How to Clean a Hairbrush | Remove Hair Care Product Build Up From Your Essential Styling Tool

Lots of people may have great personal hygiene but it doesn’t mean that they regularly wash their hairbrushes. For some reason, cleaning hairbrush is one of the most commonly overlooked tasks by a lot of people. But it’s actually basic thing you should do to ensure good hygiene so you definitely need to learn how to clean a hairbrush if you don’t yet.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Hairbrush?

Have you ever looked at your hairbrush before using it on your freshly washed hair? There’s a very good chance that it has some gunk and greyish brown stuff stuck on it if you’ve never tried washing a hair brush before. These should tell you that your hair implement needs some cleaning.

But why exactly should you clean a brush? To better convince you that you need to do add your hair tool to the list of things that need washing, we’ve rounded up a few reasons below:

  • 1. It’s basic hygiene

As you would probably know, washing the things you use on your body is just basic hygiene. You wash your clothes in between uses. You wash your makeup brushes to remove product buildup and keep it safe to use on your skin.

It’s the same thing with your hairbrush. As it picks up dirt, oil, and product from your hair, it gets dirty over time. You should then remove such if you want to continue using a clean hair brush on your tresses.

  • 2. A dirty hairbrush will get your clean hair dirty.

As mentioned above, hairbrushes pick up a lot of things from your locks. These things will then accumulate over time which you can then put back on your locks if you keep using a dirty hairbrush.

This can be annoying, especially if you’ve just washed your hair. Your dirty hairbrush can easily undo the efforts you make to clean your hair, so it’s just best to keep such tools clean as well.

  • 3. It will help keep your locks in great health.

How exactly can a clean hairbrush help keep your locks healthy? It’s quite a long process but it perfectly makes sense so pay close attention.

It all starts with everything on your hair. Your scalp produces sebum, a.k.a. the natural oils on your hair. It will then attract and hold dust, dirt, soot, and other debris on your hair, and those can be one reason why your hair gets dirty.

As you use hair products, its residue also stays on your head. Add to these the dead skin cells that your skin naturally churns out and you should really expect your locks to get dirty.

All of these can transfer to your hairbrush when you use them which makes the tool dirty as well. When you use a dirty hairbrush, all of these can be transferred back to your hair. However, if you regularly clean your hairbrush, you don’t have to worry too much about the gunk that it can put into your hair again.

This can help those who are trying to stick to the expert recommendation of not washing their locks too often. Scientists have found out that not washing your hair too much can dry out the scalp and increase hair shedding so experts recommend against washing your hair every day. Using a dirty hairbrush will make your hair dirty right away, so it’s not ideal if you don’t want to wash your hair a lot.

If you do use a dirty hairbrush on hair that you don’t wash often, the gunk will get transferred to your hair. It can then further weigh down your locks and give food to its microfauna. These can then lead to dandruff which can be a major problem.

So to avoid all of these issues, the easiest way would be to clean your brush regularly.

  • 4. A clean brush can help you get great results when styling your locks.

If your hairbrush is packed with gunk and shedded hair, it definitely won’t do you favors if you want to tame your locks or style it. Why? All of those gross stuff will be in the way.

The bristles will have a hard time reaching the ins and outs of your hair. This can make it harder for you to get your hair do what you want it to do, making the hairbrush an ineffective tool. This can complicate your hairstyling process and make a simple task more tedious.

How Often Should You Clean Your Hairbrush?

If you’re going to clean your hair brush, how often should you do it? The answer here depends on who you’ll ask. Some say that cleaning a hairbrush once a month will already do the trick. Others suggest that you do it every two weeks but there are also some experts that recommend washing it at least once a week.

Weekly cleaning is said to be the best way to keep product buildup. It’s also strongly recommended to those with long hair as their length can also equate to more dirt and product buildup.

It’s totally up to you how often you’ll clean your hairbrushes, though. But as an easy guide, you might want to remove hair from the brush as often as you possibly can.

If you have time to do it every time you brush your hair, it would be easier for you to keep the tool in good working condition.

Try to remove lint from hairbrush at least once every one or two weeks. This will help you prevent transferring product buildup back to your hair. This might require actual washing, though, so it might feel a bit burdensome for a few folks.

Due to the presence of parasites in the hair, you will also need to disinfect hair brushes on such occasions. This is especially true if you have kids who share such grooming tools as head lice tend to plague schools on the regular. In this case, try to disinfect your brushes and combs very often. If you can do so before you apply treatment to the hair, that would help ensure that their eggs won’t be planted back to your hair.

How to Clean a Hairbrush

How do you clean a hairbrush? There are three general ways and steps to do this. It would be great to do them all together in one go, but as mentioned above, you can also opt to just get the hair out of a brush on some occasions.

In any case, we’ll discuss below how to clean a hairbrush in detail.

Start by removing the shedded hair.

This is the very first step and most basic step in maintaining and cleaning hair brushes. As you’ll most likely leave a good amount of hair on your hair brush, it’s crucial to take them off to clean the whole thing.

