• 11/08/2023

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Effectively in Four Ways

A variety of makeup brushes.

Revivalist is a reader-supported endeavor and our posts may contain affiliate links. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Makeup brushes do many things for men but even more for women. They hide imperfections, add color and a glowing look to the skin and help you get camera-ready all the time. Only a few people may realize, but thanks to these tools, you can show up to the world confidently.

If you’re a makeup artist or someone who uses makeup daily, keeping your appliers clean is crucial as they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Read this article to learn how to clean makeup brushes easily.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes at Home

Makeup brushes and sponges are the allies of makeup artists in concealing skin imperfections. As they touch the skin directly, keeping them clean is essential. Sponges and brushes are porous, absorbing oils, dirt and makeup residue. Using them unwashed for weeks can lead to irritation, acne and other skin problems. 

Fortunately, brushing your tools is as easy as washing your hair. Moreover, it doesn’t cost much as you can use household products or natural cleaners to clear the buildup of stuck dirt.  

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Using Shampoo

Using products you already have at home makes the task easy. Shampoo is a top choice for maintaining the brushes’ hygiene. It’s gentle, kills bacteria and removes debris without drying the tips. Follow these steps to do it. 

1. Drench the brush tips in tap running water to remove the residue. As much as it’s tempting to clean the entire thing, don’t rinse the whole brush, as the glue that connects the tips to the handle could dissolve in water. 

2. Get a bowl and fill it with water. 

3. Add a tablespoon of gentle shampoo. 

4. Submerge the tips in the bowl and swirl a few times, allowing the solution to coat each end. You can also massage the tip in the palm of your hand to lather it. Doing this ensures thorough cleaning.

5. Rinse the tips under running water. 

6. Shampoo and rinse it repeatedly until the water that runs from the tips is clear. 

7. Use a clean towel to squeeze out the excess water from the brush.

8. Let it dry flat on a clean surface.

The best thing about using shampoo is it lathers generously when you massage the tips and allows for deep cleaning. You also always have it at home, so you can skip buying fancy or expensive cleaning products.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Using Vinegar

Using vinegar is one of the best ways to clean makeup brushes naturally. It’s a kitchen staple and an excellent all-around home cleaning ingredient for the bathroom, kitchen and even jewelry. Here are the steps to using vinegar in cleaning your makeup brushes. 

1. Prepare a cup of warm water in a glass.

2. Grab a bottle of apple cider vinegar, measure one tablespoon and mix it with the water. 

3. Next, put in half a teaspoon of dish soap and blend well using a spoon.

3. Start with one brush and move it around the solution. 

4. Remove and rinse it in running water. Do the rest with other brushes until you have finished cleaning all.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the brushes are thoroughly clean.

6. Shake off excess water by squeezing it on the paper towel. 

7. Use your fingers to comb and fix any bent bristles. 

8. Let them dry overnight.

Vinegar has disinfecting properties, killing bacteria apart from dirt and oils. One downside of cleaning makeup brushes with vinegar is the smell. You may find it too strong or irritating. But no worries, this scent won’t be there once the brushes dry. 

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Using Alcohol

Another home product to disinfect and clean makeup brushes is alcohol. Your makeup appliers can accumulate dirt your naked eyes can’t see, like bacteria and yeast, potentially causing rashes and infection on the face. 

According to the study, makeup brushes are dirtier than a toilet because of tiny microbes sticking to them. Researchers took 12 makeup appliers and looked at them under a microscope. The result was surprising as an eyeshadow brush had blue and green mold while the foundation brush had blood-red bacteria. 

Washing and disinfecting your brushes can reduce the risk of contamination and skin problems when using them. Here are the steps on how to use alcohol when cleaning makeup appliers. 

1. Pour a small amount of alcohol into a shallow bowl. 

2. Dip the tips into it and swish it for 10 to 20 seconds. You’ll see the alcohol changing color because of residue from the brush.

3. Dab the tips on a clean paper towel so it absorbs the excess liquid.

4. throw away the discolored alcohol and refill the bowl with clean disinfectant. Dip the brush again, swirl it briefly, and partially dry it with a paper towel.

5. Repeat step 4 until no more makeup powder comes off the brush. 

6. Squeeze and comb the bristles with your fingers to straighten bent tips. 

7. Let it dry for a few hours or overnight before storing them.

Whether you use your brushes alone or not, disinfecting them regularly is part of hygiene and crucial to preventing possible skin issues. 

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Using Soap

The best soap to clean makeup brushes is dish soap. It’s gentle and perfect for washing away dirt buildup on soft- and hard-bristled tools. Besides dish soap, adding olive oil can help break down the stubborn foundation or eyeshadow deposits on the tips. Here’s how to do it. 

1. On a large dinner plate, put in dish soap and olive oil using a 3:1 ratio or about 3 teaspoons of soap and 1 teaspoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

2. Swirl the brush into the solution, ensuring each bristle is coated for effective cleaning. The excess makeup sheds off as you do this, changing the solution’s color. Continue moving the brush around until the residue is gone. 

3. Rinse the brush in running water until the bristles are clean. Repeat until no more dirt comes off the brush and the lather is white. 

4. Let the brush dry. 

Cleaning makeup brushes can be time-consuming,  but it’s worth it since doing this frequently can make them last and protect your skin. 

How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes

Experts recommend giving your brushes a deep wash every 7 to 10 days to get rid of the bacteria sticking to them. However, you may need to do it more frequently if you use your tools multiple times daily and dirt builds up excessively only after a few days. 

If you’re a makeup artist, investing in a brush cleaner that often comes in sprays is worth it. You can instantly disinfect and clean in a few spritzes if you need a quick clean. Choose a cleaner with antibacterial, antiviral and other decontaminating properties. It can keep your tools clean until you have time for a deep clean at the end of the week. 

Cleaning Makeup Brushes Prevents Skin Diseases

If you’re searching for how to clean makeup brushes, these four household items can do the trick. Makeup brushes enhance your beauty and bring out your best features. You use them every day on your face. Like removing makeup on your face routinely before bed, these brushes must also be well-maintained through regular cleaning. 

A spray cleaner can quickly remove dirt and microbes if you’re on the go and can only spare a few minutes for cleaning. Otherwise, experts recommend a deep clean every week to protect your skin and increase the life span of your makeup appliers. 

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

We would love to connect deeper with you!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.