If your hair has a lot of buildup despite frequent washings or feels dirty, even when you just washed it, your hairbrush could be to blame. If you are not cleaning your hairbrush regularly, you could be transferring oil, dirt and grime to your clean hair every time you brush it. Cleaning your hairbrush is fast and easy and will keep your hair looking healthy and well.
Why Clean Your Hair Brush?
It’s a grooming item, so it shouldn’t need to be cleaned itself, right? Not so fast! According to dermatologists, your hairbrush needs to be cleaned at least once a month—or more frequently if you use a lot of styling products. Every time you brush your hair, you transfer dead skin cells, oil from your skin and hair and old product to the brush. When you brush your clean hair the next day, all of that buildup is transferred, resulting in less than lovely locks.
Those skin and oil deposits cause another problem as well. They harbor bacteria, which can lead to odor over time. So every time you brush your hair with a dirty brush, you’re transferring both bacteria and a stale, musty odor back onto your hair and scalp. Thankfully, cleaning your brush eliminates this issue and ensures you’re not dirtying your hair every time you brush it.
“Cleaning your hairbrush every week keeps it from building up a ton of hair and old product and will make the brush actually do its job, which is to grip the hair and smooth out the cuticle,” Allure magazine
How Often Should Your Hairbrush Be Cleaned?
Experts recommend that you clean your hairbrush at least once a month if you do not use a lot of product and have a normal or dry skin type. If you use a lot of product or your hair gets oily very quickly, you should wash your brush more frequently; once a week is ideal.
Washing your hairbrush serves another purpose as well; it extends the life and usefulness of the brush. Quality hairbrushes are expensive, and if you replace yours every time it gets too stinky or visibly dirty, you’ll end up buying a few each year. Buy one quality brush and care for it and it could last you several years.
How To Clean Hair Brushes
You can wash several brushes at a time; either way, allow about 20 minutes to thoroughly clean your brush. You’ll need some household items to get the job done right – and your brush will need some time to dry afterwards, so don’t start this project if you’ll need to brush your hair immediately afterwards.
1. Gather the following items to start cleaning your hairbrushes:
- A fine comb, pick or pen (toothpicks will work as well)
- A clean toothbrush
- Baking soda
2. Use the end of the comb (or the pick/toothpicks) to remove hair from the brush. If you have long hair, you’ll find more to remove, but even people with short hair will find a surprising amount of hair matted and tangled in the brush. Use scissors on any hair that is tangled and attached to the bristles, being careful not to cut the brush itself.
3. Discard the hair. You should throw it in the trash; don’t drop it into the toilet or sink, because that could cause a plumbing disaster if the hair clogs the drain.
4. Make a mixture of equal parts shampoo and baking soda and use the toothbrush to scrub this combination into the base of the brush where the bristles are attached. This will loosen any oil or dead skin cells and lift them from the hair.
5. Add some warm water (about half a cup) and massage the bristles with the soapy mixture.
6. Rinse the brush under warm running water until no bubbles appear.
7. Rinse with vinegar to remove any traces of shampoo; the smell of the vinegar will dissipate after the brush dries.
8. Place the brush on a towel to air dry, then use as desired.
9. Use the same method to wash your combs each week; a dirty comb can transfer bacteria and oil to your hair the same way a dirty brush can.
Caring For Specialty Brushes
Some brushes need special care; you can always see if your local maid service can do it for you during a home cleaning or you can learn more about cleaning these specialty hair brushes below:
Boar Bristle Brush
A natural boar bristle brush does more than just detangle and smooth your hair, it is designed to carry the oils from your scalp down the length of your hair. This kind of brush does an amazing job keeping your hair healthy, but only when the brush is kept scrupulously clean. Boar bristles require special care and handling to prevent damage:
You’ll need shampoo, a comb and water to clean a boar bristle brush.
Comb the brush from the base up through the bristles to gently life away any tangled hair. Mix some gentle shampoo (pour about a teaspoon into a cup of warm water) and water and immerse the brush. Allow the boar bristle brush to soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and allow to dry completely.
Plastic Detangling Brush
Those little teeth do an amazing job of removing tangles, but if you wash it too vigorously, those useful little teeth will snap off. Use your fingers to gently remove any tangled hair from the brush, then soak the brush in a blend of shampoo and warm water for about a half hour. Rinse the brush in warm water and then with vinegar, and allow to dry completely before using.
Taking the time to thoroughly clean your hairbrush ensures you are not transferring dirt and oils to your hair every time you brush. Commit to washing your hairbrush at least once a month — or more frequently — and you’ll love the fresh, clean look and smell every time you brush your hair.