How to Clean Hair Brushes (The Ultimate Guide)

If cleaning your hairbrush isn’t always at the top of your list of things to do, you’re not alone. Regular brush cleaning will remove debris, product residue, and scalp oils that accumulate on your hair bristles over time. 

Having your brush clean at all times keeps your hair shiny, dirt-free, and smooth. 

Human hair may contain product residues, oil, loose hair strands, bacteria, and fungi, which get stuck on the bristle of hairbrushes. The more your hairbrush combs through your hair, the more residues it collects. As a result, dirty hair brushes pose more harm than good to clean hair. 

That said, knowing that cleaning your hairbrush is essential begs the question, “how do you get those accumulated residues out of your hairbrush bristles?” Don’t fret. Here are some DIY tips and tricks on how to clean a hairbrush.

How Often Should You Clean Your Hairbrush?

Proper biweekly cleaning of your hairbrush is adequate for maintenance. However, how often you clean your hairbrush depends on other factors, like how much hair you shed and the amount of product you use.

As a rule of thumb, when your hairbrush starts to look gunky and has fuzz on it, you should clean it. 

What You Need: 

Before learning how to clean hairbrushes, you need to know what to have. Here are some of the tools you might have to get: 

  • A toothbrush you aren’t using
  • A large bowl or sink 
  • Vinegar 
  • Baking Soda 
  • Disinfecting spray 
  • A towel 
  • Liquid soap or shampoo—depending on the nature of the hairbrush bristle, you might have to get a sulfate-free soap. 
  • Pintail comb 
  • Tweezers
How To Clean

How to Clean Hairbrushes 

There are different ways to clean a hairbrush, depending on the type and the tools you have with you. For instance, how you would clean a plastic hair brush isn’t the same as how you would clean a hairbrush with natural bristles.

How to Clean Plastic Hair Brushes 

These steps work for all plastic hairbrushes, including the paddle and cushioned ones. Here are the steps: 

Step 1: Remove the Hair from the Brush 

Naturally, the first step would be to remove all of the built-up hair from the brush’s bristles. You can use your pintail comb, fingers, or tweezers—anything you are comfortable using—to yank out the stuck hair. Pull out as much hair as you can, as it makes it easier to remove other hubris that might remain. 

Moreover, you should habitually remove loose hair from your hairbrush after using it. Using a brush with tangled hair might not make hair brushing the best experience. 

Step 2: Wash the Hairbrush 

Fill up a bowl or sink with warm water and squirt a bit of shampoo or dish soap into it. Run the brush through the solution repeatedly. Let the hairbrush wade in the water for a little while. The back-and-forth movement helps loosen the dead skin cells and grime from the brush. While doing this, your sink is prone to get dirty; you can read how to clean a sink to help. 

Step 3: Scrub With a Toothbrush

After washing, it becomes easier to get rid of the grime. So to remove it, you can either use a toothbrush or your fingers if you don’t have any toothbrushes around. Scrub the space between the rows of the bristles and the handle with the toothbrush to get rid of any dirt. 

If there are leftover hair products in the hairbrush, you can dip them in baking soda and keep scrubbing. The baking soda will serve as an abrasive to clean out the grease/grime. 

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly and Air Dry

Now that the washing and scrubbing are over, rinse the brush in lukewarm properly so no soap residue or baking soda remains. Since what is left on the brush comes to your hair, ensure you rinse the brush correctly. 

If the hairbrush is cushioned, you might want to squeeze it properly so no water remains, as it can promote bacteria growth. If you can’t squeeze all the water out, don’t bother—anything you can’t squeeze out will evaporate on its own. 

Generally, shake the brush, place it on a towel with the bristles facing down and let it air dry. 

You can also use vinegar and baking soda. Here is how to clean hair brushes with vinegar: 

  • Make a solution with the amount of warm water and vinegar  
  • Soak your brush in the solution for 30 minutes. 
  • Scrub the base of the brush with a toothbrush
  • Rinse with lukewarm water 
  • Let it air dry

Similarly, you can clean your hair brushes with vinegar and baking soda; here is how to do it: 

  • First, make a solution of water and vinegar and dip your brush in it. 
  • After you have soaked the brush, dip in the baking soda
  • Scrub the base of the brush with a toothbrush
  • Rinse under running warm water when you are done
  • Put the brush bristles down on a towel, and let it air dry

How to Clean Natural-Bristle Brushes 

Natural-bristle brushes are typically more costly than synthetic ones but are usually recommended as better hair brushes for the hair. 

