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How to clean a hairbrush in three easy steps

How to clean a hair brush
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We use hairbrushes on a daily basis to tame our hair, but how often do we clean them? If you can’t remember the last time, knowing how to clean a hairbrush is quick and easy. Similar to knowing how to clean makeup brushes , cleaning a hairbrush properly will ensure it’s hygienic and long-lasting for healthy tresses.

Over time, hairbrushes have a build-up of excess dirt, oils, dead skin, or hair products that form gunk on the bristles or base of the brush. Trouble is, this build time will transfer each time we brush our hair — especially when it’s clean!

While it may seem like a chore, knowing how to clean a hairbrush is simple and only takes a minute. So give your grimy hairbrush some TLC with these 3 simple steps. 

1. Remove excess hair

Hairbrush with hair tangled

Hairbrush with hair tangled (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

First, remove strands of hair tangled in the hairbrush by simply pulling them out with your hands. For tangled strands that are difficult to remove, use a pair of scissors to remove the tough strands. Ideally, you should be doing this once a week to prevent a matted build-up of hair.  

2.  Make a soapy cleaning solution   

Soapy water

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Next up, fill a sink or bowl with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap or shampoo along with one teaspoon of baking powder. Stir the water around until it makes a soapy solution. Then, leave the hairbrushes to soak for an hour to allow the soap to break down the excess oils, dirt and grime.  

3.  Scrub the brushes clean 

Washing brush under tap

Washing brush under tap (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Finally, dip an old toothbrush into your soapy solution before gently scrubbing between the bristles of your hairbrush. Always start at the base of the bristle and work upward, then scrub the other edge of the brush to remove any buildup.

After you’ve cleaned your brush thoroughly, rinse the bristles with water until there are no more suds. Pat the hairbrush with a dry cloth and place on a towel to air dry. Always wait for the bristles to dry properly before using.  

How to clean a wooden hairbrush

Wooden brush

Wooden brush (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If your brushes have a wooden base or have natural bristles like this BFWood Bamboo Paddle Hairbrush ($9, Amazon), do not soak these. Instead, dip a cloth or toothbrush into the soapy water and gently rub in between the bristles, and in the base of the brush.

Try to use as little water as possible so as not to soak the brush. Wipe with a dry, clean cloth and leave to dry bristle-side down on a towel.  

 How often should you clean your hairbrush? 

If you’re a fan of using styling products such as gels or hairsprays, you should ideally clean your hairbrush once a week. But if you don’t use any products, cleaning your hairbrush every two to three weeks is sufficient.  

When should you replace your hairbrush? 

Woman brushing hair

Woman brushing hair (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Depending on how you care for them, you should replace your hairbrush every six to 12 months for most brushes. However, top quality brushes that are more expensive can last for years with proper care and cleaning.  

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!