How to clean your hairbrush

Megan Dominion

It’s a good idea for anyone regularly using a hairbrush to be giving it a good clean every now and then. Something that, to be honest, I haven’t thought much of (besides pulling excess strands out of it every so often). I’ve even gone as far as to throw perfectly good hairbrushes in the trash, purely because they were getting a bit too grimy! Not something I’m very proud of. Really, washing your hairbrush is just as important as washing your make up brushes. Here we go into the why and how of hairbrush cleaning, and provide a few tips along the way.

Are you supposed to wash your hairbrush?

Well, yes. Your hairbrush will have accumulated a bit more than loose hair strands with each use. So it’s a good idea to give it a good clean once in a while to remove any dirt, oil, product or hair from your brush to keep it working well and hygenic to use. If your hairbrush is filled with hair and gunk it could be doing your freshly cleaned hair more harm than good! If you don’t wash your hairbrush, the buildup of hair product, sebum, and dirt can even make your hair appear greasy.

Ever wondered what the gunk in your hairbrush is?

I’ve tried to avoid ever thinking about it… Depending on what your haircare routine is, the gunk in your hairbrush is most likely a combination of hair product buildup, sebum (oil produced by your scalp), and dirt. I know I’m guilty of not always rinsing out the leave in conditioner left on my hairbrush every time. And before investing in a good quality hairbrush, not really thinking about how dirty my hairbrush was in the first place (don’t be like past-me). Which is why giving it a regular clean is a very good idea.

How to clean your hairbrush … thoroughly!

What we’re talking about is not just removing excess hair strands from your brush to make your brushing effort more effective. These steps should give your hairbrush a thorough cleanse!



You’ll need:

  • a pair of scissors
  • a comb
  • a soft bristle brush or toothbrush (optional)
  • warm water
  • a gentle soap or some clarifying shampoo


Steps to Washing your hairbrush

1. Start by removing any hair from the brush. Use your fingers to pull the hair out of the bristles. Grab your pair of scissors to help you with this process by cutting through some of the strands.

2. Next, use a comb to gently remove any knots, tangles or remaining hair from the brush.

3. Once the brush is free of hair, use a soft bristled brush to clean the bristles.

4. Finally, rinse the brush with hot or warm water and a mild soap or shampoo

5. Allow it to air dry.

Wooden hairbrush

What can be used to wash your hairbrush?

  • Warm water
  • Mild soap or shampoo
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol

How often should you wash your hairbrush?

How often you should clean your hairbrush varies depending on how often you use it. Generally, it’s a good idea to clean your hairbrush at least every 2 weeks if you are using it everyday.

Avoid doing the following when washing your hairbrush:

  • Don’t use hot water, as this can damage the bristles.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals, as this can also damage the bristles.
  • Don’t forget to give your hairbrush handle a good wash too.

How do I wash my hairbrush?

I have type 3 hair, so I only brush my hair when it’s wet and has conditioner in it. This means that there’s often a lot of conditioner that hangs onto the bristles of my brush. As my hairbrush is in the shower with me already, once I’ve finished using it I’ll

  1. put some clarifying shampoo in my hands and lather it a bit
  2. give my brush a good wash with my fingers
  3. rinse my hairbrush under the shower
  4. leave my brush to airdry on the bathroom shelf

I use a Denman D83 Paddle Brush. I’ve found now that I’ve invested in a good quality brush for curly hair, I take better care of it than my previous drugstore hairbrushes.

Get into the habit of washing your hair brush

Figure out how to incorporate washing your hairbrush into your current routine. For example, if you use a clarifying shampoo once a week or once every two weeks, make that your hairbrush washing day too.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.