Bamboo Toothbrushes:
Here’s the Ultimate Guide

Do you want to use less plastic and be more eco friendly? 

Changing to a bamboo toothbrush is such a simple and effective way to do more for the environment. Here are all your questions answered plus an easy guide to the best buys. 

It might not seem like you’re making much of a difference switching to bamboo toothbrushes. But here’s the thing:

“It’s only one toothbrush.”

 Said 1 billion people.

Yes, 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the U.S. alone! That is enough to stretch around the earth four times. Because after only a few months of use, most toothbrushes end up in a landfill (50 million pounds of toothbrushes go to landfills every year in the U.S.) and go on polluting the earth for 400 years. That’s how long they take to decompose.

That’s a scary thought. 

I don’t want my trash to release toxins and contaminate Mother Earth for hundreds of years!

So I made the simple switch.

And you know what I’ve found?

Bamboo toothbrushes feel and last just as long as your standard brush and clean your teeth just as well. They really are just like the brush you’ve always used, only much eco friendlier.

I’m now kicking myself for not making the change sooner!

In a hurry? 

Here are the Top Picks!

Bamboo toothbrushes with the best environmental track record.

In the US

In the UK

In Australia

What are bamboo toothbrushes?

A bamboo toothbrush has a bamboo handle instead of a plastic handle. It feels nice and smooth in your hand. Most handles are ergonomically designed for a nice easy grip and the bamboo feels both light and natural. 

How long do bamboo toothbrushes last?

Your bamboo toothbrush will last you just as long as your standard brush. 

The bristles of most bamboo toothbrushes are actually made of nylon so they keep the same amount of time as standard ones.

Dentist generally recommend you change any toothbrush every 3-4 months when the bristles curve or bend and no longer look in perfect shape. (Studies have shown that a worn out toothbrush removes less plaque than a new toothbrush).

The bamboo handle of the brush easily lasts 4 months and actually much longer.

The company Boobalou has tried using a bamboo toothbrush for over 8 months, and it lasted fine. (You should not necessarily copy that though…)

Are bamboo toothbrushes sanitary?

Yes, bamboo actually has natural antimicrobial/antibacterial properties (which is why there is no need for pesticides during its cultivation) so if anything, bamboo is perfect for the bathroom. 

Do Bamboo Toothbrushes Mold?

No, bamboo actually has natural antimicrobial/antibacterial properties (which is why there is no need for pesticides during its cultivation) so if anything, bamboo is perfect for the bathroom.

In addition, the new generation of toothbrushes are now heat treated to seal the bamboo in a natural way. 

I’ve had mine for several months now and it has never swollen up or taken on water, let alone shown any sign of mold whatsoever. (If it did I would certainly not recommend it!)

You can see in the photo (this is my actual toothbrush in my actual bathroom) that I’ve had it long enough for the bristles to slightly lose shape (this happened only after about 5 months… don’t judge me!) but the bamboo handle looks as good as new. 

bamboo toothbrush handle mold free

What are charcoal bamboo toothbrushes?

Charcoal is a natural way to whiten teeth (yes, I know… but it’s black?! Weird). 

Some bamboo toothbrushes have bristles infused with charcoal so choosing this variety will whiten your teeth over time, using a natural method.

How eco-friendly are Bamboo Toothbrushes?

Are bamboo toothbrushes really
eco-friendly?

The handles, yes.

The bristles? No.

The bristles of most bamboo toothbrushes are actually made of nylon.

And nylon is a type of plastic and is not compostable. Sadly, fully plant based biodegradable bristles do not yet exist (and any website claiming to have them are misguiding you). Unless you want to brush with pigs hair? No, thank you?

There are some amazing companies that genuinely care about our planet and are trying hard to come up with completely plastic-free, compostable, vegan, cruelty-free bristles. As of now, these have not been invented yet.

So there aren’t any toothbrushes that are 100% eco friendly – yet.

But:

Just because we can’t be 100% perfect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start.

The nylon of the bristles is less than 1gram. It’s the handle that makes up 96% of a toothbrush.

So if you switch now you’re 96% more eco friendly than before. That’s huge!

What to look for in a bamboo toothbrush?

