Cemmos's article

This is a bit of older news, but like with the myth of shaving to grow a fuller beard, it's still something that seems to be circulating when beards are mentioned. In 2015, a news station in New Mexico claimed that beards are as dirty as a toilet. The first thing we have to realize when reading news articles, is that many times stories are made simply to generate interest — even if they're wrong or feature incorrect or insufficient information. It's a great way to keep articles coming and money generated.

The thing about this KOAT article (the station that came up with this huge, viral rumor), is that it is not scientific and words were taken out of context to form the story. What happened, was a TV anchor had taken swabs from a "handful" of men's beards and sent them into a lab to see what microbes were found. What the microbiologist came back with was the presence of enteric bacteria, which normally resides in the intestines.

Those are the types of things you’d find in feces
- Microbiologist

Going off this, the TV news station thought it was enough to justify spreading falsity by twisting words.

The fact is that "We, as a society, are literally bathed in feces," a microbiologist from New York claims.  Anything that a human touches, there is bacteria. Another fact: our kitchens and other areas of the home are actually more bacteria laden than our toilets are. Fecal bacteria is found everywhere, it's not simply exclusive to beards. The same bacteria that was found in beards is also found on our skin. Doh!

In an actual scientific study, it was found that men with beards have a reduced likelihood of antibiotic-resistant bacteria being present on their skin.

We compared facial bacterial colonization rates among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair. Workers with facial hair were less likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureus and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci ... Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.
- Journal of Hospital Infection

While colonization is similar, there are benefits to having a beard over being clean-shaved, though both have the same bacteria that may be found in fecal matter. Keep in mind that while the bacteria may reside in feces, it doesn't mean that they're the same thing as poo. Wash those hands after wiping to avoid that.

To conclude this article, I'll drop this video of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies. This must be one of my favorites, and points out why the media reports incomplete information, trying to pass it off as science.

Combs and boar's hair brushes are important tools for any man with a slightly larger beard, with brushes being a little more versatile as they work well for those that have shorter beards too. Keeping these tools clean and sanitary should be a priority in your beard maintenance, but they don't need to be cleaned often (barring you're not a barber, in which case they need to be cleaned in between every customer they're used on).

Your combs for personal use really only need to be cleaned every month or two, with acetate combs like Kent needing cleaning less than often than wood combs, since you can rinse your plastic combs through water after every use, whereas you don't want to be constantly getting your wooden combs wet — if you do, it's fine and you just need to wipe them dry. Boar's bristle brushes need cleaning only about 3-5 times per year, depending on your usage of it with oils and how much your facial skin flakes on you.


How to Clean Your Beard Combs

Grab a semi-large bowl or small tub; something large enough that you can place your combs into. If you've just cleaned and sanitized your sink, you can fill that up instead.

  1. Fill the chosen container with warm tap water
  2. Grab a shampoo bottle and squeeze a little bit into the water
  3. Mix it up with your hands or stir with your comb
  4. Place comb(s) into the container and allow them to soak

For a lot of combs, this should be sufficient enough to get them nice and clean. Consider using a small scrub brush and agitate the combs with it to get them extra clean. This is particularly important if you use oils in your beard, so you can remove any build up and residue on your combs. If you don't have a cleaning brush, use a cloth and soak it in your shampoo-water solution. A brush will be more efficient at getting in between the comb's teeth, however.


How to Clean Your Beard Brush

Use the same water you just placed your combs into to save time.

  1. Dip the bristles of your brush into soapy water solution
  2. Use your fingers or the cleaning brushes to wipe debris from the top of the brush
  3. Use a thinner cleaning brush to wipe in between the boar bristles to reach the wood and remove the skin flakes that are on the base of the wood

If you own a pair of electric clippers, you'll likely have had a thin cleaning brush that came with it. Those are perfect for reaching through the boar hair and getting to the wood.

After cleaning the brush, use a dry cloth to dry it as much as possible and set it bristle-side down to complete the drying. Optionally, completely dry it using a blow dryer.


Regular upkeep of your valuables will keep them doing what they need to: caring for your beard hair and the skin underneath it, without spreading unwanted particulates. A clean comb and brush is a clean beard!


Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.


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