Introduction: Hooked Toothbrush

Picture of Hooked Toothbrush
I like brushing my teeth in the shower but don't like how the toothbrush always slips through my shower caddy and onto the floor, I also sometimes forget where I leave my toothbrush when I move it between the shower and the sink. I wanted a way to leave my toothbrush in the shower, not fall onto the bottom of the tub, and keep it within easy reach. The solution was simple, a hanging toothbrush that can be hooked onto the shower head, the shower curtain rod...just about anywhere! A hooked toothbrush!

I created a hooked handle for my toothbrush by heating a polypropylene toothbrush over an electric stove and bending it around a bottle neck. Making your own hooked toothbrush is easy!

Here's what you need:
  • thick (leather) work gloves
  • electric range / heating element
  • large bowl of ice water
  • Polypropylene toothbrush [NOT Styrene Acrylonitrile]
  • mandrel or other solid cylindrical object

Step 1: Toothbrush Bending

Picture of Toothbrush Bending
small radius toothbrush handle bend:
  1. turn heating element on high
  2. prepare an ice bath using a large bowl filled 2/3 with water and fill with ice cubes, set aside
  3. put on thick work gloves to protect your hands from the heat
  4. when element is hot, slowly rotate toothbrush handle over element 
  5. after about 20 seconds the toothbrush handle will become soft and pliable
  6. wrap handle around mandrel to create desired hook shape, hold in place for 10 seconds
  7. submerge hooked handle into ice bath and let sit for another 10 seconds
  8. repeat steps 4-7 to refine the curve if required
Hang your toothbrush anywhere you think you might need it!

Step 2: Further Reading: Types of Plastic

Heat-bending plastic to make a new shape isn't very complicated, however the type of plastic toothbrush you use is important. There are many types of plastic which everyday things are made from, polypropylene (PP) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) are the two most commonly used plastics for making toothbrushes. One of these types works with this method of bending, the other doesn't. Here's a comparison:
Polypropylene (PP) toothbrush
  • Usually coloured (or clear colour)
  • More rigid
  • moulded as a single unit
Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) toothbrush
  • Usually white
  • more flexible
  • usually moulded with a TPE grip
The polypropylene ones work, while the styrene acrylonitrile toothbrushes melt and go all weird.

Step 3: Further Reading: How NOT To

Picture of Further Reading: How NOT To

My first attempt to make these hooked toothbrushes followed this Instructable on how to make a toothbrush bracelet which involves using boiling water to create a large radius bend in a toothbrush. After boiling my toothbrushes for about 10 minutes I removed them with kitchen tongs and bent the toothbrush handle around a mandrel to create a small radius bend in the handle. Unfortunately the bend radius I wanted was too small and I snapped all my toothbrushes. 

The boiling method may be good for making bracelets (wide radius curve) but doesn't work so well for making hooked toothbrushes (small radius curve).

Step 4: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

The hooked toothbrush works well and is really fun to use. A minor complaint would be that the handle is a little short, allowing only 2-3 of my fingers to grip the handle. This isn't a big deal as it's not uncomfortable and you don't really need to have all four fingers on your toothbrush anyway. 

Have you made your own hooked toothbrush? Share your thoughts below, comments with pictures of their version of this project will receive a digital patch and a 3-month Pro Membership to Instructables!

Good luck!


annieannie (author)2012-09-01

I love the fact that you found a cool way to create a hook for a device, yourself. I would like everything I have with a hook fashion.. hehe We spend so much money in the marketing industry for simplistic things when we can do many things ourselves, which you have proven.. :)

ljacoby714 (author)2012-08-30

Am I the only one who is troubled by the idea that brushing one's teeth in the shower uses about 7 gallons of water compared to the cup or two used in brushing them at the sink?

IamTheMomo (author)ljacoby7142012-08-30

No, you're not alone. That's a terrible waste, and who wants more expensive warm water for tooth brushing? Not I.

eschneck (author)IamTheMomo2012-08-30

7 gallons?! I think your numbers are WAY off. An entire 5 minute shower uses about 7-8 gallons. You're not brushing your teeth the entire time ... I also bet that your water is recycled anyways so you're not "wasting" it.

Besides, I'm not worried about what goes on in the privacy of other people's homes anyways.

winniekate (author)eschneck2012-08-31

AMEN! ....finally! -- THANK YOU saying this

I was wondering if it was just me.
We are not running out of water, people. The sky is not falling, we are not destroying the planet. Read a book, and learn.

