A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Clean Your Hairbrush

You love your hair, and you take good care of it. You wash it with the right hair care products, you may be creating your very own shampoo, your hairdresser has become your best friend because of the frequent appointments, and you probably spend much more on hairdryers, straighteners, curling wands and so much more, than on anything else. 

Wooden comb brush with hair, on pink background

So, what about your hairbrush? It’s an item you use daily, like your makeup brushes. I bet you deep clean them. But your hairbrush? How often do you clean it? Don’t think that because you use the brush on your hair, it doesn’t need a deep cleaning too. Instead, it does. It’s exposed to dirt, lint and oil. And then you use it on your freshly clean hair. I think it’s time to do something about it. 

Why do you need to clean your hairbrush?

I’m sure you are wondering why you have to clean your brush. Because just like all other items it needs to be cleaned, no matter how often you use it. 

To help you understand the need of cleaning your brush, think of it like a sponge. So, as sponges trap all the dirt from the surfaces, the brush keeps all the dirt from both the hair and the environment in its bristles.

Residue from conditioners, gels, hair products, dead skin cells, dandruff and grime grow between in the brush, and you end up moving them back to your hair every time you use it.  Let alone the amount of hair we naturally lose every day, which is about 50 to 100 hairs per day and accumulate in the brush too. 

These styling and hair gather can affect not only how well your brush works but also make your hair look greasier. That’s the reason why it’s essential to maintain clean hairbrushes.

How to clean your hairbrush?

So, how can you thoroughly clean your dirty brush? Don’t worry! It’s a very easy process, and you are going to need a few things that you already have in your house. 

The items you’re going to need are:

  • A bowl (instead you can use the bathroom basin)
  • Warm water
  • A gentle shampoo
  • Baking soda
  • Scissors
  • An old toothbrush
  • A rat-tail comb ( it’s the comb with the long pointed end)

No matter what your hairbrush is made of, plastic or wood, the cleaning process is pretty much the same.

Dirty Round Hair Brush on white background.

Step 1: Remove hair from it

The first step is the same for all types of hairbrushes, plastic, wood, round or paddle brushes. You have to remove all hair that has accumulated between the bristles.  Get the comb and remove hair from the bottom of the brush. Run the pointed end of the comb to remove the stuck hair. 

If you don’t have a rat-tail comb, you may use a pen, a pencil or even a toothpick.  If there are any strains that you find difficult to remove, use a pair of scissors and cut any loose hair tangled in there. 

Step 2: Create the solution

Since you’ve cleared your brush from the excess hair, it’s time to create the cleaning solution. If you want to clean your brush deep, then make a mixture of shampoo and hot water. You can also add a pinch of baking soda into the soapy water. 

How are you going to do it? 

  • Fill the bowl or the bathroom sink with water
  • Add some drops of the shampoo 
  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of soda if you like. 
  • Swirl the solution, and that’s all. 

Your powerful cleanser is ready to give your brushes a thorough cleaning from any product residue.

Step 3: Clean the brush

This step differs depending on whether you have a wooden or a plastic brush. Here’s what you have to do, depending on the type of brush you have.

Plastic brush

If you have a plastic brush, dip it into the soapy solution and let it soak for 3 – 5 minutes. However, if the bristles are attached to soft padding, dip them into the water, keeping the padding dry. 

Wooden brush

If you have a wooden brush, avoid dipping it into the solution because you’ll damage the wood.

Soaking the hairbrush into the warm soapy water will help remove the oil, the product build-up, the dead skin cells and any dirt and grime stuck on the brush. 

Step 4: Use your toothbrush

A toothbrush will help to remove all the gunk. Dip the toothbrush into the solution and start scrubbing each bristle and the base. You better start the scrubbing from the bottom of the base and then move upward. 

Step 5: Air dry

Once you’ve finished, it’s time to rinse the brush. Use cold water to do so. Or you can sprinkle water on the base, but make sure that you dry it afterwards using a cloth. 

A hair brush on a towel air drying.

After rinsing, leave the brush to dry. You can also place the brush on a dry towel with the bristles facing down, and let it dry overnight. 

How to clean a comb?

Combs might not get as dirty as hairbrushes; however, they need to be cleaned as well, since on top of everything else they usually accumulate hairspray residue. Also, it’s possible that you might have used it to clean your hairbrush, so it definitely needs to be refreshed.  

So, if you want to clean your comb, you’re going to need:

  • A bowl
  • A gentle shampoo
  • Warm water
  • A dry clean towel

Now, the steps to follow are almost the same as cleaning a brush. 

Step 1: Remove the hair

That step is exactly the same as when cleaning the brush. But maybe a bit easier since you can do it using only your fingers. Grab the tangled hair between the bristles and remove them from the comb.

Step 2: Make the mixture

Fill the bowl with water and add some shampoo. Add if you like add some baking soda ( 1 tablespoon is enough). Swirl the mixture to get mixed up. Νothing more and nothing less than what you would do to clean the brush.

Step 3: Dip the comb

Once you’ve removed all the excess hair, give your comb a deeper cleaning. Place it into the bowl with the mixture and let it stay for about 30- 60 minutes. That would be enough to remove all the dirt. 

Step 4: Dry it

After the time has passed for the comb to remain in the solution, take it out and dry it with a dry towel.

A woman's hand treating lice from a kid's head with a blue lice comb.

How to clean a lice comb?

Lice comb is a fine-toothed comb that helps remove lice and their eggs off the hair. It’s a very common comb in houses with young children.

As you can understand, these combs need extra treatment plus some disinfection to make sure you have killed all the lice. Just make sure to clean them right after use.

To clean a lice comb, you’ll need:

  • Paper towel
  • A sealed plastic back
  • A bowl 
  • Hot water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A clean towel

Then, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Wipe the comb after each swipe

After each swipe through the hair, use a paper towel and wipe the lice from the comb. When you’ve finished, put the paper towel in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away to be sure that none of the lice will get away.

Step 2: Clean the comb

Once you’re done cleaning your hair out of lice, fill a bowl with water and put the comb in. The water should be at least 130°F/54.4°C, to be sure that any lice left on the comb will be killed. Let the comb stay for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Clean it with rubbing alcohol

After 10 minutes, get the comb out of the bowl and dry it using a dry clean towel. Then pour rubbing alcohol over the comb to disinfect it and let it air dry.

How often do you need to clean your hairbrush?

There isn’t a rule of thumb regarding the frequency of cleaning your brushes. It depends on the hair styling products you use and how often you use them

If you use gel and hair sprays daily for instance then you should clean your brushes once a week. But, if you don’t use them a lot, then every 2-3 weeks is a recommended time to do so. However, you better remove the strands of hair every couple of days. 

Young woman brushing her long dark-blond hair; focus on brush!

Tips for keeping your hair brushes clean

Besides the cleaning ways, there are a few more things you can do to keep your hairbrush clean and well-shaped. These will save you money and time from cleaning it, and if you keep your brush clean it will work efficiently, won’t damage your hair and it’ll last longer. 

  1. Remove any hair left tangled between the bristles every time you brush your hair. This way you avoid the buildup, your brush will last longer, look much cleaner and work better. 
  2. Be gentle with them. While using or cleaning your hairbrushes and combs, do it carefully and smoothly, so that you won’t break any off.
  3. Clean the brushes regularly to remove the hair because it can create a growth of oil on your scalp, which can harm its natural oils and your hair. 
  4. Keep your brushes in a drawer. You’ll keep dust and lint off your hairbrush.
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