Whitening my teeth with charcoal left me with little more than a dirty sink


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Whitening my teeth with charcoal left me with little more than a dirty sink

I did it for a week because sorority recruitment

If you go to a school with a prominent Greek community, you might have observed how much people stress about Panhellenic recruitment, whether you’re on the PNM (potential new member) side, or the sorority sister side. Your hair, makeup, nails, and everything in between have to feel perfect. Therefore, you can’t be talking to girls with dingy looking teeth.

So, for the sake of sisterhood, society and science, I took it upon myself to try a “quick and cheap” way to whiten my teeth: with activated charcoal.

Yeah. Like that kind of stuff you use in an outdoor grill.

Here, according to the Internet, is how you whiten your teeth with charcoal:

Step 1: Wet your toothbrush really well (preferably one you don’t mind turning black).

Step 2: Place your toothbrush on top of a napkin or paper towel.

Step 3: Open an activated charcoal capsule (which you can get at your local drug store for around $20, or off Amazon for $6.39).

Step 4: Empty capsule onto toothbrush.

Step 5: Brush for two to five minutes.

Step 6: Rinse.

Personally, after I rinsed I also brushed my teeth, because I just really wanted an extra clean mouth.

This was done over the course of five days, occasionally with the guest appearance of my roommate/best friend, Sabrina.

Day 1


My teeth: before
Sabrina’s teeth: before

This is what my teeth looked like on the first day. A little yellow, but hey, I drink at least a coffee and a soda every day.


Teeth looking like I just ate an entire row of Oreos out of the package
My teeth: after
Sabrina’s teeth: after

Some things I learned the first day:

  • Charcoal tablets are not meant to be open. Therefore, you may try to cut it open. That will get black dust all over your sink in your nice clean bathroom.
  • They weren’t kidding when they said you should use an old toothbrush, because ours ended up looking like this:IMG_0198
  • As for teeth whitening ability, I felt like my teeth looked LESS white after going through all of that. Sabrina, however, thought hers looked whiter. This could be because I dipped my toothbrush in a cup of charcoal, but she just poured it on top of her toothbrush.

    Day 2

    My teeth: before


    IMG_0209 IMG_0210Second day in, and I think my teeth actually started looking whiter! However, we had to cut open the tablet again, so black dust covered what felt like every inch of surface area.

    Day 3

    My teeth: before




    Today, was our least messiest day for sure. I don’t know how, but a cap finally twisted off, and we actually pour it without it exploding on us.

    Day 4

    My teeth: before


    My teeth: after

    Today, I had to whiten my teeth earlier because of work, then forgot to take a picture. Therefore, the lighting is different, but it also looked like I had some results!

    Day 5

    My teeth: before


    My teeth: after


    In all honesty, this entire week was a flop. While whitening your teeth with charcoal sounds like a fun, easy and cheap way to save some cash and still look good, you’d be mistaken. While I did see a little difference in teeth color, as did Sabrina, I think I’m going to play it safe next time, and just go buy some whitening strips.


    Adios, activated charcoal tablets. Thank you for all of your, uhh, help? during sorority recruitment.

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