How to Clean a Toilet Brush and Holder
Disinfecting Your Cleaning Brush With Household Cleaners and Natural Options
The lowly toilet brush and its functional, decorative holder get no respect. This housekeeping tool tackles one of the germiest, most unpleasant objects in the home. Like, when was the last time you cleaned or retired your toilet brush? Our tips will allow you to successfully clean a toilet brush and its holder, assuring you a piece of mind in the bathroom. And for those of you who like to disinfect without the use of harsh chemicals, cleaning your toilet brush without bleach (and killing germs while you're at it) can be accomplished by using natural products like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. 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.
Cleaning a Toilet Brush Naturally
You can clean your toilet brush naturally, without bleach, by first rinsing it in the freshwater that comes into your toilet. Next, sandwich the handle in between the bowl and the seat and spray the bristles with a natural cleaner. Cleaning your toilet brush with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide will do the trick. Turn the brush to make sure all of the bristles get clean, and then leave the brush in its place to air dry completely. No further rinsing is needed.
Cleaning your toilet brush with vinegar will eliminate 90% of bacteria, and about 80% of viruses, and mold. But, if you want to make sure all pathogens are 99.9% gone, bleach is your only option. That said, some experts discourage adding bleach to your toilet bowl, as it may corrode the internal parts. Instead, bleach your brush in a bucket as outlined in the steps below.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Plastic buckets
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Microfiber cloth
- Microwave or stovetop
- Chlorine bleach
- Disinfectant spray
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Disinfectant wipe
- All-purpose cleaner
How to Clean a Toilet Brush and Holder
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.
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 flush water after every use so that it doesn't turn brow.
- 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.
How often should you throw away your toilet brush?
Toilet brushes harbor germs and, regardless of your cleaning practices, should be replaced every six months. Plastic toilet brushes have a shorter life span than those made from wood, and natural fibers that can be dripped dry after use to extend their life.
Can you wash a toilet brush in the dishwasher?
Technically, it is not unsanitary to put your toilet brush in the dishwasher by itself, and then run it on the "sterilize" setting. The hot water, soap, and residual cleaner left on the brush should take care of any germs and will not allow germs to spread to a subsequent load of dishes.
Is it okay to pour bleach inside a toilet?
Expert advice varies on this subject. Some say cleaning with diluted bleach is okay, as long as it's the only cleaner you're using, as it can react with other cleaners, making it toxic. Others advise never to use bleach or bleach-containing products, as they may harm the componentry of your toilet—like gadgets and fittings—causing leakage.
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.