What Can I Use to Clean My Makeup Brushes and Sponge?

Cleansing makeup brushes and sponges may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A textured silicone mat may help loosen and loosen buildup while gently scrubbing away buildup, or try investing in a product specifically made for brushes and sponges.

To combat bacteria on sponges, try washing them every three or four days – here are six quick and simple methods for doing just that!

Vinegar + Lemon

Makeup brushes can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria if left unused and dirty, leading to breakouts on your skin and spreading the infection through. Therefore, it’s essential that makeup brushes and sponges be thoroughly washed regularly using an environmentally-friendly cleaning agent, such as natural soap flakes. DIY makeup brush cleaner recipes exist – use what ever products you have available at home!

Mixing one tablespoon of lemon juice with one teaspoon of white vinegar is one easy way to create an effective natural makeup brush cleanser. This combination can loosen and disinfect makeup brushes. Furthermore, adding some coconut oil may deodorize them even further!

Baby shampoo is another natural makeup brush cleaner worth using; it works wonders at clearing away grime without oversaturating bristles. Simply pour a few drops into lukewarm water and swirl your brushes through, before rinsing with clean water before leaving them to dry on their own.

Lemon is another effective natural makeup brush cleaner ingredient due to its antibacterial and refreshing aroma. When using this method, be cautious not to submerge your brush handle; otherwise it could compromise its glue attachment and shorten its lifespan significantly.

Make a natural makeup brush cleaning spray by mixing one tablespoon of vinegar with some cool, boiled water. This allows you to quickly and efficiently clean your brushes when time is tight – just beware not to get any of this mixture inside the ferrule (metal part that holds bristles together with glue). This method is suitable for wet and dry makeup brushes alike, although eyeshadow and liner brushes in particular seem particularly adept at dissolving makeup residue.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many applications in beauty care and maintenance, ranging from skin toning to cleaning your beauty tools. As a natural deodorizer and bacteria killer, apple cider vinegar can also help keep odor at bay and kill off germs on its own or when mixed with other solutions for brush and sponge cleansing.

Create a solution using one teaspoon of vinegar and one cup of warm water, then dip brush bristles in it and allow them to soak. Rinse off with cool water after, laying flat to dry on towel.

Makeup brushes should only ever be washed with dish soap when necessary; otherwise it could prove detrimental. Most dish soaps contain silicone which can break down glue holding bristles to the handle of the brush and cause bristle detachment from its handle.

Another option for cleaning makeup brushes is liquid dish soap, something most kitchens already contain. Be sure to select a mild detergent; alternatively you could purchase natural makeup brush cleaner specifically formulated for this task.

For an even stronger solution, mix some hydrogen peroxide with castile soap or organic baby shampoo and water for an effective brush cleaning solution. Simply drop several drops into warm water in a bowl, soak your brushes for 10 minutes in this solution and you will successfully get rid of oil and bacteria build-up on them! This method also serves to protect the environment!

Baking soda and water make an effective natural makeup brush cleanser that’s both gentle on both your brushes and the environment. Baking soda helps remove oil residue and neutralize odor, while lemon juice (or cut-up lemon half) disinfects and freshens up their smell.

If you don’t have time to whip up your own solution, there are numerous makeup brush and sponge cleaners available at local drugstores or online. Some are even made with natural ingredients and cruelty-free. While these might cost more, these options give your brushes and sponges the proper attention. It is key that they be regularly cleaned to prevent bacteria build-up that could lead to breakouts or rashes.


Soap may cause damage and dry out bristles made of natural hair, yet it remains an effective method for keeping makeup brushes and sponges hygienic. Rinsing them thoroughly under warm water after every application will ensure mold or mildew doesn’t form on their bristles; gentle soap such as baby shampoo or dishwashing liquid are great choices; there are even dedicated brush cleaners on the market designed to do just that!

Experts we consulted advised us to clean our brushes at least once every week, but if this isn’t possible we recommend spraying them with special cleaners that kill bacteria and prevent infections such as makeup brush cleaners which typically have higher alcohol contents than traditional soap to disinfect tools more effectively. Plus they’re great options for on-the-go cleanups; just spray it onto your brush, let it sit a while, then rinse.

Make your own brush and sponge cleaner using white vinegar and water! Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one cup of hot water, dip your brushes into it, swirl them around, rinse with lukewarm water and dry on paper toweling afterwards.

Another way to keep your sponges and brushes pristinely clean is to create a solution with bleach and water. Combine one teaspoon of gentle or clarifying shampoo with half cup of water in a mixing bowl, dip your brushes into it, let them soak, then brush over them afterwards with some conditioner for extra freshness and shape.

There is also an abundance of specialized products on the market, such as silicone makeup brush cleaning mats that make it easy to rinse your tools and get them thoroughly clean. A makeup brush squeezing towel can also help get them as clean as possible without harming their bristles, while you can use makeup sponge cleaner sprays to sanitize and leave them smelling fresh.


Water is already an effective tool for cleansing your face, so why not utilize it to create an all-natural makeup brush cleaner? Start by submerging your brush in lukewarm water before working a small amount of soap into its bristles until a lather forms. Rub the bristles against skin in circular motions to break up makeup then rinse and repeat as necessary until bristles are clean and shiny again. Alternatively, gentle plant-based soaps designed to be safe for brushes and sponges may also work just as well!

Professional makeup artists find everyday household soap to be the ideal way to deep-clean their brushes and sponges, as it is both gentle enough for delicate brushes while strong enough to get rid of dirt and oil buildup. Schumacher prefers Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Tea Tree Castile Soap as its all-natural ingredients give it an ideal consistency for taking off makeup.

Hydrogen peroxide is another kitchen essential, and a reliable way to sanitize and disinfect makeup tools. Simply mix equal parts water and one teaspoon of peroxide into a solution, immerse your brush bristles-down in it, let soak for five minutes, rinse out with clean water, then dry on paper towels after.

If you want to sanitize your sponges without water, there are various special cleansing products you can use instead. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water 2-in-1 (which uses micelles to dissolve makeup and dirt) or the EcoTools Professional Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat are both great choices; alternatively you could just stick with liquid dish soap!

Maintaining clean brushes and sponges is the cornerstone of achieving flawless complexion. Failing to regularly wash them can turn them into breeding grounds for bacteria that causes breakouts and blemishes, leading to breakouts of all sorts. Knowing when it’s necessary to cleanse is simple – when they appear streaky while applying makeup, start smelling, or buildup foundation or powder on their bristles is evident; but most importantly always wash before reuse so your skin receives optimal benefits from its makeup application.