How to sterilize a toothbrush

Proper toothbrush care can eliminate the spreading of germs. If you have recently been sick, then those germs can still be alive on your toothbrush just waiting for the chance to spread to someone else, or even back to you. A sterile toothbrush can help solve that problem.

Invest in a toothbrush sterilising appliance. One popular toothbrush sterilising unit uses a germicidal ultraviolet light to kill germs and give you a clean toothbrush. Some of these toothbrush sterilizers double as a carrying case so your toothbrush won't come into contact with harmful germs while you're travelling or in storage in your own medicine cabinet or drawer.

Try sterilising your toothbrush in boiling water on the stove. Use caution, because some toothbrushes are made from a cheaper plastic that will melt. If this happens, simply dump the water out, discard your pan and toothbrush and try again with a different toothbrush. Bring the water to a boil and drop the toothbrush in for three to five minutes. The boiling water can kill germs such as E. coli and salmonella.

Soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash. Doing so may reduce the amount of germs on the toothbrush.

Make a habit of sticking your toothbrush in the dishwasher every time you do dishes. The heated drying cycle is a great germ-killer. In fact, medical sterilising companies use a similar process in an autoclave, to sterilise surgical instruments.


It takes more than just a clean toothbrush to keep from spreading germs. Make sure your toothbrush storage area is also clean and germ free. Try spraying with a germ killer spray or a diluted bleach solution.


Allow the clean toothbrush to air dry. Sealing the toothbrush in a non sterilised container can cause bacteria in the container to feed on the moisture, causing mould or mildew or develop. Avoid storing your toothbrush in the bathroom. Every time you flush the toilet, germs are released into the air which can contaminate your toothbrush.

Things You'll Need

  • A toothbrush
  • Boiling water
  • Plastic container
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About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.