How to Clean a Hair Brush

What’s the point of washing your hair if later you’re going to style it with a dirty, fuzz-filled brush? Your hair and your brush will look better if you clean your hair brush regularly.

Before you start cleaning your brush, take care to consider what materials it’s made out of. Some brushes, such as those with wooden handles, require more gentle treatment than others.

Three Ways to Wash your Hair Brush

There are several ways that you can wash your hair brush. The method you should choose depends on what materials you have on hand and the makeup of your brush.

Pick out the excess hair. The first thing you want to do when cleaning your hair brush is to get all of the excess hair out of it. This will make the rest of your job much easier. Depending on the shape and bristles of your brush, you may be able to pick out the hair with your hands. However, if that proves to be difficult, you can try using another hair brush, the end of a comb or even a toothpick to get it out.

Wash your brush in the sink

If your brush’s handle is neither wood nor rubber, you can soak your brush in the sink using water and shampoo. Just run the sink full of warm water (not too hot or the brush could melt) and add about a teaspoon of any type of gentle shampoo (one that isn’t medicated). Mix the shampoo in the water with your fingers until the solution is fairly uniform. The shampoo should be able to remove the oils and other residue fairly easily.

Once your brush has soaked in the sink for about 30 minutes, then use another hairbrush or an old toothbrush to scrub your brush clean. The bonus to using another brush instead of a toothbrush is that you can clean both of the brushes at the same time.

Once you’ve gotten your brush(es) good and scrubbed, simply rinse it off under the tap. Lukewarm water is fine for this step.

Once you’re sure you have removed all of the soap and debris from your brush, then hang it up or lay it on a towel so that it can air dry. You can attempt to wipe your brush dry with the towel, but this is difficult and not really necessary.

If your brush’s handle is wood or rubber, you should use a toothbrush dipped in a small amount of the soapy water to lightly scrub it. Then rinse the brush under the tap with lukewarm water. Do not leave your brush in the sink to soak, even for a couple minutes, and be careful not to get the handle of your brush very wet.

Use The Dishwasher or Washing Machine

If your brush is made of a good, hardy plastic that’s not conducive to melting, you can take the easy way out and make a machine wash your brush for you. Once you’ve gotten the hair out of your brush, as outlined above, you can put it in the top rack of the dishwasher or in the washing machine on the cold cycle. If you’re going to put your brush in the washing machine, wash some sheets or towels with it so it doesn’t bang against the edge of the cylinder. (That could harm your brush, not to mention that the banging is annoying).

Don’t put your brush in the dryer unless you want it to be ruined. For the same reason, turn the heat off in the dishwasher if you are going that route. You can hang up your brush or lay it out on the counter to dry instead.

Ammonia or Bleach Soak

If your brush is not delicate, you can do a further sanitation job by soaking it the sink in either a mixture of one part ammonia to four parts water or a solution of one part vinegar to four parts water. Use warm water, but not so hot that you will burn yourself or melt your brush. If you don’t want to put vinegar or ammonia in your sink, you can soak your brush in a bucket or other portable container.

Let your brush soak in the solution for about 10 minutes. After your brush is finished soaking, give it a good rinse with warm or lukewarm water. You don’t want the vinegar or ammonia ending up in your hair.

Then dry your brush as described above.

Note: Be careful when working with ammonia. Use it only in a well ventilated area, and avoid prolonged exposure to your skin.

Keeping Your Brush Clean

The best way to keep your hairbrush clean is to prevent it from getting a lot of shampoo and styling product buildup. Rinse it out regularly and try to pick out the excess hair at least every couple of days. Regardless of how clean you keep your brush, it’s recommended that your replace it at least once a year to maintain the health of your hair and scalp.



  1. Darla says:

    When I wash my hair, I use a hairbrush or comb, alternating them regularly. Not only does it work the shampoo into my hair better than fingers, it means I always have nice clean hairbrushes and combs with no work.

  2. Kathy says:

    When I do laundry, I take a hairbrush and throw it in with the whites, so it gets bleached, and they come out perfectly clean.

  3. Katie says:

    If it’s full of dried sticky hairspray, take that same bottle of hairspray and spray the brush till it’s dripping, drop it into a tall drinking glass, let it sit for a few minutes, then fill the glass with HOT HOT tap water, pour in liquid dish soap, stir and let sit till you need it next, rinse and it’s good to go. Kinda weird, hairspray to remove hairspray, I know, but it works great.

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