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How to Properly Clean Your Hairbrush, According to Guru Philip B

If you’re wondering how to clean your hairbrush, you’re not alone. While the task may seem all too simple, there’s in fact an art to doing it properly. It’s also important to take into account getting rid of lingering residue and other buildup that sticks to the brush, aside from just the hair itself. To take us through the process, we reached out to hair guru Philip B. Keep reading for his thorough guidance on how to clean your hairbrush.

girl with dark bob and bangs is brushing her hair
(via Pexels)

Mane Addicts: What products are best to use when cleaning your hairbrush?

Philip B: First, you’ll need a small, rake-like hairbrush cleaner—I make one just for this purpose. Next, you’ll need a bottle of brush cleaner (generally a mix of water and detergent), a good clarifying shampoo (I use my Peppermint Avocado Volumizing & Clarifying Shampoo), or a dot of Dawn dishwashing liquid to help clear away oil and residue. 

MA: Are there any products you should absolutely avoid when cleaning your hairbrush?

PB: Avoid using creamy shampoos. They contain fats and lipids that will prevent the breakdown of oils on the brush. If it’s creamy, no matter who makes it, it’s not going to cleanse. And don’t use anything with silicone. 

MA: Take us through the proper step-by-step process of cleaning a hairbrush.


1. Fill your sink halfway with lukewarm water and mix in some brush cleaner, a 1/2 capful of clear clarifying shampoo (again, I use my Peppermint Avocado formula), or a dot of Dawn dishwashing liquid.

2. Swish the bristles in the water to clean them without stripping. For more thorough cleansing, hold two brushes against each other (bristles touching) and gently scrub them back and forth under the water. Or use the mini-rake I referenced above. It’s designed to remove lint, hair, debris, and dirt from your hairbrush.

3. Rinse the bristles in clean lukewarm water.

4. Pat your brush with a towel and lay it face-down as it dries. 

MA: Is it ok to use hand soap to clean your hairbrush? Why or why not?

PB: Most hand soaps are just detergent-and-water blends, so they’re fine to use. They tend to be gentle, and they’re made for straight-up cleansing: no lipids, emulsifiers, or waxes to interfere with the breakdown of oils or product residue on your brush.

MA: What’s the best way to get rid of lingering residue in hair brushes?

PB: Start with the mini-rake. Then use a clear cleanser, as mentioned above, and scrub two brushes together. They’ll clean each other with their bristles.

MA: Which brushes are the easiest to clean? Most difficult?

PB: Most brushes are easy to clean. The trickiest is probably the brushes that have a puffy pneumatic pad with trapped air underneath. They can get waterlogged so you don’t want to soak them. Just dip them in your water and detergent blend, scrub them against each other, and rinse under clean water. Then dry them face-down. 

MA: Is there anything else you want to add on this matter?

PB: If you use your brush frequently, I recommend cleaning it once a month. I make my own luxury hair brushes, which contain a mix of natural boar hair and nylon bristles. The boar-hair bristles are porous, so they have a unique ability to pick up the natural oils from your scalp and move them down the hair shaft, conditioning and polishing your hair in the process. They also clear oil away from your follicles, clearing the passages from healthier hair overall. Nylon bristles simply help detangle and direct the brush through your hair.

A natural boar-hair brush is ideal for all hair types and great for using as a pre-shampoo step. If you have overactive sebaceous glands and a greasy scalp, you may want to clean your brush more frequently. 

Now that you know how to clean your brush properly, click HERE to find out how to use it properly.

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