The best bamboo toothbrushes are:

  • Panda friendly: Handle made from organic Mosu bamboo, a type of bamboo that pandas don’t eat

  • Anti mold: Handle is heat treated so it doesn’t grow mold or take on any moisture

  • Free from BPA (a chemical used to make certain plastics that can possibly lead to an increased risk of health problems)

  • Bristles made from nylon-4 (not nylon-6) or castor oil based. (Or, in future, fully plant based biodegradable bristles. As of now, these do not yet exist.). Nylon-4 is a type of plastic that is possibly biodegradable (yes, those types of plastic exist)

  • Come in biodegradable, compostable/recyclable, plastic free packaging

Bamboo Toothbrushes Best Buys

Here are my reviews for the best buys, based on a combination of research and real life testing 🙂

I break it down into these categories. 

Shop for:

  1. Companies with a great environmental record

  2. Charcoal Brushes

  3. Cheapest Brushes (with top reviews!)

  4. Firm Bristles (this is harder to find in a bamboo toothbrush)

  5. Multipack with Assorted Colors (also harder to find, usually all brushes in a pack look the same)

  6. Brushes for Kids

Being a traveler at heart, I list these for the US, the UK, and Australia, so you can simply refer to the section that is relevant for you.

You will find links for Amazon and if you prefer ordering from the companies directly and not through Amazon, I have also listed direct links to the best companies with great environmental records.

Some (not all) of the links below are affiliate links, meaning if you buy through them I will earn some pocket money (not enough to buy a pony or anything). I’m working hard to deliver valuable posts and if I make some money doing it (at no extra cost to you!) that will help me keep this rolling.

And I always provide links to the best products, because the best is still the best, whether I get a commission or not.  

USA

1. Companies with great environmental track records.

Brush with Bamboo

Brush with Bamboo is an industry veteran in the field of toothbrush manufacturing and the longest existing bamboo toothbrush brand. A company that truly cares. Their toothbrush is a rarity as it has plant based bristles: 62% Castor Bean Oil, only 38% nylon which is a great step in the right direction.

They may not be the absolute cheapest but 4 brushes will last one person a whole year!

Pack of 4, soft bristles

(Dentist generally recommend brushing with soft bristles.)

Another reason why I love Brush With Bamboo as a company is that they’re currently going to huge lengths to find biodegradable, compostable, eco friendly bristles.

Plus they have a team on the ground in China (where they source their bamboo) that makes sure their ethical standards are upheld, the workers get treated well, are paid a fair wage etc. So they are a company worth supporting with your purchase.

Wowe Lifestyle

Another company that truly cares, with an excellent environmental record.

Pack of 4, soft bristles

The brushes in this pack are numbered 1 to 4 so you can fight over who is number 1 in your family.

Or if you’re just one person (like me!) this pack will last you all year.  Quite amazing value, really.

You can also order from them directly.

2. Charcoal

Pack of 4 (numbered 1 to 4), soft bristles

The brushes in this pack are numbered so you can argue over who is number 1 in your house 🙂

3. Cheapest

Pack of 10, soft to medium bristles

True value pack! Will last two people a whole year. (Possibly longer, if you’re anything like me… 😉

4. Firm Bristles

Pack of 12, firm bristles

Varying accounts of how firm these bristles are. Dentists actually recommend brushing with soft bristles but if you need something firmer try these.

5. Multipack with Assorted Colours

Pack of 4, soft bristles, rainbow colors

Colors are not just on the handles but on the bristles as well. I like them!

6. For Kids

Pack of 6, soft bristles, multicolor

Sized for kids’ hands and mouths, with a range of bright colors.

If Amazon is your preferred retailer please consider ordering from the version of their website that supports charities: www.smile.amazon.com

This is part of Amazon and everything is the same, except a portion of the proceeds go to charity. (You can choose a charity or let them choose.) 

 

If you prefer to order directly…

… from great companies with excellent environmental records then I recommend ordering with Brush with Bamboo or with Wowe Lifestyle.

An industry veteran in the field of toothbrush manufacturing and the longest existing bamboo toothbrush brand. They offer FREE SHIPPING in the USA (Canada $5 and international $12).

You’ll also find a subscription on their website (taking the hassle out of remembering to order new ones). You choose the number of brushes you want and how often you’d like them shipped to you. So easy!

