How do I store electric toothbrushes cleanly?
March 3, 2017 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a mild problem that I'd like to solve regarding electric toothbrushes and their storage.

My husband and I both use a Colgate Spinbrush. For now, we keep them both in a cup with the tube of toothpaste in the bathroom, with the battery compartment at the bottom of the cup. When I store an electric toothbrush battery compartment down, inevitable wetness from the business end of the brush carries down the length of the device, gunking around the battery compartment. Over time, this gets gross, and in my opinion, eventually ruins the functionality of the thing. However, storing the brushes bristle side down in one cup (or even separate cups) seems like it's just keeping the bristle end in a slightly damp environment too, which isn't ideal either. I wash the cup regularly but I really hate that it gets slime down there because of the way I'm storing them. I've always had this issue with toothbrushes, as I don't know what to do after I'm done - wiping it on a towel to dry off isn't great, because for me, that towel is not fit for hand drying or toothbrush wiping until it's washed again. I also don't want to learn a new way of brushing so the toothbrush doesn't get overly wet, or change my preferences of cleanliness (regarding towels) for this.

I am specifically trying to find an answer to these questions:

1) How do I store/care for our electric toothbrushes so they are mostly dry when stored, without using a new towel every time?
2) Is there a way to hang electric toothbrushes bristle-side down? I haven't been able to find ANY storage, factory-built or DIY, that stores them this way.

Reminder that this is NOT an ChatFilter on how do you, personally, store your electric toothbrush.
posted by agregoli to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A small shelf with a hole or slot they can hang from?
posted by KateViolet at 10:13 AM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Slightly ridiculous, but could you create something like this wine bottle holder?
posted by raccoon409 at 10:14 AM on March 3, 2017

Dry it with a paper towel after each use?
posted by slenderloris at 10:14 AM on March 3, 2017

Response by poster: It seems weird to keep a roll of paper towels in the bathroom...I know some towels come in a Kleenex style people actually do this?
posted by agregoli at 10:19 AM on March 3, 2017

Best answer: Metal tool clips would probably be perfect for the job.
posted by pipeski at 10:23 AM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: pipeski, like this?
posted by agregoli at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2017

Those metal tool clips you linked would be great, I'd think. Assuming your tooth brush is between the listed 3/4 inch to 1 -1/8 inch diameters.

I'd personally not waste paper drying a toothbrush after every use, though it would be fine in my opinion to dedicate a small washcloth or hand towel to toothbrush usage, but that's just me.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2017

Why the default toothbrush holder is a water-holding cup is beyond me. But there are lots of options!

There are wall-mounted, head-holding toothbrush holders like this, this, this, or this.

Are the heads on your toothbrush removable? You could get a electric toothbrush head holder like this.

Or there are a couple electric toothbrush holder options like this which doesn't have a bottom or this which has a flat bottom (so it won't sit in the water), this which has a wire bottom, this with a mesh bottom (you'd have to put them in the toothpaste holes), or this horizontal route.
posted by brainmouse at 10:41 AM on March 3, 2017

Response by poster: brainmouse, that last horizontal one is interesting - but many of the ones you linked wouldn't allow the brushes to be stored bristle-side down. I've seen those other mesh and wire bottom ones on Amazon already, but they are poorly rated and/or expensive.
posted by agregoli at 11:11 AM on March 3, 2017

Response by poster: (I guess I figure too, the mesh would allow the water to drip through - and then what, I've got a gunky bottom of something anyway? Which means I got to dry the brush better to begin with. Still though, I suppose it's better that the brush isn't sitting in the wet)
posted by agregoli at 11:13 AM on March 3, 2017

Ah, yeah - I would think critically about whether you really want to hang them bristle-side down. I understand that you don't want the battery part to get gunky, but really - you want the bristles to be the first thing that dries - you don't want all the water flowing onto them so they stay wet longer. That's the part that goes in your mouth, after all. I think if you find a way to avoid the battery compartment sitting in wet it will solve a lot of the issues.
posted by brainmouse at 11:24 AM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I actually ruined a fairly pricey Sonicare toothbrush by letting water get into it (it's water resistant but apparently not waterproof), so now I dry its replacement off after use. It makes the charging base that it sits in much less nasty too.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:25 AM on March 3, 2017

