how to clean hair brushes

A Step by Step Guide on How to Clean Hair Brushes

Cleaning hair brushes is not a priority for most us.  Unfortunately, they are some of the things that collect gunk which is almost impossible to remove. Since they are made of bristles, broken hair strands, oil build up, lint and other forms of dirt accumulate at the bottom of the stems.

Pulling the hairs and the rest of the dirt can be difficult and excruciatingly slow. Accordingly, it is much easier to keep the buildup at bay by cleaning your brushes on a routine basis.  

How Often Should You clean Your Brushes?

The in-between washes period for your brushes should depend on factors such as how often you use them and the condition of your hair.

Ideally, brushes that are used on a daily basis should be cleaned more regularly. If you use your brushes every once in a while, there is no doubt it will take longer before they become dirty.

A week is enough wait period before cleaning a brush that you use on a regular basis. This allows you to use a simpler cleaning approach because dirt comes off easily.

You can wait for a month or more if your brush is not a part of your every day hair care routine. Just ensure that you do not wait long enough for excessive buildup to collect in-between the bristles.

In regard to hair condition, washing hair daily helps leave less product residue on the brushes. However, hair that has product buildup on the scalp transfers the same to brushes.

Dandruff can also increase the rate at which hair brushes get dirty.

Reasons for Cleaning Hair Brushes

Hair brushes are just like other tools that you use to maintain your body. They collect dirt over time. Failure to clean them puts the dirt back on your body. Henceforth, you are likely to experience persistent itching and problems such as dandruff on your scalp.

Besides, a dirty hair brush is gross. The sight of broken hair, lint and dirty oily gunk at the bottom of brush bristles takes a way the goodness of brushing the hair every morning.

How to Light Clean Hair Brushes

clean hair brushes

Hair brushes help keep your hair neat. Therefore, it costs nothing to give back the love by cleaning them on a weekly basis. Ideally, this might sound a bit too much but it helps prevent buildup. Dirt that has accumulated over time is not only difficult to remove, but also finds its way into your hair.

What You Will Need

  • Bathroom sink
  • Dish soap or shampoo
  • Warm water
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpick or comb


Step 1: Use a tooth pick or comb to pull hairs or any buildup that is stuck at the bottom of the bristles. Pass it between two lines of bristles. The process might take a little bit of time depending on how dirty the brushes are.

Step 2: Combine water and dish soap in the sink and cycle with your hands for the soap to lather. This is important because suds allow water and soap to act on dirt easily

Step 3: Place your brushes into the solution and ensure that they are completely submerged. This allows all the parts to soak properly so that the dirt can come off easily.

Step 5: Let soak for 15 minutes

Step 6: Gently scrub remaining dirt with a toothbrush

Step 7: Rinse thoroughly under running water and set aside for air-drying.

How to Deep Clean Hair Brushes

deep cleaned hair brushes

If your brush has accumulated balls of the dirt over a long period of time, a solution of water and dish soap might do very little to help. However, it is not yet time to throw the brush away. A little bit of elbow grease and a better cleaning solution will provide you with the results you desire.

What You Will Need

  • Toothpick or comb
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • A small bowl
  • Tooth brush
  • Warm water
  • Scissors (optional)


Step 1: Use a toothpick or brush to remove as much hairs from the brush as possible. You can use a small pair of scissors to cut them first if they are too tangled around the bristles.

Step 2: Combine baking soda, vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl. Stir properly to form a consistent paste.

Step 3: Use a toothbrush to apply the mixture on your brushes. Set the brushes aside and wait for at least 15 minutes.

Step 4: Combine warm to hot water with a few drops of dish soap to form a lathery solution.

Step 5: Soak the brushes in the solution and use a toothbrush to scrub off the vinegar and baking soda paste. As it clears, you will notice the dirt coming off as well.

Step 6: Rinse the brushes under running water and shake well to remove excess water.

Step 7: Set the brushes aside to air-dry.

Other Cleaning Methods and ideas

Vinegar and Water

A solution of vinegar and water can help clean and eliminate germs from your brushes. Mix water and white distilled vinegar in the ratio of 1:1. Follow up by soaking your brushes (hair and lint free) for 15 minutes. Ensure that they are completely submerged to get the best out of the solution. Remove them from the solution and use a toothbrush to wash in a solution of warm water, vinegar and dish soap. Rinse thoroughly, shake and air-dry.

Use a Lint Roller Tape

A lint roller tape can help transform a completely dirty hair brush. Take a sheet and fold it severally while making sure that the sticky side is on the outside. Pass it between the lines that separate the bristles of your brush. The gunk should stick around it. Discard a sheet once it stops picking dirt and use another one.

Use a Dishwasher for Plastic Hair Brushes

Use a tooth pick or the end of a comb to remove hairs from the brushes. Put them in a mesh bag and place it in the dishwasher. Choose your cycle and let the machine get your brushes as good as new. Note that placing brushes with hair into the dishwasher can clog the draining system of your appliance.

Use a Velcro

Velcro can pull hairs and lint from hair brushes. Wrap it around each row of bristles and pull upwards. It will collect as much dirt as it can. Repeat the process with each row until you clean the entire brush. You can later use a needle or toothpick to pull the dirt from the Velcro.

Use Two Brushes

Remove hairs from both brushes with a tooth pick or comb. Follow up by scrubbing the brushes bristles through each other to remove the remaining dirt.

How to Clean Combs

Combs are much easier to clean than brushes. You can easily remove the hair by hand. Further, the buildup is more accessible. Cleaning combs only requires warm soapy water and a toothbrush. Begin by pushing the hair with your hands. Soak the comb in the soapy water solution and let it sit for a minute or two. Use a toothbrush to scrub off oil residues. Rinse thoroughly under running water and wipe dry with a towel.

Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Hair Brushes

There important tips that apply despite the cleaning method that you choose for your brushes. These tips help with both hygiene and proper maintenance.

Use a toothpick or the end of a comb to remove hairs from your brushes: If you want your brushes to remain in good condition, put this tip to practice after every few uses. Since it can be a little annoying, try doing it when engaging in fun activities such as watching.

Rinse brushes thoroughly after washing: Cleaning helps remove buildup but not without proper rinsing. Soap residue is just as dangerous as hair oil gunk. It dries up and gets caught in-between the bristles.

Choose hair products wisely: The condition of hair brushes is highly dependent on the choice of hair products. Products that are excessively oily lead to a lot of build up in the brushes.

Soak brushes before washing them: Since brushes can be difficult to clean, take some time to soak them. Most importantly, use hot or warm water. It helps loosen the dirt firm. Remember to use a reliable soap or shampoo as well.

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