Life Hack: Using OxiClean to Clean My Combs

Most of us think of OxiClean and other super-detergents as being more for the laundry and really tough stain-fighting. But leave it to me to find another (creative) use for it!

The Problem: Strange Film on My Combs

I’ll admit, I’m slightly vain about my hair’s apparent cleanliness and tidiness. I could usually care less about being completely made up, wearing pretty (and painful) shoes, etc. But I absolutely hate when my hair looks dirty just after washing it, or when it has tons of ratty ends, flyaways, or a non-centered part. (OCD, much? 😛 )

This whole not-quite-obsession with having clean- and tidy-looking hair roared up out of my subconscious one recent evening, when I had gotten home from a workout and quickly hopped into the shower to clean up. My hair felt great after I washed it–felt squeaky clean, light, and generally awesome. I went to detangle it with my trusty wide-tooth comb…

…and a minute or so later, I looked at my detangled, “clean” hair in horror. My hair no longer looked shiny, but dull with dirt; moreover, there was a white filmy substance just barely visible on a few sections of my hair.

A serious “OMG-WHAT-DID-I-DO?!” moment ensued, culminating in the discovery that the offender was the wide-tooth comb itself. The white filmy stuff was clearly visible between the individual teeth of my comb; it could easily be scratched off with a fingernail or toothpick, rendering fingernailfuls of white goop that felt like gluey gel to the touch.

I was pretty sure this stuff had to be hair product buildup of some sort (found out later it had to be excess conditioner, because I don’t use my combs for anything but detangling just-washed hair), but I still wanted it off my comb(s). Both of the wide-tooth combs I had in my drawer were like this, and it disgusted me. The damage had already been done to my current hair wash, but I wanted this junk gone off my combs so that I didn’t have to worry with it the next day.

A Creative “Solution” (Literally)

I debated for a moment about getting an old or unused toothbrush and trying to scrub away at the “teeth” of each comb with some soap. And then, my eye lit on the huge tub of OxiClean powder under the sink, awaiting its myriad uses in laundry stain-removing and house-cleaning. “I wonder…” I thought. Well, it couldn’t hurt to try–my combs were solid plastic, after all.

So I filled up my trusty 12-quart dishpan (great for soaking delicates and small items) halfway with hot water, then put about a third of a scoop of OxiClean in it and dissolved it. After I was sure it was dissolved thoroughly (like usual), I threw both wide-tooth combs in the tub–and left it for a while, going about the business of getting dried off, wrung out, and dressed again.

The Result: Squeaky-Clean Combs, Squeaky-Clean Hair!

After about 2 hours of checking it, flipping the combs over in the water, etc., I went back and checked them. When I lifted one from the water, I saw a literal CLOUD of itty-bitty debris shake loose from it underwater, and I thought, “Oh wow, this might have really worked.” But I didn’t believe it for myself till I scratched at one of the teeth with my fingernail and came away with absolutely nothing. The OxiClean solution had indeed dissolved all that product buildup, leaving the comb clean as a whistle. HOORAY!

I rinsed the combs very, very well under both hot and cold water and let them dry overnight before using them again, and I have to say, my hair is turning out so much better. And to think, I thought all this buildup on my hair was the fault of some of the shampoos I was using!

To Try This at Home:

  1. First of all, do not try this on any brush or comb that has rubber, silicone, or wooden parts. I don’t know exactly how OxiClean would react with these materials, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be good. A completely “hard plastic” brush or comb shouldn’t hurt, though.
  2. Use either a dishpan or a sink to soak out your chosen hair implements.
  3. Fill the pan/sink with only enough hot water to thoroughly submerge your brushes/combs. Note: Combs will float, but this is not a real issue–just flip your combs over every so often so all of the plastic, especially between the teeth of each comb, comes in contact with the water. (Hot water makes the OxiClean work better, I’ve found.)
  4. Dissolve a third to a half scoop of OxiClean in the water before you add your brushes/combs. (My measurements come from the scoop that came with my tub of OxiClean, which looks like a powder laundry detergent scoop.) If you’re soaking a lot of stuff or if it’s all absolutely caked with stuff, go with a half-scoop; otherwise, less is more.
  5. Put your brushes/combs in, and soak for at least an hour. Check periodically to see how it’s progressing, swishing the combs and brushes underwater. Your brushes/combs are clean when you can scratch at the bristles or teeth with a fingernail and come away with nothing.
  6. Rinse, rinse, rinse, and by the way, rinse your brushes and combs. Make sure there is no OxiClean residue left, otherwise you could do damage to your hair when you use your combs/brushes next.

One Final Note

In future, I’m going to keep an eye out for any more product buildup, doing the old fingernail-scratch test. I figure I’ll have to soak my combs again in a few months, perhaps. This isn’t something that has to be done every day, for certain, but every few months should be enough to keep all-plastic hairstyling tools in shape.

One thought on “Life Hack: Using OxiClean to Clean My Combs”

  1. Now see, I would never think of that! I have no, as they call it, mind’s eye, but when I see something, I say, I can do that! Thanks!

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