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The toothbrush annoyance

Published 2024-06-03 16:14. #Personal #Thoughts 

A little story about how I came to hate my absolutely, honestly great toothbrush.

Four years ago I decided to take a leap into my personal dental hygiene future. I bought an ultra sound toothbrush. Being the tool snob I am, always seeking value and craftsmanship in the things I use daily, I decided to go for a very premium model.

One can say I loved everything about it. The build quality, the features, the feeling of my mouth after using it! It charges wirelessly on a stand it came with, it has various modes for brushing, it has a nice UI. One button paired with a few backlit lines of text and vibration motor indicating at certain points in time you should move to a new quadrant. It also comes with incredible battery life and you can wash and clean it everywhere you’d like as there’s no charging port.

Well, everything was fine. And that for a quite long time. More or less precisely for four years. But now I hate it completely and wanted to smash it to pieces several times. Why?

It started on a business trip a few days ago where, magically, in the middle of the night I heard a loud, annoying, buzzing sound in the apartment somewhere. First I thought it was an upstairs neighbor or something outside of the building producing the noise. But as it persisted for several minutes I wanted to locate it and understand what it is at least.

So I got up and moved through the floor, wandering in the dark and tracing the noise to the bathroom. After opening the door I saw the green battery indicator light flashing and the white backlit text of the „mode“-switcher of the toothbrush being lit up. Well turns out the thing turned on by itself.

I clicked the button to turn it off and went back to my bedroom. Would have been fine if I was able to end the story here. But that’s not how that worked out. That same night the toothbrush turned back on four more times. Rest assured, I turned it off again a few times, took it to my bedroom as well to be able to turn it off faster again. With me on that business trip were two other colleagues who shared the same bathroom and floor – so if I could hear that sound they could as well. And they could lie awake because of it too.

I started googling around and found out there might be some humidity inside causing the button to be triggered without pressing. However for this model of toothbrush there is no way to unscrew it and take out the battery. It is glued together and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

In that night I violently started to press the button in hopes of „unstucking“ the button if it was, shaking the toothbrush in case that could cause humidity to flow another way and not trigger the on-switch again. I finally decided to move it to another room afar from mine and the other rooms of my colleagues and went to bed. Since the apartment was huge enough, I only heard it silently buzz one more time until I fell asleep again.

Two days later I’m at home, playing a video game, my girlfriend and baby daughter lying asleep next door. And that buzzing sound starts again. In fury from the moment the sound started appearing I ran to the bathroom, taking the toothbrush and trying to turn it off again. The model I’m using can switch between its modes if you hit the button multiple times in quick succession. Looking at the backlit text indicators of the modes flashing every few seconds I realized the problem seemed to have intensified - triggering the button press every few seconds. Shortly enough that the mode-switch is triggered. The second thing you need to know is that it resets the timer for the toothbrush automatically when switching modes — which makes sense in normal use.

In this malfunctioning case though, it’s extremely annoying behaviour. Since it will mean that anytime the cycle of auto triggering begins it will keep on vibrating until the battery is dead unless you trigger the button yourself and it does not trigger by itself again for long enough. But that night I struggled for at least seven minutes until I was able to turn it off. Rest assured it turned back on again of course. It drove me crazy — I thought of all options I had. Smash it with a hammer? Too loud and too rash of a solution as of now. Keep turning it off again and again? Too nervewrecking. Put it somewhere else? Well…

First I thought of the house trash in our courtyard. That wouldn’t work as it’s right before the bed window. My car? Parked too far, don’t want to wander around with something vibrating in my hand in the middle of the night. The cellar? Well that could be an option, I thought initially.

So I grabbed the keys and walked downstairs. Opening my cellar department and wrapping the toothbrush with a few cardboard packagings lying around and even some bubble wrap. I thought I had found the temporary solution .

I went upstairs and taking my last step of the staircase I heard the loud buzzing again. Damn, that toothbrush is ultrasound and will sound through even two doors, a few layers of cardboard and bubblewrap. My apartment’s on the first floor — but there are people living on ground floor. They would hear it. So I grabbed it again, turned it off once more and took it back to my apartment.

Arriving there I reconsidered my options. I turned it off again and decided to try repositioning it. I turned it upside down and left it alone. Waited a few minutes. Nothing. With a little feeling of success I went to bed and was not woken up again that night.

Yesterday we weren’t at home for the full day. I did not touch the toothbrush and it has not turned again.

Fast forward to today. Day four of the whole situation. I’m standing at my desk with my daughter in the baby carrier. She’s barely falling asleep after trying to gently rock her into it for half an hour and just closes her eyes and — magic timing. The thing turns on again.

Morale of story. None. Just a bit pissed off at glued together pieces of plastics without a killswitch altogether.