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Proper way to clean a shaving brush handle?

Please forgive me if this has been posted - I spent a while searching and didn’t quite find what I needed.

I have a Simpson Chubby 2 Super shaving brush, which I have been using almost daily for several years. I recently noticed the handle has developed a layer of residue (soap, cream, water, who knows?...). I would like to bring it back to near-new look, but I am afraid of using anything too harsh. I normally clean my razors with hand soap and a toothbrush, but I’m worried about damaging the brush.

So, I’m looking for the gentlest way of effectively cleaning the brush handle (I also plan to clean the bristles, probably with baby shampoo).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated - handle and/or bristles.

Thanks,
- Greenhouse
 
I always wipe off the soap residue after use with a soft towel and that keeps my brush handles looking as new. Possibly a thicker layer of scum might need a longer and harder rub down, with an occasional rinse in warm water, but I wouldn't resort to anything harsher unless it really won't come off.
 
I'd rinse the handle with water and wipe it gently with a microfiber towel. The residue shouldn't be too hard to wipe off unless you let it sit there after every shave...
 
After rinsing the knot thoroughly I give the brush handle a good wipe down and make sure to get all the way to the top of the handle at the base of the knot. A lot of buildup can wind up there. I always try to wipe down both razors and brushes over something that may buffer a fall.
 

ajkel64

Moderator
I wouldn’t use anything harsh. Just water and a cloth as mentioned. I have had too many disasters using harsh chemicals on razors etc. Live and learn.
 
Many people use a solution of vinegar and water to clean soap scum off their brushes. Sorry, I do not know the best concentration of vinegar to use. The biggest problem area is normally the base of the knot. You could always immerse the entire brush, including the handle, but don't soak it any longer than needed, especially if it is a wood handle.
 
You can use a qtip to get the top of the rim near the knot. Water and soap should suffice, a little vinegar as mentioned can help if it's stubborn.
 
Thanks guys. I used warm water and a microfiber towel (thanks Timeclo) for the handle. I worked pretty well. I also used diluted Johnson’s baby shampoo for the bristles. The brush looks good and has a lot of bloom, which had decreased lately.

I haven’t used it yet, but plan to later today. Thanks again.

- Greenhouse
 
Thanks guys. I used warm water and a microfiber towel (thanks Timeclo) for the handle. I worked pretty well. I also used diluted Johnson’s baby shampoo for the bristles. The brush looks good and has a lot of bloom, which had decreased lately.

I haven’t used it yet, but plan to later today. Thanks again.

- Greenhouse
Interesting what you say about the bloom. I dislike any bloom at all on my brushes and once completely dry, I gently form them into the narrower shape they were when new. They don't always remain that way but I find overly bloomed brushes to be visually very unappealing. Different strokes for different folks I suppose :)
 
Thanks guys. I used warm water and a microfiber towel (thanks Timeclo) for the handle. I worked pretty well. I also used diluted Johnson’s baby shampoo for the bristles. The brush looks good and has a lot of bloom, which had decreased lately.

I haven’t used it yet, but plan to later today. Thanks again.

- Greenhouse
If yours is one of the newer laser engraved Simpsons and still aren't happy with the handle, you can use a mild ("extra fine cut") automotive polish to clean things up. Just be careful around the edges of the decal, if yours has one. (Of course, Simpson's decals can always polished-off and replaced if you need to get aggressive.) That said: if yours is pad printed, I'd just leave things as they are.
 
I whip up a lather using dawn dish soap, and then rinse thoroughly, soak for 10 minutes in clean water, condition, and then rinse again. I live in a soft water area.

If anyone knows the vinegar mixture, that would be helpful once some of my brushes get to be a few years old and need a deeper cleaning than above.


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If anyone knows the vinegar mixture, that would be helpful once some of my brushes get to be a few years old and need a deeper cleaning than above.
Usually, it's a weak solution of distilled white vinegar and water in a ratio around 8:1 (8 parts water to 1 part vinegar).

Some use a stronger solution, some prefer weaker, as mentioned in a ShaveWiki entry titled "How to Clean a Shaving Brush". But, 8:1 is the happy medium.
 

naughtilus

Contributor
This:

Prepare a warm water and white vinegar concoction of 50/50 ratio in some Tupperware to the brim. Submerge the whole brush and close it in. Shake the container every 5min to agitate soap scum descaling. After 30 min rinse the brush with warm water. Next, shampoo it well, leave the brush foamed up to rest for 5min and then rinse. Finally lather up some hair conditioner (be generous), leave the brush rest for 5min, then rinse with warm water.

The slight vinegar smell will disappear after few shaves. Repeat the shampoo/conditioner treatment if it's persistent.

Don't be bothered if couple of hairs come out during this. Those are some loose bristles that weren't set in the glue and would come out eventually anyway. You should give the knot a dozen gentle strokes with a soft plastic comb to rejuvenate the structure from knots and clumps.
 
I'm closer to the 8:1 water/vinegar ratio. I fill the sink and add about a cup of vinegar. I then soak all of my brushes. After 10 minutes I gently brush my hand under water with each brush. I then use a toothbrush (purchased for this sole purpose) to gently scrub the bristles/hair at the base where the knot meets the handle. I go in the same direction of the knot in a combing fashion. If the letters on the handle are engraved (Paladin) I gently scrub the letters. I give them all a good rinse and then I'm done. After this process, the brushes look and perform as new.

If I am only cleaning one brush, I soak it in a large coffee mug with a shot of vinegar.
 
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