How to Clean a Hairbrush

How to Clean a Hairbrush? Picture yourself fresh out of the shower, your hair still dripping and smelling fresh and heavenly, only to run through your hairbrush and redistribute bacteria on your scalp. Pretty sad, but it’s actually a common occurrence that happens more often than you would believe. If you want to avoid this image shortly, make sure you learn how to clean a hairbrush.

A hairbrush is a hair styling necessity that can get pretty dirty. However, it should be kept squeaky clean. Hairbrushes recollect your hair’s natural oils, product build-up, bits of dust, and other environmental debris. Remember, when your hairbrush is filled with old hair and bacteria, you comb that same bacteria through your hair and redistribute it on your scalp.

Now that you know how important it is to keep your hairbrush clean, it’s time to learn about the actual process. Though you may think the process is annoying and complicated, it is actually not. You need to know a few tips and tricks to do a good job; after all, your hair is at stake here. Learn how to clean a hairbrush pain-free with our guide below.

How to Clean a Hairbrush

What is the Best Way to Clean Hairbrushes and Combs?

Step 1: Get rid of Excess Hair

Make sure you remove any strands that have built up on your hairbrush. This is the same for all types of brushes, whether you tend to reach for a round brush or a paddle brush. You can begin to do this by simply pulling the hair away with your fingers. For any strands that seem to have latched on and are a little more challenging to remove, you can use a pair of scissors to cut them loose.

Step 2: Prepare your Mix

Once you’ve removed all excess hair from the brush, you’ll want to make a cleaning mixture. When it comes to giving your brush a thorough washing, your best bet is to create a concoction of shampoo and water. You can throw a bit of baking soda into the mix as well.

Step 3: Scrub Away

Dip a toothbrush in your mix of shampoo and water, then gently scrub between the bristles of your hairbrush. After thoroughly cleaning your brush, rinse the bristles with water and allow your hairbrush to air dry.

Best way to clean a comb

Just like cleaning a hairbrush, you’ll want to remove all excess hair from your comb.

  1. Grab your shampoo and water. Make a mix just like you would for cleaning your hairbrushes.
  2. Soak. Since combs are typically made entirely of plastic, with no cushion or wooden part to worry about, you can usually just let it soak to remove any debris. Place your comb into the mix and allow it to sit for half an hour.
  3. Dry. When time is up, remove your comb from the mix and pat it dry with a clean towel.

Cleaning round hairbrushes

Use a tablespoon of shampoo or soap, place it inside a large bowl, and warm it with warm water.
The warm water helps break things down even further than cold water.
Using a scissor, run the scissor along the base of the brush, cutting the hair out and removing it from the bristles. You could also use a rattail comb and pull all the hair up out of the bristles.
Then place the round brush inside the water and swish it around for 30 seconds. A good tip is to use another round brush and rub them both against each other with warm, soapy water. This technique really gets into the bristles and removes product buildup that could be stuck on the bristles.
Then rinse with water and place on a towel to dry.

Recommended Product

Colgate 360 Extra Soft Toothbrush

how to clean a hairbrush: Colgate 360 Extra Soft ToothbrushPin


  • Extra Soft Toothbrush for Sensitive Teeth
  • 48% Softer Bristles
  • Comfortable, ergonomic handle for precise maneuvering

Cleaning Flat Hairbrushes

  1. Use a tablespoon of shampoo or soap, place it inside a large bowl, and warm it with warm water.
  2. The warm water helps break things down even further than cold water.
  3. Use a rattail comb to remove hair from bristles and swish in warm soapy water for 30 seconds.
  4. Feel free to use any other flat brush you’re also cleaning to rub up against the wet bristles to remove the gunk and buildup.
  5. Rinse with water and let dry.

Recommended Product

Garnier Fructis Shampoo

how to clean a hairbrush: Garnier Fructis ShampooPin

The shampoo features Apple Extract and Ceramide to fortify hair as it grows to bring life back to every inch: stronger, healthier, and shinier. It is a paraben-free formula that features Active Fruit Protein, an exclusive combination of citrus protein, Vitamins B3 and B6, fruit and plant-derived extracts, and strengthening conditioners.

Cleaning Plastic Combs

Plastic combs can be safely sanitized in either rubbing alcohol or apple cider vinegar.

