How do you maintain and clean a shaving brush?

Hoe onderhoud en reinig je een scheerkwast?

If wet shaving is your routine then a good shaving brush is indispensable. With an artisanal shaving soap and a quality safety razor you will be at your best in the bathroom.

However, good equipment also needs excellent maintenance in order to benefit from it for as long as possible. This certainly applies to your shaving brush. This delicate instrument also needs TLC to stay fresh and effective.

Why is maintenance necessary?

If you don't give a handcrafted shaving brush the necessary maintenance you are going to notice it at some point. The bristles of a shaving brush absorb soap and oils down to the root. But also minerals and lime from the tap water. Over time this will accumulate and get a grip on the bristles and the base of the brush.

Due to the substances present and any mold, the bristles break off easily. Also, the glue layer in which the bristles are mounted can soften and lose its function.

Note: A shaving brush with synthetic bristles is slightly less susceptible to the negative effects of all residues compared to shaving brushes fitted with animal bristles.

When is maintenance required?

For starters, make sure you rinse your shaving brush well after every shave and hang it upside down in a shaving brush holder. If you shave every day, we recommend cleaning your shaving brush every 2 weeks.

Daily cleaning after shaving

If you use your shaving brush 3 times a week, there is no need to clean it every day. Just be sure to rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water after you have used it. Gently under a rinsing tap so that the soap residue leaves the bristles.

Let the bristles dry down in a brush holder. Preferably outside the bathroom. Do not rub dry with a hard towel. Rather, shake out the brush before hanging it in the holder.

Periodic cleaning

Just like your safety razor, it is also wise to give your shaving brush more attention every now and then by scheduling this periodically. Like an air conditioning system where filters are also cleaned or replaced periodically.

Cleaning after shaving

Exactly as we indicated above, it is important to rinse the shaving brush thoroughly with lukewarm water from the tap after shaving. If you leave the soap residue in it, the brush is more likely to mold and deteriorate harder. And: you have a lot more work if you do major maintenance.

Rinse after use

Suppose you don't have (or take) the time when you have to leave in a hurry. At least rinse your brush under the faucet. At least you will have rinsed out most of the soap residue from the bristles.

Drying after use

A traditional shaving brush is best beaten or shaken dry and then allowed to air dry. Rubbing with a (rough) towel can damage the bristles of the brush.

Periodic maintenance

Even a shaving brush cannot escape periodic maintenance. Take some time for that. With proper maintenance your brush can last 10 to 15 years. Sometimes even longer.

What do you need?

Just a few tools

  • Large cup
  • Detergent or shampoo
  • Warm water (not hot!)
  • Vinegar (for thorough maintenance)

How it works.

Make sure you fill a cup/mug with warm tap water. Add a few drops of Dreft (or other soapy water) to the water.

Insert the shaving brush into the mug in a circular motion, also gently pushing the brush bristles against the wall and bottom of the mug. Then let the brush rest in the soapy water for about 2/3 minutes. Remove the shaving brush from the water and rinse all the soap from the bristles.

Now repeat the above trick but with a few drops of natural vinegar. You fill the mug halfway with warm water. About 30 degrees is more than enough. You stir the brush around in the mug so that the water and vinegar soak well into the hairs.

Then leave the shaving brush in the water for 15 to 20 minutes. After that time, remove the brush and rinse it completely under the tap. So that all the vinegar is also removed.

Tip: Some top layers of a shaving brush are satin. This layer can not stand the influences of vinegar. So make sure you keep at least the ratio water 90% and vinegar at 10%. Do not immerse the shaving brush in the bowl or cup for more than 10 minutes (!) - Shame if the outside starts to peel off.

Maintenance tips

Let your shaving brush dry naturally

It is important for the life of your shaving brush that you hang it floating in the holder with the bristles down. You can shake out the shaving brush after rinsing it. But leave it at that.

Avoid hot water

Hot water is disastrous for both the bristles of the brush and the holder. In particular, heat can soften the glue joints so that your shaving brush will suffer from hair loss. Also, the plastic holder can jump due to the heat.

Do not wring or twist the bristles by hand

Wringing or twisting the bristles is a no go. By doing so, you deform the bristles and they can easily break off.

Store your shaving brush in a shaving brush holder

The best way to keep your shaving brush in optimal condition is achieved with a shaving brush holder. Never set it down on its base with the bristles up. This way, all the shaving soap and oils will imperceptibly drip down to the base where the bristles are glued in.

In addition, it is also a breeding ground for mold. So floating the shaving cabinet upside down is the solution and the way to give your shaving brush a long and fresh life.

Caution:Don't throw your shaving brush wet in a toiletry bag. At least if you don't want mold!

Final tips

As you may know, shaving brushes come in a number of varieties. Not only in terms of holder but also in hairs. For example, there are shaving brushes made of badger hair, horse hair, pig hair and synthetic hair. Fortunately, the latter is becoming increasingly popular and does not fall short of the relatively expensive badger hair version.

Also, the shaving brush with synthetic bristles is easier to keep clean and, unlike the animal versions, does not pick up dirt as easily. And if you are an animal lover then the choice is not difficult at all.

Preferably use artisanal shaving soaps, gel or cream. The ingredients in these are most friendly to your shaving brush.

Now you know exactly how to handle your shaving brush. You will also enjoy it the longest. If you still have questions, feel free to ask!

Good luck!

Your friends, The Alpha Men.