How to Clean Your Filthy Makeup Brushes

The bristles of a makeup brush on a bar of soap, with a blurry sink faucet in the background
Dirt, Oil and Dead Skin Cells — Clean Your Brushes!

Have you ever gone weeks, months or maybe even years without washing your face? Doubt it. Then why go weeks without cleaning your makeup brushes, a tool that touches your face just as much as your hands?

Brushes can accumulate dust, bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells over time, causing the bristles to harden and your face to breakout. Prevent future breakouts by cleaning your brushes at least once every two weeks. But be careful, makeup brushes are expensive and can be ruined if washed improperly. Learn how to wash makeup brushes—correctly!—by following the steps below.

From the bathroom and beyond, Molly Maid is your cleaning authority! Find more cleaning tips here, or contact your local Molly Maid today for a free house cleaning estimate.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Your Makeup Brushes

  • What You’ll Need
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Baby shampoo or unscented (ideally organic) bar soap
  • Faucet and water
  • Optional: Rubbing alcohol and conditioner

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

1. Turn your faucet on to a light stream of warm water.

2. One by one—gently wet your brushes, making sure to avoid the base of the bristles. The more exposure the base/handle receives to water, the more likely it will start shedding!

3. Grabbing either your organic bar soap or baby shampoo, massage the soap into the brush, working up a thick lather.

4. Rewash your brush in the faucet. It’s important to wash all the soap out of the brush—dried on soap can be damaging to the bristles.

5. Squeeze any remaining water out of the brush. If the water looks dirty, repeat steps one through four until clean.

6. Lay out your cloth and place your brushes down to air dry for six to eight hours.

HOT MESS: Never use a blow dryer to dry your brushes! It can quickly ruin a brush beyond repair.

7. Repeat for each of your brushes.

For Super Clean & Soft Brushes…

8. Dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the base and metal ring of your brushes. This will kill any lingering bacteria and leave your handle looking like new.

9. If your brush still doesn’t feel soft after a thorough cleaning, wet the bristles again and lather conditioner. Rinse and dry the same as before.

Enjoy the feel of your bacteria-free brush. Remember to wash again in two weeks to maintain a clean brush—and face! And if you found this blog helpful, check out these tips on how to organize your makeup like a pro!