How to Clean a Hairbrush

Woman in towel with long red curly hair holding a clean hairbrush.

Let’s tackle a chore that often gets overlooked but is super important for hair health – cleaning your hairbrush. A clean brush not only works better, but also keeps your hair looking its best. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a hairbrush quickly and easily.

What You’ll Need

Here’s are some supplies you’ll need to clean your hairbrush:

  1. Comb or Tweezers: For removing hair from the brush.
  2. Basin or Sink: A space to soak and clean the brush.
  3. Warm Water: The base of your cleaning solution.
  4. Gentle Shampoo or Mild Detergent: Acts as a cleaning agent.
  5. Old Toothbrush: For scrubbing the bristles and base.
  6. Clean Towel: For drying the brush post-cleaning.
Woman looking in mirror using a hairbrush on curly dark hair.


Step 1: Remove Hair from the Brush

  • Tools Needed: A fine-toothed comb, your fingers, or tweezers.
  • Method: Gently pull out all hair tangled in the bristles. Start from the base and move towards the tips. If using a comb, slide it under the tangled hair and lift it upwards.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

  • Ingredients: Mix warm water (not too hot) with a gentle cleaning agent. Options include:
    • A few drops of mild shampoo (ideal for removing natural oils and product residue).
    • Mild liquid dish soap (effective for synthetic bristles).
    • For a realistic option, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar (good for disinfecting and removing odors).
  • Method: Fill a basin or sink with this solution, ensuring it’s enough to cover the bristles of your brush.

Step 3: Soak the Brush

  • Duration: Submerge the brush for about 15 minutes. Less time is needed for natural bristle brushes to prevent damage.
  • Special Care: Do not soak brushes with wooden bases or handles. 

Step 4: Scrub-a-Dub

  • Tool Needed: An old toothbrush or a brush-cleaning tool.
  • Method: Gently scrub your hairbrush’s bristles and base to dislodge dirt and buildup. Pay special attention to where the bristles meet the base, as most residues accumulate.

Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly

  • Method: Hold the brush under running water, ensuring all the soap and loosened debris is washed away. For brushes with non-plastic parts, angle the brush to prevent water from soaking these areas.

Step 6: Dry It Out

  • Method: Shake off excess water, then lay the brush bristle-side-down on a clean, absorbent towel, allowing water to drain away from the base.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance

  • Routine: Remove hair after each use to prevent buildup. Deep clean monthly or more frequently, depending on usage.
  • Extra Care: Inspect your brush during cleaning for signs of wear or damage, such as bent bristles or cracks, and replace if necessary.
Woman brushing her short blonde hair with a hairbrush.

Cleaning Different Types of Hairbrushes

Different types of hairbrushes require slightly different approaches to cleaning. Let’s break it down so you can give your specific brush the care it needs:

Plastic Brushes

  • Cleaning Method: These are the easiest to clean. You can fully submerge them in your cleaning solution. Scrub with an old toothbrush to remove residue, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Drying: Shake off excess water and lay flat to dry.

Brushes with Metal Bristles

  • Cleaning Method: Soak in a gentle solution, but be careful with the duration, as prolonged soaking might cause rusting. Use a toothbrush for scrubbing.
  • Drying: Wipe with a towel and allow to air dry with bristles facing down.

Wooden Brushes

  • Cleaning Method: Avoid soaking wooden brushes, as water can damage the wood. Instead, dip the bristles in soapy water and clean them with a toothbrush. Wipe the wood parts with a damp cloth.
  • Drying: Pat dry and leave to air dry with the bristles facing down.

Brushes with Natural Bristles

  • Cleaning Method: Natural bristles can be delicate, so gentle cleaning is key. Avoid soaking the brush. Clean the bristles with a soapy mixture using your toothbrush.
  • Drying: Gently dab with a towel and lay flat to air dry.

Paddle Brushes

  • Cleaning Method: Don’t submerge in water if it has a padded base. Clean the bristles with your soapy toothbrush and wipe the base with a damp cloth.
  • Drying: Wipe off excess water and dry with the bristles facing down.

Brushes with Fabric or Sponge Bases

  • Cleaning Method: These can be tricky as they absorb water. Clean the bristles without submerging the base. Use a damp cloth to wipe the base.
  • Drying: Pat dry and leave in a well-ventilated area.

Vented Brushes

  • Cleaning Method: These can usually handle a good soak. Scrub the bristles and the vented area with a toothbrush.
  • Drying: Shake off excess water and dry with bristles facing down.

Remember, the key to cleaning any brush is being gentle yet thorough. 

When to Replace Your Hairbrush

Do you think your hairbrush has reached the end of its lifespan? Here are the key indicators:

  • Bristles are Bent or Missing: They can’t detangle effectively and may damage your hair.
  • Cracked or Damaged Base: This can lead to uneven brushing and potential bacteria buildup.
  • Persistent Buildup: If you can’t get it completely clean, it’s time for a new one.
  • Changes in Texture or Performance: If it doesn’t brush like it used to, it’s no longer doing its job correctly.
  • Uncomfortable or Broken Handle: Affects control and efficiency in brushing.
  • Age: If you’ve had it for several years, it’s time for an upgrade.
Woman's hands and hairbrush.


How do you deep clean a hairbrush?

Remove all hair, then soak in a mixture of warm water and gentle shampoo, followed by scrubbing with an old toothbrush and rinsing thoroughly.

Why is there gray fuzz in my hairbrush?

The gray fuzz is usually a mix of dust, hair product residue, and dead skin cells that accumulate over time.

How do I properly clean my brush?

Remove trapped hair, soak the brush in soapy water, scrub with an old toothbrush, rinse well, and allow it to dry.

What can I soak my hairbrush in to clean it?

Soak your hairbrush in a solution of warm water and gentle shampoo or mild detergent for effective cleaning.

Woman in towel with long red curly hair holding a clean hairbrush.

There you have it! A sparkling clean hairbrush leads to happier, healthier hair, and it’s such a simple yet satisfying task. Plus, there’s something quite therapeutic about giving your daily tools a little TLC, don’t you think? Happy brushing!


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