Toothbrush Moldy? How To Avoid Getting Sick

The last thing you want to put into your mouth is mold. But the one thing we regularly put into our mouths every day is one of the most common this to grow mold! If your toothbrush is moldy, we can help – learn how to avoid mold and clean it off if you’ve left it too long.

Why Is My Toothbrush Moldy?

Toothbrushes get moldy because they’re often in the perfect conditions for mold to develop. Microscopic mold spores live in the air and can attach themselves to your toothbrush from just floating about. Now they just need a few conditions to grow!

All mold needs are air, moisture, just enough warmth, and food! For mold, food can be nearly anything organic – especially food debris and nutrients from still water. Black mold is the type that normally grows on toothbrushes and in bathrooms.

Mold especially loves moist, warm conditions. That time right after a hot shower? Mold thrives on that. Lots of mini pools of still water and warmth from humans mean that bathrooms and toilets are prone to mold. That’s why corners of toilets and bathrooms tend to grow mold.

We also tend to store our toothbrushes sat on the sink, on a sideboard, or in a cup. After brushing your teeth there’s always a little water that runs down and creates a little breeding ground for mold to grow. Cups with a few toothbrushes are especially prone to it.

Don’t worry though – it’s really common for mold to grow on toothbrushes at some point. However, it’s not a good idea to let it live. We’ll show you how you can clean it off and stop your toothbrush from growing mold again.

Is Mold On A Toothbrush Dangerous?

Mold on a toothbrush can be dangerous, as any exposure to mold can be a big problem. While the human body is pretty resilient and can deal with a few odd mold spores in the air, consistent exposure is not safe. You should avoid mold and clean it whenever you have a chance.

Mold exposure often leads to respiratory problems, respiratory tract infections, and flare-up allergies and asthma. Inhalation of mold spores can cause:-

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny Nose
  • Red Eyes
  • Skin Rash
  • Asthma attacks

Further exposure to mold can produce much worse symptoms, and chronic (long-term exposure) can lead to kidney and bladder problems, nausea, feeling legarthic, and even memory loss!

How To Get Rid Of Mold On Toothbrush?

If your toothbrush is already moldy, getting rid of it isn’t too hard so don’t worry. These are the steps for a manual toothbrush and the same steps work for a bamboo toothbrush. You can use these steps to clean mold off of an electric toothbrush as well – with a few extra steps.

  1. Prep a clean area with a few sheets of kitchen roll to put down the brush after cleaning
  2. Make a bowl up to soak the whole brush or just the head of an electric brush. Make enough to submerge the whole thing. You can use: –
    • A solution of one part bleach to ten parts water
    • A 3% hydrogen peroxide solution without added water – commonly available at chemists or online
    • A couple of tablespoons of white vinegar in water and/or couple of teaspoons of baking soda in water – You can do both of these together for a better clean
    • You can also boil your toothbrush using our guide
  3. Leave the toothbrush or electric toothbrush head in the solution for 30-60 minutes
  4. If you have an electric toothbrush, it’s time to clean the body / handle
    • Use a cloth, cotton swab, or rolled-up kitchen roll dabbed in the solution to give the whole thing a good scrub
    • Get into any recesses and pay attention to any gunky parts and the top where the head attaches
  5. After soaking and cleaning, now you should thoroughly rinse the toothbrush or head under running water. Flick through the bristles and remove any debris
  6. For an electric toothbrush head, you now need to clean the inside
    • If you have a water flosser it works really well to shoot the jets up into the head
    • If not, you can trickle a stream of water into the hole at the bottom, plus the two small holes on the front and back
    • Use a spare interdental brush to clean the inside properly
    • Check for mold by shining a high-powered torch into the head, any dark areas inside still need cleaning!
  7. Whether you use a cup, a hanging holder, charge your electric on a stand, or leave it on the sink – Now it’s time to clean that area. Use the same solution and thoroughly clean, leaving the area to dry before putting the brush back.
  8. Dry your brush with some tissue paper or a clean cloth and enjoy using a clean, mold-free toothbrush

Read our top choices for the best water flossers for braces 2023

What Should I Do If My Toothbrush Is Moldy?

