Q: Please help us! My boyfriend and I are arguing about the best place to store our toothbrushes. He grew up with everybody's toothbrushes drying in a single cup on the counter, and mine were always out of sight in the medicine cabinet. My mom was afraid of germs floating around the bathroom and clutter on the counter, and so am I. Who's right?
A: Oh, this is certainly a conundrum. All of your concerns are valid, especially in a small bathroom. You want a clutter-free space, while also having your toothbrushes in easy reach. And toothbrushes do need air circulation to help reduce bacteria growth. In a tightly sealed, warm and dark medicine cabinet, your toothbrushes may not dry out. Reduce germs even further by closing the toilet seat lid before flushing.
So, while you have a point about the clutter and floating germs, your boyfriend's point about open storage for air circulation and bright light is also true. These days, not only do we have our own toothbrush, but also tongue scrapers, floss holders and other items for oral care — equaling quite a collection of less-than-attractive accessories decorating your counter or bathroom.
The best place for your toothbrushes to dry out is really on the counter or a nearby shelf. Use an attractive bathroom set or accessories with a cup or tumbler that allows your toothbrushes to stand up without the bristles touching anything else. To hide the toothbrushes, consider placing a small reed or bamboo screen or box in front. Or you could use a tall translucent hurricane vase or maybe a tall basket, large candle or artful treasure such as a shell or small mirror on a stand. Or, buy prettier toothbrushes.
Whatever solution you end up with, wash it often. Sparkly, clean bathroom accessories, including tumblers and toothbrush holders, whether on the counter or on a shelf, are much more attractive (and healthier) than dirty or stained ones. Good luck, and send me a photo of what you go with!