Should you be cleaning your hair brush? Here’s what an expert says—and exactly how to do it

August 18, 2019 at 06:01AM by CWC

When’s the last time you actually cleaned your hair brush? For me, it really only happens when I notice a disturbingly large clump of hair clinging on for dear life when I take it out of my drawer. And even when that’s the case, my cleaning methods never go beyond yanking the hair out of the brush gathering it into a ball, and tossing it in the garbage.


While my method has served me well throughout the years, I could definitely benefit from taking the time to give my hair brush a solid cleaning every now and then. Not just for sanitary reasons, but also because of how much it can benefit hair health.

“Just like you clean your makeup brushes or skincare tools, it’s necessary to clean hair tools—all of these items are breeding grounds for bacteria. Product, dead skin, dust, lint, and more can accumulate on your brush, and if you don’t clean it, you’re spreading all that back into your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist Kendall Dorsey. “Brushing also helps redistribute the oil from the scalp and keeps your hair shiny. If you don’t clean your brushes regularly or correctly, you may be redistributing old product or dead skin back onto the hair, making clean hair dirty again.”

Here’s exactly how to clean your hair brush

Like me, most people only make it through the first step. But the rest is easy, too. “If you have a plastic brush, simply remove access hair from the brush with your fingers,” Dorsey says. “If you’re using a boar bristle brush, the natural bristles tend to be packed tightly together. Because of that, it’s easier to remove access hair with a comb or the pointed end of a brush.”

Next comes the actual cleaning part, and the method you use differs slightly depending on the type of brush you have.

  • For plastic brushes: “Place it in a bowl of water with baby shampoo and soak it for a few minutes. Rinse with water and allow to dry face down on a towel.”
  • For boar bristle brushes: “Grab a bowl of water and add a few drops of shampoo. Don’t soak the brush; rather swirl it around in the soapy water. Next, rinse the remaining soap and loosened debris out and use your comb again to make sure no dirt is left behind. Shake it out and place it face down on a towel to dry.”
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Dorsey’s general rule of thumb is cleaning your brushes every one to two weeks, or whenever you see residue from products on the brush. It may be another task to add to your routine, but your hair will thank you for it—promise.

The haircare tips are just beginning. You can also find out the one spot to check to determine whether or not you need to wash your hair. Then, get the scoop on if sweat actually makes your hair dirty.

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Author Tehrene Firman | Well and Good
Selected by CWC