can you wash toothbrushes in the dishwasher

Can You Wash Toothbrushes in the Dishwasher?

Oral hygiene is a vital part of overall health, and it begins with a clean toothbrush. While most people are familiar with rinsing their toothbrush under tap water after each use, the question of whether you can wash toothbrushes in the dishwasher often arises.

Yes, you can wash toothbrushes in the dishwasher as it can effectively sanitize them. However, it’s important to handle them correctly to avoid damage and ensure they’re thoroughly dried after washing.

Here we discuss different methods of cleaning your toothbrush and delve into the FAQs about dishwasher usage.

Can You Wash Toothbrushes in the Dishwasher?

Toothbrushes are a breeding ground for various types of bacteria and pathogens. This is because they are regularly exposed to the bacterial flora of the mouth, which can contain hundreds of different microorganisms.

The moist environment of the bathroom can further encourage bacterial growth. This includes harmful bacteria like E. Coli and Staphylococcus, which can accidentally contaminate toothbrushes when they’re stored near the toilet or sink.

Regularly cleaning your toothbrush is, therefore, an important part of oral hygiene that goes beyond just brushing and flossing. Dishwashing can certainly help.

Benefits of Dishwashing Your Toothbrush

Using a dishwasher to clean your toothbrush can be a highly effective method for the following reasons:

High Temperatures

Dishwashers use hot water, typically around 130-170°F (55-75°C), which can help kill many types of bacteria. This temperature is much higher than what can be achieved with tap water, enabling a more thorough cleanse.

Strong Water Pressure

The forceful water jets in a dishwasher can remove debris lodged between the bristles of your toothbrush more effectively than rinsing under a faucet.


Given that dishwashers are used regularly, incorporating toothbrush cleaning into this routine can ensure consistent and frequent cleaning, reducing the bacterial load over time.

Cleaning Toothbrushes in the Dishwasher

Yes, you can wash toothbrushes in the dishwasher. It provides an efficient and effortless method to clean and sanitize your toothbrush. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Rinse the Toothbrush: Before placing the toothbrush in the dishwasher, rinse it under tap water to remove any visible debris.
  2. Place in the Top Rack: The top rack of the dishwasher is generally cooler and less aggressive than the bottom, so it’s safer for your toothbrush. Place it horizontally with bristles facing inward.
  3. Use a Regular Wash Cycle: Run a regular dishwashing cycle. Avoid using the heated dry setting as it may damage your toothbrush.
  4. Let it Air Dry: Once the cycle is complete, take out the toothbrush and let it air dry thoroughly before using it.

Cleaning Toothbrushes Using Vinegar Solution

If you are hesitant about using a dishwasher, another effective way to clean your toothbrush is by using a vinegar solution. This is how to proceed:

  1. Prepare the Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a cup.
  2. Soak the Toothbrush: Place the toothbrush bristles down in the cup. Let it soak for about 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse Thoroughly: After soaking, rinse the toothbrush thoroughly under tap water.
  4. Air Dry: Allow the toothbrush to air dry completely before the next use.

Cleaning Toothbrushes Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is another useful agent for cleaning toothbrushes. Follow these steps for this method:

  1. Pour Hydrogen Peroxide: Pour enough 3% hydrogen peroxide in a cup to fully cover the bristles.
  2. Soak the Toothbrush: Submerge the toothbrush bristles in the hydrogen peroxide for about 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the toothbrush under cold water thoroughly to remove any remaining hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Let it Air Dry: Dry the toothbrush in an upright position, allowing it to air dry before its next use.


Will Washing Toothbrushes in the Dishwasher Damage Them?

Dishwashers are generally safe for toothbrushes. However, high heat settings or frequent washes may eventually wear out the bristles and degrade the plastic. Use the top rack and avoid the heated dry setting to minimize potential damage.

Can You Clean Toothbrushes with Other Dishes in the Dishwasher?

Yes, it is generally safe to clean toothbrushes with other dishes. However, if you’re concerned about cross-contamination, you might want to wash them separately.

Will Toothbrushes be Disinfected in the Dishwasher?

Most dishwashers reach temperatures that can kill most bacteria. Therefore, washing toothbrushes in the dishwasher will generally disinfect them.

Can You Clean Electric Toothbrush Heads in the Dishwasher?

It is usually not recommended to clean electric toothbrush heads in the dishwasher. Check the manufacturer’s instructions. If dishwasher cleaning is not suggested, use one of the other cleaning methods provided above.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Washing Toothbrushes in the Dishwasher?

The main risk of washing toothbrushes in the dishwasher is potential damage to the toothbrush due to heat and vigorous washing. As for health risks, dishwashers can harbor bacteria and fungus. Therefore, regular dishwasher cleaning is also essential.


Washing toothbrushes in the dishwasher is possible and generally safe. However, consider factors such as potential damage, cross-contamination, and the nature of your dishwasher before proceeding.

Alternative cleaning methods like using vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solutions also offer reliable results. As long as the toothbrush is thoroughly cleaned and dried, it will contribute to your oral hygiene effectively.