How To Clean Hairbrushes & Combs

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Since we brush our hair daily, it's also important to regularly clean the hairbrushes and combs in our home. Here's how to clean them quickly and easily.

How Often To Clean Brushes & Combs?

How often do you clean your hairbrush or comb? Perhaps twice a year, or so? If that was your answer, then you're not cleaning these brushes nearly enough. In fact, you should be cleaning combs and brushes approximately once a month, or more frequently if you use a lot of hair care products, or often brush your hair when it's dirty.

That may sound like a lot of cleaning, but if you think about it, cleaning your hairbrush frequently makes sense. Each time you brush your hair it picks up dead skin cells, oil from your hair, dirt if it's not freshly washed, and even hair care products that you've used. If you use a dirty brush on hair that is freshly washed you're just reintroducing the very stuff you just washed your hair to remove! Plus with all the debris on the bristles of the brush or teeth of the comb, the object cannot do its job of brushing or combing your hair, removing tangles and smoothing your hair down.

General Cleaning Instructions

Fortunately, cleaning brushes and combs is not very hard at all, at least normally. The first step, before you begin to clean your brush, is to remove all the excess hair from it. After you do that add either a few drops of mild dish soap or shampoo to a bowl of water, and then soak the head of the brush, or the entire comb, in the soapy water for approximately 20 minutes. The dish soap or shampoo then has time to break down the oil and grease and hair care product residue that is clinging to the bristles of the brush.

If the residue is stubborn (or you see flakes of dried skin, or dandruff stuck to the bristles) you can use an old toothbrush to gently scrub around the bristles or teeth of the comb to loosen the residue while it's soaking. Once you've finished soaking the final step is to rinse your brush or comb with water to remove the soap, and then lay it on a towel to dry.

Cautions For Natural Brushes & Delicate Handles

Most brushes can take this gentle cleansing method described above, whether the brush is made with natural or synthetic bristles. However, some brush handles are not designed to stay wet that long, such as those made of wood, and also older vintage brushes, such as those with silver or other delicate handles. In those types of cases you may want to position the brush to only have the bristles soak in the water, instead of the head and handle as well.

Do You Need To Disinfect Your Combs & Brushes?

The method discussed above is normally sufficient for cleaning your brushes and combs, despite the fact that it does not disinfect them. This is especially true if your household follows the advice to never share brushes, but instead to have one brush or comb for each family member. The reason that you see, in hair salons and barber shops, disinfecting solutions for combs and brushes is because they are used for multiple people. If you do want to disinfect these hair styling tools you are free to do so with a commercial product available at professional beauty supply stores or here on eBay.

Special Cleaning Instructions With Head Lice

The main exception where brushes and combs must be disinfected, and not just cleaned, is if there's been an outbreak of lice in your home. Honestly, if you can afford it, replacing all the brushes and combs in your home with new ones, once you know you've conquered your family's lice infestation, may give you the most peace of mind. However, if you wish to instead clean the brushes and combs you've got, first remove the hair in them (and throw this hair away in a trash can outside your home). Next, soak the brush or comb in extremely hot water, approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit (but not boiling, because this will often melt them) for 15 minutes. If you're concerned about damage to the brushes from soaking, you can alternatively kill lice and nits with cold, so place the brush or combs in a plastic bag and place in the freezer for approximately 24 hours.

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How To Clean Hairbrushes & Combs

Now that you know why you should be cleaning your hairbrushes and combs more frequently, and how simple it can be, I hope these instructions will help you do this task more regularly.