Knowing how to clean a brush is the most critical lesson you never thought you needed to know. We use brushes for almost every routine. We brush our hair and teeth multiple times throughout the day. If you wear makeup, you more than likely use a makeup brush to apply foundation, blush, or even eyeshadow.
Even cleaning routines require a toilet bowl brush or bristle brushes to scrub surfaces thoroughly. And, while we use almost all of these brushes on a daily basis, we rarely think about cleaning them.
This article discusses a different way to clean brushes depending on the type of brush used. We will also cover cleaning a boar bristle brush, which is a variation of your typical hairbrush. These cleaning tips not only increase the longevity of your products; they also implement safe, hygienic practices to keep nasty bacteria at bay.
Everything You Need to Know about Brushes Before We Get Started
What’s the point of a toothbrush cleaning if I am just going to throw it out in a couple of months?
We use our brushes so often that we don’t even realize how many oils and bacteria have made their home among the bristles. Toothbrush cleaning, for example, seems pointless when we only use them to transport cleaning agents and then discard them after a few months. However, toothbrushes also retain bacteria particles that may have flaked off in our mouths while brushing.
Rinsing them off does not completely obliterate them, meaning we could be adding more bacteria into our bodies at any time. Disinfecting your toothbrush every so often is essential to reduce the intake of viruses and bacteria that cause colds or the flu.
Why should I bother cleaning any of my other brushes?
Hair and makeup brushes seem like a less severe transmitter of diseases, but they are not without their fair share of faults. Both brushes absorb oils, whether those come from our skin, hair products, cosmetics, or otherwise. These oils stay locked in the cushions and bristles of hairbrushes and are equally at home in the soft hairs of your makeup brush.
The oils can be transferred back to your scalp to cause a greasy look no one wants to sport. For makeup brushes, these oils and bacteria mean an increase in acne breakouts. Cleaning these dirty brushes reduces passing on unnecessary germs and keeps you feeling, and looking healthy overall.
Oils are not the only things your brushes collect. Dead skin and even dust mites can live in hairbrushes, making cleaning even more necessary. Beyond that, imagine the chemicals left on your brush after bleaching your hair or dying it a new color.
As for your cleaning supplies, we’ve all seen what happens to a toilet bowl brush when it sits in a soggy holder for too long. The same can be said for bristle brushes that never get sanitized. Both need to be cleaned to perform their functions properly, which is cleaning germs and messes, not spreading them.
How often should I clean my brushes?
Depending on the type of brush cleaned, that number changes. For a regular hairbrush, once a month is a reasonable amount of time to wait before cleaning it. Though, some experts will argue about cleaning it more frequently.
When it comes to cleaning boar bristle brushes, which require a little more maintenance, clean those once a week to prevent product build-up. Toothbrushes should be swapped out every three to four months, though you can usually get away with keeping them for six. They should be disinfected once a week.
Some makeup brushes only need to be cleaned once a month, unless they apply eye makeup. Applicators for powders like eyeshadow should be cleaned at least twice a month to avoid eye infections. Brushes used to apply blush, foundation, or anything else directly onto the face should undergo a good cleaning at least once a week.
Toilet bowl brushes and bristle brushes should be washed as they are used to avoid mildew building up. For toilet bowl brushes, this is usually once a week.
What is a boar bristle brush?
Boar bristle hair brushes use natural bristles made from boar hair. While this sounds horrifying, there are actually several benefits of these brushes for keeping your hair healthy and shiny. Since boar hair is similar to human hair, it evenly distributes the oils in your hair while brushing to condition it naturally.
This process also keeps your hair looking shiny while dragging much-needed oils from the roots to the ends. Hair no longer appears as greasy, and dry, split ends get the moisture they need. Many consumers use this as an excellent styling tool and to keep their hair growing happy and healthy.
How to Clean a Brush No Matter the Style or Function
1. How to Clean a Brush Made from Plastic or Metal
We’ve already established the importance of clean hairbrushes, so what are the best ways to clean them? The first step is to dislodge any loose hair caught in between the bristles. Using a comb can help complete this task, or even tweezers when necessary.
If you have a massive hairball at the base of your brush that doesn’t seem to want to move, try coaxing it as close to the surface as possible before cutting it with a pair of scissors. The smaller strips should make it easier for you to manage and to pull out of the brush.
The methods for cleaning your hairbrush differ depending on its material. Metal and plastic hair brushes can both be cleaned the same way. The following brush cleaner is what you can use to clean these types of hairbrushes.
Start by blending the ingredients, either in a large bowl or in the sink. Swish the bristles of the brush around in the water first, allowing them to absorb the cleaner without being completely submerged in the water. Dunking the brushes in the water for brief periods is fine, but you don’t want to leave the brushes in there for longer than a minute since this could risk damaging the bristles.
