How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

Learn how to make your own makeup brush cleaner at home with our DIY recipe and step-by-step guide.

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How to wash makeup brushes

After all of the parties and get-togethers over winter break, I’ve arrived back at school with a bunch of dirty makeup brushes. So, for this week’s post, I decided it would be both necessary (for me) and useful (hopefully, for you) to share an inexpensive yet effective way to easily clean your makeup brushes!

Now, let me start by debunking a myth: Most people think that you need to buy an expensive brush cleanser from Mac, Sephora, or Ulta to get your brushes really clean, but honestly, if you have olive oil and dish soap, you can clean your brushes just as well.

Now, you may be wondering, “um, why would I ever put dish soap and olive oil onto a makeup brush? Well, the dish soap cleans and disinfects your brush, while the olive oil seals in moisture and smooths the brush hair! (Think of it as a shampoo/conditioner mix!) It may sound a bit odd to mix the two together but seriously, don’t worry – your brushes will be just as clean and silky as they were when you first purchased them!

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide as to how you can easily and efficiently clean your dirty makeup brushes.

Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes in 5 Steps

Step 1: Gather all of your brushes that need to be cleaned.

Dirty makeup brushes

Step 2: Grab your olive oil and your dish soap.

Makeup brush cleaning supplies

Step 3: Mix the olive oil and soap in a bowl. Swirl a brush in the soapy concoction.

Cleaning brushes

Step 4: Rinse your brush under COLD water. (Make sure the water is cold – hot water can loosen the bristles in the brushes and cause them to fall out!)

Brush under water

Step 5: Repeat the process with each brush, pat dry with a clean towel, then leave your brushes out on a towel to dry overnight!

Clean makeup brushes final

And you’re all done! Yes, it’s that easy.

This soapy, olive oil-y mixture works really well to clean any kind of brush from any makeup brand! I wash all of my brushes this way, it doesn’t matter if it’s a face or eye brush – it cleans them all! It also doesn’t matter where you purchased the brush- I use this mixture to clean all of my brushes, from Mac to Sigma to ELF.

Also, using this method, your brushes will not get misshapen or lose bristles! As your brushes dry, they will take their original shape- not the semi-deformed one that they temporarily have due to their wet bristles. And as long as you rinse your brushes really well under cold water and pat the handle dry before setting it down to dry, the bristles will not fall out!

Your thoughts?

I hope this was helpful- I know I was thrilled to find out that I could effectively clean my brushes without having to spend too much money! Do you have a different technique as to how you clean your brushes? Let me know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes”

  1. Thank you for this! I was just wondering: Does dish soap cause breakouts? I just finished this procedure and I’m a bit worried if the dish soap would cause any acne?

  2. so i used dish soap but now i have too much soap in my brushes and its so hard to get all the soap bubbles out, I rinse it so many times and there is still soap in it. i don’t know what to do 🙁

  3. I have been washing my makeup brushes with either dish washer or hand wash liquid, and I disinfect with Dettol and I have been doing this for years and I have never had a reason to regret it. I do strongly recommend that you hang them like you would hang clothes to dry so the water drips out of the bristles, not leaving any moisture in the metal hadle that holds the bristles so it prevents fallout later on. I have never had any inclination to buy any expensive cleansers for my brushes. That’s just bogus lol! Why spend that money when I can use it to get more makeup or more brushes lol? I have never tried the olive oil. Will try it soon. Thanks.

    • Jennifer- I really do love the essence of beauty brushes- they blend eyeshadows very easily and efficiently.


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