How to clean an electric toothbrush

We explore how to keep your electric toothbrush (and smile) clean in a step-by-step guide for better oral health.

So you’ve started brushing with an electric toothbrush (you know how to use an electric toothbrush properly, right?) and it’s completely changed your oral care game. You actually look forward to brushing your teeth (two minutes, twice a day, of course). Your smile has never felt fresher. Your dentist is giving you a standing ovation every time you come into the office.

But if your electric toothbrush is beginning to show signs of use, now might be time to give it a little TLC in return. Unlike a disposable manual toothbrush, your electric toothbrush requires a bit of cleaning now and then. 

What’s the best way to clean an electric toothbrush? And how often should you clean it? Let’s start with why you should clean your electric toothbrush — because it’s better for your teeth and your oral health. Regular cleaning can also optimize the benefits of your brush and help prevent bacteria and germs from growing on it.

This guide will run through everything you need to know about how to clean electric toothbrushes, including grime prevention strategies and what cleaning products are safe to use.

How to prevent grime buildup on your electric toothbrush

While it’s important to give your electric toothbrush a deep clean once every few weeks, a little bit of regular upkeep can help limit the number of germs and bacteria that form after each use. These tips can make your daily brushing more effective and save you time when your brush is due for a regular cleaning.

  • Step 1: Rinse brush head with hot water – Use hot tap water to thoroughly rinse your bristles before and after each use.

  • Step 2: Store your toothbrush upright – When you aren’t using your toothbrush, store it with the brush head pointing up so that it can properly air dry. 

#quiptip: quip’s Multi-Use Travel Cover (included with every toothbrush) doubles as a mirror mount, making it easy to keep your brush dry and away from other bathroom surfaces. You can also use it as a brush stand on your sink or counter. Plus, it slides over your brush to protect your bristles when you’re on the go.

How to deep clean your electric toothbrush

When it comes time to clean your electric toothbrush, it’s best to think of it as two separate parts — the brush head and the handle. They each require a different method for cleaning, but looking after both will help maintain a sanitary and effective setup.

Part 1: How to clean your brush head

Keeping your brush head clean is crucial — your mouth won’t feel fresh if the part that comes in contact with your teeth has an excess build up of germs and bacteria. Luckily, cleaning your brush head is simple.

  • Step 1: Create a cleaning solution – First, fill a small glass with a mixture of water and bleach. Bleach is a very strong cleaning agent, so be careful not to use too much — one part bleach to 10 parts water is a good ratio. 

  • Step 2: Soak the brushhead– Next, remove the brush head from the rest of the toothbrush and let it soak in the bleach and water mixture for one hour. 

  • Step 3: Rinse the brushhead – When the hour is up, remove the brush head and rinse it thoroughly with warm water. To make sure all the bleach has been rinsed away, sniff the brush head. If it still smells like bleach, keep rinsing until the smell is gone. 

#quiptip: If you’re worried about using bleach, you can soak the brush head in an antibacterial mouthwash instead.

Part 2: How to clean your electric toothbrush handle

While your brush head is soaking, you can get started on cleaning your handle. 

  • Step 1: Wipe down the handle – Dip a soft cloth in your bleach and water solution, then wipe down the electric toothbrush handle. Be sure to go over the entire surface thoroughly, paying extra attention to any areas where you notice a buildup of toothpaste, water, or grime. (While you’re at it, make sure to wipe down any toothbrush travel covers and cases as well so no leftover funky stuff can spread back onto your clean bristles.)

  • Step 2: Remove the nitty-gritty grime – Using the cloth, carefully wipe down the area where the handle attaches to the brush head, making sure not to get water inside the handle.

#quiptip: For an extra thorough clean, use a cotton swab, Q-Tip, or old brush head dipped in your bleach and water solution to scrub where your handle connects to your brush head.

Or subscribe to keep your brush head fresh automatically

Even with regular cleaning, bristles wear out over time. That’s why it’s important to replace your toothbrush or brush head every 3 months for the most effective clean. If you’re forgetful (or just like the convenience of a subscription), you might want to consider a quip refill plan. You’ll get fresh brush heads automatically shipped to your door — plus free shipping! — on a dentist-recommended 3-month schedule for just $5.

Make cleaning your electric toothbrush another healthy habit

At quip, we’re all about making good habits easy. Swapping out your brush head is a no-brainer with our refill plans, but we didn’t stop there. All of our Electric Toothbrushes are accepted by the American Dental Association and have the features you need for healthy teeth: timed sonic vibrations to guide a complete clean, soft bristles that are gentle on teeth and gums, plus your brush is always ready for home or on the go thanks to a 3-month battery life.

Ready to make great oral care simple? Shop quip today! 

References:

  1. Electricteeth.com. How to Clean Your Electric Toothbrush. https://www.electricteeth.com/clean-electric-toothbrush-base-handle-heads/

  2. WikiHow. How to Clean an Electric Toothbrush. https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-an-Electric-Toothbrush

  3. Healthline.com. How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush? https://www.healthline.com/health/how-often-should-you-change-your-toothbrush#replacing-toothbrush-heads