top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Shampoo Lounge

How to Clean a Hair Brush: 3 Easy Tutorials for Sanitizing Brushes and Combs

Turns out that linty buildup is very easy to fix.

Here's something I'm not super proud of: You know that gross, linty residue that builds up in your hair brushes over time?

Yeah, I used to think that was a sign that my brush was ready for the trash. In reality, tho, buildup just means it's time to give your hair brush a good ol' clean (something I had never done before—like, not even once). No, I don't mean just pulling the leftover hair from the bristles—which, yes, I do actually do each time, TYVM—I mean fully shampooing, soaking, and scrubbing your brushes until they're basically like new again.

I mean, think about it: You clean your makeup brushes and sponges every week or two to prevent bacteria and grime (or you should...), so why wouldn't you do the same with your hair brushes? And when you don't clean your hair brush and you use it anyway, you're actually distributing loads of product buildup and oil back into your hair. Cute, right? This all to say: For the love of god, don't be like me—you need to wash your brushes every 2-4 weeks if you, IDK, even remotely care about the health of your hair and scalp.

How to clean hair brushes with shampoo

One of the most tried-and-true methods for cleaning a hair brush involves shampoo, a toothbrush, and a comb. One thing to keep in mind: Wooden hair brushes and natural bristles can't be submerged in water like plastic ones can, so make sure you separate your brushes before you get started. Here's what YouTuber-slash-hairstylist Liz Bumgarner does in the video above—plus, exactly what you'll need:

What you'll need:

Dirty hair brushes (duh)

Large plastic dishpan

Gentle sulfate-free shampoo

Clean comb and toothbrush

What you'll do:

1) Run a clean wide-tooth comb through your brushes to pick up any excess hair or product buildup. Don't worry about being too perfect here—just remove as much hair as you can before you move on to step two.

2) Next comes the washing

Remember: Your plastic and aluminum brushes will go through a slightly different process than your wooden ones, so separate your brushes before you do the following:

For plastic hair brushes: Throw your brushes into a dishpan, drop in a decent amount of mild shampoo, and fill up the bin with warm—not hot—water until your brushes are completely submerged. Let them soak for 10 minutes, then grab a toothbrush and gently clean any leftover hair and buildup from the bristles.

For wooden hair brushes: Fill up your basin with warm water and shampoo, and dunk each brush one at a time into the soapy water, cleaning the bristles with your toothbrush. The key here? Absolutely no soaking—just clean your brush, remove it from the water, and set it aside.

3) Rinse each brush with cool, running water, making sure to get rid of any leftover shampoo. Pro tip: Gently squeeze the water out of your paddle brushes to prevent any buildup from forming underneath the base.

4) Lay out your brushes on a clean towel and let them dry for a sold 12 to 24 hours (the longer you wait, the more likely they'll be totally dry).

article written by by Ruby Buddemeyer for Cosmopolitan

bottom of page