Billions of dollars spent to put fluoride a/k/a rat poison in our water. As far as I'm concerned, it can all go down the drain. All that biz is hypocritical, as I see it. Conserve! Endangered Planet!

This mindset is spoon fed to us by bureaucracies, who are the same people who run enormous garbage trucks, putting out all those fumes, using all that fuel, to make extra sweeps thru neighborhoods to get yard waste, recycles, then trash. Get your calculator out to figure the waste for that one! And most aren't allowed to burn it, so we have landfills that we also are supposed to feel guilty about it. hmm. Anyway, the list goes on. Just upsetting so many people are numb to this...maybe it's the water!:)

JmsDwh (author)winniekate2012-09-03

While we are not running out of water here, the overuse of water is a serious problem in a lot of places. Venice is sinking because of the overuse of groundwater. Florida has had enormous sinkholes open up because the water level in the Aquaphor has dropped. It is a real problem even if it is not visible in every area.

boocat (author)JmsDwh2017-07-19

JmsDwh, this is why the idea of the icecaps melting is such great news! The water level will rise and all those water gaps will be refilled! Et voila! Everything is back the way it should be! :D

calcs (author)JmsDwh2012-09-04

Most shower heads in the USA are mandated to have 2.0 to 2.5 gpm. Most faucet aerators are also at 2.5 to 2.0 gpm (that's if you have an aerator). So it's a wash in the amount of time and the amount of water that is wasted. Now if I want to get specific, I'll worry about the tub spouts leaking hot water. Tub spouts that are leaking are far more wasteful and the water isn't even hitting the person taking a shower, a complete waste.

JmsDwh (author)calcs2012-09-04

Yes, if you run the faucet while you brush your teeth then a lot of water is also wasted. You can easily turn the faucet off while you brush. What everyone is pointing out is that shaving or brushing your teeth in the shower is an unnecessary use of the water that runs in the meantime.

boocat (author)winniekate2017-07-19

Don't knock garbage trucks - garbage trucks rock! Wish I had the money to buy one. Haven't you ever seen Hellboy?

I frankly don't worry about all the extraneous stuff you do, winniekate. Honestly, someday you'll be dead and it'll all still be someone else's problem. Chill.

boocat (author)IamTheMomo2017-07-19

I have sensitive spots and have to brush my teeth in warm, not cold, water. My comfort is never a waste.

It's not a waste of water if you're already in the shower, running the water and you brush your teeth while you're in there. I doubt he just uses the shower instead of the sink faucet, when he would otherwise not be using it. Also considering one generally uses 3 gallons in less than a minute of the sink being on, I really don't think you only use a cup of water to brush your teeth, if you are using the sink. Am I the only one who is troubled by the idea of people making up statistics that couldn't possibly be measured accurately?

amandaggogo (author)2012-10-23

I'm really glad I'm not the only one in the world that brushes their teeth in the shower. I always get strange looks for that haha, is one of those things I didn't realize not everyone did until someone pointed it out to me.
Great instructable! This will be handy seeing as how I manage to drop/lose my toothbrush in the shower all too often.

crazyg (author)2012-09-29

i bent the wrong end!
no really excellent idea, the beauty is the simplicity

eXtremeSomething (author)2012-09-14

Nice, I hang mine over the toilet seat.

SOFISINTOWN (author)2012-09-09

I love your instructables...

Toga_Dan (author)2012-09-06

Not exactly a hook brush, but the angle makes cleaning grout etc easier.

stevet47 (author)2012-08-29

I thought my wife was the only weirdo who brushed in the shower...
the idea still grosses me out, but good job with the instructable, great idea.

abadfart (author)stevet472012-08-29

i have started brushing in the shower due to a broken foot making it difficult to stand at the sink

I'm sorry to hear about your broken foot! Here in Alaska I've had a couple of friends who have used these neat wheeled walker-looking inventions, but the seat-part is narrow so that you put your knee (on down to injured foot/ankle) up on the seat and put yourself around sort of like a scooter. It's not tiring and you can gain a lot of time! If you don't have access to one of those, you could still use the sink more easily by resting your knee and leg on a chair.

Heal quickly!

ya once the swelling and bruising in the right knee goes down. the foot was broken in a motorcycle accident. i get around on the crutches fairly easily but the right leg is pretty messed up.

