Common Solutions

How to Disinfect a Toothbrush-Incredibly Easy Ways

Electric toothbrushes

how-to-disinfect-a-toothbrushDo you know there are more than 100 million bacteria on your toothbrush? Of course you don’t, because if you did, you would never use It! Among these bacteria are Staph and E. coli. That’s right you read that correct. The same kind of bacteria found in poop! Once you know how to disinfect a toothbrush against bacteria and viruses, you can eliminate this yuck factor, prevent spread of infection and put your mind at ease when you use it.

In this day and age, you realize the importance of disinfecting everything around you to prevent the spread of germs (bacteria and viruses) to susceptible persons. This goes for your toothbrush too. According to an article from the CDC, there is a discussion on how infection spreads. Essentially, germs gain entry into the body of a susceptible person and cause a reaction when they multiply. They state that a susceptible person is someone who has a compromised immune system or someone who has been vaccinated.

Why would you want to put a germ-laden toothbrush inside your mouth? Or risk it infecting someone else? Your toothbrush can be disinfected. There are several ways you can do this. I will discuss how to disinfect a toothbrush along with why you should be doing it.Toothbrush

What Is Living on Your Toothbrush?

One of the main bugs living on your brush is Escherichia coli (E. coli). The reason for this is due to the fact that your toothbrush is usually stored in the same room as your toilet (your bathroom). E. coli is found in fecal matter. Each time the toilet is flushed, it sends an aerosol of bacteria through the air as far as 6 ft away. These bacteria are responsible for gastrointestinal disease such as gastroenteritis.

Staphylococcus aureus is rampant on your toothbrush as well. These bacteria are associated with MRSA infections which are antibiotic resistant. Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria responsible for causing cavities. This is usually seen on toothbrushes for those who suffer from decay and ideally we do not want it there. We don’t want to remove bacteria from one part of the mouth and deposit it in another.

Viruses, including the HPV virus can be found on your brush too. This is the Human papillomavirus and it is responsible for esophageal, oral and cervical cancers. Wikipedia explains the differences between viruses and bacteria, both of which you want to protect yourself from. People are worried they may reinfect themselves by using the same brush following an illness. In people who do not have underlying health conditions, this should not be a factor according to the ADA (American Dental Association).

After an illness, your body produces antibodies to the virus that caused your illness. This protects you from being reinfected with the same virus. This will prevent you from getting the same virus again. However, that being said, you are still at risk of transferring viruses to other brushes and members of your family.

Hundreds of microorganisms reside in our mouths every day. This is of concern if there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in they mouth. You can learn more about preserving the good bacteria in our mouths by using oral probiotics. This can help ward of dental ailments such as gum disease, cavities and bad breath.

So, Let’s Talk About How to Disinfect a Toothbrush….

Simply storing your toothbrush in a solution of 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup of water can do the trick. You can also use an antibacterial mouthwash to soak your brush in. If you don’t have an antimicrobial mouthwash, you can also use a mixture of baking soda (2 teaspoons to 1 cup) to soak your brush in. Another quick tip to try is using an antimicrobial effervescent denture cleaning tablet in water to soak your brush in. These also work well. With all of these methods, you will want to remember to change the solution daily.

All of these methods can work for manual toothbrushes or for the removable heads of electric toothbrushes. Nowadays, more people are using electric toothbrushes for good reason. It is a known fact that electric toothbrushes are far superior to manual toothbrushes when it comes to plaque removal. You can read a related article about the differences between a manual and an electric toothbrush.

If you don’t like the thought of messing around with a solution to soak it in or changing solutions daily, you can purchase a product containing an ultraviolet or UV light. These devices are inexpensive and do not require any effort on your part. Just place your toothbrush in the device once you are done using it and it will be ready to go next time you want to use it. There are also electric toothbrushes that come equipped with a UV storage to automatically disinfect your toothbrush.

What Not to Do

Don’t store your toothbrush in a holder where it will be in contact with other brushes. This will easily allow bacteria and viruses to spread from one brush to the next. Make sure not to store your brush close to the toilet. The farther away the better. If you can keep it in a cupboard with lots of space, that would be ideal. Allowing your brush to air dry (if not being soaked in a solution) will keep the germs from spreading.

Also, don’t use a cover on your toothbrush. These are perfect breeding grounds for germs to spread due to their dark, moist environment. It is fine to use a cover when traveling, but make sure to uncover it as soon as you’ve reached your destination.

It is also not a good idea to keep using a toothbrush if the bristles show signs of wear. This can be shown as bent or splayed bristles. When the bristles are in this condition, they are more likely to harbor bacteria and will not do a good job of cleaning properly. Dental professionals recommend replacing toothbrushes at least every 3 months or sooner if bristles show signs of wear.

Don’t try to disinfect your toothbrush using the dishwasher, microwave or by boiling it in water. These methods may work to disinfect your toothbrush, but they are also likely to damage your brush.