If your toothbrush is covered in mold, it’s safest just to replace it. Clean the area you stored it in and check around your sink for other mold, then clean it up if needed. If you’ve just got a little mold then you can get away with giving it the clean we recommend above.

Think about changing how you store your toothbrush and using our easy cleaning tips below to avoid it happening again.

How To Stop Toothbrush Getting Moldy?

The best way of avoiding a moldy toothbrush is to have an easy cleaning routine you can do every day. Here’s our routine: –

  • Rinse your toothbrush after every use
  • Remove as much water from it as possible by shaking, tapping it on the sink – don’t wipe it using the hand towel as this carries its own germs
  • If possible, remove your electric toothbrush head and leave it on a paper towel instead of on the body
  • Once or twice a week give it a real rinse all over with hot water. Use your hands or a clean cleaning sponge to scrub off any slimy bits
  • A couple of times a month give it a full scrub using the same methods in the sections above

You can stop your electric toothbrush from getting moldy with a couple of easy tricks. Just make sure the head of the brush is only ever on the head while you are brushing. Keep the head on a bit of clean paper towel.

Or, check out this neat trick to stop the electric toothbrush base from getting dirty. Simply cut a slit in a makeup remover style cotton pad and pop it on top of the peg in the base. Replace the pad every week or two. Check out a video on how it works.

Mold On Toothbrush Symptoms To Watch For

Symptoms to watch for are simple, and you’ve probably seen them already. Any gunk, discoloration, greenish flecks, or black spots especially are signs of mold.

Related – Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Every Day?
Can You Drink Tea After Brushing Your Teeth?

How To Prevent Mold In Toothbrush Holder?

Ideally, don’t use a cup or glass to hold your toothbrush. A holder with a closed bottom is a breeding ground for mold and it’s hard to prevent mold like this. You can get specifically made toothbrush holders with holes in the bottom to drain water – this is a step in the right direction.

However, we’d recommend an open wall mounted holder instead. They expose more of the brush so they get air-dried and there’s nowhere for water to collect.

If you insist on keeping that old cup, just make sure to rinse it regularly. Every few weeks give it a scrub with any of the cleaning solutions we’ve mentioned above. Then let it drain and dry it completely before replacing the brush.

Do Bamboo Toohtbrushes Get Mold?

Can Bamboo Toothbrushes Get Moldy
Bamboo toothbrushes look great but can still get moldy

Yes, in fact because they’re made from an organic substance bamboo toothbrushes are slightly more likely to get moldy. Still it’s totally fine to use bamboo toothbrushes and save plastic from being created and then never re-used.

Just keep up on the hygiene and cleaning tips. Bamboo toothbrushes can also be cleaned with the solutions we’ve given above safely.

Why Is There Mold On My Electric Toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes get moldy too! There’s no real difference to stop them being affected and in fact there’s one areas that gets moldy you might not ever see! Check the inside of the head of your electric toothbrush by looking inside or shining a strong light up to see any discoloration.

Sonicare toothbrush heads as well as Oral B and other brands can all get moldy. Follow our guides above to get rid of mold on your toothbrush. They all apply to electric toothbrushes and newer updated versions like the Quip toothbrush.

What Electric Toothbrush Doesn’t Get Moldy?

The truth is that there is no one electric toothbrush that won’t get moldy. Less ridges, smoother surfaces, and a more hygienic plastic will all help. Ultimately though, any toothbrush left in a bathroom or exposed to water will get a bit crusty at some point.

If you hang your brush out in the air with a wall mounted holder, tap off or clean any water after brushing, remove the head, and periodically clean – you’ll be able to avoid mold and mildew. This applies to all brushes.