How to Clean a Hairbrush and Why You Should Do It More Often

Regardless of whether you have round, paddle, bristle, or boar hair, the truth is that brushes can become less effective by gathering extra strands, dead skin, product buildup, and oil in addition to smoothing hair.

In the end, this may lead to us redistributing oil or dirt through our hair, which will leave us with dull or lifeless locks. Even worse, bristles may harbor bacteria or yeast, which could cause problems for your scalp.

Fortunately, though, one of the easiest methods to keep hair healthy is to keep brushes clean. But how should you go about doing it, and how often should you do it?

Continue reading for some advice and instructions on cleaning a hairbrush.

The Steps Into Cleaning Your Hairbrush

The methods and instruments for cleaning your hairbrush are the same, even though the precise method differs slightly depending on the type of brush (see further down this post for more information). 

Eliminate hair buildup

Begin by manually extracting any trapped hair from your brush, using your fingers to dislodge as much as possible. Then, employ the end of a comb or similar tool, such as a bamboo skewer or tweezers, to extract any remaining strands. For stubborn buildup, trim away excess hair with a pair of scissors.

Select your cleansing agent

Opt for a gentle shampoo, akin to what you use on your hair, to effectively cleanse your brushes. Steer clear of harsh detergents, especially for natural-bristle brushes, as they can potentially harm your hair tools. However, ensure the shampoo contains sulfates for thorough cleansing. Alternatively, a mixture of baking soda (around two teaspoons) can serve as a mild yet effective cleanser, lifting away dirt and grime.

Employ lukewarm water

Fill a medium-sized bowl with lukewarm water—not hot—and incorporate your chosen detergent.

Pay attention to the details

Post-cleansing, if any dirt persists, utilize a toothbrush soaked in your cleaning solution to gently eradicate it. There are also specialized brush cleaners available in various shapes for this purpose.

Handle drying with care

Conclude by carefully drying your brushes, positioning them with their bristles facing downward on a paper or hand towel. Allow them to air dry overnight to ensure complete moisture removal.

Different Kinds of Hairbrushes

Source: @miami5o5

Different types of brushes require different cleaning methods to ensure they stay in good condition without damage. Here’s how to clean each type:

Paddle brushes: These are excellent for blow drying and smoothing hair. Clean them thoroughly by gently brushing the bristles and brush pad with a toothbrush dipped in cleansing solution. Avoid submerging the brush pad in water to prevent moisture buildup behind the bristles, which can lead to mildew.

Bristle brushes: Whether round or small styling tools with nylon bristles, these can be cleaned similarly to paddle brushes. Use a toothbrush soaked in cleansing solution to clean the bristles and pads after removing hair.

Plastic brushes: Rigid plastic brushes, like combs or wet brushes, are easy to clean since they are often wide-toothed and can be fully submerged in water. Leave them in water for 20 minutes to dislodge oil and dirt, then use a toothbrush to remove any remaining grime.

Wooden brushes: These eco-friendly brushes need gentle care to prevent damage. Clean them with a solution-soaked toothbrush, using only the mildest shampoo or cleanser. Avoid getting them too wet to prevent potential mildew issues.

Boar brushes: These brushes are known for their ability to distribute natural oils evenly along hair strands. Clean them gently with the same method as wooden brushes, using mild cleansers and avoiding excess moisture.

Men’s brushes: Keep men’s brushes clean using the appropriate method based on their type and material, following the guidelines above.

How Often to Clean?

The material of your hairbrush, the amount of product you typically use, and the existence of additional hair problems like head lice or dandruff all affect how frequently you should clean it.

It is recommended to physically remove hair build-up from all brush types once a week or more to assist minimize product build-up and to maximize the brush’s ability to detangle and smooth hair.

Wash metal, nylon, or plastic brushes at least once a month. However, if product build-up is a problem for your hair, increase this to once every three weeks.

To prevent harming the tool itself, clean hardwood brushes and boar bristles every other month. Should you apply numerous products to your hair, it is recommended to cleanse the brushes every six weeks.

What About Dandruff?

Maintaining brushes free of lint, grit, and oil is crucial for treating scalp diseases like dandruff because it can prevent the growth of yeast, which can aggravate the condition, and avoid aggravating already sensitive skin. Brushing can really help with dandruff since it distributes oils throughout hair and removes dead skin cells when a hairbrush is kept clean.

When cleaning a hairbrush that has dandruff, make sure to use an anti-dandruff shampoo that has anti-fungal components, like tea tree oil, to prevent the formation of germs and yeast. Likewise, wash brushes more frequently than usual; for example, wash plastic, nylon, or metal brushes every two weeks, or wash wooden or boar bristle brushes once a month.

Don’t Let Head Lice Bug You

Lastly, take extra care to completely clean the brush if you or anyone else in your home has had head lice in order to prevent the lice and their eggs from spreading further. To eliminate any lingering bugs without causing harm to the tool itself, immerse brushes in hot (not boiling) water for a minimum of fifteen minutes. As an alternative, take the hair out of the brush and freeze it for at least 12 hours in a sealed bag.

Once all the lice have been killed, clean the brush as usual using the above recommendations based on the type of brush.

One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to maintain healthy-looking hair is to keep your brushes clean. Knowing how and when to clean a hairbrush will also make any pricey item last longer, allowing you to spend less money on brushes and more on the things you really enjoy.

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