A Celebrity Stylist Shares the Secret to Cleaning Hair Brushes in Minutes

published Nov 30, 2023
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Closeup of comb brush with long loss hair with copy space-Healthcare concept.
Credit: zentradyi3ell / Shutterstock

Everyone, I have something to admit: I didn’t know it was important to clean my hairbrush. I routinely pull out all the hair from the bristles, but actually washing it? No idea. If you’re like me (and even if you’re not), it’s time to get those hairbrushes in the bath. I spoke to celebrity stylist Mario Solis to get his insight on how to clean a hairbrush and how often to do it.

Quick Overview

How to Clean Different Hair Brushes

  • Bristle brush: Remove excess hair, rinse in soapy water, submerge in a disinfectant solution, and then rinse and dry.
  • Comb: Follow the above steps, but leave it in the disinfectant solution until you need to use it. 
  • Wooden brush: Do not submerge in water. Take out excess hair, and use a spray disinfectant or small brush to remove buildup.

Why Do Some Hair Brushes Get Dirtier Faster than Others?

How quickly a brush of any type gets dirty depends entirely on the circumstances surrounding that brush’s use and storage. Some environmental factors can lead to more dust or lint building up overnight, but a lot of the time Solis says that “the ‘lint’ can be dead skin cells from our own skin or also product buildup that clumps up.”

How Often Should You Clean and Disinfect Your Hairbrush?

You should clean your hairbrush every three to five days to keep it in tip-top shape. But Solis notes that if you have dandruff or use products that cause a lot of buildup, you might want to clean it more often. Whatever’s left on your brush can get into your hair and make it look dirtier quicker.

How to Clean a Hairbrush

How you clean your hairbrush changes a little based on the type of brush you have.

Bristle Brush

  1. Remove excess hair using your fingers or a smaller brush. Feel free to use scissors to cut out any stuck hair, being sure not to cut through the bristles themselves.
  2. Rinse the brush with soapy water for about 10 to 15 minutes to remove buildup.
  3. Submerge the brush in a disinfectant solution. Solis uses Barbicide, which is a professional-level disinfectant.
  4. Rinse the hairbrush for three to five minutes and let it air dry before use.


Follow the same steps as above. You can leave a plastic comb sitting in the Barbicide until you want to use it. You also might not have to use a smaller brush or scissors to get out excess hair.

Wooden Brush

Wooden brushes can’t be submerged in water because it could damage the handle or the bristles. “In these cases, it’s important just to remove hair and buildup and maybe consider a spray disinfectant or using a small brush to remove buildup faster,” Solis says.

When Is It Time to Get a New Hairbrush?

Solis suggests getting a new brush every three to six months. Check the quality of your brush to help you decide when exactly to do it. Are the bristles brittle or broken? Are they less firm than they used to be? If so, head to the store.