How To Deep Clean Even The Dirtiest Makeup Brushes

Updated on July 13, 2021 by Amber & The Team

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We use makeup brushes on a daily basis, yet we tend to overlook an important fact: those personal items need to be cleaned regularly and in a thorough manner! Did you know that regularly cleaning dirty makeup brushes is crucial for your skin’s health?

Constant sanitation keeps your makeup brushes free of build-up and bacteria, which are a common reason why you wake up with new pimples every morning. Furthermore, clean makeup brushes allow you to apply makeup smoothly because they’re not drenched in excess products and oils.

I have to admit that I am not the champion in keeping my brushes clean and – shame on me – lately, they got notably dirty because I think I haven’t cleaned them for around two months… Gross!!

Therefore I was looking for tips on how to deep clean very dirty makeup brushes, and here’s what makeup experts recommend!


How To Deep Clean Even The Dirtiest Makeup Brushes


When should you wash makeup brushes?


Here is a fact that will leave you speechless: experts say it would be a great idea to wash makeup brushes… after each and every usage. Even though this might seem unnecessary, bacteria build-up can happen almost instantly, so it is best to at least spray some alcohol-based solution on your brushes daily. If you adopt this habit, you will only have to deep clean the makeup brushes every two weeks.

SHANY Detox Professional Brush Cleanser


What do you need to deep clean dirty makeup brushes?


I thought that in order to deep clean very dirty brushes I would need a special arsenal of cleaners… It turns out that the amount of dirt doesn’t matter – all you need are some common sense ingredients such as a glass of hot water, some shampoo (preferably – a baby shampoo), a dry towel and a little bit of patience.


How to deep clean even da-duuuurrrtiest brushes!


  1. Take a glass or bowl of hot water and add a small amount of baby shampoo.
  2. Place your brushes in the mixture and allow them to soak for around 20 minutes. Be careful not to let them in the water for an extended period of time! 20-30 minutes are more than enough for proper soaking.
  3. Rinse the brushes thoroughly by keeping them with the handle up, towards the water source. If water goes directly into the brush, you risk weakening the glue thay is used to keep the brittles together, and that – trust me – will ruin your brush.
  4. Use some extra shampoo to massage into the brush to remove extra build up, if needed.
  5. Don’t forget to wash the brushes’ handle too, as that is also a place for bacteria to grow.
  6. Rinse again and make sure any residue of shampoo is removed.
  7. Take a dry towel and place all the brushes on it. This will absorb all the water, yet keep in mind that synthetic brushes require up to 15 hours to dry, while natural brushes will dry in a couple of hours.

If you can, do dry your brushes with their head upside down to protect the glue! Since it’s very hard to find a way to do that at home, I really recommend getting a brush drying holder. They’re not very expensive, and once acquired, will probably last you for many years to come. They look like this:

BEAKEY Makeup Brush Drying Rack

DUcare Makeup Brush Storage Holder Organizer

… And if you want to make your brush cleaning process easier and faster, you can even get really innovative products specifically designed for that:

SIgma Beauty Express Brush Cleaning Mat

Luxe Makeup Brush Cleaner

Lilumia 2 Makeup Brush Cleaner Device


 How to clean makeup sponges or beauty blenders?


For cleaning a makeup sponge you can either use a special cleanser or a simple bathroom soap. You will have to do the following:

  1. Place your dirty sponge under warm water, allow it to soak and squeeze to remove makeup.
  2. Rub the sponge all over the soap bar and make sure is covered completely in soap.
  3. Squeeze and rinse until the water comes out clear. This is a sign your sponge is bacteria and makeup free.
  4. Place it on a dry towel and allow it to dry for up to 10 hours. Due to its spongy nature, it absorbs plenty of water, which means you will have to be patient to dry it properly!

I admit that at first cleaning your makeup brushes might feel like a nuisance, yet is a must-have in order to prevent bacteria from transferring on your face when applying makeup. Please don’t wait until you reach a disaster brush situation as I did! Think about your brushes as your hair: you can’t go a week without washing it (unless you have some kind of a miracle secret), and the same happens with brushes. They need to be cleaned regularly both for healthy skin, and the best makeup results. Stay pretty!

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