Help me figure this travel problem out: Travel Toothbrush

Apologies in advance, because this is a little gross.toothbrushes

I have been having a problem that I can’t seem to solve: my travel toothbrush gets moldy. It doesn’t seem to matter what brand of toothbrush, what type of toothbrush holder, or what kind of toiletry bag I’m using. It has happened several times over the last few years. And it’s just so annoying to roll into a hotel a 1am, exhausted, wanting nothing more than to go to bed, and to get out your toothbrush and be unable to use it because of icky mold.

To give you an idea, here is my typical process. I brush my teeth first thing in the morning, then shake any excess water off the brush. I then leave it out as long as possible while I shower and pack, hoping the water will dry up before I put it away. It is the last thing I put in my toiletry kit, which I drop in my suitcase right before heading out. I have used a couple of different types of holders, similar to this one, this one, and this one. Pretty sure none of them have cost over $2, although I would be willing to spend a bit more if there is a magic solution out there.

There are basically no helpful suggestions online. I’ve read advice that says to wait until the toothbrush is dry to put it away. That would be nice in a perfect world, but when you have to head to the office first thing in the morning that’s not always practical. I’ve also read that the best thing to do is have your toothbrush upright in your suitcase, which would help drain the water. Sure, again, great in a perfect world. But while I’m heading to the office, working in a new place, navigating unfamiliar cities, and sprinting through airports my suitcase gets tossed into any number of positions, making it virtually impossible to keep track of which direction my toothbrush is facing.

The Home Warrior suggests using a napkin or paper towel to squeeze excess water out instead of shaking it. I can try that moving forward to see if it helps, but I’m not sure that solves the problem. Has anyone found a toothbrush holder or simple packing technique to manage this problem? Or should I just plan to have a spare toothbrush and holder at all times just in case?

Readers, any suggestions for how to deal with this? Thank you!!

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Comments

  1. I use the Sonicare Dentist Edition toothbrush that has an accompanied case. I either use a hand towel to dry it off thoroughly, or use the hair dryer if I’m using it that day. At the end of the week, I use the cleaning stand that I keep at home to de-ionize and kill bacteria.

  2. Try drying it thoroughly with the hair dryer? Maybe spritz with mouthwash (anti-microbial and better than rubbing alcohol) and then dry with hair dryer?

    I use an electric toothbrush and pack it in the included canvas like wrap & stow in ventilated mesh toiletry bag. No mold so far in 3 years. (also keep a new brush head on hand in case)

  3. I’ve never had mold issues and travel all the time. But, rather than put it in a holder, I have a designated pocket in my Eagle Creek toiletry kit (washable) that I put it and it alone in. I tap it off well on the side of the sink, drop it in there and go.

  4. I travel with an electric toothbrush & have always just used the cover that comes with it when you purchase a new brush head and tossed that in my toiletries bag. It’s similar to the last one you link to but the bottom is open. Maybe something like that would solve your problem? (more airflow?)

  5. I’ve been using a Steripod. Mostly just for keeping the brush head from touching other stuff in my kit, but it’s supposed to sterilize as well. It’s a spring loaded clip which goes over the head of the brush, and there’s some kind of tablet inside which I’m guessing reacts with moisture from the brush to make a sterilizing gas. I haven’t had any mold problems with it, but I also didn’t have any problems before using it.

  6. Those cases all look airtight. Try storing it in something that will keep it from touching your suitcase/shoes/etc, but not be airtight? Like maybe wrapping the head in a piece of cloth and securing with a rubber band, or putting the whole thing in a sock, or something. I toss mine directly in my toiletry kit, no seal, and never have mold because it can dry in there. This means it touches other stuff but that doesn’t bother me.

  7. I like the mouthwash idea, especially if you use the stuff they give you at the hotel. Alternatively, dry it in a hand towel first, then hair dry, then mouthwash. Pick up a full case toothbrush holder with holes in it for air circulation ($1 at most drug stores) and DO NOT PACK in the toiletry kit. Or just got to a warehouse store, buy a 12-pack of toothbrushes for $9.99 and simply throw them out after a month.

    The last item is how not to sweat the small stuff.

  8. Travel toothbrush? The hotel chains I stay at ordinarily have complimentary ones under the counter. I pick up new ones regularly and toss the old ones. YMMV.