Here is how to clean hair brushes with bristles that aren’t synthetic: 

Step 1: Remove the Hair from the Brush

Remove all the loose hair on the brush’s bristles. You can take out the hair using a tweezer or a pintail comb. You can use your fingers to pull the hair out if you have none of those. 

Step 2: Soak the Brush 

After removing as much hair as possible, fill up a bowl wide enough for the bristles with lukewarm water. Put a teaspoon of a gentle, sulfur-free shampoo in the water that won’t break the brush’s bristles down. 

Put the hairbrush in the bowl so that only the bristles are submerged. Let the bristles soak in the foamy solution for 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Scrub

Take the natural-bristle brush out of the bowl and use your fingers or a toothbrush to scrub the spaces between the brush’s bristles. Ensure you work your way to base and use your fingers/toothbrush with the sudsy water to wash all the grim out. 

Step 4: Rinse Properly and Dry 

You don’t want any residue from your washing to remain. Pass the brush through running lukewarm water till it is clean. After rinsing, place the brush with the bristles on a towel. 

Note: Wooden-handled brushes can have mixtures of materials for bristles. That aside, wooden-handled brushes shouldn’t be soaked in water. Putting the brush in water can let the handle deteriorate, and the bristles loosen. If your wooden-handled hairbrush enters the water, don’t dry with heat. Rather, let it air dry. 

Here is how to clean wooden hair brushes: If the handle has too many hair product residues, put a toothbrush in soapy water and gently rub it on the brush’s base. When you are finished, clean with a towel, but the brush bristles facing down, and wait for it to air dry. 

How to Clean Hair Brush With Dryer Sheet

You didn’t read the heading wrong; you can use dryer sheets to clean your hair brush. Here is how: 

  • Get a bowl and pour warm water into it it 
  • Put two dryer sheets
  • Put your brushes into the bowl
  • Let the whole mixture soak for an hour or two
  • Rinse after 
  • Pat the brush till it dries, then leave it to dry

How to Clean a Hairbrush With Dandruff

When a person has dandruff, the skin on their scalp flakes off on their hair and sometimes their clothes. You can easily cure the skin condition with specific shampoos, and the condition is not transmittable. Nonetheless, the flakes can make your hairbrush look dirty and unsightly. 

If you have dandruff, you will need to wash your hairbrush more often to prevent the hairbrush from filling your hair with flakes. To know how to clean a hairbrush with dandruff, follow the steps above for whichever applies to your brush type. 

How to Clean a Hairbrush Lint 

Suppose you have yanked out all the loose hair from your brush, but there is still lint and dust at the bottom of the brush. Lint can be a bit harder to remove than hair cause of its composition—hair products residue and oil. 

If, after all the listed steps above, the lines aren’t all off. Use a toothbrush to scrub the lint from the base of the brush. This might take time, but it will do the job. Run the toothbrush through the brush’s various vertical and horizontal bristle rows. After all the lint is out, rinse the hairbrush well, and let it air dry. 

How to Clean Hairbrush After Lice

Perhaps your scalp itches you every time you use your hairbrush, and you think it has lice; here is how to clean the hairbrush: 

  • Yank out all of the air from the hairbrush
  • Dip the brush in medicated shampoo or vinegar—two types of solutions that are said to kill lice 
  • Rinse the brush and let it dry 

Why Is There Fuzz in My Hairbrush?

Now that you know how to clean the buildup on a hairbrush, you probably want to know how they got there. 

The fuzz we see on our hairbrush are sebum, dead skin cells, hair product residues, and aged hair. They merge with repeated use of our hairbrush, settle, and form what we call the fuzz. 

How Often Should You Change Your Hairbrush?

As with most tools, continual usage can make a hairbrush wear out regardless of how often and well you wash it. However, how often you change your hairbrush depends on several factors, such as the quality of the brush and the number of products you use daily. That said, it is advisable to change your hairbrush between six and twelve months. 

How Do Salons Clean Hairbrushes?

If you are curious about how big salons clean their hair brushes, here is how they do it. If you often visit hair salons, you have probably seen them soak in their combs and brushes in a liquid on the counter. The liquid they soak it in is called Barbicide. 

Salons clean their hair brushes by dipping them in Barbicide. After a while, the brush is removed from the Barbicide and washed off with soap and water. The next step would be to rinse the soap off and put it on a towel to dry. 

Final Thoughts

A hairbrush is a must-have to keep your hair neat. However, a brush that’s not clean can affect your hair. Hence, it is integral that you know how to clean hair brushes, dust, and grim to have a clean brush that won’t only lengthen its lifespan, but give your hair a nice look. In this article, we discussed all DIY tips and tricks that would take your brush from dirty to looking brand new. 

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