Ways to sanitize delicate bristle brushes

You should actually get in the habit of removing hair from your brush after every use, since a clogged brush can damage your mane. “As the hair gets tangled in the brush, it is going to create more resistance while you’re brushing,” Gaunitz warned. “That’s creating a greater tugging action, which could lead to more breakage or shedding.”

How to Clean a Hair Brush: 3 Easy Tutorials for Sanitizing Brushes and Combs

how to clean your hair brush

Lol, here’s something I’m not super proud of: You know that gross, linty residue that builds up in your hair brushes over time? Yeah, I used to think that was a sign that my brush was ready for the trash. In reality, tho, buildup just means it’s time to give your hair brush a good ol’ clean (something I had never done before—like, not even once). No, I don’t mean just pulling the leftover hair from the bristles—which, yes, I do actually do each time, TYVM—I mean fully shampooing, soaking, and scrubbing your brushes until they’re basically like new again.

I mean, think about it: You clean your makeup brushes and sponges every week or two to prevent bacteria and grime (or you should. ) , so why wouldn’t you do the same with your hair brushes? And when you don’t clean your hair brush and you use it anyway, you’re actually distributing loads of product buildup and oil back into your hair. Cute, right? This all to say: For the love of god, don’t be like me—you need to wash your brushes every 2-4 weeks if you, IDK, even remotely care about the health of your hair and scalp.

And to help you get there, I broke down the three best tutorials on YouTube for easy, effective cleaning. Keep reading for everything you’ll need.

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How to clean hair brushes with shampoo

One of the most tried-and-true methods for cleaning a hair brush involves shampoo, a toothbrush, and a comb. One thing to keep in mind: Wooden hair brushes and natural bristles can’t be submerged in water like plastic ones can, so make sure you separate your brushes before you get started. Here’s what YouTuber-slash-hairstylist Liz Bumgarner does in the video above—plus, exactly what you’ll need:

  • Dirty hair brushes (duh)
  • Large plastic dishpan
  • Gentle sulfate-free shampoo
  • Clean comb and toothbrush

What is this weird, dusty stuff in my brush?

Gross news, folks: The stuff in your brush isn’t merely dust. It’s also dead skin cells and scalp oil and broken hair clumps and product residue. See? I told you, gross.

Grosser yet, “additional bacteria and fungus can grow on the material inside the brush,” said trichologist William Gaunitz, founder of Advanced Trichology. That lingering material can cause flare-ups for someone with a scalp condition like dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. So cleaning is crucial.

How often do I need to clean my brush?

Close-up of a hairbrush's head, showing clumps of hair and other debris between the bristles.

This will vary, depending on how much you shed and what products you use. In general, you should be washing your brush at least every two weeks.

You can tell whether your brush needs a bath just by looking at it: Is there visible gunk in it? Is it “dusty?” Time to clean.

What tools do I need?

Nothing fancy! Just these items:

  • Liquid soap
    • For synthetic brushes, just about any soap will work: dish soap, shampoo, or body wash.
    • For brushes made with natural materials like boar bristle or wood, use a mild shampoo free of sulfates, like those from GM Reverie or Davines.

    How Often Do You Need To Wash Hair Brushes?

    The frequency of cleaning your hair brushes depends on several factors, including the type of brush, how often you use it, and the number of styling products you use. However, as a general rule, it is recommended to clean your brushes every 2 to 4 weeks. For example, if you use a lot of hair products (especially dry shampoo), you may need to wash your hair brush more often than someone who doesn’t use hair products.

    How Often Do You Need To Wash Hair Brushes?

    Between washes, it is important to remove excess hair from your brush. Do this at least once a week! Comb through the bristles to remove stuck hair, or pull out the hair with your fingers. If your brush looks dusty or dirty after removing the excess hair, it’s time for a proper wash.

    Ultimately, it is important to pay attention to the appearance of your brush and clean it when it looks dirty or dusty. Regular hair brush cleaning will help keep your brush in good condition and prevent the buildup of dirt and oils that can harm your hair and scalp. To learn more about how to clean your hair brush, check out our comprehensive guide on hair brush cleaning below.

    How to Clean Hair Brushes: Supplies

    The first step in learning how to wash hair brushes is gathering your supplies. These are the supplies you’ll need for hair brush cleaning:

    How to Clean Hair Brushes: Supplies

    • Soap or shampoo (You don’t need a special soap; the shampoo you use on your hair will work just fine)
    • A toothbrush or small cleaning brush
    • A comb or tweezers for removing hair and other dirt stuck in the bristles
    • Scissors (to remove any knotted hair)
    • A bowl or clean sink
    • A clean, dry towel

    Once you’ve gathered your hair brush cleaning supplies, proceed to the below instructions for the best way to clean hair brushes by hair brush type.

    The Best Way To Clean Hair Brushes By Hair Brush Types

    The next step in learning how to wash hair brushes is identifying the materials of your hair brush. Regardless of the shape (round, flat, etc.), most hair brushes are either made of plastic or wood/bamboo with plastic, metal, or boar bristles. Figure out the materials, and then read below for the best way to clean hair brushes by type.

    How To Clean a Hair Brush Made of Plastic

    Follow these instructions for cleaning hair brushes made of plastic, like the Wet Hair Detangler Brush and the Scalp Delight™ Scalp Massage Brush. You can also follow these instructions for a hair brush made of plastic with metal bristles or other synthetic materials that tolerate water.

    1. Remove all hair first using your fingers. If any hairs remain, use tweezers or the end of a teasing comb to remove them.
    2. Some hair brushes (like this Scalp Massage Brush) allow you to open them to wash the inside. If you can open the brush without breaking it, wash all parts separately.
    3. Soak the hair brush in warm, soapy water for at least 10 minutes.
    4. Use a toothbrush or your fingers to scrub the brush to remove all the dirt and grime.
    5. Rinse with clean water, then set the brush bristle side down on a towel to dry. Do not use a hair dryer or place the brush near a heat source, as this can damage the bristles.

    Hint: Check out this hair brush guide to learn more about how to choose a good brush for your hair type.

    Wet Hair Detangler Brush, Pink

    Glides through tangles with ease without causing damage to fine, thinning, or brittle hair.



    Scalp Delight™ Scalp Massage Brush

    Has soft and flexible silicone bristles that ensure gentle exfoliation and stimulation of the scalp.

Colin Wynn
the authorColin Wynn

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