4 Ways to Clean Makeup Brushes at Home

Anyone who loves wearing makeup knows how annoying it can be to clean those pesky little brushes after every use. It’s not nearly as much fun as putting on all that pigment and sparkle, but keeping your makeup brushes clean is essential to avoid breakouts and bacteria buildup. You don’t want to be the person at the end of a long night out with friends who stinks of old mascara, do you?

4 Ways to Clean Makeup Brushes at Home

Keeping your brushes clean is also essential for extending their lifespan. Dirty makeup brushes are more prone to bacterial infections, which can shorten the life of your favourite eye shadow or blush by several months. If you have good habits when washing your face twice a day, why not extend that same diligence to cleaning your makeup brushes? Here are some easy ways you can get them cleaned up asap!

Dry Shampoo for Instant Brush Cleaning

Brushes are porous, so it’s super easy for old makeup to get trapped inside and start to smell a little funky. Dry shampoo is a great, natural way to instantly clean your brushes and remove any buildup inside the bristles.

Simply spray a little shampoo into your palm, rub the brush against it to coat it, and then hold the bristles under water to rinse it off. This is especially great for eye brushes like your eyeliner and eyebrow brushes, where you don’t want any water getting inside the ferrule and damaging the glue that holds the bristles together.

Dry shampoo is also a great way to remove any excess powder from your makeup Brushes after you’ve applied your setting spray.

The Hot Water Method

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean your brushes. Simply fill a sink with hot water and a small squirt of dish soap. You can also use a brush cleaning solution if you have one on hand. Be sure to use mild soap, and don’t add too much! You don’t want the product’s bristles to be too weighed down. Drop the brushes into the water and let them sit there for a few minutes to let the water loosen up all that old makeup.

After a bit, fish the brushes and gently swish them in the water to help break up and release the product buildup. You can also put your hand under the water and roll the brushes between your fingers to get a deep cleaning. Once the makeup brushes are clean, rinse them off, squeeze out the excess water, and lay them flat to dry.

The Dental Tool Method

There are a lot of fancy makeup brush cleaning tools out there, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry! You can still clean your brushes effectively with one of your old toothbrushes. Simply fill a sink with a bit of hot water, add a small squirt of gentle dish soap, and let your makeup brushes sit in hot water for a few minutes.

This method is great for cleaning smaller brushes, like eye shadow or blush. Once the brushes are clean and you’ve swished them around in the water to break up the makeup and lift it off the bristles, you can put the brushes under running water to rinse them off and remove the soap. Squeeze the brushes with your fingers to remove excess water and lay them flat to dry.

The Dishwasher Method

Okay, we know this one sounds crazy, but hear us out! This is an effective way to clean your brushes and extend their lifespan, and it’s super easy. You’ll need to place the brushes in a mesh bag so they don’t clunk around in the dishwasher and get damaged. Add a squirt of mild soap to the machine and run the brushes on the top rack for a few minutes. This will help them release their old makeup and clean themselves, and the water’s steam will sanitize the brushes.

When the brushes are done, remove them from the bag and let them dry on a paper towel. This is a great method for sanitizing your brushes after someone in your house has been sick. The steam sanitizes the makeup brushes and lets you reuse them without worrying about spreading germs. 

The Ultraviolet Light Method

This is one of the most effective ways to deep clean your brushes, but it’s not exactly a low-maintenance method. If your brushes are really messy and you want to be sure they’re squeaky clean, you can use an ultraviolet light sterilizer to kill all the bacteria inside the bristles. Just place the brushes in the light, turn them on, and let them do their thing for a few hours.

Be sure to check on the brushes after a few hours to ensure they’re clean. Some makeup brushes don’t need as much time in the light as others. Once the brushes are clean, let them sit in the light for a few more hours to kill any bacteria that survived the cleaning process.


Keeping your brushes clean is essential if you want to avoid breakouts, keep the brushes from falling apart, and extend their lifespan. If you have good habits when washing your face twice a day, why not extend that diligence to cleaning your makeup brushes? There are a variety of ways to clean your brushes. You can dry shampoo them, use hot water, a dental tool, a dishwasher, or use ultraviolet light to sterilize them. You can avoid breakouts and extend their lifespan by investing a few minutes each week to keep your makeup brushes clean.

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