  9. Be sure to rinse the toothbrush very thoroughly under strong running water after use. Use a cloth towel to dry it everywhere, including the bristles. And note that while your toothbrush holder may be ventilated, your toiletry kit might be like a nearly-sealed plastic bag. Leave the zipper open a bit for ventilation. And let us know what you find that works!

  10. @Erin

    The Steripod is not airtight. It’s basically like a better version of the travel covers you can buy at the drugstore for $1; the ones which just slip over the head. Except better because those brush covers never snap closed properly. The spring clip works great.

    The area for the neck of the brush is pretty big. You could probably pull the head out of it without opening the pod if you really wanted to, but the stiffness of the bristles keeps it in under normal conditions. So there is space for air to circulate.

  11. I have never had this problem, but I throw out toothbrushes frequently. I get a lot from hotels, but you can get cheap toothbrushes in bulk from many discount stores here. I agree with you about storing in the luggage. I’ve started locking my luggage too so I know nothing has been tampered with.

  12. Ditto to the Steripod. Use this all the time in a mesh pocket of my toiletries bag. Never had a problem with mold.

    Another option could be to brush with a different (cheap) brush the morning of your travel so your regular toothbrush is completely dry from the night before.

  13. I too have never had a problem. As much as I hate Walmart, I do love their electric toothbrushes and use them. After brushing, I rinse and then dry well with a clean towel before putting it in the plastic pocket of my handing toiletry bag.

  14. I’ve been traveling since 1971. Ex Flight attendant, and I’ve NEVER had a toothbrush go moldy. Sometimes I carry electric, sometimes regular. I have a side pocket in my makeup case, and that’s where the toothbrush goes, no cover, nothing else in there. I think you are storing it too tightly covered. Grab a few paper towels from home, and wrap your tooth brush inside them. Tissue falls apart when it gets wet, don’t use that. Paper towels will dry out overnight so you can reuse them.

  15. I have never had a problem (yet) with any funkiness on my toothbrushes. I wipe them thoroughly with a towel/napkin, specially the bristles and throw it in my kit. I also keep the zipper slightly unzipped. And, toss every 3-6 months, depending on usage.

  16. Desiccant packs. Those little white bags that come with different things you buy, such as bags. Most of them are fine to have inside the toiletry bag and yhis way they’ll keep the humidity low enough so that there won’t be any mold growing. There are a few kinds that are toxic, but most of them aren’t. Just remember to replace them once in a while.

  17. Go to dollar tree buy a pack of 10 toothbrushes with the holder. If you are traveling for a week have two toothbrushes with you. Pitch the used one before you head home.

  18. I usually dry the bristles as much as possible with towels, then put into one of those $1 plastic case with holes. Have never had a problem with moldy brush, but sometimes the case itself gets moldy.

  19. I’ve never had a problem with this. But I always flick the bristles of my toothbrush with my finger to get all the water off them after use. I’ve always done this. And don’t use a cover, a sealed airless environment is a great place for humidity and to encourage the mould to form. The grossest thing your toothbrush will come in contact with in its day-to-day journey is your mouth. Unless your toiletries bag is wet and icky as well, but I doubt an organised traveler would have a wet and icky bag.

  20. PS as I don’t travel more than once per month, my travel toothbrush only gets changed every few years, so it’s got plenty of opportunity to get funky,

  21. I’ve never had this problem either. I usually let my toothbrush rest on a (dry) washcloth at the hotel, rather than the who-knows-how-clean sink, and then I put it into my toiletry kit without really worrying much about what it might actually touch. No mold for eight years of traveling like this (though of course I replace the brush every 6 months or so).

  22. I use a new toothbrush every trip, and toss it on the last travel day. Toothbrushes are cheap, and not worth the hassle of keeping them around for the next trip. I buy them by the box at Amazon.com.

  23. Do you wash the holder? After every trip, I wash my toothbrush holder and let it dry thoroughly before putting it away. Also change my toothbrush frequently.

  24. I travel multiple days each week and used to have this problem. Now I carry a 2 oz squeeze bottle of rubbing alcohol in my kit. A very quick squirt of 8ish drops is all that is needed before placing the toothbrush into a tube holder that has ventilation holes on both ends. Mold has never returned.

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