How To Clean Toothbrush: Multiple Methods

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Below I've collected quite a few tips for how to clean a toothbrush because -- think about it -- you're supposed to put this thing in your mouth twice daily to clean your teeth, but what is to say it's really clean itself?

3 ways to clean your toothbrush between regular replacements {on Stain Removal 101} #CleanToothbrush #CleaningToothbrush #BathroomCleaninguse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
First, before I discuss the methods for toothbrush cleaning though, you should know some general rules about when you should replace, not just clean, your brushes.

Even With Cleaning You Still Need To Replace Toothbrushes Periodically

1. You need to replace your toothbrush, at a minimum, every three months according to the American Dental Association. Sooner if the bristles begin to fray, because then they aren't actually able to clean your teeth as well.

While that is the general rule, feel free to replace your toothbrush more frequently if you feel it is necessary.

2. You may also want to consider replacing your toothbrush sooner if you've gotten a viral or bacterial infection, if you're feeling especially paranoid. While the methods below can help clean any germs from them, none of these methods are proven to sanitize them fully, so it may be worth the minimal expense to just start fresh after an illness.

(Check out these 9 things to clean and sanitize in your home when someone been sick).

3. Kids toothbrushes may need to be changed even more frequently, especially if they have a tendency to chew on them or wear out the bristles more quickly.

Habits To Implement Daily When Using Your Toothbrushes

Along with a weekly, or every couple week cleaning, you should do the following to keep your brushes as clean as possible:

1. Rinse your toothbrush completely, using running water, after brushing. Make sure to rinse away all toothpaste and other debris, so it doesn't sit there and get yucky.

2. Store them in a place where they can thoroughly dry between uses. Wet brushes, such as those held in closed containers or covered, stay damp, which is a known breeding ground for bacteria.

Between replacements though regular cleaning can keep your brush fresh and ready for use. I suggest cleaning your brushes weekly, or every couple weeks.

Also, while this article focuses on the brushes themselves don't forget to occasionally clean your toothbrush holder as well. Putting a clean brush in a dirty holder won't keep it that way for long, so hand wash or throw the holder in the dishwasher periodically to keep it sanitary as well.

How to clean your toothbrush to keep it clean between regular replacements, with discussion of three main methods {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Top photo courtesy of Jess Pac

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Toothbrush Cleaning Tip: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

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SR101 Reader says:

I use hydrogen peroxide weekly to clean my toothbrush.

No need to throw them into the landfill.

Just soak the head in a small cup of peroxide after brushing your teeth at night, and rinse off in the morning. Simple!

Taylor says:

uses for hydrogen peroxide
Thanks for this quick tip!

There are, of course, lots of uses for hydrogen peroxide around your home. You can click the link to see even more, or to share your own.

The reason this natural cleaning product works so well for cleaning this personal care product is that it can help sanitize the brush at the same time it removes odor causing bacteria.

Along with doing this weekly you may want to soak your brush in the peroxide anytime you or a family member has been sick, so they don't get sick by putting the germs right back in their mouth.

Hydrogen Peroxide {Referral Links}

Photo courtesy of Anderson Mancini

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Soak Toothbrush Head In Mouthwash To Help Reduce Bacteria On Bristles

A similar tip to the one above about soaking in hydrogen peroxide is to soak your brush in a bit of mouthwash.

In fact, a reader, Lisa said to clean hers that she tips "a bit of mouthwash over the toothbrush after each use and an overnight soak in an inch of mouthwash once a week."

This is, in fact, something that the American Dental Association suggests works. Specifically, the ADA says, "Soaking toothbrushes in an antibacterial mouthrinse after use has also been studied and may decrease the level of bacteria that grow on toothbrushes."

Photo courtesy of Vox Efx

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Cleaning Your Toothbrush In Dishwasher: Controversial But Some Swear By It

The final method for cleaning these objects in your home that several readers have sworn by is washing them in your dishwasher.

