How to Clean a Hairbrush: Easy 5-Step Process

We might not think about cleaning our hairbrushes, but they can collect dust and grime over time.

Published June 13, 2022
brushing through hair with brush

You've got your haircare routine down to a T, but don't forget a very vital step to keeping your locks healthy: cleaning your hairbrush. Learn simple ways to clean plastic and wooden brushes so you aren't transferring oil and old product back onto your hair. Your hair will thank you!

Step-by-Step Method for Cleaning Plastic Hairbrushes

plastic hair brush

You probably have an array of different brushes in your beauty arsenal. Luckily, you can clean plastic flat and round brushes the same way. To get started, you need to gather:

  • Toothbrush
  • Comb with a pointed end
  • Scissors
  • Towel
  • Baby shampoo or dish soap
  • Hairdryer (optional)

Step 1: Remove Dust and Hair From Brushes

Getting rid of the hair build-up is the most important. If you soak your brush with all that hair in it, you'll just have a nasty mess.

  1. Use the pointed end of a comb to pull up and remove as much hair as possible. If you don't have a comb, you can gently hit your brush (bristle-side down) against a counter to bring all the hair to the top.
  2. Use the scissors to cut the hair off a round brush to help remove it.
  3. Pull out as much hair as you can.
  4. Use the teeth of the comb to comb up and remove any dust.

Step 2: Loosen Grime on the Hairbrush

Once you have all the dust and hair gone, you can focus on loosening up some of the grime and oils on your hairbrush.

  1. Grab an old toothbrush.
  2. Dip it in a bit of soapy water.
  3. Run it back and forth along the bristles to loosen up oils and skin cells.

Step 3: Soak the Hairbrush

The hair is all gone, so it's time to give the brush a good soak to loosen up any dirt and grime.

  1. Fill a sink or bucket with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of dish soap or shampoo.
  3. Agitate to get it a bit sudsy.
  4. Soak the brush for 10-30 minutes.

Step 4: Scrub Away Dirt and Oils

Loosening everything up is just half the battle when you are soaking it. You need to use a toothbrush or scrub brush to get everything off.

  1. Scrub the brush with a toothbrush in between the bristles.
  2. Rinse with water.
  3. Repeat until all debris is gone.

Step 5: Dry the Brush

With everything scrubbed and rinsed off, you need to dry out the brush before using it.

  1. Lay a towel down on a flat surface.
  2. Put the brush bristle down and allow it to air dry.
  3. If you are in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer to get it dry quicker.

How to Clean Wooden Brushes

wood hair brush

You can follow most of the same steps for a wooden brush. But you can't soak a wooden brush. To get started, grab:

  • Comb with a pointed end
  • Tea tree oil

To quickly clean wooden brushes, you can follow these steps.

  1. Use a pointed comb to pull out as much hair and dust as possible.
  2. Comb the bristles to pull out any dust.
  3. Create a mixture of warm water and 5-10 drops of tea tree oil.
  4. Soak the bristles of the brush for 10-20 minutes. (Only soak the bristles.)
  5. Gently tap the bristles against a towel to pull out water.
  6. Lay the brush bristle down on a towel to dry.

What to Soak Hairbrushes in to Deep Clean Them

When it comes to soaking your hairbrush, you can use a simple soapy water concoction to clean them. However, if you need a deeper clean, you might want to head to the pantry.

How to Clean Hairbrush With Baking Soda

If you have heavy build-up on your brush and bristles, you need something with some grit to remove the grime. Baking soda to the rescue!

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of warm water.
  2. Soak the toothbrush in the mixture.
  3. Scrub down the brush with the toothbrush thoroughly.
  4. Rinse with water and allow to dry.

Clean Hair Brushes With Apple Cider Vinegar

Need a soak that requires no scrubbing? Try the apple cider vinegar soak. All you need is:

To use this simple soak, follow these instructions.

  1. Remove as much hair as possible.
  2. Mix 1 cup of warm water, 2 tablespoons of ACV, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
  3. Mix everything together well.
  4. Completely submerge the bristles in the mixture for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Rinse away all the grime.
  6. Allow it to dry.

How to Deep Clean Hairbrushes With Vinegar and Baking Soda

White vinegar is acidic; therefore, it can dissolve dirt, grit, and dust. Using it with a bit of baking soda can get your brushes sparkling clean. For this soak, you need:

The baking soda and white vinegar method takes a bit of elbow grease, but it'll get even the filthiest brushes clean.

  1. Wet a toothbrush and dip it in baking soda.
  2. Scrub the brush to loosen up any grime.
  3. Fill a cup with straight white vinegar.
  4. Allow a plastic brush or the bristles to soak for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pull the brush out of the liquid.
  6. Give it one final scrub.
  7. Rinse and dry.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Hairbrushes

Hydrogen peroxide works to kill bacteria, so it works great for removing any microscopic creepy crawlers in your brush.

  1. In a cup, mix 1:1 hydrogen peroxide and water.
  2. Add a brush with the hair removed.
  3. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse and dry.

How Often to Clean Your Hairbrush

Like most other things in life, how often you'll need to clean your hairbrush depends on how much you use it. If you use your brush daily to style your hair, clean it once a week to remove oils, styling products, and grime. However, if you only use your brush to actually brush your clean hair, you don't need to clean it as often. In this case, you can aim to clean it every 2 weeks or so to get the hair out and remove dust.

Simple Ways to Clean and Scrub Your Hairbrush

It's important to clean your hairbrush regularly to ensure it's not depositing oil, grime, and more into your clean hair. It's also important to ensure your brush is sanitary. Follow these simple steps to get your plastic and wooden brushes and combs clean.

How to Clean a Hairbrush: Easy 5-Step Process