In my experience if you rinse your brush thoroughly after every use it doesn't really build up much gunk. As evidence, my partner's toothbrush (and by extension our bathroom vanity) *did* tend to accumulate gunk until I asked him to get in the habit of rinsing and/or wiping off his toothbrush after use. If you don't want to use a new towel every day you could just have a dedicated toothbrush towel (or washcloth or whatever). You don't have to wipe off the bristles; if you rinse the brush properly drying the handle will pretty much eliminate gunkage.
posted by mskyle at 11:50 AM on March 3, 2017

Just a word of advice as you look to hanging the brushes up somewhere: The gunk that builds up at the bottom of the cup will build up under the brushes wherever you store them as they drip dry. I installed clip holders like pipeski suggested and you linked to, but I did it on the outside edge of my medicine cabinet so the brush can drip directly into the sink. You can get suction cup ones to go on the mirror, or screw them into the wood frame on the side (if your cabinet has one).
posted by carsonb at 12:07 PM on March 3, 2017

I have something like this for non-electric toothbrushes, because I'm grossed out by the "cup" style; it works well to keep things dry and separate, and the holes are large enough that I think a Spinbrush would fit. The gunk that carsonb alludes to above gathers in the lipped "tray" at the bottom of the stand, but it wipes out easily with soap and water. (I find it immensely satisfying to clean, but YMMV.)
posted by okayokayigive at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2017

My toothbrush stand is from Muji. I like it a lot. I use an Oral-B Pulsar. The handle end on mine looks a little smaller than yours so YMMV.

In terms of stuff dripping down to the battery area, I have always found that a tap on the edge of the sink after a thorough rinse is sufficient to avoid accumulation of any kind.
posted by milqman at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have this problem with my electric toothbrush too. After I brush my teeth, I shake off as much water as I can, then put it on the charger. This helps, although I've also just resigned myself to the fact that electric toothbrushes chargers get disgusting and need to be cleaned.
posted by Automocar at 1:19 PM on March 3, 2017

Best answer: After I rinse my Sonicare off I actually run it for a second or two with no water running just to let it "shake" the water off like a dog does after getting wet. It seems to help with the slime problem.
posted by tacodave at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2017

Best answer: I take the head off my toothbrush and hang that to dry separately, which helps with the gunk.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:26 PM on March 3, 2017

Best answer: Makeup brushes are supposed to be dried bristle-side down (so that water doesn't loosen the adhesive) and there are many, many options floating around, either store-bought, such as Sigma racks, or homemade. Not really an expert in this area so I can't recommend a specific solution but you might find something helpful.
posted by acidic at 4:41 PM on March 3, 2017

I use an electric toothbrush and had a problem with icky sticky toothpaste dripping down it too.

What I do now is-
1. Remove the brush after each use and rinse it and the base separately
2. Put the brush part in a plastic dixie cup that has folded up toilet paper in the bottom
3. Put the base in another TP lined cup
4. Keep both in the medicine cabinet because it grosses me out to have toothbrushes on the counter

I change the toilet paper weekly or as needed and the cups occasionally. It really helps keep them cleaner for me. I had originally tried a cotton pad but the gunk just stuck to that like they were long lost twins and I ended up with a bigger mess, the TP doesn't stick at all.

PS The cup that the brush sits in is always a lot yuckier than the base is and I do rinse it after each use.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 4:50 PM on March 3, 2017

Um. I just rest mine across the top of the cup (actually a ceramic jug) so it's horizontal. Drips get wiped up as part of daily wiping down the counter top. Nothing is running from one end to the other.
posted by stellathon at 6:22 AM on March 4, 2017

Response by poster: Um. I don't have a countertop for brush and cup to sit on. Balancing something wouldn't work.
posted by agregoli at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2017

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