, but once again toothpaste can help and all you’ll need is a little bit of patience. Awesome Inventions recommends applying some paste to the sticky area and allowing it to dry out naturally. Once the toothpaste has fully set, the gum should come away more easily.
5. Heal bruises
In one of its more unusual uses, toothpaste can apparently be used to help bruises heal more quickly. According to A Cultivated Nest, just apply a thin layer to the skin, cover it over with a bandage and leave it for an eight-hour period. Wash off in the morning and repeat the process for the next few days until you see a difference.
4. Clean your credit card microchip
If you’re having trouble using your credit card, try cleaning the chip with toothpaste before getting in touch with your bank. Apply the formula to the metallic strip with a q-tip and remove gently with a cloth, the YouTube channel Addyology suggests. The same method can also be used on faulty SD and sim cards in a last-ditch attempt to get them working.
3. Freshen up your footwear
It seems that toothpaste has you covered for all your footwear needs. Not only can the wonder substance buff away scuffs and clean up white soles, but it can also leave your shoes smelling sweet. As per Home Hacks, if your best kicks are in need of some freshening up, rub toothpaste into the soles to give them a fragrant boost.
2. Fix up scratched phones
Given the amount we use our phones, they’re susceptible to scratches. But did you know that toothpaste can be used to reduce such marks, going some way in restoring our devices to their former glory? According to the YouTube channel Bokin DIY, just rub the paste on and remove it with a cloth.
1. Remove scratches from your car
It’s fair to say that toothpaste can be extremely useful for removing scratches, considering we’ve already mentioned its ability to fix glasses and phones. But, the website claims, toothpaste works on scraped-up cars too – providing a low-cost way of keeping wheels looking their best.
But toothpaste isn’t the only common household item to have some unexpected uses. When you see all the ingenious ways in which tea bags can solve everyday problems, too, you’ll never look at them the same again. Don’t believe us? Well, just watch what happens when you dip a tea bag in a dirty dish – or apply one to an insect bite. Whether they’re peppermint, green, camomile or Oolong, used tea bags offer a whole host of surprising opportunities.
40. Reduces puffiness and dark circles around the eyes
Applying a cool or refrigerated used tea bag on your eyes for ten to 15 minutes can reduce dark circles and puffiness. The magic ingredient is the tea’s tannin – which reduces swelling. For the best results, however, use green tea as it has a higher caffeine content and contains an anti-inflammatory called EGCG. And it’s those two compounds that help reduce the excess fluid that causes the issue in question.
39. Face mist
When the weather heats up, it can be a relief to apply a facial mist throughout the day. Yet University of Illinois alumna Jessica recommends a DIY recipe of green tea and vitamin E on her College Fashion blog. She claims that not only is the concoction an instant freshener, but the EGCG and vitamin E can also help repair damage caused by sun exposure.
38. Keep pests away
Tea is the most popular drink in the world after water. But other creatures — such as rats – aren’t so fond of the stuff. So place used tea bags around your kitchen to keep the room rodent free. The tea experts at website Your Tea Headquarters also suggest adding a few drops of peppermint oil to dry sachets to keep ants away.
37. Plant fertilizer
Tea contains nutrients that can be beneficial to plants. In fact, there is appreciably more nitrogen found in tea leaves than in shop-bought plant fertilizers. What difference does that make? Well, nitrogen helps to encourage abundant growth. Plus, used tea leaves will help keep soil moist as well as discouraging weeds from sprouting around your flower beds.
36. Tea bag bath
There are many antioxidants in tea that have a therapeutic effect on the human body. And according to the scientific research body the Integrative Longevity Institute Of Virginia, bathing in tea is a more effective way of absorbing its nutrients than drinking it. After all, skin is the largest organ. So throwing a few old tea bags in a tub of water is potentially therapeutic and can boost the immune system.
35. Wart treatment
The antioxidants found in green tea can help treat warts. Apparently, consuming two or three cups a day will slow down the effects of the human papillomavirus – which causes warts. Used tea bags can also be applied directly to the affected area. Do this three times a day – for ten to 15 minutes each go around – and after a while the wart will probably dry up and fall off.
34. Fix a broken nail
If you’ve split a nail and need an urgent repair, you can use the fabric of a tea bag as a makeshift gauze. Simply cut a piece big enough to cover the affected area and stick it in place with a coating of clear nail polish. Apply a second coat and, when it’s dry, buff it out with a nail file. Apply base coat and polish as desired.
33. Window cleaner
Believe it or not, tea bags can be handy to lift greasy smears from windows – thanks again to that magical tannin. How? Well, add a black tea bag to hot water and leave it to cool down completely. Some even recommend leaving it for several days. Then simply wipe — or spray — your windows with it and buff clean for a gleaming shine.
