The best way to store a bamboo toothbrush is to keep it in a clean, open-air toothbrush holder (in a dry area) once it has been used. This is because, unlike plastic toothbrushes, it has natural antibacterial properties and so needs to properly air dry once it is damp or wet. Avoid lying your toothbrush on a flat surface as this might not drain the water out like storing it upright would do.
We recommend giving your bamboo toothbrush a gentle rub with your towel after brushing and popping it straight in your toothbrush holder. However, if using a holder or cup, make sure you regularly wash it to avoid a build up of bacteria and grime which can occur over time if it is left.
It's also important that you rinse the handle and bristles thoroughly with water once you’ve finished with it, to wash away any remaining toothpaste or food.
How to Dispose of a Bamboo Toothbrush
Once you have been using your bamboo toothbrush for 3 months (or when the bristles have worn down) it’s time to replace it! Here are 3 simple steps you should follow to properly dispose of your toothbrush.
1. Remove the Bristles
If your bamboo toothbrush is biodegradable and compostable, you must make sure to remove the nylon bristles. Get a pair of pliers or tweezers, a tray or a kitchen towel and get plucking!
Top tip: make a slight rolling movement when pulling and avoid pulling too many in one go.
The good news is that the nylon bristles can be recycled and should be put into a plastic recycling bin. As they’re so small, always put them inside another item, such as a plastic bottle, so they don't get lost.
2. Compost The Handle
Once your bamboo toothbrush is 100% bristle-free, it’s time to compost the handle so it naturally breaks down in the environment.
Now, there are a number of ways you can ensure your handle gets composted. For a fast decomposition, you can dispose of it in your local commercial composter. You can also pop it in your home composting bin, if you have one that is. Another option is to break the bamboo handle into small pieces with a hammer or saw and bury it in your garden soil. There is nothing wrong with sticking it straight in the soil, but splitting it into smaller pieces will speed up decomposition.
How long does it take a bamboo toothbrush to decompose?
There are a number of factors that determine how long a bamboo toothbrush will take to decompose, such as soil condition and temperature, but it will generally take anywhere from 4 months to 3 years to fully compost.
But composting isn't the only option, which leads us onto our next point…
3. Reuse the Toothbrush
There are so many useful (and pretty cool) things you can do with a bamboo toothbrush, therefore you may decide to give a second life to it instead of going down the composting route.
One of the most popular things it can be used for is a cleaning brush. Because it’s small, it can get into those really tricky hard-to-reach spots, like bathroom tiles, corners, basins, etc. Your kitchen devices can also benefit from your old bamboo toothbrush - think the cheese grater, peeler and garlic crusher. You can also use it on your dirty bike or scooter to clean out the dirt, grime and grease that builds up.
Another handy idea is to use your bamboo handle as plant markers in your garden. Simply mark the handle e.g. tomatoes or spinach and stick it in the soil. For a bit of oomph, you can even paint your brush a bright colour before you label it.
If you have a fireplace, furnace or pit, you may also choose to use your bristle-free handle as firewood.
Discover more ways you can reuse your old bamboo toothbrush here.
Brush Fresh Co. is founded and run by a group of UK-based dentists, who specialise in environmentally-friendly and sustainable dental products. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to zero waste toothbrush tablets, our product range has been designed to put both your dental health and the environment first. For more information and dental care advice, head over to our blog page or get in contact with us here.
Written by Kate, for Bush Fresh Co.