How I Clean My Makeup Brushes & Tools

Happy Sunday my dears! To be honest, I absolutely despise whenever I have to clean my makeup brushes. It takes so long and it’s just kind of annoying. However, this is an absolutely, necessary step in a good makeup routine.

Just as bad as not cleansing your skin, not cleansing your makeup tools can result in bacteria buildup, breakouts, skin irritation, clogged pores, viral infections, damaged brushes, and muddy makeup application.

You really should clean your brushes and tools weekly or bi-weekly to extend the life of them and prevent those nasty things I mentioned from happening.

I will be the first to say that it has been hard for me to stick to that routine, even though I am super anal about my skincare and other beauty routines. So, in order to motivate and keep myself in check, I am sharing my brush and tool cleaning routine on my blog!

I ran a poll on my Facebook and Instagram pages and an overwhelming amount of you said you would like to read about this. So, enough of me blabbing, let’s get into how I clean my makeup brushes and tools!


I personally feel that all of those high end brush cleaners are a waste of money, especially when I get amazing results from household products.

Dish soap 

Yes, I use dish soap to clean my brushes. This will deep clean and get all makeup and residue from the brush. It’s best to use an antibacterial one to get rid of germs, but if you don’t have one available, the Dawn Platinum Dishwashing Liquid is absolutely amazing. Plus, it’s actually one of the best dish soaps out there for your dishes!

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Dawn Platinum

This product never dries out my brushes and it won’t damage them. I have also heard that you can use olive oil for brushes that really have a lot of product built up, but I have never tried that. Maybe I’ll give it a test one day?

Rubber Gloves

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Since I suffer from eczema on my hands, I am very careful not to get my hands submerged in water too long, as it can dry them out. I always use reusable rubber gloves when washing my brushes, as it will protect my hands from the soap and water, plus you won’t get dirty makeup all over your hands.


Depending on how many makeup brushes you have, you’ll need a different size towel to lay them out on once clean. This is pretty self explanatory and I can get all of my brushes on a hand towel.

Silicone Brush Cleaner (optional)

This is totally optional. I actually only recently added this to my brush cleansing routine and I really like the results. Using a silicone brush cleaner helps deep clean your brushes without damaging the bristles.

Silicone Brush Cleaner

These silicone brush cleaners are typically textured for a deeper clean. This one from J. Cat Beauty features two textures, one for small brushes like eyeshadow, and another for regular sized brushes.

Cleaning Process

Once you have all supplies, head over to the nearest sink, bathroom or kitchen is fine. Just make sure your kitchen sink isn’t full of dishes. Put on your gloves and grab one makeup brush. If you are using a silicone brush cleaner, grab that as well.

Wet your brush with some water and add some dish soap to the bristles. I apply the soap liberally, to really make sure I get every bit of makeup off.

Then, start working the soapy brush into the silicone brush cleaner or the palm of your hand if you aren’t using the silicone option. You want to clean deeply into the brush, but still be gentle as to not damage the bristles. Once you feel it has been worked in enough, rinse well. I repeat this process until the soap and water run clean and don’t have any makeup tint.

For my beauty sponges, I wet them and apply soap to the dirtiest areas. I then work in the soap and rinse super well. Your sponge will want to hold on to the soap, so be careful how much you apply here. You will also need to spend a good amount of time rinsing the sponge.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned your brushes or tools, make sure you squeeze out any excess water. For the brushes, I like to squeeze out the water and shape them back to their normal shape. They will dry this way and it will keep them in a great condition.

Then, place your brush or tool onto a towel and let dry. I typically let mine dry overnight, as the more dense brushes take quite awhile to fully dry.

That’s it! Just make sure you do this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and you will be good!

How do you clean your makeup brushes and tools? Any tips you’d recommend for me? Let me know in the comments!

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