32. Soothe a sting or insect bite
For a natural relief from an insect bite, try applying a used green tea bag. By allowing it to sit on the affected area, its compounds can help reduce the inflammation. And if the bag is applied cold, any itchiness will likely be soothed, too. So it might be handy to keep one in the fridge during warmer months.
31. Meat tenderizer
Tannins are what give tea its bitter taste and dry-mouth feel. But they can also tenderize meat, making it easier to digest. Red wine also has a high tannin content and is more typically used in cooking. But for a cheaper or non-alcoholic alternative, why not throw some strong tea into the pot instead.
30. Freshen wood floors
Tea’s astringent qualities have long been used to clean wood floors. First, steep a handful of them in a pot of water for ten minutes. Then transfer the tea to a bucket and allow to cool. Load your mop with the tea and fully wring it out, as you shouldn’t soak the floor. Mop the wood surface as usual, and the tea will easily lift dust and grime – leaving the floor gleaming.
29. Soothes razor burn
The tannin found in tea can also soothe razor burns. So if your skin is irritated, make yourself a brew then place the used tea bag in the fridge for ten minutes or more. Then rub the cooled bag over the affected area for instant relief.
28. Eliminate shoe odors
Bacteria thrives in the warmth and moisture generated by feet when you’re working hard. Often this can cause some unwelcome smelly footwear. But if you place a few unused tea bags in the offending shoes, they can soak up the dampness and stench. Any type of tea will work, too, so perhaps fruity or floral varieties would create a pleasant smell.
27. Mini compost bags
Anyone thinking they’re gifted with green fingers may want to consider a simple starting point: used tea bags. Since tea is a natural fertilizer, damp tea bags are the perfect environment for seedlings to take root. So simply cut a hole in the bag and pop a seed inside. Keep it moist and, once a plant sprouts, transfer it to a pot or flower bed.
26. Polish wood furniture
Much like polishing wood floors, tea also works a treat on wooden furniture. You see, furniture polish is a one-size-fits-all cleaning solution – but not all wood is the same. So apply a wash of cooled tea to wooden surfaces then wipe clean. The tannin will lift any polish build-up and make the wood shine again.
25. Flavoring pasta and grains
There are other ways to work tea into your culinary repertoire beyond hot beverages. For instance, cooking quinoa or jasmine rice in a weak green tea adds an earthy depth of flavor. Black teas also bring out the natural flavors in barley and bulgar. Working green tea powder into homemade pasta and noodles can enhance Japanese dishes as well.
24. Polishing leather
If your leather shoes are looking the worse for wear, you can restore their shine with a few used tea bags. That’s because the same astringent properties that remove grime from windows and wood floors work on leather, too. Simply rub tea bags over the surface, being careful to lift all the dirt, then buff out with a clean cloth.
23. Soothe sunburn
While effective on razor burns, tannins can also help soothe sunburn. If you’ve been soaking up the rays for too long, then, you can find some relief from cold tea. Simply rub the affected area with black tea bags and slather with a strong, cool brew. Don’t rinse it off, as the technique is more effective the longer it has to work. Repeat as many times as necessary.
22. Get a lasting tan
Strangely, if you want to achieve a sun-kissed look without exposure to the sun, tea can help you self-tan. Leave a handful of black tea bags to brew for around 20 minutes and then transfer the liquid to a spray bottle. It’s important for the tea to cool down before spraying it all over your body, of course. And the darker the brew, the more intense the color will be.
21. Treat minor burns
If you’ve suffered a mild burn in the kitchen, tea could help soothe the discomfort. For instance, if you’ve brushed a hand against a boiling pot or kettle, simply place a cold used tea bag on the affected area for instant relief. According to scientists at UCLA, its tannins can provide relief in minutes.
20. Freshen carpets
According to tips website One Good Thing, tea bags can be used to add freshness to your carpets. Remove the leaves from a dried, used tea bag and mix them with a handful of baking soda. Dust the mixture over your carpet and leave for 20 minutes before vacuuming thoroughly. Apparently, the compounds in the ingredients combine to leave your carpet fresh and dirt-free.
19. Remove odors from hands
Quite often, chopping strong-smelling foods such as onions and garlic – or even handling potent fish – can leave your hands reeking. One way of eliminating the stench they leave behind is to wash them with tea. Once again, the tannin works to neutralize odors, removing the stubborn culinary smells from your hands, leaving them fresh.
18. Mask smells from litter trays
As cat owners will know, litter trays are a near-constant source of unwelcome odors. But a simple and cheap solution is to scatter loose tea leaves among the litter and stir it together. It will banish any nasty smells as well as fighting bacteria, which is another bonus. For the best results, use green tea.
17. Mirror cleaner
The technique for using tea bags to clean windows can also be applied to mirrors. So rustle up a brew and dampen a cloth with the tea solution to wipe down the reflective surface for a streak-free shine. The same trick can be used on any shiny surface in the home, too, with the bonus of easy cleaning of microwave and oven doors.
