Electric toothbrush fell in toilet
February 28, 2014 10:24 PM   Subscribe

My sonicare toothbrush just fell in the toilet bowl. It wasn't in there for more than a second or two. I threw out the removeable brushhead. I ran the body under hot water and wiped it down several times with bleach, but to use it again, in my mouth of all places? I'm not sure. It does still work and would be expensive to replace, but it was in toilet water. My question then is, should I continue to use it, and is there anything else I should or can do to further decontaminate it? Thanks

Also, there wasn't anything in the toilet bowl but water at the time of the incident.
posted by en el aire to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
It's fine. Seriously. Brush away.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:26 PM on February 28 [12 favorites]

The brush head is the part that goes in your mouth, not the I would say you're a-ok just with what you've done so far. Maybe freeze it if you want some further psychological "decontamination" effect?
posted by HoteDoge at 10:26 PM on February 28

I think it's absolutely fine to keep using. You encounter worse daily from things like door handles that people who don't wash their hands after they go to the bathroom.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:27 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

If bleach doesn't kill it then it shouldn't be in your bathroom in the first place. This is not how people die.
posted by kcm at 10:30 PM on February 28 [14 favorites]

After a bleach rubdown, it's cleaner now than it has ever been since you took it out of the box. You have never in your life had a sterile toothbrush once it's been used once, and your immune system has long been accustomed to tolerate a low-level exposure to fecal matter and bathroom bacteria. Your teeth need your toothbrush more than you need any reservation about it.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:31 PM on February 28 [21 favorites]

I bet you a dollar there is more microbial contamination on your mobile phone right now that is on that toothbrush. It's fondled at all hours by unwashed fingers then breathed all over, regardless of your health, and when was the last time you gave it a bleach rub down? Ditto keyboard, mouse, that sort of thing.

Toilets are actually pretty clean, on the balance of things.
posted by Jilder at 10:51 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Just by nature of living in the bathroom, your toothbrush sadly already had fecal matter on it prior to its unfortunate swim.
posted by cecic at 10:52 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]

Bleach and new brush head and you'll be fine.
posted by summerstorm at 11:08 PM on February 28

If you don't put the lid down first every time you flush, and your toothbrush was in the bathroom uncovered, then whatever is in the bowl was on your toothbrush already anyhow.
posted by cairdeas at 11:26 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]

By the way I would be WAY more worried about bleach in my mouth than toilet water from my own toilet that had been cleaned off with soap and water.
posted by cairdeas at 11:28 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]

Honestly? It's almost certainly cleaner now than your hands were when you were eating dinner last night.

(Truth be told, it was probably cleaner than your hands after it fell in the bowl & before you bleached it…)
posted by Pinback at 12:23 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

I threw out the removeable brushhead.
I ran the body under hot water and wiped it down several times with bleach...
Also, there wasn't anything in the toilet bowl but water at the time of the incident.

Your toothbrush is now cleaner than before it went in the toilet. Relax.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:57 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]

The same water you drink out of your tap is also the same water in the toilet bowl. Do you run the brush head under tap water?
posted by rocketman at 5:12 AM on March 1

You're fine.If you're still feeling sketched out, throw it in the dishwasher. I put brusheads in the dishwasher all the time.
posted by arnicae at 6:22 AM on March 1

I will reluctantly attest that I did this almost a year ago, without the bleach even, and have lived to tell the tale.
posted by mskyle at 7:02 AM on March 1

As pretty much everyone has said, bleaching your toothbrush and replacing the head means it's perfectly fine to use. As some others also alluded to, the very point your toothbrush lives (lived?) in the bathroom means that exposure to poo particles is pretty much unavoidable. Your toothbrush really probably is cleaner than it has been in a while.

None of this helps with the psychological problem of "oh bloody hell this brush was in the bog". There isn't really a concrete way to get around this, I'm afraid. You know the facts, now you have just got to trust the people you've asked for help -- this is the internet, why would we lie?! -- and give it a go. Jump into it, see what happens, and I'm sure you'll be worrying about something else in no time. Good luck!
posted by Howisstifflucky at 7:13 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

You can put a sonicare body in the dishwasher. Do it and brush unperturbed.
posted by tristeza at 7:48 AM on March 1

I entirely get the "ick" aspect of using the toothbrush again, but as others have said you will be fine. Jerry Seinfeld would empathize with your plight I'm sure.
posted by andruwjones26 at 7:58 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

Wow - an askmefi consensus! Howisstifflucky & andruwjones26 hit on it best with the psychological/ick factor - I was more grossed out than thinking I was going to die of some horrible mouth infection. Last night I had a dream that I was brushing my teeth and dirty water started gushing out of the toothbrush. But I think it's safe to say I have my answer - thanks everyone!
posted by en el aire at 12:26 PM on March 1

Years ago I opened the bathroom cabinet in my apartment and y roommates toothbrush hop-skipped-kerplunked into the toilet. I rinsed it off in really hot water and put it back. He's still alive.
posted by ian1977 at 1:35 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]

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