Dry brushing is a practice that has gained popularity in recent years. Softer skin, better blood circulation, and a rejuvenated nervous system are just a few of the benefits which come with dry brushing. However, after using your dry brush, when is the right time to clean it? And how should you clean it?
In this blog post, let’s take a look at the following:
- What is a dry brush used for?
- Why should you clean an exfoliating brush?
- How to clean your dry brush
- How to make a disinfectant spray for your brush
- Tips on how to care for your dry brush
- How often should you clean your brush?
- Precautions when dry brushing
- The benefits of using a clean, dry brush
- Getting the most out of your dry brush
What is A Dry Brush Used For?
A dry brush is used to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. That is done by moving the brush over the skin in specific motions. Dry brushing, as the term suggests, does not require the use of water. It’s done using a completely dry brush on dry skin.
Why Should You Clean an Exfoliating Brush?
The goal of dry brushing is to remove as much dirt, oil, and dead cells as possible before taking a shower. The result is smooth, clean, and healthier skin. It’s then obvious that a dry brush has a lot of dirt collected from your skin. This residue is bound to encourage the growth of bacteria if not cleaned after a while.
Cleaning your exfoliating brush regularly reduces the risk of developing skin infections and irritations. Bacteria in a dirty brush can leave you with skin breakouts and acne. A brush that is full of gunk is also not going to exfoliate your skin effectively.
Scrubbing using a dirty body brush can make minor inflammations such as red bumps even worse. You also run the risk of becoming infected and causing further damage to your skin barrier if you use a dirty brush with bacteria.
A clean brush ensures your skin isn’t exposed to harmful bacteria. Some of the bacteria on the brush comes from your skin. Certain types of skin bacteria cause boils, cellulitis, and even meningitis. These bacteria include:
- Propionibacterium acnes, which leads to the development of acne. The bacteria thrive on oily skin, where there's excess production of sebum. An abundance of this bacteria triggers an immune response that results in skin inflammation.
- Staphylococcus bacteria causes pimples, a skin rash known as impetigo, boils, and cellulitis.
Clean and Reuse
Some dry brushes come with instructions to replace them after about three months. That, however, is only applicable if you have no idea how to clean your brush. Unless you are using a special dry brush which naturally repels bacteria, then, within three months of using your brush, it will definitely have accumulated enough dirt to make it unsafe for use. Discarding your brush after a few months is not necessary: you can clean and reuse it. So, if you’re keen on recycling, here’s how to clean a dry body brush.
How to Clean Your Dry Brush
Keep in mind that, when cleaning your dry brush, the wooden base and handle should not come into contact with water. This is because water weakens the wood and may cause it to crack and rot. For brushes with a removable handle, exposing the wooden parts to water may also affect its fit.
It's vital to disinfect your brush while cleaning. There are several methods of cleaning your brush, and they include the following.
- Fill a bowl with water. The water level should be lower than the length of the bristles, preferably halfway.
- Add three drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil with disinfectant properties. It will help get rid of any bacteria on the bristles of the brush.
- Remove the brush handle, then place the brush in the bowl, bristles facing downwards.
- Move the brush around. The movement frees dead cells and dirt in the bristles. Swishing the water around also helps in the even distribution of tea tree oil in the bristles. Be gentle to avoid wetting the wooden base.
- After five minutes, lift the brush, then replace the solution with clean water. Rinse the brush in the freshwater by moving it in the same way you did in step 4.
- Shake the brush then place it on a dry towel, bristles down. Secure it with safety pins then put it in the dryer with your clothes on a low setting. Wait for twenty minutes. During the cycle, the towel absorbs all the moisture from the brush, leaving it completely dry.
The second method is just like the first one with only a slight change in the drying process. After rinsing the brush, you can dry it outside away from direct sunlight. It’s important to get the brush dry as quickly as possible. Keeping natural fiber bristles wet for too long can weaken them. If the weather does not favor this method, you should use the drying machine.
This method is also like the first one. The only difference is the drying process. Method three will come in handy when you're in a hurry. All you need to do is blow your brush with a hairdryer for a couple of minutes to dry it.
The fourth method involves swirling the bristles in soapy water instead of using a solution containing essential oil. The best soap to use for a dry brush is liquid soap, preferably baby shampoo. You can use alcohol as a disinfectant. However, alcohol should not be used frequently as it can damage the bristles with time.
Whichever method you use, ensure that, at the end, both the base and the bristles are completely dry. Keeping the brush wet can encourage bacteria growth.
Now that you’ve learned how to clean a dry brush let’s go over how to make a disinfectant for your brush.
How to Make a Disinfectant Spray for Your Brush
For disinfection, you can use a variety of essential oils besides tea tree oil such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, geranium, ageratum, and citronella.
That said, here’s how to make a simple disinfectant oil spray for your dry brush.
- ¾ cup of water
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- ¼ cup of witch hazel
- 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Once you have all the ingredients together, put them in a spray bottle, then shake well. Ensure you shake the solution well before every use.
