The lowly toilet brush and its functional or decorative holder get no respect. This housekeeping tool tackles one of the germiest, most unpleasant spots in the home with very little praise or care. When was the last time you cleaned or retired your toilet brush? It's time to take action.
How Often to Clean a Toilet Brush and Holder
Ideally, the toilet brush and holder should be cleaned after every use and disinfected at least monthly. If the brush is allowed to dry completely before replacing it in the holder, then the holder should only need a thorough cleaning monthly. However, if the brush is not cleaned or allowed to dry after each use, then the holder should be cleaned at least weekly.
Equipment / Tools
- Plastic buckets
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Microfiber cloth
- Microwave or stovetop
- Chlorine bleach
- Disinfectant spray
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Disinfectant wipe
- All-purpose cleaner
Clean Quickly With Disinfectant Spray
- Once you have finished cleaning the toilet, you can do a quick clean of the toilet brush using a disinfectant spray and disinfectant wipe.
- After cleaning, flush the toilet and rinse the toilet brush in the water. Hold the handle with the brush head directly over the bowl of the toilet.
- Generously spray the brush head with a disinfectant spray or 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, turning it so that all sides are sprayed.
- Use a disinfectant wipe to wipe down the handle. Use a second wipe to clean the holder inside and out. The surfaces should remain wet for at least 10 minutes.
- Balance the toilet brush handle between the toilet bowl rim and the lowered toilet seat to dry.
- Dry the holder with a microfiber cloth. Allow the brush to air-dry thoroughly before placing it into the holder.
Disinfect in a Bleach Soaking Solution
- Heat one gallon of water to boiling on the stovetop or in a microwave.
- Carefully pour the hot water into a plastic cleaning bucket. The bucket should be large enough to hold enough water to cover the holder, the toilet brush head, and most of the toilet brush handle.
- Place the bucket in a large sink, bathtub, or shower stall. This will prevent damage to surrounding areas if the bleach solution happens to splash out of the bucket.
- Wearing rubber gloves and eye protection, add one cup of liquid chlorine bleach.
- Slowly add the holder and toilet brush to avoid splashing.
- Allow the items to soak for at least one hour.
- Wearing rubber gloves, remove the toilet brush and holder and rinse them under hot water for at least 30 seconds to flush away the bleach solution.
- Dry the brush and holder with a microfiber cloth or allow them to air-dry completely before storing.
If you don't have a bucket, add 1/4 cup of bleach to the toilet bowl water and submerge the head of the brush. Fill a bathroom sink with hot water and add 1/2 cup of bleach and the holder. Allow the items to soak for at least one hour before following the rinsing and drying steps listed above.
Clean With an All-Purpose Cleaner
If you don't like to use chlorine bleach, the toilet brush and holder can be cleaned using an all-purpose cleaner and hot water solution. While this method will dilute the number of bacteria on the items, it will not disinfect them by killing all of the bacteria.
- Fill a bucket or large sink with boiling water and add the amount of the all-purpose cleaner or dishwashing liquid recommended on the product label.
- Submerge the toilet brush and holder.
- Allow them to soak for at least two hours.
- Wearing rubber gloves, remove the items and rinse each one under running hot water for at least 30 seconds.
- Dry the toilet brush and holder with a microfiber cloth.
- Allow the brush to air-dry completely before storing it in the holder.
When to Replace a Toilet Brush
If you are using a nylon-bristled toilet brush, it should be replaced when the bristles become smelly, discolored, flattened, brittle, or begin to fall off the head. A toilet brush's longevity depends on how frequently it is used, but most brushes should be replaced every six to eight months.
Toilet brushes with a silicone head are usually more durable and should be replaced if the head becomes loose or damaged. With proper cleaning, they should last at least one year.
5 Tips to Help Your Toilet Brush and Holder Last Longer
- Rinse the toilet brush in clean water after every use.
- Allow the brush to air-dry completely before storing.
- Do not allow a messy soup of bacteria-laden water to pool and dry in the bottom of the holder.
- Choose a holder that keeps the brush head off the bottom of the holder to prevent bending and breakage of the bristles.
- Use a toilet wand with disposable heads. Simply use a disinfecting wipe to clean the handle after each use and allow it to air-dry. The handle can be stored under the sink or from a hook—no need for a holder.
Wieck, S. "The Necessity of Disinfected Toilet Brushes - Information Policy of Companies on Disinfectants in Private Homes." Environ Sci Eur 27, 3 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-015-0038-5
"How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu." Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 2021.