How to Clean Your Hairbrush

Your hairbrush is one of those beauty ride-or-dies we seldom question; you always know it'll be there to get the job done, but are you giving it the TLC it needs? Just like makeup brushes, you need to clean your hairbrush, too.

Whether it's a bristle brush or wooden hairbrush, this is our stylist-approved guide on everything you know about the easiest and most effective way to clean your brush. 

We'll start with the big questions, then delve into some specific tips for you to keep in mind as you take care of your brush.

hairbrush with flower

How Often Should You Clean Your Hairbrush?

You might not think cleaning your hairbrush is that big of a deal. Just pulling off all the loose hairs it catches constitutes clean for most people. But real cleanliness for your brush goes a bit deeper. 

Hair isn't the only thing that can gather on your brush's base. Dirt, dust, dander, and even pet fur can wind up tangled between the bristles. Using a dirty brush means you risk exposing your hair to bacteria and dirt every time you run it through your hair.

How often you should clean your hairbrush depends on a few factors, namely what types of products you use and your indoor air quality. If you travel with your brush, then cleaning it after using it in a public setting, like the gym, is a must. 

  • For those who regularly use hair products like hairspray, styling gels, and mousse, then it's best to clean your hairbrush at least once every week thoroughly.
  • If you only stick to minimal styling products here and there, cleaning it twice a month is enough.
  • Some people opt for cleaning their hairbrush monthly if they aren't using products.

How Do You Clean a Hairbrush? 

Cleaning your hairbrush requires some know-how to get deep between the bristles and ensure they are squeaky clean. Although it may feel like a chore, it's a great way to help your hair. It's always best to follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions to take care of your brushes. 

You can follow these five easy steps to clean your hairbrush in under 20 minutes. 

Step 1: Remove as Much Hair as You Can

Pull the hair strands that have accumulated on the brush's bed and around the base. If you have a comb, use the pointed end to gently pry the hair loose and lift it off the bristles. Any pointy objects can work if you don't have a tailed comb handy. 

If you have hair stuck on your brush, then using some scissors to cut them loose will have the bed looking clean in no time. 

Step 2: Fill a Bowl With Warm Water and Shampoo 

You can use a daily cleansing shampoo, like Bain de Terre Green Meadow shampoo, which is a daily cleansing shampoo with a fresh green fragrance.  

Avoid using dish soap on your brushes, while it is an effective cleaning agent, but it may dry out the bristles or cause discomfort if you don't rinse it thoroughly. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to avoid putting anything on your hairbrush that you wouldn't be comfortable putting directly on your hair, scalp, or skin.

For 6 to 8 ounces of warm water, use a dime-size amount of shampoo.

Step 3: Soak Your Brush

There are a few ways to go about this, depending on the type of hairbrush you have. Do not submerge a wooden hairbrush or hairbrush with a padded base in water; this can cause mold or damage the wood. Instead, use a shallow bowl and only soak the bristles. 

If your brush has a padded bed where the bristles emerge, dip the bristles without getting the padding wet. Avoid soaking any padded hairbrushes as water can get trapped in the brush and lead to mold.

Soak your hairbrush for 3 to 5 minutes before lifting them out of the water and gently shaking the bristles dry. 

Step 4: Dip and Shake 

The dip-and-shake method is the easiest and most effective way to clean your hairbrushes. Stylists use this technique on all sorts of brushes as it's the best way to get a deep clean without ruining the finish or integrity of the brush.

For wooden brushes: Gently dip and shake the wooden hairbrush a few times, being mindful to avoid direct contact with the wood. Skip the soaking altogether and opt for a few good dips before shaking it clean. 

Soft-padded brushes: Dip and shake as with the wooden brush but be extra careful to prevent the padding from getting soaked. If the bed has absorbed too much water, press the bristles to squeeze as much as you can. 

Natural bristle brush: If you have a natural hair bristle brush with a plastic or metal base, you may be able to soak it for 3 to 5 minutes, then dip and shake any leftover dirt off the bristles. However, if you have a padded brush bed, you'll want to follow the directions for "soft-padded brushes" above. 

How to Deep Clean a Hairbrush

While regular rinses with shampoo can be enough, you may want to go a little deeper, especially if it's been a while (or ever!) since you last cleaned your hairbrush. 

Deep cleaning follows the same steps as above, and the same rules apply if your brush is made of wood or you have a padded base.

For an extra deep clean, you could try out these suggestions:

● Use a toothbrush to clean between the bristles gently. This strategy is excellent for cleaning dust from a hairbrush. 

● Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda to your shampoo blend before soaking or dipping your brush.

● For plastic or metal brushes with synthetic bristles, submerge the brush entirely and rub the bristles with some extra shampoo on your hand. Massage the lather into the bristles, then rinse thoroughly. 

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