Wow Lifestyle are a little cheaper plus, you get 10% off your entire order in exchange for your email address (fill in the pop up box)

UK

1. Companies with great environmental track records.

Bamboogaloo

UK best seller Bamboogaloo uses bamboo that is Organic, Sustainable & FSC certified with fair wages paid. AND they donate 1% to the charity Plastic Oceans UK. Great customer service and currently a free gift of cotton buds and dental floss, all biodegradable, with every purchase. Really can’t say fairer than that.

Pack of 5, medium firm bristles

2. Charcoal

Pack of 5 (one more than usual), soft charcoal bristles

3. Cheapest

Pack of 10, soft to medium bristles

True value pack! Will last two people a whole year. (Possibly longer, if you’re anything like me… 😉

4. Firm Bristles

Pack of 4, charcoal, numbered 1-4 (so you can tell which one is yours). Firm bristles

Another one with firm bristles. 

Plus, one brush donated for every pack sold! 

AND, excellent price.

5. Multipack with Assorted Colours

Multi coloured bristles from My Green Vibes, another great, committed company

Another colourful range by Wam Bam Boo (full marks for the name!)

6. For Kids

Kids love doing their part for the planet – and choosing from a great range of colours. These are a good price, too.

If Amazon is your preferred retailer please consider ordering from the version of their website that supports charities: www.smile.amazon.co.uk

This is part of Amazon and everything is the same, except a portion of the proceeds go to charity. (You can choose a charity or let them choose.)

Maybe you would prefer not to buy from Amazon but…

I know, I know!

It’s such a hassle to sign up with another company and put all your details in again, isn’t it.

Sometimes I order from Amazon too. No judgement!

And hey, at least we’re ordering bamboo toothbrushes, right?!

 

And if you want to support a smaller company that is large enough to make your shop electronically secure, has free shipping rates, and most of all a great environmental record then I have got just the right deal for you here:

The original bamboo toothbrush in the UK and one of the very few that has biodegradable bristles, made from nylon-4. 

Nylon is still plastic but this type of nylon might be the only one used in toothbrushes that is biodegradable (as opposed to nylon-6).

Comes in soft , medium  and firm  bristles  Also available with charcoal. 

(Charcoal is said to whiten teeth.) 

£2.08 for one, £1.57 each for 4 or more. Free postage!

AND easy to order without having to have an account if you don’t want to set one up. 

Best for quality, price, ease of ordering, and possibly the most environmentally friendly around.

Australia

There are fewer bamboo toothbrushes available on Amazon.com.au that have enough great reviews to vouch for their quality. I have not found one in each category that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

1. Companies with great environmental track records.

I have been using this one for the last few months with great results and can vouch for the quality of it.  BAMBOO IT – Natural Bamboo Toothbrushes (5 Pack), Medium Nylon Bristles -100% Organic Handle, Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush For Adults” 

I find the bristles are just right, not too soft, not too hard. 

 

2. Charcoal
4 pack by FutureUses™ with soft, activated charcoal infused bristles 

3. Multipack with Assorted Colours

 

I love the bright colours on these. Plus, firmer than average bristles. (Great for families but check they’re not too firm for your kids.)

As Amazon does not yet have a large proven range in Australia I have instead found two companies that are great environmental champions. I know it’s such a hassle to sign up with a new company… but I promise it’s worth it! They both provide a wide range of eco friendly products so you can do your entire green shop here – along with bamboo toothbrushes of course.

These guys are super passionate about selling only products that are healthy and kind for both you and the planet.

They have a range of bamboo toothbrushes, one with medium bristles in black by Better Than, the best one they’ve tried (and also the cheapest!).

And one with soft bristles in white by Humble Brush, the world’s most sold bamboo toothbrush for adults.

Another great company completely committed to eco-lifestyle products: re-usable lunch and drink packaging, DIY food making kits, gifts for all ages, natural personal care and green tech.

They have a bamboo toothbrush with soft to medium bristles in white by Go Bamboo.

And they also do a version for kids as well.

And lastly, here is one more Australian company that specialises in bamboo toothbrushes only:

Australian owned, the toothbrushes are designed in Australia for Australians. They donate 5% profits and toothbrushes to The Royal Flying Doctor Service for their oral health program in the most remote area of Australia.

