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Cleaning Crew: Which Beauty Tool is Your Biggest Bacteria Metropolis?

I won't make you guess what this is -- it's a cleaning implement for the most bacteria-ridden beauty tool you own: your hairbrush.
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I dislike guessing games unless I know the answer. *shrug* I think most people feel the same way, so I won't ask you to guess what those things are in the above image. I found them in Paris; they're not eyelash combs. They're cleaning tools for the beauty implement upon which lives one of the largest colonies of bacteria in the home:

Your hairbrush.

Did you know your hairbrush is a teaming metropolis of bacteria? That it's worse than the dog's dish (well, apparently they have very clean mouths) and the goo that plugs your drains? I've seen some pretty horrible brushes (not mine, thank God), so full of hair it's any wonder there's enough exposed bristle to get through one more brushstroke. Compacted, matted old hair, dead skin, hairspray/dry shampoo/styling-product build-up -- ick.

In fact, the University of Arizona discovered that hairbrushes house an average of 3,409 bacteria colonies per square inch compared to bathroom sinks (2,733 colonies) and pet food bowls (2,110 colonies). According to Microban, which funded the study, this stuff probably won't kill you, but it could lead to unpleasant smells and skin irritation.


Of course you don't need a fancy hairbrush-cleaning tool that rakes through all that stuff to get it out of your brush bristles. A fine-ish-tooth comb would do the trick, followed by a thorough soapy wash afterward. (Hairstylist Greg May says it's best to reserve an old comb exclusively for cleaning brushes -- dragging it through the bristles roughens the comb's teeth, which could then snag on your hair and cause damage.) But I thought these tiny rake-like thingies were... neat. My friend Jenn and I spotted them in a salon-supply shop in Paris; the nice staff was quite amenable to my taking photos as though we'd never seen such things before. I hadn't -- I've never gone looking for such things. That said, I do own a brush cleaner tool my Aunt Ayong once gave me (photo to come), but I've never used it. I rarely use my hairbrush, but when I clean it, I make do with a comb, or my hands.

Have you cleaned your hairbrush lately? Do you use a tool like this? How about all that bacteria?