Knowing how to clean brushes will make them last longer and keep them from spreading bacteria. Whether you’re wondering how to clean scrub brushes, toilet brushes, makeup brushes, or hair brushes, here’s how to clean them.
How To Clean Brushes
Toilet bowl brushes
Disinfect immediately after use. You can make this almost automatic by filling the toilet brush holder partway with a disinfecting cleaner. (Here’s a homemade one.) After use, flush the toilet and swirl the brush in the clean water then pop it into the holder. The cleaner will disinfect the brush while it sits and will minimize odors, too.
Scrub brushes are essential cleaning tools that need to be properly maintained. Wash them after use in warm, soapy water with a small amount of baking soda added. Rinse well then shake to remove excess water. To disinfect, combine 1 tbsp. each Borax and washing soda, 1 cup white vinegar, and 2 cups very hot water in a bowl. Immerse the brush for 5 minutes then remove and allow it to drip dry on a rack.
Bottle and dish brushes
These brushes tend to accumulate food residues and should be washed after each use. If swirling in a glass of water and rinsing them under the faucet doesn’t dislodge food particles, running an old hair comb through the bristles should do the trick. (Wash the comb afterward, obviously.) Pop the brush into the dishwasher to finish cleaning it, or wash it in a sink of hot, soapy water. To disinfect, plunge it into a glass of white vinegar for 1 hour.
Dirty makeup brushes lead to muddled colors. Worse yet, they can cause acne and even MRSA. Clean them weekly by swirling them in a glass of warm water to which you’ve added a small squirt of baby shampoo, then rinse and allow to air dry. Or follow these directions to clean them naturally.
Hair brushes accumulate scalp oil as well as stray hairs, so if you skip regular cleaning, you’re just adding grime to your freshly-washed ‘do. To get them clean, gently run the teeth of a comb through the bristles and tug away any loose hairs that come up. Use cuticle scissors to snip away any tangles. Then fill a bowl with 2 cups very warm water, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap. Swirl the brush in this mixture and, using a toothbrush, scrub the brush barrel to loosen any product or body oil buildup. Swirl again then rinse under warm running water. Shake and allow to air dry before use.
Fill a glass with equal parts hot water and white vinegar and soak your toothbrush heads in it for an hour, or non-electric toothbrushes into the dishwasher’s utensil holder. Electric toothbrush handles should be cleaned weekly with a homemade disinfecting wipe or a washcloth dipped in 50-50 vinegar water. Note: if a family member has had the flu or strep you should throw away their toothbrush along with any others stored nearby theirs. The rest of the time, toothbrushes really do need to be cleaned weekly to kill bacteria. You’ll find a clean toothbrush leaves your mouth feeling cleaner, too!
• All brushes should be dried in a way that doesn’t crush their bristles: either on their back or by hanging up.
• Serious germaphobes, who never feel anything is truly clean, may want to dry their brushes outside on a bright day where sunlight will add extra sanitizing power.
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