How To Clean A Hairbrush: The Best 3 Ways

how to clean a hairbrush
Source: by RODNAE Productions / Pexels

It is quite an obvious fact that everyone dreams of having great and clean hair. This is exactly why we are willing to take time out of our busy lifestyles and spend extra money to maintain our hair. Now the question is, do we take care of our hairbrushes the same way too?

In order to have healthy and clean hair, it is important to keep the hairbrush healthy and clean as well.

Most of you skip that part due to your laziness and tight schedules and do not really realize how important it is to clean your hairbrush. Cleaning a hairbrush will make it last longer and save you the money and effort of getting a new one every now and then.

How To Clean A Hairbrush: The Best 3 Ways

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Comb brushes on purple background/Source: Depositphotos

Therefore, in this given article, we talk about how to clean your hairbrush in simple and easy ways that do not require much effort!

Why Should you Clean your Hairbrushes and tools?

Before starting with the ‘How?’, let’s begin with a ‘why?’. Why is it necessary to have a clean hairbrush? Let’s look at some of the reasons to do so. Keeping your hairbrush clean will avoid the following problems:

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Dirty hairbrush/source: depositphotos

  • Damage your Scalp

A dirty plastic brush will not only damage the quality of your hair but will also yield damage to your scalp. Over time, germs and bacteria will build up on your hair brushes and their bristles. This harmful residue gets transferred to the scalp, making your scalp itchy and flaky. This is one of the reasons that may lead to scalp irritation and dandruff.

It is not only the germs that cause a disadvantage. It is also the previous fallen hair that is stuck in the bristles that can cause damage by promoting tangles and, thus, lead to more hair fall.

A dirty plastic brush can become a breeding ground for bacteria, dust, germs, and yeast! Why would anyone ever want that?

That is why cleaning your hairbrush is a must for healthy hair growth and also for just general hygiene. Remember, a dirty hairbrush = dirty hair & a clean hairbrush = clean hair.

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The problem of dry scalp on dark hair/Source: Depositphotos

  • Bacteria Build-up due to dead skin cells on brush bristles

A hairbrush being used for a while without being cleaned develops a black-grey residue on the bristles. Have you ever wondered, ‘what is that?’.

Let me answer that question for you. You are looking at the tiny colonies formed due to bacteria build-up. This may happen due to a collection of lingering hair products and dead skin cells. Now, imagine these dirty bristles coming in contact with your scalp. Ew!

When you brush your hair, this toxic buildup may pass onto your hair, making it 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.

So, instead of spending loads of money trying to fix your hair which is the last thing any of us wants, just clean your hair brushes, and most of it will be avoided.

  • Skin Irritation and Bad Odor

Particles in the environment, like dust and mist, can settle on your hair brushes and build up over time. As we all know, bacteria just love moisture! Due to these particles and bacteria buildup on your hairbrushes, you can face problems like skin irritation and bad odor. This is especially the case when using oil and sticky hair creams/masks.

As a result, you feel itchiness, irritation, and bad odor from your hair and scalp. To avoid this, one should clean their hairbrushes regularly.

  • Ruin the Growth of your Natural Hair

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Young woman looking at split ends. Damaged long hair/Source: Depositphotos

Everyone obviously uses a hair brush every day to keep their hair tangle-free. However, a lot of people also make it a habit to cut their hair or at least get a trim regularly. They do this because it keeps their hair healthy and avoids issues like split ends.

Dirty hair brushes, however, restrict the natural growth of your hair and ruin its texture. You come across problems like split ends, and dandruff that slow down your hair growth. To avoid these concerns, what you should always have are clean hair brushes.

How Often Should you Clean your Hairbrush?


Relax! You don’t have to clean your hair brush every day. Let’s have a look at the points stated below to understand when to clean your hair brush.

  • For a person who takes minimal care of their hair and doesn’t use a lot of hair products, the deadline for having a clean hair brush is about two weeks. If you have long hair, notch it down to one week! You still get dead skin cells on it! Eek!
  • If you use hair products like hair gels, styling creams, hair spray, or hair straighteners, you are advised to clean your hair brush every week.
  • If you don’t use hair creams or masks frequently, cleaning the hair brush every 2-3 weeks will do.

Taking some time out to clean your hair brush will make you notice great changes in your hair over time.

How to get your Hairbrush cleaned?

How to clean a hairbrush
Source: by Jue / Pexels

Now that we understand why and when we should clean out hair brushes. Let’s have a look at the easiest ways to do so! The process does not take more than 10 minutes. It’s a small price to pay for your hair’s health!

  •  Method 1: Cleaning your hairbrush with Shampoo

Things you will need:

  • Your hairbrush
  • Clean old toothbrush
  • Gentle Shampoo or dish soap to make soapy water
  • Bowl with warm water, or use the bathroom sink or a small tub
  • Clean towel/ paper towels/ dryer sheets
  • Scissors
  • Rat Tail comb (optional)

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

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

Whether or not you’re using a paddle brush, the first step is to remove all the hair from the natural bristles of your brush or at least as much hair as possible. You can use a rat tail comb to eliminate as much hair as you can from the base of the brush. A normal comb or pointed objects like a pen or pencil will work if you don’t have one. Here’s how to do it with ease:

  1. Lift as much hair as possible from the brush’s bristles with the help of a rat tail comb’s end or a pencil/pen, and grab as much hair as you can.
  2. Use a comb to get between the bristles and lift all the hair.
  3. Cut the hair which is tangled or hard to remove using scissors.

You can use this method on both a flat or round paddle brush. If there is less hair on the brush, you can simply pull all the hair out of the dirty brush. If you make it a habit to clean out your hairbrush every time you brush your hair, this process will be fairly easy!

