The Toothbrush Debate

Would you all care to weigh in on a very crucial issue? One might call it the Most Critical Bathroom Hygeine Issue of Our Time. One might, anyway.

So here’s the picture:

What you see here are two different toothbrush storage philosophies. I am going to attempt to outline each one, briefly, in a neutral fashion so as not to betray which one I favor.

The Green Brush (aka The Cupper): The owner of this brush is following what I assume to be standard toothbrush procedure (at least standard in any bathroom that lacks one of those built-in, toothbrush-specific holders). The Cupper uses the brush, rinses it off, and places it in the cup for storage when done.

The Blue Brush (aka The Sinker): The owner of this brush likes to lay the brush on the side of the sink, as depicted here, in order to let the brush drip dry. The Sinker claims this will prevent an unsightly scum from building up in toothbrush storage cup from where water drips down the brush handle and collects. The alleged intent is to allow the brush to dry on the edge of the sink and then move it to the cup; however, The Sinker usually forgets to move the brush and leaves it on the edge of the sink most of the time.

The Disagreement: The Cupper believes The Sinker’s method to be less sanitary, arguing that germs or bacteria from hand-washing can easily splash onto the toothbrush if it’s left sitting on the edge of the sink. The Sinker does not find this potential hazard to be disturbing, and perceives it to be “less gross” than the possibility of a scummy residue building up in the bottom of the toothbrush cup. Essentially, The Cupper works to avoid bacterial contamination whereas The Sinker works to avoid scummy residue. Neither person is trying to convince the other to change his or her ways; however, The Cupper finds The Sinker’s behavior to be strange and perhaps wrong.

What’s your opinion?

Free Blog Poll

Feel free to explain further in the comments!


  1. I’m on Team Sink, however I have TWO sinks at home. One is for brushing teeth and getting ready in the morning, while the other is strictly for hand-washing. Oh, the luxuries of living alone…


  2. Team Cup all the way! It is far easier to wash the bottom of your toothbrush than to disinfect those bristles, which are collecting god knows what while perched on the sink.


  3. Sinker is totally wrong. Period.

    That being said, I recently got a new electric toothbrush, and it is the worst set up ever. Somehow, it manages to hold on to all kinds of gunk which trails down to the holder, and the holder just … HOLDS it. All the gunk. It’s like cleaning off a small layer of cement every few days. It is DISGUSTING. But, I just paid $100 for the damn toothbrush — I’m not going to ditch it (even though it makes me want to vomit).

    Oh, and yes, it HAS to go on the holder — that’s how it charges. In case you wondered.


  4. Secret option number three, you should really have more than one toothbrush cup. Rotate in a new one every time you wipe down the counter or every few days and put the one from the counter into the dishwasher. That way the cup germs aren’t a problem.


  5. OMG. I have serious bathroom sink/vanity organization neuroses (I have my side; Philly has his–makes me insane when his deodorant/contact solution end up on my side. I know; I’m ill), so this would drive me crazy. Under NO circumstances would this be allowed in our family bathroom. We have one of those fancy (not really) toothbrush holders, and it does get scummy, but you know what? I just wash it when it does. NO BIGGIE. However, a toothbrush on the sink! So. Many. Germs. I cringe when I have to CLEAN the sink, knowing how dirty it is. Ack.


    1. The Cupper agrees with you!

      I obviously don’t have one of the toothbrush holders myself — I wonder if I did have one, if The Sinker would use it?

      I am not saying that The Sinker/The Cupper is or is not myself. I will explain my own personal thoughts on this in a later post! Keeping it neutral for now πŸ™‚


  6. My husband would vote against both of these. He puts his in a special holder on the window sill so that the sun can kill the bacteria. He’s very weird about this. I use an electric toothbrush and just rinse it off after each use, and it doesn’t get gunky.


      1. Me too. I’m trying to work my way up to not generating any non-biodegradable waste, but toothbrushes – and indeed toothpaste that comes in a plastic tube – are one of my numerous sticking points. I’ll know I’ve made it when I take to mixing baking soda in a jar with peppermint oil and applying it with a eucalyptus twig.

  7. Neither sinker or cupper–I’m a drawer-er! That part of my drawer might be a bit gunky, but I don’t have to look at it or deal with it too often. But what I’m really in favor for is separate bathrooms–let his/her habits flourish in their own space!


    1. Oooh, the drawer? I don’t think I know any other drawer people.

      Re the separate bathrooms– in this case no one’s habits are really infringing on anyone else’s so it’s not THAT kind of issue (like a seat up/down thing, or a shower curtain open/closed, or whatever). At any rate, the cat has kind of already laid claim to the second bathroom. Heh.


  8. This sounds like some of the ridiculously pedantic debates I’ve found myself in after entering into a long term relationship. The Great Dishwasher Disagreement in my household may outlast the 100 Year War at the rate it’s going.

    Anyway, the sink person is completely crazy, in my opinion. Bathroom sinks are for the washing of hands and the spitting of toothpaste. Do you really want hand goo, soapy residue and spitty toothpaste glop all over your toothbrush, Toothbrush in Sink Advocate Person? Leaving a toothbrush on a sink like that is grounds for a visit from the Toothbrush Protective Services. Not only is it bad form but it’s pure negligence. Won’t someone pleaaaaaaaaase think of the toothbrushes?!!!


    1. Hand goo??? Yikes!

      On another note, now I simply must know about your Dishwasher Disagreement! I take a weird pleasure in knowing about other people’s weird domestic issues — they’re funny to me, if I’m not involved (and sometimes even when I am).


      1. My partner insists that certain things must be hand-washed, no exceptions. Among the items on her list: cutting boards, cookie sheets, pots, pans. Drives me nuts, mostly because my hands, for some silly reason, are sensitive to European dish soap and I have to put on rubber gloves every time I wash stuff. She lived in an apartment for years without a dishwasher and is still having a hard time adjusting to ours, despite the fact we’ve had it for over a year.

        On the flip side, she’s convinced the dishwasher is magical and super-powered and she can put plates with food still on them in it. She thinks washing items off in the sink beforehand is crazy. “Why wash dishes before putting them in the *dishwasher*?!!” The smell in there is downright ghastly at times. Despite all the hurdles we’ve cleared (different continents, immigration hassles, having to move in with one another too quickly due to these factors, being introverts) the %@!#!@#! dishwasher has been the catalyst for some of our most trying bickerfests.

      2. I admit being sort of the same about the dishwasher — I hate to “pre-wash” things. I’ll rinse a bit, but I don’t worry if there is still some remnant of food on the dish. It has worked out fine so far. In your case, maybe the solution is to move into an older house without a dishwasher πŸ™‚

  9. Look, either way is fine, maybe even all three on alternate Sundays, but you have to remember to boil your teeth afterwards to sterilise them.


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