The reason I say this is rather controversial is because when I did a bit of research I learned that the American Dental Association doesn't actually recommend this. In fact, this is what they said:

Some toothbrush cleaning methods, including use of a dishwasher or microwave oven, could damage the brush. Manufacturers may not have designed their products to withstand these conditions. The cleaning effectiveness of the brush might be decreased if it is damaged.
You can read the entire article from the ADA here.

Nonetheless, there are people who do it regularly this way, and have reported no bad results.

For example, a reader, Amie said: "When my children were younger, all of us seemed to trade strep throat back and forth. I started to wonder about the toothbrushes and shared tooth paste. Now we all have our own toothpaste and several toothbrushes. Once you brush your teeth, bring the toothbrush to the dishwasher. I wash them daily in the dishwasher! No more strep throat in our house!"

In addition, another reader, Mariah said: "We wash toothbrushes in the dishwasher, too! And if anyone is sick enough to need antibiotics, we all get new toothbrushes AFTER about three days on the meds."

So, I'm just throwing this method out there for you to consider, but I'm not necessarily recommending it!

Don't Throw Out Old Toothbrushes: You Can Reuse Them For Other Purposes

Of course, even after it is no longer suitable for brushing teeth you can use an old toothbrush to help scrub and clean up areas of your home! (What a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle!)

In fact, I've gathered lots of uses for toothbrushes around your home here that can give you ideas of how to use this common product even after its use for tooth brushing is done!

Toothbrush uses for cleaning, stain removal and more

In addition, does anyone else have tips for cleaning this common product in almost every bathroom? If so, make sure to share your ideas with me and I'll add them to the page.

Dishwasher photo courtesy of plindberg

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Cleaning Tips & Tricks For Busy Moms

Uses For Toothpaste For Cleaning & More

Go From How To Clean Toothbrush To Home Page

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Comments for Cleaning Your Toothbrush In Dishwasher: Controversial But Some Swear By It

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what my doctor says
by: Gena

My chemo doctor says, change it every 3 months no matter. Once a week pour boiling water over it, if you have a cold or upper respiratory infection toss it for a new one once you get over the infection... store them in a case... and if you can mark it and keep away I saw use it in the kitchen to clean once its too old to use for your mouth.

boiling water
by: Amanda

I have always put ours in a pot of boiling water on the stove & boiled them for several minutes but still change them out every 3 months. Not sure if this is the best way, just what I've always done.

be careful when you're sick
by: Donna

I change mine every 2 months and after any respiratory infection. I pick up cheap ones at the dollar store and use those while I'm sick. Then change to a good one when completely over the infection.

what I do
by: Christine

I have 2 toothbrushes that I alternate so they have a chance to fully dry between uses. I also clean them regularly either with peroxide or in the dishwasher. I also replace them every 3 months. If you look for BOGO deals and use coupons you can get good brushes for a steal.

by: Angela

I soak mine in Milton.

by: Avrila

I've heard that soaking and stirring it in a cup of mouthwash is good because it kills germs, doesn't put heat stress on the plastic, and is safe enough to put in your mouth in case you don't rinse perfectly.

how I remember to switch them out
by: Sandi

I change mine on the first day of each season, that way I don't forget.

by: Paulette

I keep a cup with listerine in it and soak my toothbrushes. I change the Listerine every 3 days.

by: Chris

Many will be aghast, I'm sure, but I soak my toothbrush head in household bleach every couple of weeks. And long as it's rinsed thoroughly after, it's just fine.

mouthwash and boiling
by: Kris

I clean my toothbrushes with mouthwash, plus I do the good ole boiling them for 5 mins.

by: Anonymous

I put mine in the dishwasher every week. Does a fantastic job!!! Water is very hot, and it just gets sprayed and sprayed. Comes out clean as a whistle.

don't store near toilet
by: Anonymous

Don't store it near a toilet! Flushing produces fecal/urine spray and that spreads all over bathroom. Close toilet lid when flushing to prevent spreading germs to your toothbrush. Boiling toothbrush in hot water also helps. Be careful not to cook it to long, it will melt.

