How to clean a hairbrush – and why it could actually improve your hair in the process

6th November 2020 | Author: Jenny Tai

We cleanse our faces with balms and foams, we clean our bodies with shower gel, we wash our hair with shampoo yet can you tell us the last time you cleaned your hairbrush? Or even wondered how to clean a hairbrush?

The fact that you’ve clicked on this link suggests that it’s either been a while, or you’ve never done it. Beyond just good hygiene, cleaning a hairbrush can also make a big difference to the condition and look of your hair.

Below, we’ve explained how to clean a hairbrush, and listed the products you’ll need to do so. You can also check to see if you’re using the best hairbrush for your hair type in our best hairbrush guide.

FURTHER READING: What does shampoo and conditioner actually do to your hair?

How to clean a hairbrush

According to a study from the University of Arizona, the average hairbrush harbours almost 3,500 colonies of bacteria per square inch.

That is because your daily brushing creates a buildup of dead skin cells transferred from your scalp to the brush.

Not only is this a bit gross, but you’re effectively rubbing these cells, dead skin and bacteria through your freshly washed hair. If you have greasy hair naturally, this can make things particularly worse.

So how do you clean a hairbrush? And is it enough to simply remove the hair stuck to the bristles? Here are two methods. If you haven’t cleaned your hairbrush in a while (or ever) we recommend starting with the deep cleanse.

You can then get away with the quick clean method to keep the brush in great condition. Either way, you should be looking to wash your hair brush with warm water and mild shampoo weekly, where possible. If you’ve got long luscious locks, we recommend you do this more often.

FURTHER READING: How to clean makeup brushes and choose a makeup brush cleaner

♥︎ How to deep clean a hairbrush

You’ll need:

You can also substitute the baby shampoo for apple cider vinegar. It’s a great cleanser and is one of the key ingredients in Hairstory New Wash – our absolute favourite SLS-free shampoo.

In place of Dettol, you can use baking soda. It’s not quite as effective but is natural and less harsh on your hands.

FURTHER READING: Hairstory New Wash review: Can this £44 sulphate-free shampoo alternative transform our hair?

♥︎ Step-by-step guide

  1. Remove loose hair from the hairbrush using your hand
  2. Run the sharp edge of the rat tail comb along the base of the bristles to lift up any hair that remains
  3. Using the scissors, cut this raised hair in half to make it easier to remove
  4. Mix the mild shampoo and warm water in the bowl
  5. Put the hairbrush(es) in this mixture and, using the toothbrush, clean in between the bristles
  6. Drain the sink and place the hairbrush bristle side down on a clean towel to dry
  7. Once dry, fill up the sink or bowl with hot water again and this time put in two capfuls of Dettol
  8. Leave to soak for an hour
  9. Rinse the brushes and leave to dry again

FURTHER READING: How to clean beauty blenders

♥︎ Hair brush quick clean


You’ll need:

  • Mild Shampoo – such as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo
  • A bowl large enough to submerge your hairbrush(es) – you could also use your sink
  • Warm water
  • An old toothbrush

♥︎ Step-by-step guide

  1. Remove loose hair from the hairbrush
  2. Mix the mild shampoo and warm water in the bowl
  3. Dip your brush in the water, grab the toothbrush and brush along the bristles
  4. Place the hairbrush bristle side down on a clean towel and let it air dry

We then recommend spraying your brushes with a sanitiser spray. We use the Pro Hygiene Collection (£16) spray and it works for both our makeup brushes and our hairbrushes.

If you have natural hair, which tends to be thicker and curlier, it may take a little more effort to get rid of the hair and products from your brushes and we recommend that you try to wash your combs and brushes as much as you can.

The video below talks through the same processes as above but from a natural hair perspective.

FURTHER READING: The best hair masks for dry, fine, curly and natural hair types

Don’t miss out! Sign up for the mamabella newsletter today


This site contains affiliate links to recommended products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. We will not recommend anything we don't believe in and we are not paid by brands to include specific products unless explicitly stated.
Next Article Previous Article