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  5. How To Clean Different Types Of Hair Brushes And Combs - The Right Way

You’ve done a good job by deciding to clean your brushes! As important as it is to wear clean clothes, our brushes and combs need some cleaning too.

We often tend to forget that a hair brush is a personal tool that frequently comes into contact with our skin and hair. Making it a point to clean them is crucial to avoid scalp conditions.

Here is how you can clean your brushes and combs.

Why Should You Clean Your Brushes?

A hair brush is a personal tool, and requires to be kept clean just like your towels, covers and clothes. When you brush your hair, there’s a lot that can transfer onto that brush - read dandruff, sweat, flakes, oil, product residue and sometimes even lice.

When you re-use an unclean brush, chances are that you are transferring this debris back onto your scalp. Even worse, if a friend uses it, that can be quite embarrassing! Ideally, it is recommended that you don't share your hair brush.

A dirty brush can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes that can also result in scalp conditions.

Types Of Hair Brushes And How You Can Clean Them

There are mainly three types of hair tools you can use to detangle your hair - paddle brushes, combs and boar bristle brushes. These may also come in different sizes and materials.

1. Paddle Brushes

Paddle brush

These brushes are commonly used by women, to quickly detangle hair before stepping out. One side of these brushes has bristles that are used to detangle and straighten-out your hair while the other side of the brush is a flat surface.

How to Clean:

A. Loosen The Hair That Is Stuck To Your Brush

Use a slightly sharpy object like a pen to loosen the strands of your hair entangled between the bristles of your brush.

B. Pull Out The Hair Strands

You can use your hands to pull out the hair strands and throw them away in the garbage bag.

C. Use A Pair Of Scissors And Snip Down The Center

If your hair is refusing to let go of the bristles, use a pair of scissors to cut down from the center.

D. Rinse Your Brush With Baking Soda And Shampoo

What you need:

  • One teaspoon of baking soda
  • One teaspoon of your shampoo
  • One cup of water

Apply this mixture gently to the bristles of your brush. Make sure to cover all areas of your brush. This will help get rid of any debris that has accumulated onto it.

E. Rinse With Water Thoroughly

After you have applied the mixture, let it sit for 1-2 minutes and rinse off with water thoroughly. Let the brush dry by placing it facing downwards on a flat surface.


Do not try flushing your hair down the toilet as it can clog pipes.

2. Comb

Comb with widely placed teeth

Combs, which consist of widely or closely placed teeth plastic or wooden teeth, can also trap debris, oil and dirt. These need to be cleansed regularly as well.

How To Clean:

A. Remove Hair Strands

Removing strands of hair from your comb should not be much of a task.

B. Shampoo Your Comb

Use a few drops of shampoo to clean the dips between the teeth of your comb. Gently rinse off with water thoroughly.

C. Use A Baking Soda And Vinegar Mixture

What you need:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Water

Let the comb sit for a while in your baking soda and vinegar mixture. This will help loosen the dirt accumulated in between the bristles of your comb.

D. Rinse Off With Water

Rinse off the mixture with water and let it dry naturally.

3. Boar Bristle Hair Brushes

Boar bristle hair brush

Boar bristle hair brushes help distribute natural oils from the roots of your hair to its ends, and may result in oil and product build-up across your hair and the brush. When these oils are transferred onto your hair, they can feel too greasy.

A. Use A Comb To Get Rid Of Hair Strands

Start from the roots of the bristles to the ends. This will help eliminate all the hair strands from around the brush.

B. Use shampoo and water to clean the brush

Place the brush in a bowl of hot water with a few drops of shampoo. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse off with water thoroughly.

Why Does Your Hair Brush Get Lint When You Use It?

Your hair brush and hair strands attract dust and debris from the atmosphere. When your hair is concentrated in one place, this dirt attaches itself to it due to friction between your brush and hair strands.

Dirt, residue from products, oil and dandruff also contribute to the grey lint you see on your brush after using it.

How Often Should You Clean Your Hair Brush?

It is usually recommended to clean your hair brushes every one or two weeks. However, a few factors can be considered when you decide how often your brush should be cleaned:

1. How Oily Your Scalp Is

Oily scalps tend to attract more dirt that gets transferred onto your hair strands every time you brush your hair. If you have an extra oily scalp and hair, clean your brush at least once a week or whenever you feel it has accumulated too much dirt.

2. How Much You Sweat

Sweat means extra grease. If you are somebody who exercises regularly or travels a lot, chances are that you’re exposing your scalp to dirt and pollution. This can also be transferred onto your hair brush.

3. How Often You Brush Your Hair

Women with curly or textured hair prefer combing their hair in the shower along with conditioner. This helps them detangle better and they may not have to brush their hair too often. If you do not brush your hair everyday, you may not need to clean it too often.

How To Clean A Lice Comb?

When you use a lice comb, chances are that the lice and its eggs get stuck in between the bristles (1). This makes the comb less effective to use and may also transfer back those eggs onto your scalp.

Here are some ways in which you can clean your lice comb:

1. Take out any visible lice eggs using a clean tissue and throw it away into a garbage or plastic bag. This will prevent infestation.

2. Place the comb in a bowl of hot water and make sure that the temperature is above 130 F. The lice cannot survive in such high temperatures. Let the comb sit in there for 15-20 minutes.

3. When you have removed the comb, make sure to throw the water away. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto the comb and leave it to dry on a clean paper towel.

4. You can then use a toothbrush to get rid of any remaining debris. Run the brush through the lice comb down its length.

What Is The White Stuff On Your Comb?

After brushing your hair you may notice that it has collected some “white stuff” off your scalp. This is a mix of the product and mineral build-up on your hair along with some dead skin cells and maybe even dandruff!

When you use hard water, it tends to leave behind minerals on your scalp that are hard to get rid of by shampooing. These can even weigh your hair down and cause it to eventually break (2) (3).

Using a de-mineralizing product can help eliminate this mineral build-up and remove excess grease from your scalp. When you use a comb on hair with product and mineral residue, you may notice a white or grey lint.

Did You Know?

  • Product residue can weigh your hair down, causing it to feel extra greasy. This happens when you over-condition or don’t rinse off styling products properly. Apple cider vinegar is a good way of removing this residue from your hair.

How Do The Salons Clean Their Brushes?

Salons usually take extra precautions to keep their tools clean, so as to avoid the transfer of various diseases from one client to the other.

Every salon tends to follow different safety protocols. However, these are common to most salons:

  • The combs and brushes are kept in a jar after they have been used on a client.
  • A machine with tiny bristles that rotates rapidly is used to remove hair strands from the tools.
  • The brushes are then soaked in a disinfectant for about 15 minutes to get rid of all dirt, debris and bacteria that may have accumulated onto the hair tools. Some salons also use a disinfectant hot oven to clean the brushes.

Wrapping Up

Your hair brush needs to be cleaned every once in a while, to prevent accumulated dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells from transferring back onto your scalp. Make it a point to clean your brushes and combs every one or two weeks in the process mentioned above. Happy hair care!

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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