Best Ways How To Clean Electric Toothbrush & Keep It Clean Effortlessly

By Ted Gerner | January 10, 2023

White teeth and healthy pink gums manifest good oral health, and regular brushing is critical to keeping your oral health in check. But many people don’t know that the toothbrush they use to clean their pearly whites also requires cleaning.

Your toothbrush deals with germs and plaque every day. As a result, it gets contaminated with bacteria, food particles, and even blood that gets stuck at the bristles’ base over time.

I know you are brushing twice a day to get that million-dollar smile, but what if I told you that you might be causing harm in your pursuit of improvement?

How To Keep Electric Toothbrush Clean?

The bacteria in your mouth, in the form of a sticky yellowish substance called plaque, get stuck to the toothbrush, making it unhealthy to clean the teeth.

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests changing your manual toothbrush and electric toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months.

But can you be sure that the new brush you picked up in your local Walgreens is not already contaminated? The brand-new toothbrush you just bought is not sterile and may already have germs.

Apart from this, the ADA also says there is no evidence to prove that the bacteria on your brush will undoubtedly adversely affect your health.

But we all know that ‘prevention is better than cure,’ so it won’t be a stretch to realize that changing your brush frequently is still wise.

Here are the basics of cleaning and storing that will help you have your oral care tools bacteria-free:

  • Rinse – it is the easiest and oldest method to keep your brush clean from any remaining toothpaste or debris.
  • Store it upright – storing it upright after use allows the water to drain from the bristles easier. All the water and particles collect near the bottom of the toothbrush’s handle. Also, nasty scum collects in containers that do not have a drain. You do not want your bristles touching that scum that could cause your bristles to collect mold and bacteria.
  • Replace regularly – with regular usage, the toothbrushes get worn out and require replacements. Due to bad habits like chewing bristles, children’s toothbrushes need more frequent replacement than adults.

You should inspect your brush regularly for wear and consider replacement more often if necessary.

Here are 4 tips from Oral-B.

Do Not Do This With Your Toothbrush

Before you start boiling or freezing your toothbrush, you should know a few things about disinfection.

Some cleaning methods touted in mommy blogs and internet forums, including a dishwasher or microwave oven, could destroy the brush. Manufacturers may not have designed their products to withstand these conditions. The cleaning effectiveness of the bristles might be decreased if it is damaged.

Below are two methods for cleaning a toothbrush that has become so popular that they fail to see the consequences. Some sites may say that these methods proved useful for cleaning toothbrushes. But there is no authentic source that confirms it.

Both American Dental Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have warned against doing it.

Do Not Microwave Your Toothbrush

I will not explain how to sterilize a toothbrush in the microwave because you should never try to microwave your toothbrush. Microwave irradiation and heat will end up causing a partial change of composition and chemical migration.

As a result, it will destroy the toothbrush and its bristles. Plus, it will impair functional ability and create harmful chemicals that can get transferred into the mouth.

Apart from this, putting a toothbrush can cause damage to your microwave as well. If you place an electric toothbrush, it can trigger the microwave to cause a spark and get damaged.

Do Not Wash The Toothbrush In A Dishwasher

The consequence of washing your toothbrush in a dishwasher will not be visible at first. You will not like the aftereffect it will cause.

A dishwasher can clean the toothbrush to a certain extent. However, the dishwasher uses a high temperature for the cleanup. So, it can damage and melt the brush and its bristles.

Even if you adjust the temperature to the low setting, the more extended washing period can degrade the toothbrush fast.

Moreover, you will not enjoy the taste your toothbrush developed from the dishwasher detergent.

Related reading: Should You Brush Your Teeth Before or After Breakfast?

How To Clean Your Electric Toothbrush?

Many products in the market claim to sanitize and kill all the bacteria on the toothbrush. There are antibacterial rinses, UV (ultraviolet) Light Sanitizers, and even antibacterial bristles found on some brushes. Studies have shown that some of these products do kill bacteria.

Colgate provides several methods of disinfecting your toothbrush.

  • Swirl the bristles in antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds.
  • Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of water and soak the toothbrush in the solution.
  • Dilute 1 teaspoon of 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water and swish the toothbrush bristles in the solution before brushing.
  • Soak the bristles in vinegar overnight once per week.
  • Dissolve a denture cleansing tablet according to the instructions on the label and soak the toothbrush bristles in the solution.

Source: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/disinfecting-toothbrush-tips-0

Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria, but not all these are pathogenic. Many germs are not harmful. No matter how much you, your household items will never be completely free from germs, so you don’t necessarily need to buy specific products to disinfect them.

There are some methods of cleaning the brush without making a hole in your pocket.

I have looked into using household chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to clean your toothbrush. Please keep reading to learn what I have figured out.

No matter which method you pick, make sure to rinse the toothbrush head thoroughly with water after brushing. You must do the same after you use any substance to clean the toothbrush.