Ruth Bernstein (author)2012-08-31

Where is the toothpaste? You could take a nail, hold it with a locking plyer, heat it over the stove, pierce a hole through the screw cap from inside the cap to the outside on the top, take a 12" piece of nylon string, burn the end and make a knot larger than the hole, trim the end, take un-knotted end and slide it upward through the hole, make a loop large enough to slide over shower head with that free end and tie it off with an over hand knot, then screw the cap back into the toothpaste tube.
Voilla! You now have a hanging set for your dental health along with your bodily cleanliness!!!

Drill or melt a hole in the handle of your razor and loop a piece of string, fishing line or wire. Make an overhand knot and hang from handles or shower head.

londobali (author)2012-08-30

Awesome idea!!
Thanks for sharing!!

chrisayad (author)2012-08-30

How much extra water gets used when you brush and or shave in the shower instead of sink? Would be cool to figure out.

woooshhhhh (author)chrisayad2012-08-30

the toilet dispenses 1 gallon per flush. can't use any less water than that :)

DeusXMachina (author)chrisayad2012-08-30

None, if you use the time you'd normally use to wet your hair and let shampoo and conditioner soak, if you brush your teeth at the same time.

steve000 (author)2012-08-30

Now this is a really good instructable. So many are for example "Hooked Toothbrush" Step 1 fire up your $3000 CNC machine..

Everyone should have an oven and it takes 2 mins to do and its reversible! very nice.

I think if you stretched the plastic you could also put in a little loop that could somehow hold your toothpaste.

modern man (author)2012-08-30

Interesting idea, and I'm sure it's nice to get everything done at once, BUT, I'm concerned that this wastes a lot of water, especially if you shave in there!
Sorry to be a killjoy.

haggismydear (author)modern man2012-08-30

I turn the water off while shaving.

gaanes (author)2012-08-30

Very cool, but my real problem is my razor. Its always falling off the rack and off pops the blades and I have to bend over in the shower and almost slip and that is just about impossible when my friend is in the shower with me anyway. So how can we do a hooked handle on a razor? And not a disposable, only real razors. Seems like something needs to be added.

Africorn (author)gaanes2012-08-30 ;-)

Pattymouth (author)2012-08-30

Mike, this is so cool! My husband would move out if I spit in the shower, but I want to make these because they're adorable! I'll just hang them off of a water glass next to the sink. I went to your blog - it's awesome & I'm gonna bookmark it maybe I can go into DOLLAR Store debt!

onrust (author)2012-08-30

simply brilliant

depotdevoid (author)2012-08-28

I already shave in the shower, adding one more ablution to my morning shower regimen wouldn't be a bad idea . . .

WrshpMzshn (author)depotdevoid2012-08-30

Is the power cord on your shaver long enough to reach into the shower? :-}

depotdevoid (author)WrshpMzshn2012-08-30

No way, it's steam powered!

kikiorg (author)2012-08-30

I've bent a toothbrush similarly for cleaning -- I bent the head at a 90 degree angle, like an L with the bristles facing down. It's great for getting into little spots like inside a jar. I used a candle -- and it did burn a tiny bit, but it was for cleaning so I wasn't going to put it in my mouth charred. :) The candle was necessary for the sharp angle bend.

lnelson5 (author)2012-08-30

How do you know if your toothbrush is polypropylene or styrene acrylonitrile? Are their packages marked? I've never noticed.

cecilomar (author)2012-08-30

I'm definitely making one for my next journey out to sea (United States Coast Guard). I'm not going to use it to brush my teeth, but to get the paint from under my fingernails, ha ha ha ha... Thank you!

doo da do (author)2012-08-30

That is thinking out side of the box!!

lime3D (author)2012-08-30

A heat gun will work as well.

sunshiine (author)2012-08-29

They all look so pretty! I tried to bend a tooth brush a week or so ago and mine broke. I will give this a try! Thanks for sharing Mike! Have a super day!

Toga_Dan (author)2012-08-28

I do something similar when I need a cleaning brush. I simply heat and bend the brush back about 30 degrees. It gives my knuckles clearance when scrubbing a floor or whatever, and also keeps me from confusing the nasty brush with my toothbrush. I too use the kitchen stove,

Some plastics, (like pvc) I have formed by heating in boiling SALT water, or even in dry salt. You get higher temps this way.

I'll see if I can get a pic up.

porcupinemamma (author)2012-08-28

way to go

WrshpMzshn (author)2012-08-28

Am I the only one that thinks she looks like a mermaid?
Nice Instructable!

josh (author)2012-08-27

The bent toothbrush idea is cool.
Brushing in the shower...

clevernonsense (author)josh2012-08-28

It makes my toes smell minty fresh!

iceng (author)2012-08-27

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious really neat.


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Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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