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How to Clean a Cat Brush (5 Simple Steps)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

brushing cat fur

Brushing your cat’s coat is important to remove dirt, dander, and loose hair. This keeps their coats healthy and shiny. Even if you make your cat’s grooming a part of your routine, if you don’t clean the brush, you could be putting that dirt, dander, and dead hair right back into their coats.

Cat brushes should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Groomers clean and disinfect their grooming tools after each pet to practice good hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases. This should be done at home for any grooming tool that you use on your cat. Let’s look at the best way to clean a cat brush.

Before You Begin

Woman brushing a gray cat
Image Credit: Sergey Gerashchenko, Shutterstock

Whether you’re using a brush or comb to groom your cat, you will want to clean them the same way. Before you start any cleaning process, prepare your solution.

You can use vinegar or a cat shampoo. Apple cider or white vinegar will work for this. Mix equal parts warm water and vinegar in a bowl.

If you’re using cat shampoo — don’t use human shampoo for this — add just a few drops to warm water in a bowl and mix until it’s sudsy.

Cleaning Your Cat Brush or Comb

1. Remove the hair.

Use your fingers to pull out and remove any hair that is stuck to the bristles of your brush or comb. If necessary, use another comb to pull through the bristles and help loosen any stuck debris. Remove as much as you can, but don’t worry about any stubborn hairs or pieces of dirt.

2. Dip the brush.

Gently dip the brush bristle or comb teeth into the solution of vinegar or shampoo and water. This is where any lodged hair, dirt, and grime will soak off. Allow the brush to stay submerged for as little as 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes. The time will depend on how dirty the brush is. If you remove it and the grime is still caked on, let it soak a little longer.

3. Wipe and rinse.

Remove the brush from the solution, and wipe the bristles with a soft cloth. Try to remove any stuck dirt and hair, which should now be easier to clean off after soaking. Rinse the bristles with clean water.

Rinsing brush in clean basin of water
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

4. Disinfect the bristles.

To prevent the growth of bacteria, spray the bristles with a disinfectant spray. This step is optional, but it helps eliminate cross-contamination if you use the same brush for different pets.

5. Let the brush dry.

Let the brush dry with the bristle side down. It will force the water to drain from the brush instead of pooling at the base of the bristles or in the handle.

Cleaning Nail Clippers

If you regularly trim your cat’s claws, the nail clippers will need to be cleaned too. Disinfecting the clippers reduces the risk of infections.

Sanitize nail clippers by mixing 1/2 an ounce of disinfecting soap, such as antibacterial dish soap, and warm water in a bowl. Completely submerge the clippers and let them sit for 1 minute. Remove them and rinse them under clean water. Pat them dry with a soft towel, and then allow them to air-dry completely.

How Often Should I Clean My Cat’s Brush?

If you use the same brush for different cats, the brush should be cleaned after each use. If you use the brush on just one cat, you should clean it when dirt starts to build up on it or when it gets full of fur that sticks to the bristles. Cats that go outside and tend to get dirty will need their brushes cleaned every 1–2 weeks.

Why Should I Clean My Cat’s Brush?

Cat skin and hair on brush
Image Credit: photong, Shutterstock

Cleaning your cat’s brush means you won’t be brushing dirt, loose hair, and dander right back into their coats. These particles stick to the bristles and won’t come off without cleaning the brush. Using a dirty brush on your cat means you are keeping your cat dirty.

Grooming brushes are designed to work effectively at removing debris and hair from your pets’ coats. If these brushes are full of dirt, they won’t work well. Brushing will take longer and not be as effective.

Keeping your brush clean also preserves the quality of the tool. Over time, caked-on dirt and stuck hair can damage the bristles or cause comb teeth to break.

If your cat is shedding heavily or suffering from any sort of skin condition, irritation, or virus, you will want to clean the brush after each use.

Storing a Cat Brush

Always keep your cat’s brush and other grooming tools away from any pets that like to play or chew things. Store them in a cool, dry place where your pets can’t get to them. A top cabinet or high shelf is a good choice. Moist conditions encourage mold growth, so make sure the brush is fully dried before storing it in a dry area.


Keeping your cat’s brush clean may not be something that you often think about. However, to keep your cat’s coat looking its best, their brush should be cleaned regularly. Remember to clean and sanitize any other grooming tools, such as nail clippers. You will keep your cat healthy by reducing the spread of germs and bacteria. We hope that you’ve found these methods easy to follow and can get started today with a new routine!

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Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

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