How to Clean Makeup Brushes & Blenders Without Special Tools & Products


The evolution of makeup has not only seen a significant increase in the types of cosmetic products used on a daily basis, but also the number of tools associated with makeup application. We’re referring to the brushes and sponges/blenders that help perfect one’s makeup, of course! 

Gone are the days when all we had in our makeup kits were a blush brush, an eyeshadow brush, and a powder puff! With the evolution of makeup, more and more cosmetic brands are creating innovative makeup tools to help users achieve any kind of look whether it’s a simple day look, full-on glam, editorial makeup, or artistic makeup. These different types of brushes and blenders are used often but, unfortunately, rarely cleaned. In fact, many users wait until their makeup application essentials are overused and pretty ‘gross’, and then simply replace them with new ones. 

Well, instead of making this a recurring expense, why not clean your makeup brushes and blenders so that they last for a much longer time? If you’re wondering how or why you should be cleaning your makeup tools regularly in the first place, Simply Maid has got the answers for you. Even better, we’ve got cleaning methods for makeup brushes, sponges, and blenders that don’t require special cleaning tools and products. Read on!

Why is it Important to Clean Makeup Brushes and Blenders?

Some people make it look easy but for many, putting on makeup takes a lot of practice. With that said, if you seem to have perfected your technique and are still dissatisfied with the results, there’s a good chance that your ‘dirty’ makeup brushes and blenders are to blame. The buildup on these tools does not allow for a smooth application and, in time, ruin the bristles and sponge material. 

A more noteworthy piece of information, however, is the fact that your makeup brushes and blenders become filled with bacteria if you don’t clean them routinely. Secondly, even if they aren’t used very often, your makeup tools could very well be collecting dirt, dust, and bacteria if they are not stored properly. Similarly, if your siblings or friends have used your makeup tools, that’s more bacteria added to them.

The combination of germs and product buildup on makeup sponges, blenders, and brushes will certainly not do your skin any good! Among other reactions, it could lead to acne, rashes, and bad skin allergies. So, with these horror-filled consequences of dirty brushes and blenders in mind, the importance of cleaning your makeup tools is more evident than ever! Read on to find out how. 

Steps to Clean Makeup Brushes

While there are quite a few clever products and cleansers available to clean makeup brushes and other tools, they aren’t necessary. In fact, all you need is a gentle, general cleansing product, and perhaps a plastic mug or container to achieve the same satisfactory results. 

Here is our super simple and effective three-step cleaning method for makeup brushes.

Step One: Pick a Suitable Cleanser

There’s no need to go out and buy a special cleansing product because you’ve probably got a few good options at your disposal already! Castile soap, gentle shampoos, face wash, and face cleansers can all do the job of removing makeup buildup, dirt, and bacteria from your makeup brushes.

In general, the safest product to use to clean makeup brushes is one that is mild, not strongly fragranced, and preferably used on the face. Our top pick is a gentle daily face cleanser because it is mild, and does an excellent job at breaking down product buildup without leaving a strong scent on the bristles. 

Step Two: Soak the Brushes in Water & Then Clean

You will need to clean one brush at a time so, while the others are waiting in line, leave them soaking in a plastic mug with water. This will help loosen up the product caked on the bristles as well as closer to the ferrule.

For the actual cleaning process, squirt a tiny amount of your chosen cleanser onto your palm, pull out one brush from the water, and gently dab the bristles into the product. Move the brush in circular motions (as if you were mixing two liquid foundations together) in order for the cleanser to penetrate the bristles properly. Do this for at least a minute before moving on to another makeup brush. 

NOTES: Some makeup brushes may have permanent stains caused by products with high pigments and therefore, will not come off with any cleanser or cleaning method. If the cleanser changes colour in your palm, wash it off and reapply the product to clean the next brush.

Step Three: Rinse & Repeat (If Needed); Then Dry

Rinse the brushes under running water. If it’s taking a long time for the water to run clear, repeat the cleansing step, and then rinse again. Most large makeup brushes that have never been cleaned before require to be cleansed at least twice before all of the product buildup can be removed. A good way to test if your makeup brushes are clean is by gently brushing them against a white paper towel. If there are traces of colour or debris left on the paper towel, the brush will need a second cleansing. 

Once you have washed the makeup brushes thoroughly, it’s time to dry them. Avoid standing them upright as this will allow water to seep into the ferrule and cause water damage to the wood. Furthermore, moisture that is trapped in the ferrule does not dry very easily which, in turn, promotes mould and mildew. Instead, place them down on a clean, dry towel, and allow them to air-dry.

How to Clean Makeup Blenders/Sponges

Until you use any method to clean makeup blenders and sponges, you won’t realise just how much product gets absorbed into the material! For this reason, a thorough clean of these makeup tools requires a little more time than cleaning the brushes.

Nevertheless, here are three simple steps to clean your makeup sponges/blenders.

Step One: Rinse/Wet the Sponge

Wet the sponge/blender under running water, and gently rinse off as much foundation/product as possible. Use a low water pressure to do this, and avoid holding it under a running faucet for long periods at a time. Instead, simply wet the makeup tool, squeeze it gently, and rub off the product; then rinse the sponge and repeat. 

Step Two: Clean With a Cleansing Product

Like your makeup brushes, you can use a face cleanser, or mild shampoo or soap to clean your makeup blenders. While wet, apply a small amount of the cleanser to each side of the blender, and gently work it into the material by rubbing and massaging the sponge lightly. The cleanser should start to lather which, in turn, will help break down buildup.

Step Three: Rinse, Repeat & Dry

In case you haven’t noticed, cleaning makeup blenders and sponges is very similar to washing makeup brushes. Hold the sponge under running water, and squeeze gently to push out old product absorbed by the material. Do this a few times or until the water runs clear. Unless your sponge/blender has not been used very often, there’s a good chance that you will have to apply more of the cleanser and repeat these steps.

Finally, when your makeup sponges are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, lay down a towel (preferably under a ceiling fan) and spread the blenders around on it to air-dry.

You see, cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges are two very easy tasks but, more importantly, they are two very necessary tasks! So, for long-lasting makeup tools, perfecting your makeup application, and hygienic reasons, there’s only one thing to do – clean your makeup brushes and beauty blenders routinely!

Karen Saunders


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