The best water flosser you can afford is a very handy tool for cleaning hard to reach areas in your mouth easily and effectively. However, minerals and other debris can collect in various places of the water flosser, negatively affecting the water pressure of its output. Follow our guide on how to clean Waterpik and other water flossers in order to ensure best performance at all times.
Make sure the unit is unplugged unless you’re at a step which specifically requires water to be run through via the powered motor. Before these steps, make sure that you dry the necessary parts of the electronic controls before plugging it in.
Make sure to also have a good soft cloth or rag on hand to dry parts of the flosser that you might be working on.
Step 1-Clean the Reservoir
All good cleaning will start by cleaning the reservoir, which is at high risk for debris build-up, even if you’re emptying it regularly. Follow your product manual to remove the reservoir from your respective water flosser and clean the valve which connects to the intake for the pump.
The valve will usually be made of rubber and plastic, so you can clean it by holding under warm running water.
To remove the valve, simply push on the bottom of the valve to remove it.
If you can remove it, you should do so before washing, if not, just run warm water through it while it is still attached to the reservoir.
If your valve was removable, then you can usually use a dishwasher to clean the reservoir.
Simply put the reservoir in the top dishwasher rack facing down. If you could not remove the valve, make sure not to machine wash the reservoir, and instead, hand wash with soap and warm water as you would a plastic dish.
After finishing cleaning both the valve and reservoir, air dry both and put the valve back in the reservoir if you removed it.
Step 2-Clean Internal Parts
This step will require some white vinegar (2-4 tablespoons) to effectively, but gently clean all the internal parts that the water passes through. Mix the 2-4 tablespoons of white vinegar with 16 ounces of warm water and fill the reservoir with this solution. Then turn on the flosser and run half of it through.
For counter top models, you can run it through without turning on the flosser by leaving the main system near the sink and letting the handpiece dangle in the basin. Allowing 20 minutes drain in this position will allow a thorough wash of the tubing that runs through the flosser.
Make sure to get the rest of the solution out by turning on to run the remaining solution through the unit. Finish by running a full reservoir of warm water through to get the last of the solution out and flush any broken down debris.
Step 3-Clean the Handle (For countertop models)
To ensure the handle is cleaned inside and out, remove the plastic tip by engaging the eject mechanism. Then soak the entire handle in a container of white vinegar for 5-7 minutes. The tube can be hanging outside of the container, but make sure the handle is completely submerged for the most thorough washing possible.
Rinse the handle under warm water, making sure to rinse all surfaces inside and out.
Step 4-Clean the Waterpik Replacement Tip
Take the tip we removed in step 3 and soak it in a container of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar for 5-7 minutes. Make sure it is completely submerged for a thorough cleaning. Rinse the tip thoroughly under warm water.
Ensure that you get a good rinse of all surfaces, inside and out. Despite this cleaning method being relatively effective, it is still recommended by most major water flosser manufacturers to replace the tip every 3-6 months, as it can be increasingly hard to get all the debris out as the tip gets older.
Step 5-Reassemble the Flosser
Make sure the valve is securely replaced in the reservoir, then put the whole reservoir back on its mount. Once the handle and tip are thoroughly rinsed of all cleaning solution, replace the tip and your water flosser is ready to go.
Tips for Maintenance
Make sure to purge the flosser before and after every use. This means removing the reservoir, running the flosser for about 10 seconds with the reservoir removed to empty all water that might be in the tubes at the time. Then use a paper towel to dry the mount where the reservoir usually sits.
When you replace the reservoir, don’t seat it all the way, and instead seat it at a leaning angle so the cavity underneath and internal tubes can air dry.
This will minimize the chance of microorganisms and bacteria growing in the tubes and in various nooks and crannies of the reservoir mount.
Make sure to never actually submerge the main unit in water, as this can cause the electronic components to short circuit.
Never use chemicals that we don’t recommend. Cleaning materials such as bleach, iodine, baking soda, essential oils, and salt can all affect the performance of your water flosser, and even shorten its lifespan.
Another suitable replacement for the white vinegar in this guide is mild mouthwash, but vinegar is cheaper and more reliable.
If you’ve followed all these steps, you’re all set to enjoy using your water flosser at peak performance. Once again, there’s a large emphasis on repeating these steps regularly every 1-3 months to ensure that the build-up of minerals and debris never gets out of hand. Good luck!