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Beauty · Hair & Makeup · How To Clean Any Kind Of Hairbrush (And Why You Need To)

How To Clean Any Kind Of Hairbrush (And Why You Need To)

You'll learn exactly how to remove all of the hair, product, and gunk out of your hairbrush—and it's not as hard as you'd think!

A couple of weeks ago at one of our weekly planning meetings, we got to talking about hairbrushes. I mentioned that my husband’s hairbrush gets really dirty (sorry dear!) because for some reason he likes to spray the BRUSH first and then run in it through his hair. It causes this sticky layer of hair to form on the base of the brush, and it is not attractive. Luckily he cleans his own hairbrush, so I don’t have to deal with that mess. 😉

But bringing up my husband’s hairbrush got us talking about our own hairbrushes, as well as how often we clean them. Most of us realized that it had been quite some time since we had cleaned our hairbrushes. We also realized that we weren’t exactly sure how we should be cleaning them anyway, or how often! So we decided that not only should we find the answers to all of these questions, but we should write a post about them as well. And that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today! 🙂

Today I have 3 different hairbrush cleaning methods to share with you. Each method is best for particular types of hairbrushes, so make sure to read the descriptions carefully so you can choose the best method for your brush. But before we get to the cleaning methods, I want to begin by explaining a little bit about why it’s so important to keep your hairbrush clean.

Why Should I Clean My Hairbrush?

First, it’s a hygiene issue. Any brush or tool that you use on your skin or hair needs to be cleaned regularly! Not only does hair and product build up on your hairbrush over time, but it also accumulates dead skin cells, dust mites, lint, dust, and the natural oils from your hair. That buildup can turn your hairbrush into a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, and that is no good! No one wants to brush bacteria, yeast, and other nastiness into their hair.

Another reason to clean your hairbrush regularly is to keep your hair looking fabulous! If you use a hairbrush that’s covered in hair, product, and other oily gunk, you’ll be brushing those oils into your clean hair. So instead of leaving your hair looking silky soft, brushing your hair with a dirty brush can actually leave your hair looking less clean than when you started.

How To Clean Your Hairbrush

You should remove any hair that’s trapped in your hairbrush about once a week. Use a pair of scissors, a thin comb, or even a bamboo skewer to lift the hair out. You can also buy a special comb cleaning tool online for just a few dollars!

In addition to weekly hair removal, you should wash your brush thoroughly about once a month. (Unless it’s a delicate or natural brush, in which case you can clean it once every other month.) The best cleaning method varies by brush type, so I’ve included a few different sets of instructions below.

Method #1 – For Sturdy Plastic Brushes & Combs

This method is great for vented brushes, combs, and any other hair tool made of sturdy plastic. That means no squishy parts, no wood, no natural fibers or materials. Just a good old plastic brush!

You’ll need:

  • A toothbrush
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 Tbsp shampoo
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • A large bowl


Start by mixing the water, shampoo, and baking soda in the bowl. Place your brush(es) in the bowl and allow them to soak for 20 minutes or so.

Then use your toothbrush to scrub the base and bristles for a few minutes to cut through any remaining gunk. Once the brush is clean, rinse it under clean water and let it dry completely on your countertop.

Method #2 – For Plastic & Metal Brushes

This method is good for a wide variety of brushes, including paddle brushes, round brushes, and wet brushes. Make sure your brush is made of plastic or metal before following these instructions. (We’ll focus on natural materials next!)

You’ll need:

  • A toothbrush
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp shampoo
  • 1 tsp baking soda


Stir the shampoo and baking soda into the water, and swish it around to mix. Dip your toothbrush into the cleaning solution and apply it to the brush bristles and the base they are attached to. Brush gently, but thoroughly. (If your brush has a squishy base, try not to get it too wet to avoid mildew issues.

When you’re finished cleaning, dip the toothbrush into clean water and go back over any soap areas to “rinse” them clean. Use a towel to dry the brush as much as you can, and allow it to dry on your countertop bristle-side down.

Method #3 – For Wooden Brushes & Natural Bristles

This method is the one you want to use if your brush has a wood handle or natural bristles. It’s the gentlest method and will help keep a delicate brush clean without causing damage.

You’ll need:


Add the Tea Tree oil to the water and stir. Dip your toothbrush in, and use it to gently brush the bristles and handle.

Don’t use too much of the water mixture, because you want to keep it as dry as possible. Once you’re finished cleaning it, simply wipe the brush down with a clean, dry cloth, then let the brush dry bristle-side down.

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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