Tool Care: How to Clean a Hairbrush

Daily, weekly and monthly steps.

Whether you have a $5 drugstore version or paid top-of-the-line for a professional brand, your brush is one of the most hardworking tools on your vanity, bar none. Think about it: There are days when you don’t use serum, gel or even shampoo—but for the most part, your brush or comb is something you reach for every single day. This is precisely why learning how to clean a hairbrush should be common knowledge for everyone, but unfortunately, the truth is that a lot of us are quite delinquent when it comes to tool care (guilty!).

Below, we list a few quick and easy steps on brush cleaning and maintenance. With proper care, your trusted brush should last you anywhere from one to five or even 10 years, depending on the quality of its bristles. Read on to see how to clean a hairbrush in less than five minutes:

How to Clean a Hairbrush

how to clean a hairbrush used on wet hair
Buildup can definitely accrue on the base of your trusted tools after daily use.

Step 1: Remove ALL of the hair.

Yes, all of it—the strands that are literally floating on top of the bristles to the gnarly ones entangled on the brush bed, which, depending on how fastidious you are, may or may have not been there for months. You can also use the end of a fishtail comb to help pick out any tangled strands, making sure not to scratch the bristle bed.

This step is ideally done daily, but can also be done weekly at the least.

how to clean a hairbrush nexxus ibiza
Different hair brushes require different levels of tool care.

Step 2: Wash your brush, or gently clean with shampoo or mild soap.

How to clean a hairbrush with soap and/or shampoo? Take note of its material. Plastic hairbrushes, or those with slats like vented drying brushes, may be soaked in soapy water or run under a faucet in order to thoroughly clean the head and remove any dirt and residue between the slats and on the bottom of each bristle.

For mixed and natural-bristle brushes, go gentler. Dip the head in a bowl of warm water to moisten, and take a toothbrush that’s been topped with either shampoo or mild soap to the bristles. This helps remove any flakes, grime and all other residue that might have built up at the base. Afterwards, rinse the head of your brush in a bowl of clean water for about 30 seconds.

Step 3: Dry.

For plastic brushes, blot and wipe any excess moisture on the head, handle and bristles with a soft fabric or tissue. For any other materials, blot the handle and head of your hairbrush and lay it on a towel or paper towel, bristle-down, till completely dry (usually six to eight hours). Repeat the wash and dry process at least once a month to extend the life of your tools.

Want more tips on different hair brushes? Check out our hair brush roundup.