Can you disinfect a toothbrush?

I got hit by the flu the other night and fortunately my fever broke and I’m recovering quickly. I am left with the chore of cleaning everything I used during the time. I use an electric toothbrush which has the replaceable heads and was wondering if there is any safe way to disinfect a toothbrush or do I just have to replace it.

Just do what I did when I dropped my toothbrush in the dorm bathroom - REPLACE IT.

Seriously. There’s already enough bacteria in your mouth. You don’t need more.

If your body just kicked the shit out of the virus yesterday, you are not going to get reinfected by your own toothbrush. Soak it in hot water if you are paranoid.

Do you have a dishwasher? I just drop my toothbrush in with the silverware for a cycle when I want to disinfect it.

This. Duh. Do you have any idea how your body works?

Body produces antibodies against Influenza virus. Will not be reinfected with said strain of Influenza virus any time soon, or theoretically ever (though exceptions occur).

The reason why flu vaccines exist is to do with variations of the proteins on the virus, and thus, the vaccine for one strain of Influenza won’t protect against another strain of influenza.

If you really want, get some rubbing alcohol on the plastic and let it dry. Change the head.

Why? Do you share your toothbrush with someone?

I don’t share the brush, the reason why I’m curious was that I got over another virus about 2 weeks ago. No fever but it affected my nose, throat and eyes during the time. I used the same toothbrush head during that time and wasn’t sure if I basically reinfected myself with something else.

BOOZE, BABY. Alcohol is a disinfectant. Or rubbing alcohol, just rinse thoroughly afterward.

I dip mine in my mouthwash, effectively doing what Bill recommends.

150 degrees for ten minutes kills viruses, give it 170 for ten and you’re gold.


Unless you have some severely weird immunodeficiency, you did not reinfect yourself. You don’t really need to worry about disinfecting your toothbrush if you don’t share it with somebody else (and if you do I suspect that he/she/it is already boned regardless). Within a couple of weeks it would be inconsistent with what we understand of human biology for you to have caught the same viral infection twice. It’s more likely to be either a coincidence or a case where you did not get over the first infection at all and for whatever reason ended up relapsing (and my understanding is that in that scenario the secondary exposure to the infection agent would have had nothing to do with the relapse - there would have been more viruses sitting in your immune system and breeding than you could fit on a toothbrush).

Buy a can of Lysol and spray the toothbrush with it until the can is empty. Then set it on fire.

Or dip it in some Listerine.

Either way.

My electric toothbrush comes with some kind of UV box that you put the heads in to cook them after use. I’m sure it’s of dubious value though. One of those Sonicare models.

This is an awful lot of (unnecessary) effort for a damn toothbrush.

Yep. Make sure to uncork the bottle with your teeth and say, “medicinal purposes,” just before you imbibe.

This is a solution for multiple largely irrelevant problems. Specifically, you eat a lot more shit than you think you do. Because we keep our toothbrushes in our bathrooms, there exists a certain fear that anything you pass out of you can be blasted into the air by flushing actions. Fortunately, it’s not a significant health risk, so long as you’re not living with somebody that has a disease spread by contact with human waste. You actually NEED to eat a little bit of shit - it is, for example, how you grow back a healthy infestation of beneficial bacteria in your intestines after a course of anitbiotics. If you’ve got a lot of people in and out of your bathroom sneezing and breathing and generally living in the vicinity of something you shove in your mouth, you can also worry about exposure to their potential illnesses if you’re a little crazy. The UV shield addresses both of those issues by killing anything that lands on the part you put in your mouth, regardless of the source. You are right, however, in observing that it is largely unnecessary if you are not 1970s John Travolta.

No, the UV boxes work pretty well. You can get the same technology now in wand form to sterilize water while travelling or camping in areas where the water doesn’t have too much solid matter.

In my opinion they’re overkill, though. There is evidence that a consistent exposure certain to foreign bacteria, parasites, and viruses is beneficial to the immune system, and that living too cleanly has been linked to allergies and some autoimmune diseases. They call it the hygiene hypothesis.

You sure it’s not the hypochondriac hypothesis?

Both names work!