Humble Brush: A Compostable Alternative To The Traditional Plastic Toothbrush

Getting a new toothbrush is like going on a first date after a breakup. You look at all the different brushes with their different heads, trying to look like you know what you’re doing but having absolutely no clue. Should you stick to what you know or try something different? Oh, you look cute, but are you really my type? Finally you take a chance on one and bring it home. That first brush is a little weird, it doesn’t quite fit your mouth like your old brush. But you give it a chance, and pretty soon you’re in a long-term relationship.

Last year, after I was told by my doctor that I had to get a new toothbrush or risk getting strep again, I went on the hunt for a toothbrush. It was a sad breakup, but to my delight, I found some Humble Brush bamboo toothbrushes at my local grocery store and brought one home for a test run.

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Why the swap?

Toothbrushes are, surprisingly, a big waste-generator for such a small item. Dentists recommended getting a new brush every six months. I’m 26, so that means - if I've been following that recommendation exactly (which I haven’t) - I could’ve thrown away 44 toothbrushes and their plastic packaging in my life. It doesn’t sound too bad until I remember that plastic never decomposes (my used brushes will still be around when my great-grandkids are learning to brush their teeth - ick).

The alternative is a toothbrush made of compostable bamboo. I was hesitant on using a piece of bamboo to clean my teeth (would it taste like wood? would it get moldy?), but when the opportunity presented itself so conveniently, there was no reason not to give the more responsible product at least a first date.

About Humble Brush

Humble Brush is made by The Humble Co., a Sweden-based company trying to change the world through well-designed, eco-friendly and socially responsible personal care products. The Humble Brush is made of bamboo and fitted with nylon-6 bristles from DuPont. Nylon-6 makes for a softer and more hygienic bristle with a carbon footprint comparable to wool. And there are different bristle hardness’s available for people with different levels of sensitivity. I take my dental hygiene seriously, and the fact that actually persuaded me to buy was that the brushes are dentist-recommended.

My thoughts

Going from a typical plastic toothbrush with lots of bristle variation and a small head to a stick of bamboo in my mouth with a wider head and narrower spread of bristles was definitely an adjustment. It took some time to get used to the slight woody taste/feeling, to figure out how big my brushing circles had to be, and to get used to tilting the brush so I could reach my gums without rubbing the bamboo along my mouth… Seriously, before I tried the Humble Brush, I’d never thought so much about toothbrush design!

But before I gross you out with too much detail, I will say that after a few weeks I barely noticed those differences anymore. I’ve been using my Humble Brush for three months now, and I’m glad I made the switch. I’m very happy with how it cleans my teeth, how thoroughly it dries between uses, and how it feels in my mouth as I brush. At my recent dentist appointment, I was told to keep on keeping on because the way I was taking care of my teeth was working; he’s seen no difference in the health of my teeth. And as a bonus, it looks great on my bathroom counter (sounds superficial, I know, but it’s important for this designer!).

So for anyone that’s contemplating switching to bamboo, do it! There’s an adjustment period even for switching between plastic toothbrushes, and you just get used to the differences after a bit. The bamboo doesn’t scratch or splinter, and the bristles spread slightly as they’re used. It’s a good toothbrush; how clean your teeth are after use depends entirely upon how well you brush.

Toothbrushes are designed to meet a simple need - cleaning teeth. And once that need is met, extra bells and whistles don’t give you a whole lot more satisfaction. For me, the knowledge that once my toothbrush has reached the end of its life I can pull out and recycle the nylon bristles and compost the bamboo handle is worth a lot. And because of that fact, I won’t be breaking up with Humble Brush any time soon. Thanks The Humble Co., for giving me the chance to choose responsible self-care.


Disclosure: This review is in no way sponsored or endorsed by The Humble Co. I purchased the product with my own funds and all opinions are my own.