8 Surprising (and Awesome!) Uses for Cotton Swabs


Ever notice how you end up with lots of extra cotton swabs around the house? There’s a simple reason for that: most of us just these swabs to help out with makeup or to gently swab our ears. Most people don’t know what they can do with these swabs, so they sit there gathering dust and staring at us accusingly.

That’s why we decided to figure out all the cool and unexpected things you can do around the house with a simple cotton swab. Ready to turn those unwanted swabs into the ultimate life hack? Keep reading to discover everything you can do with them!

Clean your electronics

From phones to tablets to home remote controls, we have absolutely filled our homes to the brim with electronics. But here’s a creepy thought: every time we touch these devices or (even worse) spill food or drink on them, bacteria begins to spread. And it can be quite difficult to remove that bacteria and keep our devices clean.

You guessed it: this is where the cotton swabs come in. All you have to do is dip the swab in some alcohol and get to cleaning. This technique is great for getting those hard-to-reach areas, including the charging ports of phones and tablets as well as the spaces between keyboard keys.

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Help preserve your expensive beauty cream

Good beauty creams are often expensive, but the cost is worth it when they manage to keep you looking young and vibrant. Unfortunately, most people end up making their creams into pools of bacteria without ever knowing it.

That’s because we reflexively scoop the cream out with our hands, and that spreads any bacteria on our hands or fingers into the cream. To keep things bacteria-free, just use a cotton swab to scoop out what you need. No hands are needed, and you can rest assured your beauty cream will last longer and be safer than ever before.

Cleaning your hairdryer made easy

Speaking of safety, it’s important to regularly clean the dirt from the back of your hairdryer out because if you don’t do that, it may very well catch fire the next time you use it. Unfortunately, cleaning this area is very hard to do, meaning you might not know the hairdryer is dangerous until you turn it on and get burned.

Cotton swabs make cleaning the hair dryer filter surprisingly easy, though. With a moist swab, you can drive the dirt out of every nook and cranny, leaving yourself with a hairdryer that is safe to use. As an added bonus, this cleaning technique prolongs the life of the hairdryer, making it just as good for your wallet as it is for your safety. 

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Get all those “hard to reach” places in your car

There’s a reason most people charge a moderate amount for cleaning the interior of your car: each vehicle is filled with so many areas that are hard to clean that this soon becomes an annoying and time-consuming process. But with a few cotton swabs, you can make the job easier for yourself and achieve a cleaner car without even taking it out of your driveway.

All you need to do is moisten a swab and go to town on the gear lever, door handles, and window knobs in your car. Also, don’t forget about the ventilation covers where your air blows out. Cleaning these areas will make your car look like new and reduce how much dirt you accidentally breathe in during your commute.

Fix a stuck zipper

There are few things in this life quite as annoying as a stuck zipper, particularly because fixing the damn thing usually leads to painful pinching. But as long as you have a cotton swab and some Vaseline (cooking oil or lip balm may also work), you can say goodbye to that pinching pain.

Start by putting the swab into the Vaseline and then onto the area around the zipper. This provides some much-needed lubrication, and you should now be able to use the zipper more easily. Just don’t forget to dry up the Vaseline on the zipper once you’re done!

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An easy paint fix (no brush required)

It’s very annoying to discover chipped paint in your home because fixing it is usually such a production. And let’s face it: you always feel a bit silly bringing out brushes or rollers to fix areas that are often no bigger than the size of your thumb.

But with cotton swabs, all you have to do is dip them into the paint and then paint onto the affected area. It’s great for making areas affected by chips or wear marks look as good as new, all without having to dig a brush or roller out to do it.

Make sure your decorative chalkboard looks flawless

If you spend a long enough time on Pinterest, it’s inevitable that you’ll put up at least one decorative chalkboard around the house. But what Pinterest doesn’t warn you is that after you decorate the board, you’re often left with smudges and stains that threaten to make your board look bad.

If you have cotton swabs on hand, though, you can remove every smudge or stain quite easily. The final result is a chalkboard you can be proud to show the world, and nobody will know that you effectively touched up the final image before showing it off.

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Polish your jewelry

It’s easy enough to buy specialized cleaners designed to polish your jewelry. But if you don’t have an easy and reliable way of putting a shine on your shinies, you might end up wasting most of the bottle.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to apply the polish to the swab and then the swab to the jewelry. Polishing doesn’t take very long at all, and you’re sure to be impressed when you see jewelry that looks even better than the day you first received it!