How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs Properly

How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs | 4 Expert Approved And Easy Tips

Learn how to clean hairbrushes and combs properly. Check out DIY home remedies like baking soda, vinegar, etc. to clean hairbrushes.

In This Article:

  1. How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs
  2. How To Disinfect Hair Brush From Lice
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

As a hair stylist, I see a lot of people are aware about the correct type of comb and hairbrush they need to use. And that makes me happy! However, not a lot of people know how to maintain their combs and hairbrush.

Now for example, how often do you wash your hairbrushes? Do you wash them at all? 

If your answer is no, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered and have a simple guide on cleaning your combs and brushes for you. Check it out! 

How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs

Combs and hairbrushes take in a lot of dirt and grime present in your hair. The natural oils on your hair get coated on to these brushes and further attract dust, dirt, and buildup. 

Not washing your hair brushes often can lead to these oily and grimy buildup getting coated on your hair while you’re using the brush.

There can also be bacterial and fungal growth if you haven’t sanitized your combs and brushes for a long time. (Akbaba, M et al. “Comparison of hairbrush, toothbrush and cotton swab methods for diagnosing asymptomatic dermatophyte scalp carriage.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology : JEADV vol. 22,3 (2008): 356-62. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2007.02442.x). This can cause scalp and hair troubles like dandruff, fungal infections, oiliness, and even hair breakage. 

So here’s a simple way to clean your hair brushes at home. 

How To Clean Hair Brushes With Vinegar

With Water And Soap

Here’s how to clean your combs and hairbrushes and home in easy steps. 

Step 1: Remove the excess hair from the brush using your fingers. Sometimes our hair breaks and gets matted in the brush or comb, so get these strands out before you begin cleaning.

Step 2: Mix some cleanser (it could be dish soap or sulfate-based shampoo) with water to prepare a solution for your hairbrushes.

Step 3: Pour the cleanser over the brushes and comb and using an old toothbrush scrub the grime and dirt from the bristles and teeth. 

Step 4: Rinse the hairbrushes and combs under a faucet until the water runs clear. 

how to clean a wooden hairbrush

With Vinegar

Sometimes, just using water and soap isn’t enough, you’ll need to deep clean your hairbrushes. In this case, using white vinegar is the best way to disinfect your combs and brushes.

Some people like to use vinegar in the cleaning process itself and add it to the shampoo-water mixture. 

However, I believe that soaking the brushes into vinegar is more effective. 

Also, I’ve found that using cleaning vinegar instead of white vinegar is so much better. White vinegar or the stuff you have in your pantry has only 4.5-5 % acetic acid while cleaning vinegar has around 6-7% acetic acid. 

I like to soak my brushes and combs for a full hour in vinegar before cleaning them as per the steps I’ve listed above.

Note: Do NOT use the vinegar soaking method to clean wooden hair brushes or combs. A lot of wood brushes are porous and soaking them will ruin them. Only use this disinfecting method if you have plastic, silicone or rubber combs and brushes. 

how to sanitize hair brushes between clients

With Baking Soda

If you do not have cleaning vinegar or even white vinegar at hand, you can try making a baking soda and water paste as it’s very effective in removing stains.

This is an especially good cleaning hack if you have hard product buildup on your combs or brushes due to use of hairsprays, gels, conditioners, etc.

The baking soda paste acts as a scrubbing agent that physically removes debris from your brushes. 

You can use an old toothbrush to scrub the handle and interior surfaces of your combs and hairbrushes with this paste to deep clean it.

However, make sure you’re not using this paste on wooden hairbrushes, especially the more expensive ones. It can be very abrasive and might leave marks on the brush handle or remove the polish coating.

You can incorporate this hack into the hairbrush cleaning steps I’ve mentioned above. So you’d be using a baking soda paste right after you use dish soap to clean it and before rinsing your brush under the faucet. 

Think of it as washing yourself with body soap and then using a body scrub for that thorough cleansing. It’s sort of like that. 

how to clean hair brushes with vinegar and baking soda

With Hydrogen Peroxide

If you find your hairbrushes or combs too dirty yet do not find them sufficiently physically damaged to justify throwing them away, here’s what you need to do. 