Depending on how much hair is stuck on your hair brush, this step can only take a few seconds to even an hour. If there are only a few strands stuck, you can easily take them out by picking them off using your fingers. If they’re stuck nicely to the bottom of the brush, you can use a rat tail brush to lift them a bit. You can then use a comb to push them out.

In case there’s a lot of hair stuck in your brush, you can also just cut them off. Be careful in doing this, though, as it might damage the base of your hairbrush. Try lifting the hair first so you can easily cut them off.

There are occasions when you can’t remove all of the discarded hair from the bottom of the brush. Don’t worry about it if you’re going to do a thorough hairbrush cleaning anyway. The next steps can help further remove shedded hair so you can still end up with a hair-free brush after.

Clean the hairbrush lint.

What you’ll do in this step will depend on what kind of hair brush you’re working with. So to make things easier for you, we’ll divide this section according to the different types of hair brushes.

Here are most of the things you’ll need, however, in performing this step:

  • Toothbrush
  • Shampoo
  • A bowl big enough to accommodate your hairbrush
  • Towel
  • For Vented Hairbrushes

Vented hair brushes are some of the easiest ones to clean since they’re usually made of plastic and can be soaked in water. Here are the steps to clean this hair brush:

1. Put some water in your bowl then add and dissolve the shampoo in it.

2. Grab your hair brush then place it inside the bowl. Let it soak for at least 20 minutes.

3. Take out the hair brush then using the toothbrush, start scrubbing the base through the spaces between the bristles. You can start in any area, just make sure that you’ll go through the entirety of the hair brush to ensure that it’s clean.

4. Rinse the brush after a while to remove the gunk and lint you’ve scrubbed out. Continue scrubbing if the hairbrush is still dirty.

5. Rinse again and check if the brush is already clean enough. If yes, rinse it a bit again then let it air dry.

  • For Other Kinds of Hairbrushes Made of Plastic

Here are the steps how to clean a wet brush, paddle brush, or rounded brush as well as other kinds of hair brushes:

1. Add water into your bowl then mix in some shampoo. Stir it in nicely to make soapy water.

2. Grab your toothbrush then dip it into the soapy solution.

3. Hold your hair brush on your non-dominant hand then start scrubbing with the toothbrush. Make sure to cover all areas and touch every bristle.

4. Rinse the toothbrush with clean water then use it to remove the soap from the hair brush.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve thoroughly cleaned your hairbrush.

6. Grab your towel then press the hairbrush onto it with the bristles down. This will help squeeze out the water from your hair brush. Do this until you’ve removed the excess water from the hair brush.

7. Leave the hair brush on top of a paper towel with its bristles down to air dry.

  • For Other Kinds of Hairbrushes Made of Natural Materials

If you invested in your hair with a natural wood or boar bristle brush, you should also learn how to clean them properly. For these tools, you’ll also need a rat tail comb, so make sure to have some on hand. Below are the steps how to clean hair brushes of these types:

1. Fill your bowl with hot water only up until you can soak the bristles of your hair brush. Add in a few drops of shampoo and stir it in nicely.

2. Take your hairbrush then soak it into the water. Do not submerge the entire brush.

3. Carefully swirl the brush around for a few minutes. This will help further dislodge the lint and dirt that are stuck on the bristles.

4. Rinse the brush with hot water. Be careful not to get the base wet.

5. Check for dirt using your fingers.

6. If there are none left, grab a towel to press the brushes on. Continue doing so until you’ve removed the water from the bristles.

7. Air dry with the bristles down.

  • For Heated Brushes

These brushes also require the utmost care during cleanups. Along with these steps, make sure to have a clean cloth and maybe a special heated tool cleaning solution to clean a hairbrush of this kind.

1. Make sure that your heated tool is unplugged and turned off before starting.

2. Put some water in your bowl then add some shampoo. Dunk your clean cloth in and then wring it to remove excess water.

3. Wipe down your heated brush with the damp cloth. Make sure to get in between the bristles.

4. Using another clean cloth, wipe it dry.

5. Proceed to wash the brush with the special solution by following the instructions of the cleaning product.

6. Make sure that the brush is dry before using the device again.

If you don’t have a heated brush yet but are looking into getting one, here’s a hair straightening brush reviews guide that can help you find the best product out there. For other hair straightening tools, we also recommend our best hot rollers reviews.

How to Clean Hair Brushes with Vinegar

Aside from the cleaning solutions mentioned above, you can also use the ever so reliable vinegar to clean your hairbrushes. Some folks actually consider this to be the best way to clean hair brushes as it won’t make you use harsh chemicals in the process.

How does vinegar work as a hairbrush cleaner? With its high level of acidity, vinegar serves as a great solution for dissolving gunk and other kinds of buildups. It’s still quite gentle, however, so it won’t easily ruin most kinds of materials. These make it an excellent alternative to chemical cleaning agents.

But how do you clean hair brushes with vinegar exactly? It mostly serves as a soaking agent so you can just swap out the shampoo with it. Soak your hairbrush into the mix then proceed to clean your hair brushes as instructed above.


Hopefully, our guide helps you realize that it’s very easy to clean a hair brush and motivate you to do so. There are tons of good reasons to do so anyway, so it would be great to add this step into your hair care routine.