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When Did You Last Clean Your Hairbrush?

You’ve just stepped out of the shower after washing your hair with your favorite shampoo. You finally feel clean after a long day. Then you go to detangle it with… your dirty hairbrush that hasn’t been cleaned in months. Mood killer.

Taking care of your hair involves a number of steps, from washing it with the right shampoo to limiting your use of heat styling tools. Gently brushing your hair with the right brush is essential to your hair’s health.

If you haven’t washed your hairbrush in months (or maybe ever), it could be the missing step in your hair care routine. We’ll explain how to clean a hairbrush and incorporate hairbrush cleaning into your routine to keep your clean strands looking their best.

August 29, 2022
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Woman with Red Hair Holding a Brown Brush
Table of Contents

Why do you need to clean your hairbrush?

Over time, your hairbrush collects hair care products, like gel, dry shampoo, and conditioner. Along with oils and dead skin cells, this buildup can create a lot of gunk in your hairbrush — which you don’t want to use on your freshly washed and styled hair. 

The gunk on your hairbrush may cause your hair to look greasy faster, and you might find yourself using even more products, like dry shampoo, as a result.

How do you know it's time to clean your brush?

There isn’t an exact timeline for when you need to clean your hairbrush. The time it takes for your brush to become dirty depends on your habits and styling products. If you use many styling products, we recommend cleaning your brush once a week. If you use minimal products, washing your brush every 2–3 weeks is fine.

Your hair type can also affect how often you need to clean your brush. If you have curly hair, you might use plastic combs more often than your brush. But check your brush for any visible buildup — like fuzz that looks like lint — as a sign that it's time to wash it. 

How to clean a hairbrush

Adding another step to your hair care probably doesn’t sound very appealing. But we promise that cleaning your brush is simple and quick.

Elegant Cosmetic Basic Set with brushes, oils, and soups

1. Remove hair from the brush

First thing’s first: Completely remove any hair built up in your brush. If your hair is tangled around the brush bristles, this might take some patience. If it’s really stuck, gently cut through the mats with a pair of scissors. 

Removing the hair from your brush prevents the spread of old products on the strands and helps your brush work better. If you have a lot of buildup, your brush can’t penetrate your hair as deeply, making it less effective at detangling.

2. Creating your cleansing soak

Grab a bowl you can submerge your brush in, then fill it with warm water. Add a little bit of your shampoo and mix it well. You don’t need much shampoo — just take a small amount and let it dissolve in the water. If you want a really thorough clean, add some baking soda to the bowl. 

3. Soak your brush

Completely submerge your brush head in the mixture and let it soak. How long you let it soak depends on the amount of buildup on your brush, but leave it for at least two minutes. Be sure you give it enough time to remove the oils and hair products from the brush. 

If you have a wooden hairbrush, the water could damage the wood. Submerge only the bristles in the bowl.

4. Scrub

After letting your brush soak, scrub the brush to loosen any stubborn gunk. To scrub, use a new toothbrush or your hands. Using a toothbrush will ensure your brush is clean even when you can’t see the lingering buildup. 

Gently rinse your brush clean once you finish scrubbing. Make sure there’s no shampoo and baking soda left on your brush — it could dry and spread to your hair.

5. Air dry

After you’ve finished washing your brush, gently pat it with a towel to remove excess water, then let it air dry. To make sure any water that penetrated the brush head isn’t trapped, lay your brush out with its bristles down.

It’ll take a few hours for your brush to dry completely, so we recommend washing your brush at night and letting it dry while you sleep. If you’re in a rush, use a hair dryer on a cool air setting to speed up the process.

How to clean combs

Plastic combs are easier to clean than a typical hairbrush. You can skip the soak and rinse and just scrub the comb with soapy water.

Even though they carry less hair, you want to clean your plastic combs because oils and buildup still occur. You can clean them less frequently than your brush, though.

People also ask

What is the gray fuzz in my hairbrush?

The gunk you see on your hairbrush is a combination of dead skin cells, oils, dandruff, and hair products. Combined with excess hair in your brush, this can create the gray fuzz you see in your bristles. You don’t want to brush your hair while your brush is dirty, which is why regular cleaning is a good idea.

Combing long, blond, wavy hair

How do you deep clean a hairbrush?

If you want to give your hairbrush a deep clean, let it soak with a combination of shampoo and baking soda. Give it enough time to ensure the mixture loosens all the buildup in your brush. Then scrub it thoroughly after soaking. If there’s mega-gunk on your brush, use a clarifying shampoo to give it an intense cleanse.

Should I clean my hairbrush?

Yes. Clean your brush so you don't spread old oils, dead skin cells, and crusty products on your strands while you brush your hair. 

If you notice your hair looks dirty or greasy soon after washing, this could be a sign that cleaning your brush should be a regular part of your hair care routine. Taking care of your hair tools will help your hair look its best and your tools last longer. Just like you clean your makeup brushes to prevent breakouts, you need to clean your hairbrush to keep your hair healthy.

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