How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Damaging Them

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Like many women, I have several different makeup brushes I use to get ready in the morning.   I know that they need to be cleaned but I wasn’t entirely sure how to clean makeup brushes. I want to make them last as long as I possibly can since some of them were fairly expensive. I’d rather not have to go out and buy new makeup brushes if cleaning them properly can make them last longer and work better.  This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

How to clean makeup brushes

How To Clean Makeup Brushes

So, why should you learn how to clean makeup brushes? If you don’t clean your makeup brushes regularly, you are transferring old makeup, oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria back and forth from your face to your makeup. If you use your makeup brushes every day, you should clean them at least every two weeks.  It really only takes a few minutes and if you clean them before bed, they will be dry and ready for use in the morning when you need them.


  • Makeup brushes
  • Gentle shampoo (not one with added conditioner)
  • Two soft towels
  • Warm running water


  • Gather your supplies
  • Run the bristles of your makeup brush under warm running water to remove debris
  • But a drop of gentle shampoo on the bristles
  • Rub the shampoo in gentle until you have a lather
  • Be very careful that you do not change the shape of the brush when you wash it. Be gentle.
  • Rinse it thoroughly until there is no more shampoo lather visible.
  • Gently blot the brush on a soft towel. Again, be careful not to change the shape of the brush.
  • Lay the brush flat on the towel to dry. Rotate if you want to speed the process.

If you would prefer, there is Makeup Brush Cleaner that you can use instead of gentle shampoo. Now that you know how to clean makeup brushes, do yours need to be cleaned?

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  1. I was actually wondering about this lately, mine could use a good cleaning. I knew there had to be a way to do it without cleaners.

  2. I really need to clean my makeup brushes. It’s been a while since I did it, I don’t even want to think about what could be growing on them! ICK!

  3. I do not think I have ever cleaned my makeup brushes 🙁 thanks for the insights!

  4. I haven’t ever cleaned mine, but I do replace them regularly.

  5. Ive cleaned my makeup brushes before, but its been a while. Thanks for the reminder. 

  6. Never knew you could use shampoo to do it.  I usually just buy the cheap ones at Dollar Tree and then toss them after a certain amount of time. 🙂

  7. Shampoo is a good cleaner for clothes too. I use it also to clean my toilet in a hurry

  8. I dont think I have ever cleaned mine. Need to add that to my to do list!

  9. Thank you very much for these helpful hints. Seems pretty fool-proof!

  10. I always find it a drag to clean my brushes, sometimes I just replace them, I think sometimes I over clean then, cuz they start looks blah in looks too soon.

  11. I always wondered what I could use to clean them safely without having to buy those expensive brush cleaners. Thanks!

  12. Peggy Johnson says

    great article…I need to get more routine in cleaning my brushes

  13. Robin Wilson says

    I am sad to say that I have ruined a few brushes before my not knowing how to clean them. This is how I clean mine now…thank goodness! I stand mine up in a short glass to dry. It really helps speed up the drying time.