Try a hydrogen peroxide bath!

Yes, I know. Using bleach to clean your hairbrushes sounds too extreme of a step. But hey, it works wonders, you know.

You do not have to directly pour peroxide on your brushes and combs. In fact, never do that. 

Mix 3-4ml of hydrogen peroxide in the dish soap/shampoo and water mixture I’ve talked about earlier and then let your dirty hair brushes soak in there for an hour and so. 

This bath removes all signs of grease, buildup, flakiness, and matted hair from your hairbrushes. 

Also, I often use this hack to get rid of dye stains from my combs and hairbrushes as the peroxide is a fantastic lightening agent. 

How To Disinfect Hair Brush From Lice

how do you deep clean hair brushes

If you’re using an expensive wooden handle, natural bristle brush, or if you have lice eggs (nits) on the hairbrush, then dish soap just won’t cut it.

Using harsh abrasive cleaners like baking soda can scratch the surface of these brushes and it won’t completely destroy the lice. Also, the wood handles might swell up due to soaking them in water for a long time.

In this case, I’d suggest swishing the handles around the bleach/vinegar bath instead of soaking it for a long time.

Also, instead of soaking the bristles, you can fill the bleach mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it onto the brushes and wipe it off after a while to remove the nits and lice instead. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you clean your hairbrush?

This actually depends on your hairstyling routine. If you’re someone who has used a lot of hairsprays, hair gels, leave-in conditioners, etc. then you’ll need to clean your hairbrush every week to prevent buildup.
However, if you do not use these styling products then washing brushes every 2-3 weeks is alright.
Also remember to wash your hairbrushes and combs more frequently if you have an oily scalp or dandruff issues. 
And always remember to sanitize your hairstyling tools if someone else has used them. 

How do I remove buildup from my hairbrush?

To remove stubborn dirt and buildup from the hairbrush, you can use a paste of baking soda and water. Scrub the surface with buildup using an old toothbrush and then wash off with water. You can even soak the brush in soapy, warm water first to loosen the buildup.

how to clean lint from hairbrush

What is the gray fuzz in my hairbrush?

It might look like lint, but that gray fuzz on your hairbrush is actually a mixture of dead skin cells, scalp’s natural oils, and the variety of products you use on your hair. Disgusting right? You can clean this gray fuzz using an old toothbrush and then wash your brush with dish soap and water (if it’s plastic) or gently wipe it with soda and vinegar mixture (if it’s wood). 

When should you throw out a hairbrush?

If you’re using a plastic or rubber hairbrush, you should replace it every 12 months. However, if you see cracks on the brush surface and bristles breaking or separating, you should get a new hair brush sooner. In the case of natural wood brushes with boar bristles, they can last for years if you take care of them right. 

Can a dirty hair brush cause hair loss?

Not directly. But a dirty brush can cause dirt and bacterial buildup on your scalp, leading to issues like dandruff, scalp acne, inflammation, etc. This can weaken the hair follicle and then lead to hair loss. 

Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

Final Thoughts On How to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs Properly

Just like any other beauty tool, your combs and hairbrushes need regular cleaning. However, this is one aspect a lot of people forget about.

Not cleaning your brushes can lead to oil, dirt and product buildup that can then coat your hair causing your tresses to get dirtier every time you comb them.

Also, there is a high chance that there is bacterial or fungal growth on your unwashed combs and brushes.

You do not need to go the extra mile to clean your brushes and combs. You can simply use an old toothbrush to remove the hair and lint on the brushes and then sanitize using one of the home remedies I’ve suggested above.

If you’re using a regular plastic comb and brush simply cleaning it every week or so with dish soap and water can also do the trick

However, natural bristle brushes, especially ones with a pure wooden handle can require a little more maintenance.

Also Read:

How To Clean A Flat Iron

How To Remove Hairspray From Bathroom Walls

How To Get Vaseline Out Of Your Hair

How Often Should I Wash My Hair Brush


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