DIY Electric Toothbrush Cover, Part I (Cleaning and Development)

How to make a simple electric toothbrush cover to keep water and mold from growing inside your toothbrush. Extend the life of your device!

Who has an electric toothbrush? Does it get moldy or gross inside? Mine does. I'm on my second electric toothbrush and they all seem to have the same issue. Water (and toothpaste) drips down it, enters the seams of the head of the toothbrush, and then gets down into the electronics. It's a PITA to clean... and impossible to truly get it all. We usually will take a few q-tips to the inside every month or so to clean it out. If it was just the head of the brush that got icky, it'd be okay because those need to be replaced regularly anyways. Unfortunately, it gets into the bottom part of the toothbrush too- the part that DOESN'T get replaced. Or shouldn't be. I hate waste- I hate throwing old electronics out, I hate wasting over $100 on a toothbrush that just molds, and I hate that I keep things around way past their lifespan due to pure stubbornness over the first two issues. As such, I will spend more time and money to make sure those items LAST, rather than just buildup waste (in my home or in the landfill).


I decided one day that a cover might work to help keep the water and toothpaste out, therefore helping extend the life of my toothbrush. I looked everywhere... and looked again... because I thought that SURELY someone must sell a cover! No product, no tutorials, NOTHING. What the heck? I'm still not convinced there's nothing out there... I periodically check using other vocabulary to see if maybe I entered the wrong search terms. This was genuinely driving me crazy. It seems impossible that no one else thought of this. Perhaps it's just that the goal is to NOT extend the life of the toothbrush, therefore giving us all a choice between getting sick from mold or spending $100 more frequently than necessary to replace this toothbrush, thereby keeping the companies in business. Isn't the cost of the replacement heads enough to keep them financed? For real. 

Ok so I'll stop complaining and explain my process. I began to think of all of the different ways that I could make a cover. This ended up being pretty confusing for me, until Daddy B mentioned that I could always fold a piece of paper and tape it to try to make a pattern. This was a great idea... and that's how I figured out how to do my final couple of versions of the cover. I'll walk you through each version. 


Cleaning your electric toothbrush
Even if you plan to make a cover from my tutorial, you'll want to clean the inside of your toothbrush first (unless it's brand new). We don't have any perfect solution, to be honest. I looked for tutorials for this and came up lacking so I'll just explain what I've been doing.

The picture on the left shows how my toothbrush comes apart (it's a SoniCare). You can unscrew the head, such as you would to replace the head. Then you can also pop the top part off. Total = 3 different pieces.  I usually rinse it and take a q-tip to clean out the areas that get gross. Stuff a rag inside to dry it all out after. Daddy B also soaked his in vinegar. What the heck right? Vinegar works for everything?

Ideally, you'd just want to make sure water and goo never get into the inside of your toothbrush. Hence the cover. But it happens.

This is Daddy B's toothbrush. Daddy B last cleaned the inside of his toothbrush in April (unless I missed him doing it again). He's been using Version 2 of my cover which isn't particularly effective, but I think it's better than how it was before. As you can see in the pictures above, there's mold inside the handle and the toothbrush head. It was impossible to get a good picture of the inside of the toothbrush head, but there was definitely mold that I couldn't really access well to clean up inside the head. I used a q-tip to get what I could. 

Toothbrush Covers: Process for Developing a Good Model

Besides keeping everything clean, dry, and mold-free, the great part about these covers is that now you can tell your toothbrushes apart! I know the toothbrush heads have a little strip of color, but yeah... that wasn't cutting it for me.

Just to put this out there, all of the information provided here is for personal use only. It took me a pretty long time to figure this all out and I love to share tutorials for what I make, but it would "kinda suck" to have someone take my pattern/idea and actually profit from it. 

Version 1

Pros: It worked.
Cons: It's bulky, looks ugly, and it required extra "pieces" to make it function. 


I had to use a ribbon with a snap to hold it closed at the bottom. It's kind of ugly... I have a picture of it next to my version 2 picture, for comparison.


Version 2

Pros: Looked nicer, less bulky.
Cons: Didn't work, covers the button (which is fine most of the time, but when the cover turns it's hard to find again)


As you can see, Version 1 covers the top of the brush head completely so water won't drip into the seam, but Version 2 you can see the seam of the toothbrush (see the arrow). This seam allows for you to pop the head of the toothbrush apart for "easy cleaning" (or that's what I assume its purpose is). Unfortunately, it's also the reason you need to clean the toothbrush because it appears to be where water leaks into the toothbrush.

Version 3


Pros: Pretty, easy to sew.
Cons: Length causes some issues where it covers up the button, not effective. Ugh.

As you can see, it's not covering the seam. Again. I thought the elastic might do the trick. Wrong. I was getting aggravated with my failed attempts.

This is the point where Daddy B helped me figure out how to do it. What I was doing prior was sewing every idea that I had to see if it worked. He suggested making one out of paper to experiment first, then using tape to put it together. Whole lot easier and I ended up left with a working pattern, minus a seam allowance. All I had to do was untape it (used Scotch tape so it came off pretty easy) and viola!

Here's Daddy B's attempt to make a paper version of my toothbrush cover. I wish I'd thought of this... and sooner. He's so smart!


Version 4


Pros: Works, looks nice, not too bulky. Because it's long, you could get creative with it. Ie. make a little "dress" for your toothbrush.
Cons: Length causes some issues where it covers up the button.


For this version, I couldn't figure out how to do it via just turning and topstitching so I ended up just zigzagging the edges. If I recall, I also forgot to add the seam allowance which was the second reason that I zigzagged... oops. I'll share the pattern on Part II of this blog. I need some time to get together a better looking pattern that I can upload and share. 

Version 5

Pros: Works, looks nice, not too bulky, short enough length that it doesn't cover up the button.
Cons: I think the short length doesn't allow it to stay in place as well, but it still does a really decent job. The short length also keeps it from being easy to make cute alterations to... like adding a "dress" for the toothbrush. Which I think sounds super cute, but am not motivated to try yet. 




This is the inside of my toothbrush since I've been using Versions  4 and 5 of the cover... MUCH better. It's not perfect, but that's because I was never able to clean it out perfectly from before. I can tell there's a difference because I can check the inside of the brush for moisture before and after use, and it's consistently dry. 

Next Step: Make your own!

I was going to put the blog together in just one version, but I think there are too many photographs. I'm going to split it up so that it will be easier to read through.

Part II of this blog will include a full tutorial and a pattern to use, both for the long and short versions (Version 4 and Version 5). It will be up within the next day or two. I have a new technique that I want to try on the pattern which I think might make for a better appearance, and I need to make the pattern a little nicer... right now it's on a scrap piece of paper (boarding ticket from Daddy B's last business trip). 

This pattern and these tutorials are for PERSONAL USE only. 

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DIY Danielle: DIY Electric Toothbrush Cover, Part I (Cleaning and Development)
DIY Electric Toothbrush Cover, Part I (Cleaning and Development)
How to make a simple electric toothbrush cover to keep water and mold from growing inside your toothbrush. Extend the life of your device!
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DIY Danielle
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