“Scrub” toothbrushes and toys with denture cleanser tablets

Denture cleanser tabletsSoni ("A devoted, albeit child-free, reader") offers this cleaning advice:

To clean toothbrushes, I put them in a clean pasta sauce jar or some other container where I can cover them with hot water, drop in a denture cleaning tablet and leave overnight. By morning, I’ve got sparkly clean and minty fresh brushes that have been scrubbed even down into those little bristle and hanging holes.

Works wonders for all sorts of hard-to-clean items like cut-glass containers and gunky toys with lots of unreachable crevices, gets strong smells out of plastic and glass containers (ever open a supposedly "cleaned" jar or plastic container that held garlic sauce and been bowled over by the lingering odor that no amount of washing seems to remove? Denture tablets work like magic for this!). Also great for chewy toys, pacifiers and bottles, since all that scrubby goodness is built on mouth-safe ingredients (mainly baking soda and citric acid, although some have cleaning enzymes and whatnot – read the label) with a mild ph level.

I use one tablet for anything already mostly clean that’s being soaked in two cups of water or less (like toothbrushes or salad dressing cruets), and two or more for bigger (or dirtier/stinkier) items like a left-too-long leftovers dish. I’ve even used a few in a half a sink of hot water to clean and whiten the ceramic sink. Not 100% successful, but you could see a definite difference – and best of all, no scrub brushes were harmed in the process. [I clean the sink by filling it with hot water and adding some bleach. After a few minutes it’s good as new. — Ed.]

If you buy store brands, these things are dirt cheap (a few cents a tablet). Various brands may vary in cleaning strength, though, so you may want to experiment to find what works best for you (and of course, some dirt just won’t budge for anything). But even with really grody stuff, I’ve had good
luck with these little wonders, although I sometimes had to repeat the process a few times to get to where I was satisfied with the result. And note that they don’t sterilize. But they do a great job of basic elbow-grease replacement, and a quick rinse in bleach water or other sanitizer can finish the job if you need that level of clean.


  1. Pam says

    This is a great hack. I’ve never looked at the ingredients in denture tablets. I wonder if the same scrubby-action can be achieved with vinegar and baking soda, or if denture tablets have an extra … something?

    I’ve got a couple of mouth guards that I need to get clean, so this is very timely!

  2. Lucy says

    They work great as toilet bowl cleanser too. Dump one in on your way into the shower, step out, brush and toilet and you are good to go!!!

  3. Jill says

    My husband and I both grind our teeth with TMJ problems and we keep our tooth guards in cups filled with water and a denture tablet. I refresh the water only weekly. (I brush the guard with toothpaste when I remove it from my mouth each morning.)

  4. Pam says

    @Jill – I’ve got a guard like that too. Until recently, I was very good about cleaning it with my toothbrush and liquid soap (rinsing well, of course). Then I got lazy in the mornings, and started blowing off cleaning. Well, I am here to report that the denture tablets don’t work to clean mouth guards that haven’t been cleaned in a while. However, I think this will be a great idea for regular maintenance, after I get it clean again using toothbrush and soap.

  5. says

    Hey coffee drinkers – clean your coffee maker coffee pot and your travel mugs with denture tabs also. Drop in a tab, fill with boiling water, wipe around a bottle brush and presto! I swear it will take a nasty, years old, never cleaned pot and make it look and smell (and taste!) like new. My pots and mugs are stainless steel but I would guess it would work as well on glass and plastic.

  6. cb says

    has anyone used this to clean those oh-so-popular nalgene bottles (the HDPE translucent ones, not the clear ones)? i have one that has this funk that keeps returning after water’s been in it after a day or two. (i’ve already tried dishwasher’ing and bleaching it.)

  7. sandra says

    My dentist advised me against using denture tablets on custom-made mouth guards– over time they turn brittle (wasted big money personally d.t this) and slightly yellow.
    So, Beware of denture tablets on certain plastic materials!

    Also active ingredients are not usually listed on store or name brands.I wonder why?

  8. tiffany says

    oh i’ve been using them for years to soak the sippy cup valves. plop a couple storebrand tablets in a tupperware container of hot water overnight and all the applejuice and milk residue comes out of the crevices. presto!

  9. Jack says

    Just toss the toothbrush into the dishwasher. Sparkly clean and sanitized as well.

  10. says

    your website is so great that i love it very much. thank you for sharing it with us.Thanks for making the pattern available so quickly. Hm, maybe I can re-prioritize some projects. Who am I fooling? I’m going to go buy more yarn.