dishwasher for the win!
by: Anonymous

We throw our toothbrushes and loofah in the dishwasher to clean them periodically.

hot water from microwave
by: Antoine Dominoe

I keep a cup for rinsing out my mouth on the bathroom vanity. Before I brush, I pop a cup of water in the microwave and heat it to boiling. I always put my toothbrush in it for a couple of minutes before I brush. When I'm done I rinse my toothbrush and put it back in the hot water for a minute or two to kill any germs.

by: Anonymous

Pour peroxide over the brush every week.

Baby bottle Sterilisers
by: Matthew UK

How about just boiling water. 'Monk' used this and it works on lots of vegetables to kill bacteria.

STEAM sterilisers should then be better than boiling water as the temperature is hotter and kills more bacteria.

Similar to Mouthwash how about a sterilisation tablet or solution for baby bottles or perhaps dentures.

Just a few ideas but I guess like a dishwasher the toothbrush itself may NOT be suitable for these methods.

Denture Tablets
by: Kathy F

Hydrogen peroxide is my first choice but denture tablets do wonders too. An overnight soak cleans them like brand new. Tablets are very inexpensive and easy to use.

by: Anonymous

I soak my toothbrush in a good mouthwash to kill bacteria off it.

what my dentist says
by: Debbie

I have 5 grandkids. My dentist said toothbrushes don't need to be replaced until bristles look frayed. Hydrogen peroxide pour over them or microwaving them or pouring boiling water over them will suffice just fine.

Cleaning combs and hairbrushes
by: Tiffany

We also occasionally clean our combs and hairbrushes by soaking them in a bowl of mouthwash. It works to disinfect them as well!

I use hydrogen peroxide
by: Gwen

I rinse throughly after each use and periodically soak in hydrogen peroxide. This may or may not help, but my toothbrush seems to hold freshness between replacements.

Really important to close toilet lid before flushing
by: Bev

One of the most important things you can do to reduce germs in your bathroom is to close the lid on your toilet BEFORE you flush. Otherwise it is just as if you sprayed toilet water into the air; it will settle on everything in the room!! and yuck, who wants that???

denture tablets
by: Mimsy

I periodically soak my toothbrush in the solution from a denture cleaner tablet.

Also use the Microwave
by: Stacia

When somebody in our house has been sick (or is currently), I heat up a mug of water in the microwave for a minute or two to near boiling and then put the toothbrush in and swish it around to clean off the bacteria. It bubbles up nicely and gets it sanitized without melting the toothbrush or leaving anything on the bristles. I guess I ought to do it on a regular basis for everyone, but when we're sick it reminds me to. We do replace brushes, but not as often as the 3 months recommended.

by: Cheryl

This is kind of weird one, but I have an really nice espresso machine. I hold my toothbrush under the steam wand and give it a good blast with searing hot steam. Note: if you want to try this, hold the toothbrush with an oven mitt.

Toxins released when you heat the plastic
by: Anonymous

I am concerned about how many people apply heat to their toothbrushes. Heating the plastic causes it to release toxins into the environment, and probably you. Toothbrushes will be safer if not subjected to high heat. Please clean less harshly with items such as white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and keep away from flushing toilets.

I also feel that many people who comment throughout this series are germaphobic. We are causing more illness and problems by disinfecting too many things. Unless compromised, our immune systems are designed to eat some soil on our produce, spend time outdoors touching the dirt, and sharing with others.

by: Anonymous

If you have an electric toothbrush, DEFINITELY clean that inside and out. Yuck

Denture tablets
by: Anonymous

Denture tablets are useful for cleaning and sterilizing toothbrushes.

I also use denture tablets (plus good for mouth guard too)
by: Anonymous

I keep my toothbrush and mouth guard, when not in use, in a solution of water and a denture cleanser tablet. I change the water and add a new tablet daily. I rinse the toothbrush and/or mouth guard before use.

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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.