Toothbrushes With Built-In Sanitation

Phillips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Rechargeable Toothbrush With Built-In Sanitizing

  • Up to 62,000 brush strokes per minute compared with 500 per minute with a manual toothbrush
  • Sonicare app allows for feedback on personal use such as areas that need more attention
  • Built-in pressure sensor alerts you to when too much pressure is being applied to avoid overbrushing
  • Built-in ultraviolet sanitation system to disinfect brush head between uses that kills 99% of bacteria and viruses
  • Smart sensor technology informs you of areas where you are brushing too little
  • Provides personalized brushing data for improved performance with a “touch up” feature allowing you to instantly go back and brush these areas
  • Achieve 10x better plaque removal compared to a manual brush in just 2 weeks
  • 3 brushing modes plus 3 adjustable intensity levels
  • #1 recommended brand by dental professionals

The best place to buy Phillips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Rechargeable Toothbrush with Built-In Sanitizing

Fairywill PRO Sonic Electric Toothbrush with UV Sanitizing

Fairywill PRO Sonic Electric Toothbrush with UV Sanitizing
  • Contains 8 Dupont brush heads: 3 large for daily cleaning, 2 circular-arced for deep cleaning and 3 rubberized brush heads for gum health
  • Built-in smart timer to allow for full 2 minute brushing time with quad pacer to allow 30 seconds for each quadrant
  • Provides 40,000 brush strokes per minute for healthy gums, clean teeth and fresh breath
  • Wireless charging dock provides easy and safe charging
  • Kills 99.99% of germs with UV sanitation
  • Comes with UV sanitation charging travel case to have clean brushes while on the go
  • 5 brushing modes to choose from depending on the level of clean desired
  • Achieve healthier gums and noticeably whiter teeth in as little as 2 weeks
  • Up to 10x better plaque control versus a manual toothbrush.

The best place to buy Fairywill PRO Sonic Electric Toothbrush with UV Sanitizing, Ultraviolet Sanitizing Charging Base & Sterilizing Charging Travel Case, Caring Rechargeable Whitening Toothbrush Family Set, 8 Brush Heads

Sanitizing Devices

TAO Clean Germ Shield UV Sanitizing

  • Universal Cleaning Station that accommodates all manual and electric toothbrushes
  • Battery charger so it can be used for travel
  • Kills 99.99% of germs with ultraviolet light while toothbrush is not being used
  • Comes with a two-year warranty from a trusted company
  • Patented design can be easily stored on counter top without electrical outlet

The best place to buy TAO Clean Germ Shield UV Sanitizing – Universal Cleaning Station that Accommodates all Manual and Electric Toothbrushes, Travel Friendly, Kills 99.9% of Germs

LNDMA UV Sanitizing Toothbrush Holder, Disinfection Box

LNDMA UV Sanitizing Toothbrush Holder, Disinfection Box

  • Built in 360 degree full scale disinfection will sterilize brush and handle
  • Can be used on manual brushes as well as electric brush heads
  • One piece combination of storage and sterilization for up to 5 brushes and 1 razor
  • Eliminates 99.9% of harmful germs in only 15 minutes
  • USB charging so no need to change a battery
  • Energy saving, low power operation
  • BPA free and waterproof
  • Storage for toothpaste if desired

The best place to buy LNDMA UV Sanitizing Toothbrush Holder, Disinfection Box for Toothbrush and Razor Hygiene

The Takeaway of How to Disinfect a Toothbrush

Now you have options on how to disinfect a toothbrush. If you want to use an inexpensive way to do it, you can try soaking your brush in an antimicrobial solution. Among these include the solutions mentioned; antimicrobial mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide.

However, you do have options if you prefer not to deal with messy solutions you need to change daily. You can either invest in an electric toothbrush with a built in sanitizing or purchase a separate sanitizing device. A device like this will allow you to use your current toothbrush.

We all want to do our part when it comes to reducing germs. Please do what you can do to prevent the spread of disease to you and your loved ones. You can leave your comments and questions below and I would be happy to help!


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  1. Benson

    A clean toothbrush is very important considering the chance of spreading infection from contact of a contaminated toothbrush. Some people are quite nonchalant with how they keep their stuff and that is not good at all. Making use of toothbrush holders that have the ability to sanitize it is very important and that’s why I will be getting the Fairywill PRO Sonic Electric Toothbrush with UV Sanitizing for myself and family. 

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      I agree with you in the fact that people can be “nonchalant” about how they keep their toothbrush. Storing your brush in the same drawer or in a toothbrush holder on your sink among other brushes is an issue. This allows for easy transfer of germs. I personally do not want my toothbrush near another one for this reason. It is even possible to spread germs from the end of the toothpaste tube from one brush to the next by being careless and touching the bristles with it. By being aware of our daily habits, we can help prevent the spread of germs. Thanks for your input.


  2. Eric

    Since we are heavily into sanitizing, I like the TAO Clean Germ Shield UV Sanitizing. I used to boil my toothbrush after every use, but now I find it too much work on top of all the other things we have to keep clean.

    I can’t believe all the things our toothbrush collects. Disgusting really. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of sanitizing my toothbrush.

    Would the toothbrush sit in there after each use?

