Cleaning Your Toothbrush

by Bonnie Roberts
(last updated August 12, 2013)

I really haven't thought much about cleaning my toothbrush. I rinse it off after I use it, but is that really enough? I don't want to keep putting a germ-laden brush back into my mouth every day. Some of you may have a more urgent reason to clean your toothbrush, such as if your kids threw it in the toilet. In that case, I would recommend just throwing it away and buying a new one. Otherwise, if you're like me, no matter how well you disinfect it, you'll always remember that it has been in the toilet. That's just not something you want to think about while brushing your teeth.

If you feel your toothbrush needs to be cleaned, try one of these popular methods:

  • Run it through the dishwasher (in the top rack only).
  • Swish or soak it in mouthwash containing alcohol.
  • Swish or soak it in 1 cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide. Brushing right after pulling your toothbrush from this solution can whiten your teeth. However, as the taste bothers some people, you may want to rinse the toothbrush before using it.
  • Soak it in undiluted vinegar overnight, no more often than twice a month. Rinse the vinegar off afterwards with hot water.
  • Place the toothbrush in a mugful of boiling water and let it soak for 3 minutes.
  • Carefully swish it for thirty seconds in a cup of water mixed with a capful of bleach. Scrub the brush with your fingers under hot running water to remove the bleach before you use your toothbrush again.
  • Invest in a UV toothbrush cleaner/sanitizer, which will set you back about $20.00.

Once your toothbrush is clean, use the following tips to maintain it, and you probably won't have to drastically clean it again.

  • Wash your hands before touching your toothbrush.
  • Before and after using your toothbrush, run it under hot water and forcefully rub your thumb over the bristles for several seconds.
  • Use toothpaste every time you brush. This will help keep the toothbrush clean.
  • Never store a wet toothbrush in a cabinet or other container. It needs to "breathe" or it could develop mold.
  • Don't store your toothbrush in a container that lets it bump against other people's toothbrushes; this spreads germs.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.

Author Bio

Bonnie Roberts

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