Home > Contemplations > Why Aren’t Hotels Supplying Us With Toothbrushes & Toothpaste?

Why Aren’t Hotels Supplying Us With Toothbrushes & Toothpaste?

Hotel Bathroom toiletries via Chris Vollick

Typical hotel bathroom toiletries. Photo credit Chris Vollick aka @Canadian88

When you go to a hotel they give you all sorts of toiletries from shampoo & conditioner to body lotion to special soap for your body versus your face. In my hotel stay experiences I’ve seen shower caps on the offer as well as sewing kits but never have I ever seen a small tube of toothpaste and/or a toothbrush in a hotel bathroom waiting to be used. Why is this? I have a couple of theories and have done a bit of research into it.

First, the toothbrush. You’d think that it is such a personal thing that no one would ever want to use a random toothbrush but to that I have two answers:

  1. I have discussed travel options for toothbrushes before but even this isn’t the ideal especially if you travel regularly as seems to warp and mash the bristles of the toothbrush over prolonged periods of the brush being forced into the container.
  2. Yes, you may have the most awesome toothbrush in the world at home as well as a toothpaste guaranteed to make your teeth shine whiter than freshly fallen snow in the open plains of  Saskatchewan, untouched by human civilization but will it really kill you to use a hotel’s generic or sponsored toothbrush and/or toothpaste for a day or two (or even a week!) while you’re on vacation? I haven’t checked with a dentist but I’d be willing to bet it won’t.

One other answer I can think of is cost except I wouldn’t be surprised if a toothbrush company would be more than happy to supply a hotel chain with all the toothbrushes they could ever need as promotional items in the hopes that they’ll get people to switch to their brand. Every time I go to the dentist I get one as a promotional item with my dentist’s name and phone number on it! I highly doubt his office pays for them.

packaged toothbrushes over sink

Yes, I can pack my toothbrush. Yes, it doesn’t take up a lot of room and is relatively easy to pack but I am somewhat of a hygiene freak and I always wonder how great of an idea it is to pack my toothbrush which is relatively freshly used and wet in a dark suitcase/bag for the few hours it’ll take for me to get home. What kind of bacteria might be growing in that kind of environment? I certainly don’t know but I don’t really want to find out. More often than not after a trip I will soak my toothbrush in mouthwash (which is full of bacteria killing alcohol) or straight rubbing alcohol depending what I have on hand. Insane? Maybe a bit but I know you’re now thinking of doing it too!

Toothpaste travel tube and box and toothbrush

Thanks for the tooth cleaning gear Dr Greenwald!

The other question, and what really drove me to want to write this post, is toothpaste. Seems every time I go on a trip with a group someone (more often than not more than one person) doesn’t bring any toothpaste. Thankfully, my dentist also supplies me with the perfect travel sized toothpaste tubes when I visit once every 3-6 months which I usually bring with me. But, this is only because hotels have trained me that while they’re willing to supply me with soap, shampoo, and a myriad of other toiletries they won’t give me the paste or brush I so desire. In my research into this question it seems that hotels are actually willing to supply guests with toothbrushes and toothpaste but you have to actually ask for them! I don’t want to rely on this, however, so I never would.

I think these are most definitely things which hotels should start putting in every room, we pay enough for hotels as it is, we should be getting every amenity conceivable! I’d rather give up having body lotion and a separate body vs face soaps in my room if it meant having toothpaste and a toothbrush or two. What do you think? Are these things that hotels should provide for their guests without them having to ask?

Special Thanks to Chris Vollick (@Canadian88) of  A Real Canadian’s Blog and mcmasterprblog.wordpress.com for taking the photo of the toiletries provided in a typical hotel bathroom.

  1. February 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Great post, Dan! I do travel frequently for work and on a handful if occasions have forgotten a toothbrush or toothpaste. Most hotels have them available, for no charge, through the front desk. They also tend to have razors and shaving foam there too. Asking has never been an issue.

    Why they don’t include them is a very good question. My guess is that they would have to replace them each night used or not for sanitary reasons. If people only opened them and didn’t use them it would start to have a huge environmental impact due to discarded plastic.

    I am going to ask a few of my friends that work in the industry and see what I can find out. Stay tuned!!

    • February 28, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks so much Chris, I really appreciate it.

      I look forward to hearing what people you know in the industry say about this as my research was confined to Quora and Yahoo! Answers among other similar “super reliable sources.”

      In terms of the sanitary reasons while that’s true I think if the hotel left them packaged it wouldn’t be an issue and let’s be honest, the vast majority of hotels (really corporations in general) only care about the environment because doing so makes them look good and is good PR. If they could look good without being eco-friendly they would.

  2. Bhupinder
    February 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I love the line “Shine brighter than the freshly fallen snow in Saskatchewan”!


  3. November 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    They supply toothpaste and toothbrushes in Hong Kong hotels. So much so that the hotel toothbrushes have their own distinct look.

    • November 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Interesting! Thanks for the heads up on that Juni.
      I wonder if it will ever become a standard here in North America.

  4. November 28, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I need to to thank you for this good read!! I
    certainly loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…

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