How to Sanitize and Disinfect a Toothbrush
Should I Buy a New Toothbrush?
I have kids—more specifically one very curious toddler. He loves playing with toothbrushes and toothpaste, especially his older brother's toothbrush. I frequently find them in places I don't want to. Short of buying new toothbrushes every other day, I needed to figure out the best way to clean these toothbrushes and make them safe to use again.
His older brother gets extremely upset by this order of events. I have tried hiding them, placing them up high, and many other way to keep them out of reach, but the little one is also a very good climber and scaler, and child proof means nothing to this kid. I won't even tell you about all the chaos he causes on a daily basis.
With these methods, I can now keep toothbrushes clean and germ free, even after finding them on the floor of the bathtub or in other random places throughout the house. (Though I do draw the line at the toilet—anything found in there goes straight to the garbage.)
Cleaning a Toothbrush in the Dishwasher
This was always my fall back. Just throw it in with the utensils and let the machine do its magic. You can also put this in the top rack in a dishwasher-safe contraption. I have two mesh sleeves that hold things like straws and other small objects. Just run the toothbrushes through the dishwasher with your normal load to clean and disinfect them.
Note: Don't use hand or dish soap, because you will end up eating soap. Hand-washing the toothbrush with soap and water is not a good choice for cleaning your toothbrush either.
Clean a Toothbrush With Vinegar
I have to admit I use vinegar for everything. I really like vinegar for cleaning household items.
You can even soak your toothbrush with vinegar overnight and rinse it fully in the morning. This is a quick and easy solution to cleaning your toothbrush. You may have to rinse this out for a while to get the vinegar taste out. But the good news is that vinegar is not a chemical and will not be harmful to ingest.
Clean a Toothbrush With Hydrogen Peroxide
Some people store their toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide. I personally think this is a better solution for a soak and rinse similar to the step with vinegar.
Plus, this is another non-toxic solution. I would not drink a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, but a small amount will not harm you.
Clean a Toothbrush With Mouthwash
Another quick and easy option is to soak the head of the toothbrush in mouthwash. This is a minty and easy way to clean your toothbrush and will taste nice and minty when done.
Where Should I Keep My Toothbrush?
Keeping your toothbrush covered or in a closed cabinet will actually create more bacteria on your toothbrush than leaving it in an open air container to air dry.
Do make sure to wipe the container and clean it regularly though. Also, your toothbrush bristles should not be touching another person's toothbrush.
If All Else Fails, Buy a New Toothbrush
I currently have a stockpile of toothbrushes saved up for my kids. Anything found in the toilet I deem un-savable, and I immediately replace it with a new one.
I also replace toothbrushes after any illness. This is a great rule of thumb and a way to keep the germs from going around and around.
How often do you buy new toothbrushes?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.