How To Clean A Hairbrush: The Best 3 Ways

how to clean a hairbrush
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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.


Most of us love beautiful hair. Isn’t that obvious, Who doesn’t! That’s why we are willing to take time out of our busy schedules and even spend money to maintain them. But, how many of you clean your hairbrush in regular intervals? Only a few of you, and why is that?

Well, because it’s cumbersome, or maybe you are too lazy to do it, well that’s the case for me at least.

So, here in this post, I’m going to talk about how to clean a hairbrush in some really simple ways, which do not take much of your time.

Why Should you Clean your Hair Tools?

How to clean a hairbrush
Source: by Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

Before learning about the different ways ‘How to clean a hairbrush’, Let’s look at some of the reasons to do so. It’s to save you from the following problems:

  • Damage your Scalp

A dirty hairbrush affects not only your hair but causes damage to your scalp too. Because of germs and bacteria building up on hairbrushes, the residual gets transferred to the scalp, making your scalp itchy and flaking. This is one of the reasons for scalp irritation and dandruff.

Not only germs but the excess hair stuck in the bristles can damage the scalp, by pulling out more hair which causes hair thinning. A dirty brush can become a breeding ground for bacteria, dust, germs, and even yeast! Just who can tolerate that on their scalp?

That is why, cleaning your hairbrush is a must, for healthy growth.

  • Bacteria Build-up Due to Dead Skin Cells on Brush Bristles

When you don’t clean your brushes, after some time you might have seen a black-grey residue on your brushes. Have you ever wondered, ‘what is that?’. Let me tell you, that are colonies of bacteria build-up because of lingering hair products and dead skin cells. Gross! Right?

When you brush your hair, these bacteria and germs pass onto your hair, making your hair look greasy and lifeless. It can even cause hair-fall and itchiness on the scalp, leading you to visit expensive salons and buy costly products to get rid of it.

So, just taking some time to clean your hairbrush, can save you from the attack of bacteria!

  • Skin Irritation and Bad Odor

Particles in the environment like dust and mist can settle on your hairbrush and build up over time. Sometimes, because these particles and bacteria build up on your hairbrushes, you can face problems like skin irritation and bad odor. This is especially the case when using oil and sticky hair products.

As a result, you feel itchiness, irritation, and bad odor coming out of your hair and scalp. To avoid this, one should clean their hairbrushes at regular intervals.

  • Ruin the Growth of your Natural Hair

Many people habitually cut their hair in regular intervals, why do they do that? Many people do it to get good growth for hair.

But a dirty hairbrush restricts and ruins the growth of your natural hairs. Issues like split-ends, dandruff can slow down your hair growth. To avoid these concerns, one item in your ‘to-do list’ should be to clean your hairbrush regularly.

How Often Should you Clean your Hairbrush?

Don’t worry, it’s not every day! How often should you clean it, depends on the type of hair products you use and how frequently you use them?

  • An average person, taking at least minimal maintenance of their hair, should clean their brushes every two weeks. If you have longer hair, it is suggested to do it once every week.
  • If you use hair gels, styling creams, hair spray, and hair straightener, you should clean your hairbrushes every week.
  • If you don’t use these hair products frequently, cleaning every 2-3 weeks will do.

Do follow this routine and make it your habit for healthy and clean hair.

How to Clean a Hairbrush?

How to clean a hairbrush
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As I said before, cleaning a hairbrush doesn’t take much time, just 5-10 minutes will do! So, let’s start with the different ways ‘how to clean a hairbrush, choose the one which you find suitable.

  • Method 1: Cleaning through Shampoo

Things you will need:

  • Clean old toothbrush
  • Gentle Shampoo
  • Bowl of warm water, or use the bathroom sink or a small tub
  • Tissues/ Paper towel
  • Scissors
  • Rat Tail comb (optional)

How to clean a hairbrush
Source: by Taylor Beach / Unsplash

Step 1: Removing all loose hair out of the brush.

The first thing you need to do is, remove all the hair out of your hairbrushes. You can use a rat tail comb to remove hair from the base of the brush. If you don’t have one, a normal comb or pointed objects like a pen or pencil will work. If you find it difficult to remove, use this way-

  1. Lift the hair from brush bristles with the help of the end of a rat tail comb or a pencil/pen.
  2. Use a comb to get between the bristles and lift the hair.
  3. Cut the hair which is tangled or hard to remove using scissors.

You can use this method on both flat and round brushes. If there is less hair on the brush, you can simply pull the hair out of the brush. Furthermore, you should remove hair after each time you brush your hair. If you do it regularly, it will be easier to clean the hairbrush every time.

Step 2: Fill the sink with warm water and add a little amount of shampoo to it.

Fill a bowl/sink/tub with warm water. Add a few drops of shampoo or conditioner in the water and shake it through your hand until it looks soapy. Soak the brush in the soapy water for some time, in this step the type of hairbrush matters:

  • Plastic/metal brush – Soak them for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Brush which has soft/fabric padding at the base – Do not submerge the padding of the brush. Just dip the bristles of the brush and shake it a few times.
  • Wooden brush or brush having a wooden handle or base – Do not submerge a wooden brush entirely, it will degrade the wood. Do the same method as above in this case.

