How often should you really wash your hairbrush?

Posted by
Chloe Burcham
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
how often should you clean your hairbrush

While we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that our general hygiene is being put under a microscope. But we’ll be the first to admit that we never knew what might be lurking amongst the bristles of our hairbrush…

We’d like to think we’re pretty confident when it comes to hair hygiene (thank you very much.) We wash, condition and dry shampoo our hair regularly – so how much more sanitisation does it really need? Well, here’s a question for you: how often do you clean your hairbrush? Because if you’re anything like us, that question poses a long, hard pause while we stop to have a think…

We all know that cleaning your makeup brushes is a must if you want to keep your skin (and tools) bacteria free but somehow, our hairbrushes seem to have been left out of the conversation. It makes sense if you think about it. You’ve just freshly washed and conditioned your hair but then you pick up your hairbrush that you’ve used circa 320 times already this year and comb it through your nice clean locks… there’s bound to be some bacteria in there, right?     

According to a study conducted by the researchers at the University of Arizona, it turns out that hairbrushes are commonly the worst breeding ground for bacteria. In fact, they contain around 3500 colonies of bacteria per square inch. Gross.

You may also like

How to clean your make-up brushes – because they could probably do with a wash

If you were able to see what might be lurking underneath the ‘clean-enough’ looking exterior of your hair brush, it’s actually pretty grim. Woven together with clumps of broken hair and product residue, there’s probably a fair amount of dead skin cells, oil residue and dust mites. 

Leave your brush untouched for weeks on end and that serves as a breeding hotspot for bacteria and yeast that can then lead to a dry and itchy scalp – not to mention making your hair greasier quicker. 

How often should you wash your hairbrush?

Trichologist Anabel Kingsley recommends washing your hairbrush every one to two weeks. “If you use a lot of hair styling products or dry shampoo this should be increased”.

You don’t need to run out and buy some fancy hairbrush cleanser in order to give them a good scrub though. Shampoo works really well at cleaning your brushes – as it’s literally designed to break down oily residues, styling products and dry shampoo. 

  • OGX Clarify & Shine+ Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

    OGX Clarify & Shine+ Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo, £7.99

How do you sanitise a hairbrush?

So what’s the best way to actually clean your hairbrush? First things first, you’ll want to start by removing any old hair build up that’s found a home between the bristles. The easiest way to do this is by using a fine-tooth comb or tweezers and raking it through the bristles of the brush. This should catch all the hair pretty quickly and pull it free.

Next up, run your brush under the sink and lather a small amount of shampoo between the bristles to break up any product residue that might be lurking around inside. If you’re likely to forget to clean your brushes – make it a part of your shower routine instead.

Finally, use your hair dryer on a low or cool heat setting to dry your brush off. Wooden brushes need a little extra TLC as any leftover moisture could damage the brush – so make sure you give it a good blast with the hairdryer and leave to fully dry lying bristles-down, horizontally.

Kingsley recommends a DIY method for keeping on top of your hairbrush hygiene. “Mix two tablespoons of baking soda together with two cups of warm water and combine in a spray bottle. You can then use this to spritz onto the prongs and wipe clean with a damp cloth”.

Want to be the first to hear about our exclusive reader competitions, offers and discounts? Sign up for the Competitions + Offers email

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Main image: Getty