Youris gross. It is most likely covered with bacteria, blood and saliva. And if you’re not one of the few civilized people to put the toilet seat down before flushing it, it’s covered with feces too. The reason? The sudden surge of water that swirls around the toilet bowl stirs up a huge swirl of microscopic fecal particles. This steam then spreads throughout your bathroom and eventually settles on every surface, including the bristles of your uncovered toothbrush.
This phenomenon, known as the “toilet flag”, was first described in a pioneering study in 1975 in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Further research has confirmed that the toilet plume spreads infectious aerosols in your bathroom, including the potentially deadly bacterium Clostridium difficile or C. diff.
Of course, this raises the question: How do you unpack your toothbrush? Fortunately, getting rid of the feces is pretty easy. (And by the way, if you want to be extremely civilized, here’s how you can.)
3 ways to get rid of the feces
The American Dental Association admits there is little evidence that bacteria on toothbrushes are likely to make you sick, and the CDC agrees, although a recent study found the living SARS-CoV-2 virus in patients with COVID-19 could. However, the ADA recommendations recognize the Ick factor and offer various options for disinfecting your toothbrush:
- UV disinfection devices: If you like to use light to zap bacteria on your toothbrush, use UV disinfectants cost everywhere to .
- Soak it in hydrogen peroxide: For a more cost-effective solution, the ADA says that a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution reduces toothbrush bacteria by up to 85%.
- Soak it in Listerine: According to ADA, also kills up to 85% of the bacteria on your toothbrush. This may be the most convenient option if you are already using Listerine.
- Definitely do Not do that: Whatever you do, do it Not Place your toothbrush in the microwave or dishwasher, as high heat can melt or otherwise damage the brush.
How to put poo in its place
Even if the thought of a tornado after rinsing that rains bacteria in your bathroom could cause you to stuff your toothbrush into the next bathroom drawer, the ADA does not recommend it at all. The best way to store your toothbrush after another meta-analysis is to stand upright in a toothbrush holder that is uncovered to allow it to air dry.
Ultimately, this means that the best way to keep the toilet particles away from your toothbrush and where they belong is to close the lid of your toilet every time you rinse.
For a solution to another common bathroom problem, see our preferred method for. Your bathroom isn’t the only thing that harbors bacteria around you – or you could end up damaging it.
And if you have smart speakers at home, be careful not to damage them when cleaningand our other .