Clean tongue scraper, clean mouth: keep bacteria away

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There are many things we do to maintain our oral health. Our oral hygiene routine, the steps of it, the products we use, and much more. Just as we clean our mouths to get rid of harmful bacteria, we should clean some of our oral health products after using them. For example, we usually run our toothbrushes through the water. But what about having a clean tongue scraper? Well, tongue cleaners are no different than any other oral products.

If you want a healthy tongue, you should do your tool’s aftercare as well. So the answer is, yes they should be cleaned, otherwise, bacteria will grow on them. Also if you regularly clean your tool, it’ll last longer. In this way, both your pocket and you will smile.

How to clean a tongue scraper

Metal tongue scrapers such as stainless steel and copper scraper, can be used again and again. Only if you clean them after using of course. So, how do you clean a metal tongue scraper? Say no more. First of all, you need to rinse it with water after each use. In addition, you can have a more sanitized and clean tongue scraper by following these 4 steps once in a while: 

  1. Cut a lemon into half. 
  2. Clean the used sides with the help of lemon and salt by applying light pressure.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  4. Dry it with a soft cloth right away.

If you have a plastic or silicone scraper you shouldn’t even bother cleaning it. If you keep using the same plastic scrapers, the harmful bacteria can affect your oral health. Throw them away. They’re disposable.

Can you sanitize a tongue scraper with boiling water?

The answer is yes, you can sanitize your tongue cleaner this way. In fact, regularly boiling and disinfecting the product will purify it from residues, saliva, and harmful bacteria from your tongue and allow you to use it longer. As for how to do it, you can boil it in water normally or you can boil the tool in a 3-to-1 ratio of vinegar-salt mixture for 10 minutes and then rinse it with water. Either way, you’ll have a freshly clean tongue scraper. Also, we cannot stress enough the necessity of drying the scraper after every contact with water. It’s a must to prevent bacteria build-up on your tongue scraper.

How to store tongue scraper

You should store your tongue cleaner upright in a dry place. So that it dries and doesn’t stay in a wet environment. They have antibacterial properties, sure. But bacteria love wet and warm places. So if you store them in such a place, the growth of bad bacteria is inevitable. As a matter of fact, not only bacteria but also rust will occur under those circumstances. And if you keep using a bad product it can spoil your oral flora by causing bad breath bacteria to grow on it. So, properly storing your tongue cleaner can help maximize its effectiveness and promote good dental health. Be sure you’re putting our suggestions into practice to avoid possible oral outcomes.

Where to store a tongue scraper

It makes the most sense to store your scraper product in the bathroom. Because most of us do our daily oral care there which also includes tongue cleaning. You can use a glass for your scraper, just like you have a toothbrush holder. This way they don’t come into contact with the other oral care tools. There’s just one small thing you need to pay attention to though. If you intend to store the product in an open place, it should be kept at least 6 feet away from the toilet. This keeps bacteria away. You can also put them in your drawer or medicine cabinet. It’s your own personal preference as long as it’s a dry and clean place, it’ll work just fine.

How to keep a copper tongue scraper from rusting

If you use a copper tongue scraper and noticed some differences, you may be asking yourself “what is that stuff on my scraper?”. Well, it’s rust. It happens because copper reacts with oxygen and other chemicals such as water, dirt, oil and etc. This is oxidation and it’s natural. When the copper scraper oxidizes, some parts may turn a reddish-brownish color, indicating that it is rusted. Those parts shouldn’t come into contact with your tongue. The nanoparticles can get into your circulatory system through your saliva or an open wound on your tongue. It is very harmful and can lead to poisoning according to a study (1). To prevent this, you should store your copper scraper away from wet places and not skip the cleaning step. You can also try to clean the rust by rubbing it with a mixture of ketchup and salt. Your copper tongue scraper will be almost as good as before!

How often should you change your tongue scraper?

When the time comes, you need to say goodbye to your old tongue scraper. Because, as with almost every oral product, you can only use this tool for a while. Generally, metal tongue scrapers will be suitable for use for a period of 3-4 months. This depends on the product though. 

For the sustainability of these products, you need to store and maintain them as recommended. Sometimes it still makes sense to buy a new product before this period expires in certain situations. If you see chipped parts or rust on your tongue cleaner, you can take this as a clue. Because the uneven parts can hurt your tongue and taste buds or rust can lead to dental diseases. That tool will no longer help keep your mouth healthy. The handle can also wear out over time. This can create an uncomfortable cleaning experience for you. 

Besides these, let’s say you got sick, and more white coating on your tongue than normal occurred during this process. You should consider renewing your product once you recover. This way you won’t have to worry about viruses or bacteria on the product or tongue scraper smell. Also, product care only applies to metal tongue scrapers because plastic and silicone scrapers are disposable. And it is best for your health to get rid of them after each use instead of cleaning them. That’s why they’re usually sold in multipacks.


1. Naz S, Gul A, Zia M. Toxicity of copper oxide nanoparticles: a review study. IET Nanobiotechnology. 2020;14(1):1-13. doi: Link

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