16. Enhance faded black clothes
The color in black t-shirts is prone to fade over time. But instead of tossing the garments away, there’s a clever hack to restoring their hue. According to home and gardens website Dengarden, soaking the clothing in strong tea for ten minutes after a wash will restore some color. While the shirts won’t be like new, repeat soaks may further reduce the fade.
15. Upcycle old clothes
It can be a nightmare trying to remove tea stains from clothes. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that the same liquid can be used to give old clothes new lives by dyeing them. Get creative and create patterns or bunch shirts together before dipping them for a tie-dye effect. The stronger the tea, the darker the colorization will be — and all without harmful chemicals.
14. Steam pores
Beauty routines that utilize steam treatments can soften the skin, improve circulation and increase the absorption of moisturizers. Popping tea into the mix can bring added nutrients to a facial, too. The technique has been used for hundreds of years with herb and floral mixes, of course. There are also studies that suggest white and green teas may be particularly beneficial to the skin.
13. Treat acne
Some people believe that green tea contains nutrients that can help treat acne. You see, green tea contains a compound called catechins. It’s an antioxidant that is effective at reducing inflammation. So while green tea isn’t thought to be a miracle cure for acne, studies indicate that the use of supplements can bring a noticeable improvement in appearance.
12. Make a tea pillow
Tea is the star of ceremonial traditions in parts of the Far East. And, particularly in Taiwan, the craft of making tea pillows has emerged from these rituals. Instead of wasting tea leaves that accumulate from the traditional gongfu-style tea making ceremonies, then, practitioners dry them out and pop them into cloth bags. These tea pillows are thought to have numerous health benefits, including promoting better sleep and improved brain functions.
11. Clean the sink
Sinks can be a breeding ground for lots of nasty bacteria. In fact, some scientists believe that the kitchen sink can be dirtier than the toilet bowl. The anti-bacterial properties of tea can help remove germs, though. Simply pop a few tea bags in a sink full of water for several hours then rinse. It’ll work as a toilet cleaner, too – just remember not to flush them.
10. Cure eye styes
The anti-bacterial properties in tea can be use to treat styes. Styes form when glands become blocked around the eye, forming something like a pimple. A handy home remedy for these is to pop a cooled, used tea bag on your eye and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
9. Freshen drawers
The tannin found in tea is handy for eliminating bad smells. You see, research has shown that it has an ability to neutralize the compounds that form odors. So why not place a few dry tea bags in drawers to freshen them up? Floral, fruity or herbal teas may even add a more pleasant aroma.
Gasoline and other accelerants can be dangerous when setting camp fires or log burners. So why not try a safer option? A dry tea bag could just as easily do the trick. Snip each end off the tea bag and empty the tea. Form it into a cylinder and set it alight. Using the leaves could create a pleasant aroma as well.
7. Condition hair
Tea treatments are a relatively new trend among hair-care experts. Black teas in particular contain nutrients that can potentially protect against hair loss. You see, it’s believed that its caffeine content blocks the hormone DHT that causes hair loss. Some also find that a tea rinse leaves their hair softer, stronger and shinier – as well as stimulating growth.
6. Masking fridge odors
If your fridge is smelling funky and you’re all out of baking soda, there are other ways to combat the bad smell. Simply place a few used bags in a bowl on a shelf at the back of the refrigerator. The tea leaves will then soak up the nasty aroma. Replace them after a few days for maximum freshness.
5. Air freshener
Instead of forking out money for air fresheners, try using some tea bags instead. Bad smells can become intensified in humid environments, after all. But tea bags are adept at absorbing moisture, and hanging a few about the place will sort out the smells associated with cramped confines. There are a wide variety of scents to choose from, too.
4. Treat bad breath
A study conducted at New York’s Pace University showed that green tea was effective at fighting the bacteria that causes halitosis. So adding green tea to your dental routine could reduce the germs responsible for bad breath by around a third.
3. Treat bleeding gums
Green tea can maintain many aspects of oral health. While it’s important to keep a regular cleaning routine with brushing and flossing, adding tea to the mix could make toothpaste and mouthwash more effective. A Pace University study showed that this combination fights bacteria responsible for bleeding gums and tooth decay as well as other viruses.
2. Wrinkle treatment
The antioxidant EGCG found in green and white tea is effective at boosting cell turnover. This in turn makes an effective weapon to combat wrinkles. Chinese citizens even utilize tea as face masks. By combining powdered green tea with a white tea brew, its antioxidants have a plumping effect on the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
1. Lifts grease from pans
The tannin found in tea is a bit of a super-ingredient – as these astringent biomolecules help break down grease from fatty foods. So, after a meal, throw crockery, cutlery and cookware in a sink full of hot water. Then add some used tea bags and by morning all the grease will lift right off.