You have to do this step to soften the bristles. It helps to loosen the dirt, dust, and hair product residue that may be stuck on the brush.

Step 3: Dry your Hairbrush.

Now, you need to wipe your brush with a dry towel and shake it over the sink to remove the water. To do it properly, use the following ways, depending on the type of brush you use:

  • Plastic/ metal brush – Place the brush on a towel or cloth, in an opposite position, and all them to air dry.
  • Brush which has soft/fabric padding at the base – You can use the same way as above, but using a hairdryer is better.
  • Wooden brush or brush having wooden handle or base – Hang them downwards and keep them overnight in that way, or use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

You don’t need to completely dry off your hairbrush if there is more dirt left, doing it moderately will also work. If your brush is completely clean after this step, great job! If not, don’t be disappointed, move on to the next step.

Step 4: Use a toothbrush to remove the residual dirt.

Clean out the remaining dust particles, gunk, and dirt using an old clean toothbrush. Use need to do it gently, to not damage or break the bristles.

You will see a clean hairbrush after removing the residual dirt.

Step 5: Rinse the brushes with running water to remove the shampoo.

Thoroughly rinse the hairbrushes with running water to remove the shampoo or conditioner from the hair brush’s bristles. You have to rinse it thoroughly till there is no shampoo or conditioner residue left on the bristles.

If you do not carry out this step, using the same brush could make your hair greasy when used. This can also help remove any more dirt or hair left in the brush.

Step 6: Dry off the hairbrush completely

Use the same ways as explained in Step 3, keeping it dry overnight and using a hairdryer to speed up the process.

After carrying all of these processes, you will get a clean and new-like hairbrush. It may take around 15 minutes to do this, but it will eventually take less time once you get used to it.

  • Method 2: Disinfecting with Vinegar

How to clean a hairbrush with vinegar? Well, vinegar has many applications when it comes to cleaning. Well, it’s natural, as vinegar contains natural antiseptic agents that work as an inexpensive cleaning solution. Vinegar is known to kill germs and bacteria and remove sticky residue accumulated from the use of different hair products. Cleaning your hairbrush with vinegar is a good alternative. Here is how to clean a hairbrush using:

Things you need are the same as, in Method 1 (how to clean a hairbrush using shampoo). But you just need white vinegar instead of shampoo, and a measuring cup will be good if you have it.

  • Remove hair as described in Method 1.
  • Mix around two cups of hot water and two cups of white vinegar into a bowl.
  • The water should be much hotter than the one used in Method 1 (a minimum of 130 degrees Fahrenheit will do). This is necessary, as a high water temperature is said to kill germs and bacteria.
  • Soak the bristle ends into the vinegar solution you made before. Submerge it enough to clean the dust and dirt accumulated.
  • Take out the hairbrush from the vinegar mixture after some time. Remove the water, dirt, and dust using tissue.
  • If there is still dirt left, use a toothbrush to deep clean it. But do it gently, to not harm the bristles.
  • Dip the brush in running water to remove the vinegar odor.

Note: Be careful while cleaning a wooden brush and while cleaning a metal brush in vinegar, protect your hands from burns.

  • Method 3: Cleaning with Baking Soda

How to clean a hairbrush
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Baking soda is said to have features of a natural deodorant or a scrub. It works on hair brushes too. Let’s see how to clean a hairbrush using baking soda:

The things you will need are just the same as before with an addition of baking soda.

  • Remove hair as described in Method 1.
  • Make a solution with a bowl of warm water with one tsp of baking soda. You can also make a solution with a combination of clarifying shampoo and soda.
  • Use a clean toothbrush to mix the solution.
  • Dip the toothbrush in the solution and scrub the hairbrush to clean its bristles.
  • Once you are done cleaning the dirt, rinse the brush under running tap water.
  • Lastly, lay the brush on a dry towel to air dry or use a hairdryer.

Note: Try not to use this method for natural bristle brushes, Method 1 is most appropriate for this kind of brush.

So, these were the ways on ‘how to clean a hairbrush. You can also use these methods to clean your combs as well as makeup brushes.

When is the Time to Replace your Hairbrush?

One should replace their hairbrush every 6 to 12 months, depending on what products you use daily. It also depends on the quality of the hairbrushes. If you are using a plastic or rubber brush, replace it within 8 to 12 months, if you make minimum sanitization efforts. But if you are using a boar bristle brush, it should be replaced every 6 months.

Most of the time you can get clues like missing/broken bristles or the brush is too dirty to clean, these are indicators for the hairbrush to be changed.

To extend this lifespan, I suggest you remove your hair each time you use it and do a thorough cleaning once a week. By using any of the above methods on ‘how to clean a hairbrush. Another way is to own 2 brushes- use one at night before going to bed and the other for styling.

How to clean a hairbrush
Source: by Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

So, this was all about ‘how to clean a hairbrush. Believe me, freshly washed hair love clean hairbrushes. So, do refer to this post to not sadden your hair and for its good health.

Click here, for tips to get thicker hair.

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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