How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Did you know that you can contract a staph infection if you don’t clean your makeup brushes regularly and properly?

I bet that got your attention. It got mine.

The bristles of makeup brushes and sponges are quite porous. After a couple of uses, they start retaining oil, which attracts bacteria and debris. As a result, when the bristles touch your skin, they leave traces of bacteria behind. You can imagine what kind of havoc this can create. Add one or two pimples in the mix, and you might end up damaging your skin.

Cleaning makeup brushes is quite easy. Everyday household supplies can clean and sanitize brushes in a few steps. First, dip the brushes in soapy water then scrub them in the palm of your hand.

How Often Should I Clean Makeup Brushes?

Most women never clean their brushes and those who do, do so once every 6 months. However, that is not good for their skin at all. If you own one of those 15 or 24 pieces makeup brush kits, the wash cycle depends on the size of the brushes and how often they’re used.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, makeup brushes should be cleaned after every 10 days. A few other dermatologists have different opinions. Some recommend that you clean makeup brushes used for foundation, concealer, and face powder once a week. Clean eye makeup brushes twice a week.

The cleaning cycle also depends on how you store your makeup brushes. Are they placed in a cup holder (in the open air), on your dressing table or in a bag? All these factors determine how often you should clean your makeup brushes.

What Should I Clean My Makeup Brush With?

Many store-bought cleaners, tools, and DIY solutions can be used to clean makeup brushes. You can use the following items:

  • Soap
  • Liquid dishwasher
  • Shampoo
  • Baby shampoo
  • Makeup brush cleaners
  • Instant cleaners (pour it, dip it and wipe it)
  • Makeup brush cleaner spray (cleans brushes on the spot before application)
  • Dry sponge cleaner (allows you to clean brushes between applications)
  • Brush cleaning glove (has different scrub patterns that allow you to clean small, medium and large brushes)
  • Drying rack

When Should I Throw Away a Makeup Brush?

The moment you feel that the bristles of your makeup brushes are falling out or are getting out of shape, you need to replace them immediately.

The more you clean your makeup brushes, the longer they will last. However, when you are cleaning them, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, rubbing them hard on the cleaning glove can cause the bristles to fray or dislocate. Second, it is important to leave the head of the brushes in the open air, hanging from a counter, to prevent mildew and mold.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

People usually freak out when they hear that you should clean makeup brushes at least once a week. A combination of genius products and simple tricks will help you get this task done in a few minutes.

1-Ingredient Makeup Brush Cleaner

Cleaning Face Powder Makeup Brushes

This recipe calls for a liquid dishwasher. You can also choose any other cleaner such as baby shampoo, regular shampoo or soap.


  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwasher or baby shampoo


  • Mix the liquid dishwasher or baby shampoo in the lukewarm water
  • Wash the brushes in the sink under lukewarm water. Separate the bristles with your hand gently and get out as much makeup as you can
  • Dip the brushes in the lukewarm shampoo water and swirl them around
  • Rinse them under lukewarm water again and see if the water running from them is clean. If not, then dip them in the shampoo water again
  • Once the brushes are clean, pat them with a microfiber cloth. For the big brushes, wrap the cloth around the brushes and gently squeeze to get the excess water out
  • Place the brushes on a counter, with the head hanging off from the edge

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

Cleaning Liquid Foundation Makeup Brushes

Liquid foundation is harder to clean so you need a strong agent to help break the buildup. For this purpose, olive oil works best because it breaks the crusted foundation and helps get rid of the oils.


  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwasher or baby shampoo


  • In a glass plate, drop a small amount of olive oil and swirl the brushes in it (do not push the brushes in too hard or the bristles will soak up the oil)
  • Wipe the brushes with a paper towel and try to get out as much makeup as you can
  • Follow the same steps as explained above for cleaning face powder makeup brushes

Note: You can use store-bought cleaners in the same manner. Replace the soapy agent with the professional cleaner.

The Mat Method

Professional cleaning mats such as the SIGMA Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Mat provides you with a quick and easy way to clean your brushes. This mat has suction cups underneath, which allows you to fix it in the sink.

Drop a small dollop of a professional cleaner on your wet makeup brush and scrub it on the mat. The scrub patterns have been labeled, so you can follow those.


You don’t need to buy any fancy products to clean your makeup brushes! If you have access to them, then well and good, but you can make do without them. A soapy water solution will do a good job as well as a professional cleaner.

If you’re a professional makeup artist, then a brush cleaning mat will allow you to clean your brushes in a matter of seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes a Good Curling Iron for Thick Hair?

Curling irons for thick hair must have a high-temperature setting (heat up to at least 400F) to hold thick hair into curls all-day if not for a few days!
The best curling irons for thick hair use an advanced ionic or infrared technology to reduce frizz and keep your hair moisturized.

What size barrel is best for thick hair?

For thick hair, a curling iron with a barrel sized 1.5 inches is the most suitable option for everyday use.
Depending on your desired hairstyle, you can section your hair into smaller or thicker sections to create both tight and loose curls.

How do you make curls last all day with thick hair?

Use a mousse and heat protectant before you blow-dry in order to give the hair more hold. Prepping with a setting spray is also great for locking in your curls. Many of them offer heat protection, too!

How Often Do I Need to Replace Beauty Blenders or Sponges?

The rule of thumb is to replace your beauty blender or sponge when it starts to smell. However, replacing them after every three months is ideal.

Is Dishwashing Soap Safe For My Makeup Brushes?

It is the strongest cleaner for makeup brushes as it helps remove tough grease and oils.

How Do I Get That Softness Back In My Brushes?

There are professional cleaning agents that come with a conditioner. These keep your bristles soft and in their original shape.

How Do I Prevent My Brush from Getting Out of Shape?

The easiest solution for this is to buy a mesh-sleeve brush guard, preferably one made of polyester. You can slip it on right after cleaning your brush.

What is the Best Way to Dry By Brushes?

The best to dry them is by hanging them facedown. If they are thrown in a jar, the moisture will seep into the head and loosen the glue that holds the bristles together.