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

Fill a container with warm water and add a few drops of shampoo or dish soap to the bowl. Now, shake it with your hand until the water looks soapy. Soak the brush in soapy water for some time. Consider what type of hairbrush you are using:

  • Plastic/Metal brush – Soak this hair brush for about 3-4 minutes in the bowl with warm water.
  • Brush with soft/fabric padding at the base – Do not dunk the padding of the brush, i.e., the brush head, in the warm water. Just dip the bristles of the brush and shake it a few times.
  • Wooden brush/wooden handled brush/ brush with a wooden base – Ensure not to douse the brush entirely, at least not the wooden handle. Doing that will just degrade the wood over time. Follow the same procedure as above in this case too.

This step is essential to soften the natural or synthetic bristles on the brush head. Warm water helps to loosen the dirt, dust, and hair product residue that may be stuck on the brush.

Step 3: Dry your Hairbrush

Now, you must wipe your hairbrush with a dry, clean towel and jerk 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 with its bristles facing down. On a clean towel or cloth, and all of the air dry.
  • Brush with soft/fabric padding at the base – You can use the same way as above and let it air dry, but using a hairdryer is better.
  • A wooden brush or brush has a wooden handle or base – Jerk it to get rid of excess water and keep it overnight to air dry, or opt to use a hairdryer.

If you use a paddle brush, keep the material of the paddle in mind. You don’t need to dry off your hairbrush completely. Doing it moderately will also work. If your brush is completely clean after this step, Kudos to you! But if the brush is still not completely dry, don’t let that disappoint you, as it may take some tries. Simply move on to the next step.

Step 4: Use a toothbrush to remove the residual dirt

After you get as much hair as possible out of the bristles of your flat or round brush, deep clean it by emitting out the remaining product residue, dust particles, gunk, and dirt using an old clean toothbrush; doing so will also remove oils. Use need to do it gently to avoid damaging or breaking the bristles.

After the residual dirt has been removed, your hairbrush will begin to look a lot cleaner!

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

Thoroughly rinse the hairbrushes under running water to remove the shampoo or conditioner from the hairbrush’s bristles. You have to rinse it thoroughly until there is no shampoo or conditioner residue on the bristles.

If this step is skipped, you will need to clean your hairbrush with more effort than before, as it will become greasier every time you avoid this step. Running underwater will also rinse the bristles’ remaining dirt or leftover hair.

Step 6: Dry off the hairbrush completely

Use the same ways as explained in Step 3. Either let it air dry overnight or use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Once you have gone through the process, you will be left with a sparkly clean hair brush! It may take around 15 minutes to do this, but it will eventually remove the need to clean it for longer once you get into a habit.

  • Method 2: Disinfecting with Vinegar

Cleaning your hairbrush with vinegar is not as ridiculous as it may sound. Instead, it may actually be the best way to do it! Vinegar has multiple properties when it comes to cleaning. Vinegar is known to contain natural antiseptic agents that work as a cheap cleaning solution. Vinegar will help kill germs and bacteria and remove sticky residue from using different hair products. Here’s the process to follow:

Things you need are mostly the same as stated in the 1st method. The only change is that you need white vinegar instead of shampoo, and a measuring cup is good to have in handy. Here are the simple steps to follow:

  • Remove hair from the brush using the same instructions as in method 1.
  • Pour 2 cups of hot water and 2 cups of white vinegar into a large bowl.
  • The water should be hot and not just warm. A high water temperature is necessary to kill bacteria and germs.
  • Soak the brush from the bristle side into this solution. Dip it enough to rinse the dust and dirt that has accumulated.
  • Take the hairbrush out of the solution after some time. Remove the water, dirt, and dust using a tissue.
  • Use a toothbrush to further deep clean it. Do it gently so as not to harm the bristles.
  • Put the brush under running water to remove the vinegar’s smell.

Note: Be careful while cleaning a wooden hairbrush or a metal brush in vinegar. Also, keep an eye out for burns!

  • Method 3: Cleaning with Baking Soda

How to clean a hairbrush
Source: by Kaboompics .com / Pexels

Baking soda has the properties of natural deodorant and a scrub. It works just as magically on hair brushes too! Let’s see how to achieve good cleaning using baking soda:

The things you will need are just the same as before with an addition of baking soda. Given below are the simple steps to follow:

  • Remove hair as stated in Method 1.
  • Make a solution with a bowl of warm water and one teaspoon of baking soda. You can also add a combination of clarifying shampoo and soda.
  • Use a clean toothbrush to mix the solution.
  • Submerge the toothbrush in the solution and scrub on the bristles.
  • Now, rinse the brush under running tap water.
  • Lastly, lay the brush on a dry towel to air dry or use a hairdryer. The rinse and dry is now complete.

Note: Try not to use this method for brushes with natural bristles. Method 1 is most appropriate for this kind of brush. Use this method for synthetic bristles.

This was all about how to clean your hair brush. You can also use these procedures to clean your combs and makeup brushes.

When is the Time to Replace your Hairbrush?

Every 6 to 12 months! Although, it also depends on factors like what styling products you use daily and the hairbrushes’ quality if you use a plastic or wooden brush. Replace it within 8 to 12 months if you make minimum sanitization efforts. However, if you use a boar bristle, it should be replaced every 6 months.

You can often see clues like missing/broken bristles and the brush being too dirty to clean. All of these are indicators that the hairbrush to be changed.

To extend this lifespan, I advise you to remove the hair from the bristles each time you use it and do a deep cleaning once a week by using any of the above methods. You can also use two brushes, one for fresh, clean hair and one for hair with the product.

There is no better company than a clean hairbrush for clean, freshly washed hair. So, refer to this post to not sadden your hair any further.

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Clean hairbrush/Source: Deposit Photos

Click here, for tips on ‘How to get thicker hair?’.


Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 


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