Work your fingers over every part of the brush to spread the cleaning solution to all surfaces. Quickly rinse with warm water, then let the wet brush air dry facing downward. A variation of this method, using only baking soda and water, is also the best option for washing a wig.
2. How to Clean a Wooden Brush
Now that you’ve learned how to clean other brushes, the process for cleaning a wooden brush is almost the same. Clear all the hair out first and brush off any dead skin cells on the surface of the brush. The crucial part is avoiding excess water on the wooden handles of the brush, which will damage the brush after repeated exposure.
Clean the bristles of the brush with the cleaning solution. Swish the top of the brush around in a cup of water. Do not submerge it for any length of time, however.
Work your fingers through the bristles to ensure soap gets into every crevice and corner of the brush. To get into the nooks and crannies, use an old toothbrush to gently scrub in between the bristles. Rinse with a little spray of water rather than rinsing the brush under the sink.
Lay the brush with the bristle side down against the table to air dry. A little bit of tea tree oil is also an excellent sticky remover when you get slime in your hair.
3. Cleaning a Boar Bristle Brush
To properly wash a hairbrush with boar bristles, using care and caution to preserve the fine hairs is essential. You may also want to be extra selective when choosing your ingredients, especially the shampoo.
Because the boar bristles are perfect for redistributing the oils in your hair, keep them naturally hydrated and silky. Using a shampoo that restores moisture and nutrients to your hair is ideal for your boar bristle brush.
Your first step in cleaning the brush is to remove all loose hair from the brush. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently pick out the strands of hair from between the bristles. Next, add a few drops of shampoo and warm water to a bowl large enough in which to dunk the tips of your brush bristles.
Make sure the water is not too warm since hot water can damage the bristles. Swish the brush around in the bowl, making sure the ends of the brush absorb enough moisture. Don’t thoroughly saturate the brush or submerge it all the way underwater.
The design of boar brushes is similar to that of round brushes, that have cushions with air pockets beneath them. Because of this, you don’t want the water to get trapped inside the cushions and allow mildew to form at a later point.
When you rinse and dry the brush, make sure it is facing downward, so the liquid does not seep back into the brush cushion. Let it air dry that way until all moisture is gone.
4. Tips for Cleaning a Makeup Brush
To clean your makeup brushes, start by running the tips under warm, clean water. Don’t soak the bristles completely, since water can break down the adhesive that holds them in place on the brush.
Run your fingertips across the top of each brush, ruffling the bristles while wetting them to allow the middle part of the brush to get cleaned as well.
Fill a small dish with lukewarm water and a few drops of baby shampoo. If you don’t have baby shampoo, a few drops of dish soap will also work. Baby shampoo leaves the brushes feeling softer.
Dip the very tip of the makeup brush into the bowl, swirling it to let the soapy water soak into the bristles. Remove the brush and gently knead the soap through the bristles using your fingertips. Rinse it out by running the makeup brush under warm water again, then dry using a soft cloth or paper towel.
For oil-based makeup, add a little bit of almond oil to the brush before cleaning. To find more DIY brush cleaner recipes for makeup brushes, use the provided link.
5. How to Clean a Toothbrush
Toothbrush cleaning involves many of the same cleaning solutions you already have in your bathroom. Getting rid of all the food particles and bacteria by running water over you toothbrush is the first and most crucial step to take to clean your toothbrush. Make sure to use hot water.
Just like the bristles on other brushes, work your finger along the top to allow a more effective flow of water to reach the base of the brush. After you’ve thoroughly rinsed your toothbrush, place it in a cleaning solution of either hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash for approximately 10-15 minutes. When it has finished its mini bath, toss it in a pot of boiling water.
Leave it there for no more than three minutes, then scoop it out with a pair of tongs or spoon. Don’t leave the toothbrush in either of the cleaning solutions or the boiling water for too long. Exposure to these elements for extended periods can cause the bristles to get brittle and fray.
6. Best Way to Clean Brushes Used for Household Chores
The next task you need to learn is how to clean a toilet brush. This method will work for any scrubber, whether it’s a toilet bowl brush or bristle brush. Start by filling up a bucket with hot water and add two cups of bleach.
Make sure that the bucket is large enough to hold your cleaning brush, including the handles. Completely submerge the brush in the bucket and leave it there for at least an hour. Use gloves to remove the brush and run it under hot water.
Use the hottest setting you have available, but be careful not to burn your hands. Dry thoroughly before replacing.
Now you know how to clean every brush in your household. Most of these methods are relatively simple and require minimal effort to keep brushes clean. With such easy instructions and recipes to follow, you will be able to stay on top of your hairbrush health and keep your other brushes lasting longer, too.
We hope you found these hairbrush cleaning tips to be everything you needed and more. Please share these tricks on how to clean a brush of any kind with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.