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      Whether or not your toothbrush remains after each use depends on which system you are talking about. If you are wanting to use a sanitizing device or brush, you will just let your toothbrush stay inside the device after use. It will be ready for you to use again when you need it. However, If you use a solution to sanitize your brush, it is recommended to replace the solution daily to be most effective.


  3. Rodarrick

    In a world of constant development in the growth of everything and making life a lot easier, this is quite another knowledge to take note of. I swear I have never considered this before but I am glad that I actually have the knowledge now. The way our toothbrush is stored can have a direct affect on our health. Wow! This is one thing I will give serious thought to. Thank you!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      You are absolutely right! This is one small thing that everyone can do to improve their health. It is so important to consider our dental health when considering our systemic or overall health. Please read a related article that discusses our microbiome and how keeping our bacteria in balance can improve our oral health.


  4. Juliet

    I really enjoyed reading through your article. It is truly educative on toothbrush health. I never knew that toothbrushes have germs and bacteria in them, especially staph and e.coli, no, not at all. Going through your article has given me a better knowledge on how to care for my toothbrush and how to disinfect it. I also liked those electric toothbrushes that come with their sterilizer. Kudos on a good article!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      Thank you for your comments on the article ‘How to Disinfect a Toothbrush’ and for your positive feedback. I feel this is something most people take for granted. I encourage you to consider using one of these techniques to disinfect your brush and to share this important information with others.



  5. Ann

    This is exactly what I came here to read. I’ll soak my toothbrush in baking soda from here on. I also have antimicrobial mouthwash so I’ll try that too. Thank you for also sharing with us the topic concerning where to store our toothbrush! I’m guilty. I’ll move it to the cupboard.

    Thank you very much for this post!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      Those options you mentioned will all work well and are also inexpensive. If this is something you plan to do long term (which is recommended) you may want to think about investing in a device or a toothbrush with built-in sanitation. The solutions need to be changed daily so long term, a device may be more cost effective.

      Thanks for your comments!


  6. Shamiimbd

    Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article with us.  After reading this article,  I gained a lot of knowledge about how to disinfect a toothbrush. I’ve been looking for an article like this for a long time. I know that there are many germs and bacteria in toothbrushes so I was constantly thinking about how to remove them. I understand very well by reading this article on how to disinfect my brush. I will tell those who are suffering from this problem that if you read this article and follow those tips, you will solve your problem. I will be sharing this article on social media because others can benefit from how informative it is!

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      I do encourage you to share this information with others. I also encourage you to apply one of the techniques suggested. If we all do our part, we can limit the spread of germs and infection. I appreciate your comments.


  7. Shanta Rahman

    First of all thank you so much for sharing such an excellent article with us. Your article is really informative and I gained a lot of knowledge by reading it. I found it was very helpful to me. Toothbrushes are very important for the protection of our teeth and should be cleaned regularly. I purchased the TAO Clean Germ Shield UV Sanitizing device suggested by your article to clean my toothbrush because it kills 99.99% germs with UV sanitation. The wireless charging dock provides easy and safe charging and it has 3 large, notified for deep cleaning and 2 rubberized brushed heads for gum health. The other qualitative features of this device have worked wonders for me.

    I will definitely be delivering your article to my friends and recommending them to purchase these devices. I will also share their experiences with you. Can I share your article on my social media?

  8. Henderson

    I would’ve never thought in a million years that there is so much to a toothbrush. I am rather happy that you can give such details on what is in the toothbrush and also tell us what not to do to spread the germs. Your tips are very wonderful. It is the first time that I am hearing about the LNDMA UV Sanitizing Toothbrush Holder Disinfection Box. 

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      The regular use of a toothbrush can be something most people do not give much thought to. However, with the public awareness of spreading infection, I feel this is useful information for everyone. Please share this information with others. We all want to do our part in reducing the spread of germs.

      Thank you,


  9. Gomer

    I always have mouth sores even though I am boosting my immune system daily with vitamins and food supplements. I wonder what is causing these recurrent mouth sores or mouth ulcers. Someone told me that it is due to my hyper-acidity in my stomach but then after treating my hyper-acidity, the problem persisted. Upon reading this article about how to disinfect a toothbrush and these new disinfection devices, I think I now have a new suspect of what’s causing these mouth ulcers. I will look into each disinfection devices and see if they can help me get rid of my problem. Thanks for this helpful information.

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      Mouth sores can be caused for many reasons. I would advise you to check with your physician to rule out any type of systemic condition that may be causing them. Mouth sores can sometimes be caused by using a toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This is an ingredient added to give toothpastes their sudsing action. This is not a necessary ingredient and some people find relief by avoiding toothpastes with this ingredient. Here is a link to a product without SLS. Hope this helps!


  10. Smoochi

    I would love to create a website like yours as the template used is really nice, simple and brings about clarity of the write ups. But then, you wrote a brilliant article on how to disinfect a toothbrush. it is important to learn some simple hygiene stuff especially with a virus that is flying around us.

    1. Michelle Mussehl, RDH


      Yes, I agree about the importance of learning simple hygiene. Sometimes, it is easy to forget the easy precautions we all should be taking in order to prevent the spread of germs. Thanks for your comments!


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