They have a huge range of brushes with free shipping Australia wide and they also do a subscription service where you can decide how often and how many toothbrushes you want delivered.

So, in summary then:

Are bamboo toothbrushes any good?

 Yes, they are just as good, and last just as long as standard brushes, and the bamboo handle is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Win win.

Here is what one reviewer said after switching: “I had my 6 monthly dental check up yesterday and the dentist said my brushing was “exemplary”, which he’s never said before and didn’t know I’d switched brushes so these perform just as well, if not better, than electric toothbrushes.”

Why use bamboo toothbrushes?

While they clean your teeth just as well as standard brushes, bamboo is much more environmentally friendly than plastic. The plastic handle on your standard toothbrush ends up in a landfill and pollutes the earth for 400 years.

And it’s not just *your* brush. It is estimated that we use over 2 billion plastic toothbrushes worldwide per year!

Go green and reduce your environmental footprint now. Clean mouth, clean conscience as they say at Brush With Bamboo.

Bamboo toothbrush benefits

The natural material and ergonomic design of the handle make it feel good in your hand. The bristles are effective at reaching every crevice of our teeth and your mouth feels clean after use. 

The bamboo handle is compostable, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly. Bamboo is a sustainable resource (it grows up to 4 feet a day without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, is more efficient at taking CO2 from the air and producing more O2 than trees. Plus the variety of bamboo used is not the one that pandas eat so the brushes are panda friendly as well). 

All brushes mentioned above are also free from BPA. (BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics that can possibly lead to an increased risk of health problems. Something you stick in your mouth twice a day if you use a plastic toothbrush. Just saying). Bamboo toothbrushes are better for you, and better for Mother Earth. 

Are bamboo toothbrushes really better for the environment?

While you can literally put the handle of your bamboo toothbrush in your compost bin, the bristles of a bamboo toothbrush are not made of bamboo. They are mostly made of nylon.

There are different types of nylon and nylon-4 is said to be biodegradable (although there is some debate around this). Most toothbrush bristles are made of nylon-6 and this type of nylon is not biodegradable. It can in theory be recycled wherever nylon is recycled (but seems unlikely with such fine bristle hair!)

No manufacturer has yet come up with bristles that last a long time, are hygienic, cruelty-free, not too hard on your gums nor too soft on your teeth and plaque, AND are compostable/biodegradable/recyclable.

Brush with Bamboo’s toothbrush is a rarity as it has plant based bristles: 62% Castor Bean Oil, 38% nylon. But due to the nylon even these bristles are still not biodegradable.

No fully biodegradable bristles exist (bar those made of pigs hair and who wants that in their mouth?)

So there is still a part of most bamboo toothbrushes that is not 100% environmentally friendly.

However, just because we can’t be perfect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start.

We should make a difference today as best we can. We don’t have to have it all figured out to make a valid contribution. Just imagine how many more toothbrushes you’re going to use if you live for say another 50, 60, 70 years? Make those brushes have the least environmental impact as possible.

Bonus Tip 1:
Customize your brush

If you buy a pack of toothbrushes to be used by all the family all brushes might look the same – so you can’t tell which one is yours. 

Fortunately, they are easy to mark – any pen, even a biro will do.

Just write your name or initial on the handle. You could also be more creative and use nail polish with different colors for example. 

Bonus Tip 2:
Life after life

In theory, nylon can be recycled. Check if your local recycling facility can handle these fine bristles. (Remember, a toothbrush with fully biodegradable bristles has not been invented yet. Any website saying otherwise is misguiding you.) 

Better news for the handle though: it can go on the compost or safely into landfill.

OR why not use the stick in more creative ways? Here are some ideas:

– Garden markers

– Stirring stick for mixing paints 

– Fire starters

– Popsicle sticks

Bonus Tip 3:
Bamboo clothing

If you want to go one step further in being a conscious consumer why not order clothing made from bamboo.

 I personally wear bras and tops made from bamboo and they’re the softest I have ever had on my skin. They last long, keep their shape, and are all round troopers! Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop because it uses 16% of the world’s pesticides (!), so wearing bamboo is a great alternative.

Now over to you!

Leave a comment and let me know if you have made the switch? Which bamboo toothbrush did you choose and what was your experience? And if you haven’t please tell me what is holding you back?

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