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How to Clean Hair Brushes Without Damaging Them

If your hairbrush could talk, what would yours say about you? “My owner loves to use me but never bothers to clean me up?” or “My owner loves to use and keep me clean always.” I bet you’d choose the latter. But for that to happen, you really should know how to clean hair brushes the right way.

how to clean hair brushes: a picture of a black hairbrush

Our hairbrushes are loyalists. We use them on our hair and weaves and oftentimes forget to clean them up. Since you’re on this page, I can tell you now have a change of heart. And to help you out, you’ll see how to clean your brushes to remove dirt without damaging the brush. Stay put.

Why You Should Clean Your Hair Brush

how to clean hair brushes: a picture of a pink  hairbrush with accumulated hair

A hairbrush is every hair lover’s best friend. It smoothens, detangles, and keeps your hair looking neat. But it can also get dirty pretty fast especially as it takes in oil, dirt, dust, and products in your hair.

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You may think you can still manage the dirty brushes but guess what? When you use an unclean hairbrush on your hair, all that dirt and buildup goes right back into your hair. 

So if you want your hairbrush to do its job well without dumping residue in your hair, clean them often. Doing so removes dirt, hair, and product buildup in the bristles. This is necessary because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal to shed about 50 to 100 hairs a day. If this happens to you and you brush your hair often, a lot of this hair will accumulate at the base of the brush.

Without cleaning often, all this residue will go back into your hair every time you use your hairbrush. As a result, a dirty hairbrush will be contradicting the reason you own a brush in the first place.

How Often Should You Clean Your Brush?

using a black longtail comb to clean a hair brush

There are no one-size-fits-all rules to how often you should clean your hairbrush. It all depends on a few factors:

  • How often you use products on your hair.
  • Your brush type.
  • How often you use your brush.
  • Your hair type.

If you often use styling creams, gels, or hairspray, clean your hairbrush once a week. If you don’t use much product in your hair, try to clean your brush every two to three weeks.

But whether you use styling products or not, aim to remove accumulated hair on the brush bristles every day or two. A general rule of thumb is to always clean your brush when you see any residue, whether product, dandruff, or hair, on your brush. And when you notice a lot of buildup on your brush, it’s time to reassess your hair habits. You just may be using too many products and that’s not good.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Hair Brushes

Materials for cleaning hairbrushes
  • Scissors
  • Bowl or sink
  • Towel
  • Deep-Cleaning a Hairbrush
  • Shampoo or soap
  • Warm water
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Rat tail comb (optional)
  • Cotton Swab

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How to Clean Hair Brushes

brush cleaning materials

Remove Excess Hair

Before you start cleaning, remove any hair stuck in the bristles of your brush. You can use your fingers or a rat tail comb to pull the hair from the bristles. You can also use a pair of scissors to cut out long strands that are stuck or a bit difficult to remove. 

Strive to do this every week, or whenever you notice strands of hair building up on your brush. The more often you do it, the less painstaking it’ll be the next time you clean your hair brush.

Wash Hairbrush with Shampoo

Fill a bowl or sink with warm water and add a few drops of shampoo to the brush head. Afterward, swirl the brush head in the water. If it’s a plastic brush, submerge it entirely in water so it soaks for about three to five minutes. But if it’s a wooden brush, don’t entirely submerge it in water as this can damage the wood. Instead, submerge only the bristles.

Dip and Shake the Brush 

Doing this will help remove oils, dead skin cells, and product buildup in the brush.

Scrub with a Toothbrush

Use a toothbrush (not one you use for your teeth) to scrub your hair brush. Just dip the toothbrush in your shampoo or soapy water mixture and use it to gently scrub between the bristles of your hairbrush. This will help remove any buildup that shaking the brush didn’t get rid of.

Rinse and Dry the Hairbrush

Once you’ve finished cleaning the hairbrush, rinse it in cool water and shake the brush in the water so soap leaves it completely. You can also sprinkle a little water on the base of the brush and wipe it dry with a towel or cloth.

Afterward, airdry your brush with the bristles facing down so the water drains out. After some time when water must have drained from the brush, turn the brush over and let the bristles face up so they can fully dry. 

When Should You Replace Your Hairbrush? 

pink and purple hairbrushes

Don’t get too relaxed after learning how to clean hair brushes. You should also know when to replace your hairbrush. Though a well-maintained hairbrush can last you a long time, you should replace it when you notice certain signs.

Generally, if your bristles are bent, shorter, missing, cracked, broken, or flat, it’s probably time you replaced the brush. Other than that, keep using the tips we shared here and clean your hairbrushes properly so they last long.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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