Witch hazel, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil have all been proven to possess disinfectant properties. They are also ideal to use on the skin without causing irritation.
Tips on How to Care for Your Dry Brush
- Keep the wood handle oiled. Oiling prevents the handle from splitting. Using oil helps to seal out moisture that would otherwise penetrate the wood. You can dip the handle in linseed oil or use tea tree oils.
- Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight. Exposing your brush to direct sunlight for a long period can cause the handle to crack and result in damage. If you decide to air your body brush outside, put it in a shady area, away from direct sunlight.
- It’s preferable to use a brush with natural fibers. Synthetic brushes have lots of hiding places for bacteria and fungus and are usually too abrasive.
How Often Should You Clean Your Brush?
How frequently you use your brush will determine how often it needs to be cleaned. A dry brush is a personal effect just like your toothbrush or towel. As such, it needs to be kept as clean as possible at all times. Remember, the skin is a sensitive organ, and even a little mistreatment could lead to infections.
If you use your brush once or twice every week, then you can wash it once, monthly. A brush that’s used daily, on the other hand, requires weekly cleaning. That is because it gathers more dirt and oil more quickly.
Different rules apply for a brush that you use to dry brush your face. The face is more sensitive than the rest of your skin. This means that it’s at a higher risk of getting infected or irritated. Hence, a dry brush used on the face should be cleaned after every use or after every two uses.
How clean your brush is affects its functionality. It might be impossible to exfoliate as much skin as you would like if your brush bristles are clogged.
Precautions When Dry Brushing
You should never share your dry body brush with someone else. Doing so can lead to the transfer of bacteria and infections.
After cleaning your brush, pay attention to where you store it. You should keep it in a clean, dry place. That will prevent mold growth. Also, never use it in place of your body bath brush. Bath brushes are meant to be used in water, while dry brushes aren’t.
Sometimes, your brush might look dirty even before a week is over, or before a month has passed if you use it sparingly. You do not have to wait the recommended period to clean your brush. If it looks dirty or develops a smell, wash it right away.
While it might not be best to wash your brush after every use, rinsing your brush instead is a great way of keeping it clean. You can easily rinse it after each use then quick-dry it using a hairdryer. Doing so significantly reduces the buildup of dirt. That, however, is not to mean that you should skip thoroughly cleaning it.
Disinfecting your brush in between washes will also work in your favor. Using an essential oil of your choice, make a solution with water and the oil, then put it in a spray bottle. After every use, you can spray your brush bristles to help kill any bacteria.
The Benefits of Using A Clean Dry Brush
Skin imperfections are cause for concern. Moreover, they contribute significantly to poor body image and self-esteem. And while dry brushing can considerably improve your skin health, using a dirty brush can cause more harm than good, even causing more skin problems than you initially had.
The benefits of ensuring your dry brush is clean cannot be overemphasized. Here are reasons why you should always keep your body brush clean and dry. You’ll be surprised at the advantages of this simple rule.
Stimulation of Circulation Within the Lymphatic System
The action of clean bristles on the skin opens up the pores. Sweating is increased, which means more toxins are released from the body. An excessive amount of toxins can clog up the lymphatic system. Reduced levels of toxins in the body help the system fight infections.
Using a clean, dry brush is like a form of body massage. Brushing your body will make you less tense and more relaxed. You’ll also feel more energized due to improved circulation and the effects of lymphatic massage and drainage.
Softer, Smoother, Younger Looking Skin
Brushing removes the dead skin cells on the skin surface. This allows the growth of new skin cells that replace the old ones. Having a lot of dead cells on your skin may have you looking dull. Once you get rid of the old dead cells with the help of a clean body brush, your skin will be a lot softer, feel smoother, and look even younger.
Improved Muscle Tone
Dry brushing using a clean body brush supports muscle tone by activating the nervous system. It also improves your circulation, encouraging the delivery of blood rich in oxygen to the muscles. That, in turn, helps with toning and recovery. Dry brushing also leads to firmer skin. This can be quite helpful if you've recently lost a lot of weight and you're looking for a natural way to get rid of sagging skin.
It Helps to Reduce Cellulite
One of the most common skin problems is cellulite. Cellulite results in a dimpled, lumpy appearance on the skin and is usually on the hips, thighs, stomach, and buttocks. Getting rid of cellulite isn't easy, and sometimes going to the gym or eating salads may not really make those stubborn patches of cellulite disappear.
Using a clean dry brush actually reduces the appearance of cellulite. It works by stimulating your lymphatic system and promoting circulation, which in turn improves the texture of your skin. While dry brushing isn’t a permanent solution, you can brush, frequently, and always with a clean brush, to sustain your positive skin changes.
Get the Most Out of Your Dry Brush
It’s quite tricky to know or even estimate the expiration date of items that don’t come with one, such as a dry brush. The truth is a dry brush, among other things in your bathroom, collect more fungus, bacteria, and mold than you would like to believe. So, if you need the inspiration to clean, this is it!