What to Do With Old Hairbrushes?

Use them to groom your pets or donate them to pet shops or veterinary clinics. However, doing so is only possible (and ethical) if your brush is not too worn out to be used again.

If you have a really old brush that is no longer usable, you will have to throw it out.

Although chucking old hairbrushes in the trash is damaging to the environment, there isn’t another option to treat them after they have had their run.

Hairbrushes and Their Usage 

A hairbrush is an essential grooming tool used in every household.

Typically, every member of a family has their own brush, which is why the overall number of hairbrushes in homes adds up to quite a lot.

On top of that, most people prefer to change their grooming tool every few months or so, which means their brush collection keeps growing.

It’s safe to say, we all are guilty of having piles of hairbrushes that only keep getting larger since we don’t know what to do with them. 

That said, some individuals choose to throw out their used hairbrushes after getting a new one.

While doing so is incredibly damaging to the environment, it’s often the only choice there is when it comes to disposing of old hairbrushes. 

Recycling Hairbrushes: Can You Do That? 

No, you cannot. Recycling hairbrushes is not possible unless you buy one made with sustainable materials.

Since most hairbrushes available in the market are constructed using a variety of materials, they cannot be recycled. 

That is, a hairbrush is typically made with a combination of plastic, wood, metal sealant and glue.

This means if you want to recycle it, you will have to dismantle it and sort each of the products used into their respective categories, which most certainly is not a doable task, even for recycling facilities.

Generally, a standard recycling facility has a sorting department to categorize materials based on their similarity, i.e., products with the same materials are placed together.

In other words, all paper products, like paper bags, envelopes, or regular paper, are put in the category of paper.

Once they are sorted, they go through the recycling plant for treatment.

So, each product category has a particular material, and no other foreign particle can enter it.

This is important because if a different material is mixed with the items of a separate category, it will contaminate the entire batch of recyclables.

Therefore, thorough sorting is a must when it comes to recycling, which unfortunately is not possible with hairbrushes. 

As mentioned above, a hairbrush has many different materials that cannot be separated from one another, rendering it unrecyclable. 

This means one cannot ship off their old hairbrushes to the local recycling facility, which is a problem for those concerned about the environment. 

With the increasing awareness of environmental degradation due to landfills getting bigger, people who are part of the green movement have become conscious of their choices and how they dispose of items they use.

This includes the unrecyclable hairbrushes.

With recycling off the table, most eco-conscious individuals feel compelled to hoard old brushes because they don’t want to add to the already massive landfills.

If you are one of them, you probably face the same problem. 

While you cannot recycle old hairbrushes, you can repurpose them, provided that they are in a decent state. 

Are All Brushes Unrecyclable? 

No, not all hairbrushes are unrecyclable. 

As more and more manufacturers become eco-conscious, the grooming market keeps getting better in regards to offering sustainable products.

This means we now have grooming items that do not harm Mother Nature. One such example is bamboo brushes.

Bamboo brushes have gotten pretty popular over the past few years, and rightly so.

They are made with biodegradable material that you can add to your compost bin.

That’s right! A bamboo brush is constructed with just one material that is not only compostable, but also easy to source.

That is, bamboo comes from trees that are readily available, so producers don’t need to dig out hard-to-find materials to design their hairbrushes.

Simply put, a bamboo brush is an excellent alternative to regular hairbrushes. Plus, it’s much easier and cost-effective to make.

That said, most people still have many old hairbrushes that they need to dispose of, or repurpose. With that in mind, we go over the best approach to repurposing old hairbrushes here. 

How To Repurpose Used Hairbrushes?

There is primarily just one way to reuse an old hairbrush; using it to groom pets. 

Like humans, furry animals need grooming; otherwise, their coats get messy and tangled up, turning into a comfortable home for fleas.

To avoid that, pet owners, vets, and professional pet groomers use different tools to keep animals squeaky clean. In order to do that, they need hairbrushes, which you can provide to them.

Donate Your Old Hairbrushes to a Professional Groomer

Pet grooming has become an increasingly popular profession. Many animal lovers do it or wish to do it; however, not everyone has the tools to do it.

For such individuals, your old hairbrushes can be greatly helpful.

If you know an aspiring pet groomer, you can give your used hairbrushes to them. You can also ask your friends and family if they know anyone who might accept old hairbrushes. 

One other way to find budding pet groomers is through private Facebook groups. There are many Facebook chat rooms dedicated to pets and pet care.

If you join those, you can get in touch with relevant people. 

Give Them to a Vet

Visit the local vet in your area and find out if they will take your used hairbrushes.

However, bear in mind that many vets don’t appreciate such donations, so don’t go expecting too much. 

Give Them to a Friend with Pet

If you have a friend who owns a furry pet, you can ask them if they don’t mind using your old hairbrushes to groom their animal friend. 

If they agree to it, by all means, give them your old hairbrushes. 

With all that said, be sure that your hairbrushes are clean and hairless if you want to donate them. 

Nothing can be grosser than holding a hairbrush with hair strands stuck between the bristles. Even if it is to be used on an animal, it needs to be clean for two reasons.

Firstly a dirty, clogged-up brush doesn’t do its job right.

Hairbrushes are supposed to detangle hair, but if they are already covered in locks of hair, they lose their ability to penetrate intertwined hair and straighten it out.

Long story short, a hairbrush needs to be tidy to be able to run through someone’s hair, which holds for pets as well. 

On top of that, a hairbrush accumulates oil, dirt, and dead cells over time. So if it’s not clean, all the gunk ends up on the user’s hair.

Therefore, you cannot give away your old brushes without thoroughly cleaning them. 

Cleaning Hairbrushes

An untidy hairbrush is unusable, not to mention unsightly. Therefore, cleaning hairbrushes is crucial. 

Give yours a good scrubbing before giving it away. Here is how you can do it.

Make a Soapy Solution

Take a bowl of lukewarm water and add a drop of shampoo or soap. Mix the two well until you can see suds forming. 

You can also use a spoonful of baking soda in place of soap

Dip Your Brush

Hold the grip of your brush and dunk its upper side into the soapy solution. Once the bristles are wet, scrub them to remove all the gunk and grime. 

If you want to go the extra mile, you can use an old toothbrush to clean your hairbrush deeply. After you have scraped off all the dirt, dip the bristles into the liquid again.

At this point, if you think you have gotten all the buildup out, rinse your brush under a stream of hot water.

Of course, you can use room temperature water as well, but hot water is better for cleaning.

Rinse the bristles thoroughly by running them under the water multiple times until the suds disappear.

Next, give your brush a shake to get rid of as many water droplets as possible. Doing so will speed up the drying process. 

Dry It

Once you have a clean yet wet hairbrush, place it on a fresh towel upside down (rest it on its bristles).

Leave it overnight to ensure all the moisture goes away.

Things to Remember When Cleaning a Hairbrush

  • If you have a wooden or padded base in your hairbrush, don’t submerge it into the water, as doing so will damage the wood/padding.
  • Carefully dip the bristles up to the base, not a millimeter more.
  • Before you wash your hairbrush, be sure you remove all the stuck hair strands, or else you will have trouble taking them out once wet.
  • Use a toothpick or pointy end of a comb to pull out hair locks sticking out from your hairbrush’s bristles. 
  • Slide the tool under the stuck hair to get all the tassels out. 

Ending note

If you have old hairbrushes lying around, don’t throw them out just yet. Check them and see if they can be used for grooming animals.

If so, use them to comb your pet’s fur or donate them to a groomer, vet, or even a rescue home for pets.

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