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Published: January 16, 2024

Can electric toothbrushes get wet?

Author: Jon Love (6 Comments)
Editor: Chris Ward
Can electric toothbrushes get wet? 1

Yes, as a general rule you can get an electric toothbrush wet, as long as you are rinsing it under the tap rather than completely submerging it under water. Just how wet you can get it varies slightly from brand to brand and even model to model, but this is an insignificant difference in the wider context of electric toothbrush features.

Electric toothbrushes are water resistant rather than waterproof

A product that is waterproof is impervious to water, whereas one that is water resistant is able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely.

This means that an electric toothbrush will withstand some exposure to water for a reasonable amount of time. You can ran it under a tap twice a day for several years in order to keep it clean. At some point the water resistance may fail, in which case the electronics of the toothbrush could be damaged. From years of testing, we've found this to be very unlikely to happen, unless the toothbrush has somehow sustained other exterior damage.

There is something referred to as an IP rating, which is a scale by which a product is tested to determine the extent to which it can resist moisture and dirt. A great explanation is offered by the Enclosure Company.

Most toothbrushes have an IP rating of IPX4 through to IPX7, although this is not something that is actively publicized — users expect a toothbrush to water resistant, so it's not a feature that is strongly promoted.

Can electric toothbrushes get wet? 2

Do not get your toothbrush charger wet

The water resistance applies to the brush handle and brush head and not the charging stand or related charging accessories.

Where possible, you should always prevent these from coming into contact with water.  They may be cleaned with a damp cloth, but ensure they are disconnected before doing so.

What the manufacturers say

The following wording has been taken from the manufacturers' websites and user manuals to give a clear indication of their recommendations.

Oral-B

Do not place the charger in water, liquid or store it where it can fall or be pulled into a tub or sink.  Do not reach for it if it has fallen into water.  Unplug immediately.

Do not touch the power plug with wet hands.  This can cause an electric shock.

After brushing rinse your brush head carefully under running water for some seconds with the handle switched on.  Switch off the handle and remove the brush head.  Clean both parts separately under running water then wipe them dry before reassembling the toothbrush.

Disassemble the charging unit before cleaning.  Never place the charger in dishwasher or water; it should be cleaned with a damp cloth only.  Brush head holder, brush head compartment and protective cover are dishwasher safe. Subject to change without notice.

Can electric toothbrushes get wet? 3

Philips

Keep the plugged in charging base away from water.  Do not place or store it over or near water contained in a bathtub, wash basin etc.

Do not immerse the charging base or travel case in water or any other liquid.  After cleaning, make sure the charging base or charging travel case is completely dry before you connect it to the mains.

Do not use your toothbrush in the bath or shower.

Do not clean the brush head in the dishwasher.

Clean the Sonicare periodically.  Rinse the handle and the brush head.  Wipe down all surfaces with a soft cloth and mild soap, if desired.  Do not use sharp objects to clean.  Only the charger glass is top rack dishwasher safe.  Do not clean the brush head, handle, charging base or charging travel case in the dishwasher.

Top down view of Sonicare toothbrush head

Colgate

The Colgate ProClinical electric toothbrush is water resistant, but not waterproof. We do not recommend using the electric toothbrush in the shower.

Do not place or store product where it can fall or be pulled into a tub or sink.

Do not place or drop into water or other liquid.

Do not reach for a product that has fallen into water. Unplug immediately.

Do not touch the AC adapter with wet hands.

AC adapters should always be completely dry when connecting to power.

As you can probably tell, the information is consistent in that the brushes are water resistant and can be rinsed under water but should not be immersed in water.

Can I use my electric toothbrush in the shower?

From my research, both Philips Sonicare and Colgate explicitly say that you should not.  I have not come across any similar advice from Oral-B, but good practice would be to follow the recommendations of other brands.

That said, the majority of brushes are water resistant and can be rinsed under water, so the use within a shower is usually fine, provided you are not immersing the brush for too long.

It's possible that use in the shower could invalidate the warranty, but it's very unlikely that it would become an issue unless the manufacturer could prove you did this.

DO NOT take or use the charging base or associated charging accessories in the shower.

Can electric toothbrushes get wet? 4

Can I immerse my brush in water; in the bath, for example?

No — on no account is this advised.  If you immerse the brush like this it may stop working and could potentially give an electric shock.

My electric toothbrush has removable batteries, can it still get wet?

Yes, normally this is fine.  The seals on a compartment for removable batteries are generally robust, but are perhaps more prone to damage than those brushes with built-in batteries, so always be careful and do check the condition of seals.  If you are at all concerned, avoid immersion in water when it comes to cleaning and use something like a damp cloth instead.

Can I get an electric shock from using the toothbrush in water?

Potentially yes, but the chances are very slim.

As I have explained above, most brushes are water resistant and will generally prevent the electronics from getting wet, but it could happen if the seals fail or the brush is damaged in any way.

Should this happen, the resulting electric shock is unlikely to be severe. The voltage of the batteries, either removable or built-in, is quite low and is unlikely to cause serious injury if a shock should occur.  But, circumstances and people can react differently, so do be cautious.

Can I clean my toothbrush with water?

As per the wording from the brush manufacturers it is fine to rinse your toothbrush (handle and head) under water and in many cases use a cloth and mild soap too.

Do not wash or rinse any of the charging appliances under water.

For more directions on how best to clean your brush, you can refer to our post how to clean your electric toothbrush.

Can electric toothbrushes get wet? 5
Author: Jon Love
Editor: Chris Ward

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Leave a comment

f
farzaneh
April 10, 2024

I found your article very interesting. Thanks! Is there a hard requirement for IPx rating from a regulatory point of view? Thanks

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
April 11, 2024

Hi Farzeneh. Thanks for the question. Not that I know of. It is just advisable as a product like this is going to get wet!

M
Mel
September 11, 2021

I plugged in my electric toothbrush and it shocked and turned the plug n black. Is it ruined

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
September 12, 2021

Hi Mel. I think it would be best to speak to the manufacturer of the toothbrush about this.

JW
Janet Wohlmaker
January 11, 2020

Water drips out from the neck of handle when turned down when brush is off after brushing. How do I avoid getting water in it.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
January 12, 2020

Janet. Water should not really get into the brush handle. It is supposed to be sealed to avoid this. There is a chance water will get inside, but it should not be so bad, that when turning the handle upside down, it literally drips out. I would suggest speaking to Oral-B about this. They may wish to repair the product if it is under warranty.

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