How To Sterilize a Toothbrush In The Microwave? 

You may think that washing your toothbrush under running water makes it clean. However, the truth is, no matter how perfectly you remove the toothpaste foam, your toothbrush won’t be germ-free. 

When liquids like vinegar, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide get rid of germs and bacteria of the toothbrush, a microwave also can sanitize the toothbrush and make it squeaky clean. Many may not be aware of this fact. Now the question is – how to sterilize a toothbrush in the microwave

Sterilizing a toothbrush is quite easy. It only takes microwaving the toothbrush head in water for a few minutes and air-drying it later. 

Let’s learn about the sterilizing ingredients of a toothbrush and methods in detail from this article.

how to sterilize a toothbrush in the microwave
How To Sterilize a Toothbrush?

Can you disinfect your toothbrush in the microwave?

Yes, you can. A microwave oven can kill germs of a toothbrush. However, the microwave heat has the potentiality to damage the toothbrush.

Therefore, sanitize toothbrush in microwave in a pinch. Immerse the brush head in a glass of water and microwave it for 5 minutes. Remove the brush carefully and air dry it in a safe place. That’s all.

how to sterilize a toothbrush in the microwave
How To Sterilize a Toothbrush?

How do you sterilize toothbrushes?

Sterilizing a toothbrush indicates sanitizing its bristles only, not the entire brush. The toothbrush body can be cleaned in another way, and it does not require an intense caution as the bristles require.

You can sterilize your toothbrush with any of these ingredients.


How To Sterilize a Toothbrush?

Use Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol to sterilize your toothbrush.

First, rinse the toothbrush well in normal water to remove the trapped particles. Later, soak your toothbrush in the alcohol for 30 seconds. Rinse the toothbrush well before the next brushing.

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, use vodka with 80-proof or higher than that.

Antibacterial mouthwash

Before or after each brushing, swirl the toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds.

Alternatively, soak the brush head in the mouthwash for 2 minutes minimum or 15 minutes maximum to remove hidden particles.

Wash the brush handle individually with soap and water. Make sure to rinse the entire brush thoroughly and air dry it.

Baking soda

Rinse your toothbrush first with normal water to clean the bristles. Make a solution of 2 tsp baking soda and 1 cup of warm water. Soak the toothbrush in it for 20 minutes (min.) or 1 hour (max.). Rinse the toothbrush again in normal water.

You can use salt if you don’t have or want to use baking soda.

Baking soda

Denture cleanser

Drop a half of the denture-cleaning tablet in a cup of water. Place the toothbrush head in this solution and leave it for 1-2 minutes.

Before removing from the solution, swish the toothbrush around a little bit. Rinse well. Wash the toothbrush handle separately with soapy water.

If you have already cleaned your dentures with the solution, don’t reuse that on your toothbrush.

Denture cleanser


Place your toothbrush in the silverware compartment of the dishwasher. Use the silverware basket so that the toothbrush doesn’t reach the bottom part of the dishwashing machine. Run the machine on a hot or cold cycle without soap.

Hydrogen peroxide

Pour 1 tsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a cup of water. Before brushing your teeth, soak the brush head in the solution for a few minutes. Rinse it well before brushing your teeth.

You can combine 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water and soak the toothbrush in it for 15 minutes. 

If you opt for using the peroxide without water, soak the toothbrush in it for 3-5 minutes. After that, rinse the brush thoroughly with hot water.

Mild chlorine bleach

Dissolve a few drops of a mild chlorine bleach into a cup of water. Immerse the toothbrush in it for 5-10 minutes. Rinse and air dry the toothbrush.

UV toothbrush sanitizer

An UV toothbrush sanitizer is considered the best way to sanitize toothbrush. Follow the product description and sterilize your toothbrush accordingly.

All these ingredients can be used on both manual toothbrush heads and electric toothbrush heads. You can sanitize both types of toothbrush head in the same way.

However, for cleaning an electric toothbrush head, make sure to detach it from the base before cleaning. If the brush head doesn’t detach, carefully sterilize the bristles so that the base won’t be affected.

For an undetached electric toothbrush head, use a 30-seconds mouthwash soak or run the bristles under a warm water faucet.

How do I disinfect my toothbrush with vinegar?

How do I disinfect my toothbrush with vinegar?

You can make a vinegar-baking soda solution, vinegar-water solution, or use vinegar directly to disinfect your toothbrush.

To make a vinegar-baking soda solution:

  • Mix 2 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp baking soda with a half cup of water.
  • Mix well and immerse your toothbrush in it for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse well later.

If you have apple cider vinegar, mix equal portions of water and vinegar. Soak your toothbrush in it first for 15 minutes and later in clean water for another 15 minutes.

Place the toothbrush head in half a cup of distilled white vinegar. Let it soak for 15 minutes and rinse it later thoroughly with tap water.

For better results, leave the brush head in white vinegar overnight. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly before the next use.

Alternatively, you can use a cup of apple cider vinegar for the direct application. Soak the brush head in it for 30 seconds and rinse thoroughly.

Does hot water disinfect toothbrush?

There is a debate on disinfecting toothbrushes in hot water. Some people say that hot water can damage the plastic or burn the bristles of a toothbrush. But surprisingly, hot water removes most of the germs nesting in the toothbrush head, which normal tap water cannot.

Does hot water disinfect toothbrush?

To disinfect your toothbrush with hot water, follow any of these methods.

Method 1 – Running the toothbrush under hot water faucet

  • Before brushing your teeth, hold the toothbrush under a hot or warm water faucet.
  • Rinse the brush head gently for 15 seconds.
  • After brushing your teeth, rinse it for 15 seconds with hot water again.
  • While rinsing, rub the bristles with your thumb so that food particles and excess toothpaste would come off.
  • Later, rinse the brush head again in cold water, since hot water makes the bristles weak.

Method 2 – Soaking the toothbrush in hot water

  • Soak your toothbrush in hot water at 180°F temperature.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the brush. You can soak it again in cold water if you want.

Method 3 – Boiling the toothbrush

  • Boil a small saucepan of water at 212°F/100°C temperature.
  • Dip the brush head only in the boiling water. Don’t dip the whole brush in the rolling boil to prevent the plastic from melting.
  • After 2-3 minutes, remove the brush carefully and let it cool down.
  • Rinse the toothbrush in cold water and air dry it.


How long does it take to sterilize a toothbrush?

It depends on the ingredient and the method you use to sterilize your toothbrush. For instance, sterilizing a toothbrush with hot water may take 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Likewise, cleaning toothbrush with baking soda may take 20 minutes to 1 hour.

How long can bacteria live on a toothbrush?

Bacteria can live on a toothbrush for about 24 hours.

Can I use the same toothbrush after being sick?

Definitely not. Because the germs hiding in your toothbrush head during your illness will reincarnate if you use the same brush after the recovery. Therefore, use a brand new toothbrush after being sick. 

What are the bumps on the back of a toothbrush for?

They are for cleaning your tongue, palate, and cheeks.

Which brand of mouthwash kills the most bacteria?

Among various brands of mouthwash, Listerine original antiseptic oral care mouthwash kills the most bacteria (99%).


Knowing how to sterilize a toothbrush thoroughly will save you from various diseases indeed. No matter how frequently you sanitize your usual toothbrush, you must change it on time.

Be it a standard or an electric toothbrush, change it every 2-3 months. Also, use the sterilizing ingredients on your toothbrush with caution. Otherwise, you will get sick from those ingredients if the cleaning goes wrong.

Last but not the least, pay attention to the plastic of the brush too.

Also see Should I Keep My Brush On The Charger?

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