How to clean hairbrushes: Tips to restore dirty brushes

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Hairbrushes understandably get dirty pretty quickly through their frequent exposure to oil, dead skin cells and general dirt your hair picks up. Yes, we’d look like we’ve been living in bushes without them, but as handy as they are for maintaining our manes, they do require some maintenance of their own.

Why do you need to clean hairbrushes?

No matter how often you use your hairbrush, it acts like a sponge for dirt.

It can trap all sorts in its bristles, from your hair and from the environment.

Hair care products like leave-in conditioners, gels, or hairsprays can build up on your hair and stick to the bristles of your brush.

Your brush also contains dead skin cells which can transfer back to your hair, which isn’t good news.

Without regular cleaning, all this residue and gunk will be right back on your freshly washed hair, meaning it won’t look its best and is likely to need a clean much sooner.

As a result, a dirty hairbrush may have a much harder time doing its job and helping your hair look its best.

How to clean hairbrushes

It’s a simple job when you get down to cleaning your brushes, but you’ll need a few things first:

An old toothbrush
Rat tail comb
Bowl of warm water
Gentle shampoo
Baking soda

Firstly, you’ll need to get rid of any hair build-up.

Use the end of a rat tail comb to remove hair from the base of the brush, if you don’t have a rat tail comb, any pointed object will work, like a pen or a small knife.

Scissors will also work to cut away any hair that’s tangled in the bristles.

After the hair is gone, it’s time to wet the brush and rid it of any product or natural buildup.

Fill a bowl or sink with warm water. Add a few drops of gentle shampoo and for extra cleaning power, add a couple teaspoons of baking soda, making sure to stir it well.

Now, put the whole hairbrush underwater, letting it soak for five minutes.

However, if the brush has a soft padding at the base where the bristles attach to the brush, just dip the brush bristles in, making sure to keep the padding dry.

Dip and shake the brush several times. This will help loosen and remove oils, dead skin cells, and product buildup. If your brush isn’t too dirty, this should remove most of the buildup.

If you have a very dirty brush, you might need to use an old toothbrush to clean the base and bristles.

Dip the toothbrush into the soapy water and make sure to scrub each bristle. Start at the base of the bristle and work upward, scrubbing the other edge of the brush to remove any buildup.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your hairbrush, rinse it under a stream of cool water.

Leave the brush to dry, bristles facing down, on top of a clean cloth or towel.

How often should you clean your brush?

How frequently you need to clean your hairbrush is mainly down to an accumulation of things.

Your hair’s thickness, length, the kind of products you use on your hair and how often you use them all impacts it.

If you regularly use styling creams, gels, or hairspray, a good rule of thumb is to clean your hairbrush once a week.

If you don’t use much product in your hair, try to make a habit of cleaning your brush every two to three weeks.

To make cleaning easier, try to remove hair that’s accumulated in the bristles every couple of days.

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