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How to Clean a Hairbrush the Right Way


Washed your hairbrush lately? If you can’t remember the last time you sudsed it down, you’re not alone. It’s certainly easy to forget this task, especially with all the other chores you do on a regular basis. But you need to learn how to clean a hairbrush properly so you can have the best results possible when you brush your hair — and so that you can avoid making clean hair dirty again.

In an interview with TODAY, dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang explained, “Hairbrushes keep the outer layer of the hair smooth and help redistribute oil from the scalp, but they don’t work as well when they’re filled with hair.” Along with stray hairs, brushes can also pick up product residue, not to mention dead skin. Yuck! Since no one wants that on their hair — especially right after getting out of the shower — it’s important to learn how to clean hairbrushes the right way to prevent this problem in the first place.

Luckily, washing hairbrushes is pretty easy to master. According to Conair, the job can be done in just three simple steps. The first step is to take all the hair out of the brush. If you have a flat brush, a simple comb might be enough to do the trick. But if you have a round brush, you might need to get a little more creative — try pens, pencils, slim screwdrivers, or the end of a rat tail comb. 

The second step is to fill a bowl with warm water and a drop of clarifying shampoo (or baby shampoo). If you have a plastic or metal/plastic brush, put it in the soapy water and soak for three minutes. If your brush is wooden or has fabric or soft padding at the base, then just dip and shake them without submerging them. Repeat as many times as needed. After you’re done soaking or dipping, rinse your brush under warm water until it’s nice and sparkly.

Finally, it’s time to dry your hairbrush. Most plastic and plastic/metal brushes can simply be laid face down on a clean, dry towel and left to dry overnight. Same goes for brushes with fabric or soft padding — but you may want to blow-dry them with a hair dryer if you happen to live in a humid place. Wooden brushes or brushes with natural bristles should ideally be hung to air-dry overnight (try hanging over your shower head). But again, if the weather is humid, you may consider whipping out the hair dryer to finish the job.

Many hair experts recommend washing your hairbrush thoroughly at least once a month. But it might actually make the work easier if you clean it once per week. Think about it: There will be less time for stray hairs to build up and cause you more grief when you’re just trying to get out the door in the morning without a bunch of knots. And if you do it sooner, you’ll thank yourself later!

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