How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Head?

The approaches we have provided here are usually appropriate for cleaning electric and manual toothbrushes.

Regardless of the method, you must wipe the toothbrush entirely after washing it. Let it air dry, and make sure it doesn’t stay wet.

Sanitize The Toothbrush With UV Sanitizer

You will find 3 common types of UV sanitizers that help sanitize toothbrush heads – one for an electric toothbrush, one for a manual, and one for universal.

Uses can be slightly different, but the basics are the same. Most sanitizer models are compatible with all makes and models of toothbrushes, whether manual or electric. Usually, they are portable, making them easy to use and carry. It will take only 5 minutes to sanitize the toothbrush. When shopping for UV sanitizer, make sure it uses UVC-type ultraviolet light, the type of UV rays that is effective.

Hexidine Or Listerine Mouthwash

The method involves soaking your toothbrush head and bristles in a small cup filled with Hexidine or Listerine mouthwash. First, swish the brush for around 30 seconds to remove the hidden debris. Then leave it there for 10 minutes. This should help prevent bacterial contamination.

Make sure you discard this used mouthwash and do not use it for rinsing your mouth.

Use this method at least once a week.

Hydrogen Peroxide

You will need to dilute 1 teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in a cup of water to clean your toothbrush. Then swish the bristles of the toothbrush in the solution for 5 minutes.

If you go with this method, repeat it at least once a week.

1% Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach)

1-percent bleach or Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) can be one of the safest and most effective antiseptics against bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can be used to clean the toothbrush.

Immerse the toothbrush head into the (10:1) solution of water and 1% sodium hypochlorite. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse the brush with water to remove excess bleach.

You can use this method regularly, at least once a week.

3% Neem

Neem is an excellent natural herb used widely for various purposes. It’s quite effective in treating cardiovascular diseases, eye disorders, upset stomachs, skin ulcers, etc.

Using Neem extract to clean your toothbrush might not sound familiar, but it works! Neem works actively against fungal infection. You can also safely use 3% Neem extract to clean your toothbrush.

Rubbing Alcohol

Dip the toothbrush into the isopropyl or rubbing alcohol and soak for around 30 seconds. This will help disinfect your brush fast. But make sure you rinse the toothbrush thoroughly after using the method.

You can clean the toothbrush this way every alternate day.

Saltwater

Make a solution of two teaspoons of salt (sodium chloride) and a cup of water. Soak your toothbrush head in it for 5 minutes to clean it, then rinse it thoroughly.

Using this method once a day can help keep the toothbrush contamination-free.

Baking Soda

For this method, you will need to dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of warm water. Then soak your rinsed toothbrush in the solution for around an hour. After that, rinse the brush thoroughly and let it air dry.

You can wash your toothbrush daily with this method to keep it clean.

How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Handle?

Since the handle is an electrical appliance, you should not submerge it in water, leading to electric shock. Instead, you should wipe it to clean it.

However, you will need three things now. Bleach, water, and a clean white cloth.

Mix a little amount of bleach with plain warm water. It should be 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. Now, damp a small area of the white cloth with the mixture. After that, wipe the handle thoroughly with a clean cloth.

If it is a detachable model, you can dip a cotton swab in the mixture to wipe the areas where the head attaches to the handle. You may find a small metal post attached to the head. This part can collect both bacteria and water. Hence, you should use the cotton swab or cloth to dig into the crevices and remove the debris.

You can use this method at least once a month. This should help keep the toothbrush handle free of germs while preventing it from getting moldy.

How To Clean Electric Toothbrush Base?

The majority of the electric toothbrush models will include a charging base. This piece can accumulate toothpaste and water buildup. As a result, it can develop a weird coating of grey or brown slime around the toothbrush base over time. For this, you must clean that area.

First, get a clean white cloth. Dampen it a little with the same bleach and water mixture. Now, use it to wipe off the bottom and top of the toothbrush base. Ensure you stay away from the outlet port and the cord.

We recommend you wipe the base off whenever it looks wet. This should keep the mold at bay.

Related reading: Manual Toothbrush vs Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush – Pros and Cons

Can You Use the Same Method of Cleaning For All Electric Toothbrush Brands?

Yes, it does not matter what brand of electric toothbrush you have – Oral-B, Philips, Emmi-Dent, or Phylian – you can use the same cleaning method and follow the same principles.

Summary

Getting a crown does not always sound pleasant and frugal endeavor. If you don’t want to face a day when your dentist suggests it, cleaning your teeth with a clean toothbrush is a must. And regular quick rinsing of your toothbrush is not enough. It does not entirely eliminate the germs, bacteria, and debris your toothbrush accumulates.

That’s why we have tried to cover all the methods you can use to clean your toothbrush thoroughly. Hopefully, this write-up will make you realize the importance of toothbrush maintenance.