How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Extend their Shelf-Life

Hygienic habits like cleaning your makeup brushes frequently must be practiced for good skin health.

No matter if you are a ‘Full-glam Girl’ or an ‘Natural-look Princess’, a ‘Pro-MUA’ or simply a makeup enthusiast. Makeup brushes are your weapon of choice; your sword of valor. There are a plethora of options when it comes to makeup brushes. Every stroke tells a unique story. Different brushes serve different purposes to help the product blend onto your skin. Using them regularly contributes to product and dirt accumulation, making them a Dusty-Disease-Dispenser.

Moreover, with the chaotic lives we live in, it is easy to forget your cleansing ritual. Dirty brushes harbor bacteria and harmful debris that get transferred to the skin. This leads to uninvited guests (acne) and poor skin health. Therefore, it is imperative to know the ABCs of cleaning makeup brushes and sticking to it religiously. In this blog, we will cover everything about taking care of your makeup brushes and how to properly clean makeup brushes. 

Before we begin, let’s understand – 

Why Do You Need to Frequently Clean Your Brushes?

  • Enhanced Performance Quality – With meticulous care, your makeup brushes will offer a smoother application. Pigments will blend seamlessly and you’ll be able to create your desired look with ease.
  • Avoiding Skin Problems – Dirty tools infect your skin, disturb its microbiome, and cause bigger issues like acne, clogged pores, and irritation. Plus, spending so much on skincare products will go down the drain if you knowingly invite bacteria into your skin. So, always make sure you use clean makeup brushes during your routine.
  • Extend the Product’s Life – Prioritizing their care, makes your brushes stand the test of time. Regularly inspect them and disinfect them so that they stay in your kit for longer. 

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

No matter if you opt for natural makeup looks or a full glam, your brushes need to be cleaned. It is a very fun and satisfying chore to clean your brushes just like all those YouTube videos you watch. So, grab your kit, and this is how to clean makeup brushes at home. 

Gather all your supplies – makeup brush cleanser, a few tissue papers, a pair of clean towels, a textured mat, a dryer stand, etc., and obviously, your makeup brushes. Also, fret not if you don’t have the things we mentioned here. We will provide you with common at-home alternatives that you can use for this chore.

Step 1: Wet Your Brushes

Wet brushes

Start by dusting off the excess residual makeup, if you can, by brushing them over a dry tissue paper or clean washcloth. Then, dip the fibers of your makeup brushes in tepid/lukewarm water for about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you don’t dip the brush entirely; otherwise, the glue can get impacted due to its contact with water.

Step 2: Cleansing

makeup brush Cleansing

You can execute this step in different ways. The simplest of them all is to take a few drops of your chosen cleanser on your palms. Then, gently swirl your soaked brush in circular motions to remove the debris and makeup off it. Lather the cleanser properly while doing so. You’ll have to repeat this process individually for all brushes. 

You can also use a silicone textured mat or brush cleaning glove for a thorough rinse. These products help in getting rid of stubborn makeup efficiently. 


  • Double or triple cleanse if needed, depending on the condition of your brushes. 
  • Make sure not to use too much product, or else the bristles will become dry/harsh and start falling out later. 
  • If you don’t have a separate cleanser for washing your brushes, don’t worry. You can simply use baby soap or any gentle cleanser available to you. An organic formula is preferred in this case. 

Step 3: Rinse Thoroughly

rinse makeup brush

Again, use lukewarm water to rinse off all the cleansing products from your brushes. Keep repeating it until the water runs clear.

After washing the brushes off, gently squeeze all that extra water. Remember, don’t be harsh while doing so because wet bristles (just like your wet hair) are prone to breakage more easily. 

Set them to dry by restructuring the bristles back to their original shape and loosening them a bit. Now, place a clean towel on the counter beforehand to arrange your washed brushes.

Step 4: Air-Drying

Post-wash, lay out your brushes flat on the clean towel that you have kept ready on the side. Remember, do not place them ‘bristle-side’ up. Otherwise, the water runs down and loosens the adhesive that’s used to secure the hair. This will lead to fibers falling off your brush, giving you an uneven application. 

There are stands that you can buy in, particularly, for drying your makeup brushes. They help your brushes stay upside down, ensuring they maintain their shape well and also dry off effectively.


How often to clean makeup brushes?

Generally, makeup brushes and sponges must be cleaned at least once every month. But if you use them every day , you should wash them twice a week. This offers a flawless makeup application and a true pigment payoff.

Are you supposed to wash makeup sponges?

Sponges absorb more product than a brush. They suck in oils and silicones from products more than brushes do. Therefore, they must be a part of your routine more often. Wash them twice a week if you use them daily. 

What is the best way to clean a makeup sponge?

The process is similar to what we’ve discussed above on how to clean makeup brushes. Simply soak the sponge and squeeze it to get rid of as much makeup as you can. Then, soak it again in soapy water. It can be any product – cleanser, baby soap, mild dish soap, gentle body soap, etc. Rinse off after a few minutes and keep washing it with lukewarm water until the water squeezing out runs clear. Now, take a clean towel. Press the sponge to release as much water as you can, and let it fully air dry overnight.

What do you wash makeup brushes and sponges with?

A frequently asked question is, ‘How to clean a makeup brush with different products?’ Well, there are many products available with specific formulas. Either that, or you can even use normal household items like a mild baby shampoo/soap, gentle hand wash, bar soap, organic soaps, etc. 

As to how to clean makeup brushes and sponges with professional brush cleansers, make sure you choose wisely. Don’t buy formulas that have a high alcohol content in them. Some even contain harsh solvents that get the job done but are not good for the longevity of your makeup brushes. Opt for cleansers that have food-grade solvents. 

Additionally, you can also use an antimicrobial solution to get rid of any bacteria residing in your brushes and sponges. It dries off quickly and leaves your products as clean as new. 

Can you soak your makeup brushes overnight?

Soaking the brushes for more than a few minutes can start dissolving the glue and lead to bristle shedding. So we advise you not to soak them overnight. There’s nothing a cleanser can’t wash away quickly. 

What’s the Best Way to Dry Makeup Brushes?

Some people might get tempted to use a hair dryer for quick results, but don’t. No matter how irresistible it might feel, the swift, hot air from a dryer can ruin the shape of your brushes and also loosen the gum. 

When should I replace my makeup brushes?

No matter how well you take care of your brushes, you should change them every 2 years. Over time, either the bristles become weak and start falling off, or the brushes simply lose their shape, affecting the performance quality. 


This basic and minimal chore can turn out to be super helpful in maintaining your skin health. So, don’t be lenient and follow the above instructions on how to clean makeup brushes thoroughly. Invest in good quality brushes for the longer run, just like you invest in your makeup products. Anything you put on your face/skin must be clean and quality-graded. Make this a habit, and your skin will always stay healthy. 

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