  1. Fill a cup or bowl that’s big enough to hold your comb with vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
  2. Let the comb soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the brush or comb and rinse it out under running water

Recommended Products

Isopropyl Alcohol 99%

Vaxxen Labs 99% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol is USP-NF Medical Grade, meaning it is exactly what you need to clean almost every surface in your home.
Vaxxen Labs isopropyl rubbing alcohol is perfect for medical and in-home cleaning and can also be used for chemistry, making hand sanitizer, and equipment sterilization.

how to clean a hairbrush: Isopropyl Alcohol 99% Pin


  • Multi-purpose
  • 99% purity

Vinegar Apple Cider Organic

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is made from select varieties of organic apples. In addition to its culinary uses, apple cider vinegar has been touted in countless folk remedies for centuries.

The pure, natural flavor of apple cider vinegar makes it an excellent choice for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces, and we also found that it works great when you want to get wax out of hair.

how to clean a hairbrush: Vinegar Apple Cider OrganicPin


  • Certified Organic
  • Certified GMO-Free
  • Certified Kosher, Vegan.

Common Questions Regarding How to Clean a Hairbrush

How do you deep clean a hairbrush?

To deep clean your hairbrush, follow the steps below:

  1. Fill a bowl or sink with warm water. Add a few drops of gentle shampoo to the water and swish it around to create suds. You can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda for extra cleaning power. Stir the water well.
  2. For a plastic brush, submerge the entire brush in water. Let it soak for 3 to 5 minutes. If the brush has soft padding at the base where the bristles attach, dip the brush bristles into the soapy water, making sure to keep the padding dry.
  3. Don’t entirely submerge a wooden brush. This could damage the wood and finish. Just submerge the bristles, as described above, for a brush with a padded base.
  4. Dip and shake the brush several times. This will help loosen and remove oils, dead skin cells, and product buildup. If your brush isn’t too dirty, this should remove most of the buildup.

Why is my hairbrush full of lint?

You may think your hairbrush is full of lint, but it’s actually not. The residue that you see in your hairbrush that resembles grey lint is dead skin cells, along with old, matted hair and hair product residue.

How To Disinfect a Hairbrush

  1. Soak the head of a brush in vinegar to disinfect.
  2. You only need to soak the head of a brush to disinfect it.
  3. Add one part white vinegar mixture to one part water in a bowl big enough to hold your brush’s head.
  4. Soak the brush’s head in the mixture for 20 minutes.
  5. Rinse the brush under running water when you’re done.

How do professionals clean hairbrushes?

Professionals certainly know all the ins and outs of cleaning hairbrushes since it is a tool they employ daily. Some of their guidelines for cleaning hairbrushes include:

Pour a half cup of vinegar into half a cup of warm water, soak all the brushes, and comb into it for about half an hour. Wait till the dirt and hair get dampened and soft. Alternatively, mix baking soda with warm water and soak in the hairbrushes.

How often should you clean your hairbrush?

There is no specific time frame for how often you should clean your hairbrush. It really depends on the types of products you use on your hair and how often you use them.

If you regularly use styling creams, gels, or hairspray, a good rule of thumb is to clean your hairbrush once a week. If you don’t use much product in your hair, try to clean your brush every 2 to 3 weeks. To make cleaning easier, try to remove hair accumulated in the bristles every couple of days.

How to store brushes and combs?

You could store your comb inside a bathroom drawer in organizers so you can see them laid out perfectly. You could keep your combs in bathroom drawers and brushes in one of your bathroom cabinets.

How to dry a hairbrush?

Make sure to place them on a towel in a cool, dry place to prevent the growth of bacteria. Avoid placing them to dry in your bathroom, which could be a place bacteria like to the harbor, given the warm temperatures.

Additional Tips on How to Clean a Hairbrush

  • Get rid of excess hair about once a week or when you notice your hair starting to build upon your brush. As with most cleaning, the more often you do it, the less you’ll have to do next time.
  • When removing hair from the brush with your fingers, hair should come out fairly easily, so try to be as thorough as possible. If you encounter any hair stuck on, use a toothpick to loosen it and then remove it with your fingers.
  • You do not need to use strong cleaners on your hair or brush. A mild cleaner, such as dish soap or shampoo, works excellently.
  • Avoid getting the sides wet if you have a brush with a wooden handle. Water can damage the wood.
  • Allow the brush or comb air dry after cleaning it. If you’re in a hurry, you can pat it dry with a paper towel or rag or use a hairdryer on medium heat a few inches away.

Related Story: How to Clean Earrings

Photo of author
I'm Claire Williams, the founder of and resident cleaning enthusiast. I’ve spent years researching the best ways to clean all types of items, from jewelry to air conditioners, and now I want to share my knowledge with you!
Photo of author
I'm Claire Williams, the founder of and resident cleaning enthusiast. I’ve spent years researching the best ways to clean all types of items, from jewelry to air conditioners, and now I want to share my knowledge with you!