Hacks and Tips

How to clean hair brushes

Cleanliness is one of the least talked about topics in the natural hair community. You would hear more about products to make your hair longer, thicker and fuller than you will hear about how to clean your hair tools. In this article, we are going to talk about how to clean hair brushes.

What really is a Hair brush?

For those who don’t know, hairbrushes are not the same as combs. A comb is not the general name for any tool used in the hair, we also have brushes. Some brushes might have a similar function to some combs but the end result is always slightly different. Hairbrushes are mostly used for smoothening, styling and detangling the hair. Below is a picture of a comb and brush to emphasize the difference between them.

hair brush
Hair comb

Green Paddle Brush from and black comb from

Looking at the pictures above you can see that they are different, because of their differences their cleaning processes are quite different also. Using a dirty brush on a clean hair isn’t sanitary because whatever dirt or gunk on the brush would attach itself to your freshly washed hair.    

How to clean hair brushes

We have different types of brushes and different makes of brushes, there are certain steps that are cleaning steps that are universal to all brushes and some that are specific to the certain type of brushes, we would take a look at all of them.

1. Remove hair:

The first step to cleaning any brush is to remove hair from the brush. You can easily remove hair from any brush using a toothpick or the tip of a rat tail comb(see our article on types of combs here) to push the hair up so you can easily remove it from the brush or simply comb the brush bristles with the comb.

Note that this should be done outside on in a bathroom, not the kitchen to prevent hair from flying into food. The more often you remove hair strands from your brush the lesser clean up you have to do later on.

2. Create a cleaning mixture

Put a bit of shampoo in a bowl, add water to it. Then stir the mixture well. (Note that this bowl should be big enough to hold the brush, should you want to soak the brush.)

3: Soak and Shake

The next step is to soak the brush in water if it is made of plastic but if its handle is wooden, simply dip the bristles (the part that is used for brushing) in water and shake it. This would cause most of the dead cells and dirt to fall off. By following this procedure, it might be enough to clean the brush if it is not too dirty but if some dirt is still hanging onto the brush, proceed to step 4.

If step 3 isn’t sufficient to get all the dirt out of your brush, pick and old toothbrush that is no longer being used and use it scrub the brush bristles and the flat surface of the bristles where it is embedded in.

4: Dry put the brush

Once that is done, put the brush face down with the bristles on the surface you are drying the brush on. This is to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom of the brush. If you are in a haste and can’t wait for the brush to dry, pick up a dry towel and use it to dry the brush thoroughly.

Aim for the bottom of the brush as water is more likely to accumulate there. Once you are certain the brush is dry, use another dry towel or a portion of the towel that isn’t wet to dry the brush.

Important don’ts to observe while cleaning a brush

  • Don’t try to remove hair from the brush with your finger. If a bristle pricks your finger it will hurt and it is even more painful when a bristle finds its way underneath your fingernail.
  • Don’t soak brushes with wooden or metal parts in the cleaning mixture, rather dip the brush in the mixture and shake it.

That’s how to clean hair brushes, cleaning a comb follows a similar cleaning process.

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