Tips & Tricks Tuesday: How to Clean Make-up Brushes

Well,  hello again, friends!  I have another cleaning tip for you today.  A few weeks ago,  I posted about all the great ways to organize your make-up.   As I looked at my make-up and brushes, I realized my own great need to organize and clean them.  Most of my cosmetics fit nicely in one little travel bag that I store underneath the sink, but the bag itself is dirty and I don't even remember when I cleaned my brushes last.   I don't wear make- up everyday, but when I do, I want it to be fresh and clean.  How can I want a fresh and clean look if my make-up brushes are dirty and gross.  They were really, really bad!   Yikes on me!  But no more!  Today, I'm going to tell you about how I cleaned them with ingredients most of us have at home.

I researched and found several different cleaning methods for make-up brushes.  I narrowed it down to what seemed best, and I'll be showing you two different methods today.  They both worked really well, but I did prefer one over the other and will most likely repeat it from here on out.

First, take a look at my dirty brushes.  Oh the shame and horror!

But today, they look like this!

So much better!  And it was easy to do!

Here's what you'll need for the first method.
1 cup of warm-hot water
1 tablespoon of blue Dawn Dish soap
1 tablespoon of vinegar.

Mix the ingredients together and drop just the brush hairs into the mixture.  You're not supposed to drop the whole brush  into the mixture like I did below.  Oops!

The metal part of your make-up brushes, called the ferrule, should not be sitting in water.  It breaks up the glue and your brush may fall apart.  Again. Oops!  Instead, just swirl the brush around in the mixture.  The sea blue mixture will turn immediately depending on how dirty your brushes are.  Mine were really, really dirty.  Did I mention that already?

 After you've swirled the brushes around a bit and the water gets dirty, rinse them off under running water.  Pat dry with a paper towel, reshape, and set them on a plate or towel to dry.  When I did this, I could see I still had make-up in my brushes.

 So I decided to repeat the process...

 until they came out clean.

 I had to make a few batches of the cleaning solution to clean just these four brushes.

Method 2.
For this method you'll need the following.
Olive Oil
(Blue) Dawn Dish soap

Mix equal parts olive oil with the dish soap.  I used a tablespoon of each and had plenty left over.
sorry for the fuzzy pic-eeek

 Dip your dirty brush into the solution.

 Wet your hand with a little bit of warm running water and begin to rub your wet hand with the brush hairs.

 It will be as if you're massaging your hand with the brush, and this really gets out the dirt quickly.

After both methods I lightly towel dried  the brush hairs and set them down to dry.  Don't set them standing up to dry.  The water can do damage to the brush and break it apart.

 I also cleaned the handles with a wipe.  This was so badly needed.  Shame. shame. shame.

Both methods cleaned the brushes really well, but the mixture of olive oil and Dawn also softened my brushes.  It may seem weird to use olive oil for cleaning brushes, but many women around the world commonly use olive oil to clean their faces. The benefits of olive oil are amazing and go beyond just cooking.


Also, I only use blue Dawn.  People ask all the time if they can use another dish soap, but to be honest with you I wouldn't recommend it.  There's just something about the original blue dawn that cleans just about everything, and if it's good enough for scientist and vets to use to gently clean the animals who were caught in the oil spills, then I'm good with it too.

More uses for blue Dawn:
I use this blue Dawn recipe to clean my shower.
I use this recipe here as a stain remover and this recipe here to clean my oven. 

After cleaning my brushes, I organized and set them up all pretty like so.  It feels great to have clean brushes again.  I loved my results with both methods but prefer the cleaning with olive oil.  Hope you found this post helpful.  Have a great day!

I link all my projects with some wonderful blogs.  To visit them, go to the {Link Party Love} page found at the top of this page on the {Home} bar.
Also linking to:
Between Naps on the Porch
Savvy Southern Style

No Minimalist Here
The Shabby Creek Cottage

Saved by Love Creations 
Miss Mustard Seed

Funky Junk Interiors
Coastal Charm 

Restore Interiors


  1. Thanks so much for the tip on cleaning the brushes! I'm going to try the blue Dawn and olive oil, mine are dirty too:)

  2. Thanks. I'm going to try the olive oil and dawn. I've always used whatever conditionong shampoo i have on hand to clean mine. Enjoy following you. You inspire me to clean-organize and decorate. Not to mention get off this kindle and do something productive ! Again thank you. Ellen

  3. I use olive oil to clean/moisturize my face! I add a few drops of lavendar oil to my little jar, and it is THE BEST. I love finding new ways to use this pantry staple:)

  4. I really need to try to clean my brushes more often! I usually just use a little face wash to clean them. I might try the olive oil method tho!

  5. This is great information, thanks for sharing! I'm gonna have to try it!

  6. Love this, I haven't tried either method for cleaning my brushes so I will have to do this! I love dawn soap - its so good for so many things! New blog follower!!

  7. You mean you're supposed to clean them? Haha just kidding...not really though since I never have eww. I don't use a face powder though, just eyeshadow brushes and a blush brush. I might give cleaning them a try! Thanks for doing the dirty work to test out what works:)

    xo, Christy

  8. Thanks for sharing this great tip at Simple & Sweet Fridays.I have to try it. Have a wonderful week!


  9. Dawn also make the best bubbles. I only use Dawn. I didn't know there were other colors?? Must be a marketing ploy. I should clean my brushes. One day soon...........

  10. I use handsoap from the bathroom and do the 'swirl on the hand' method. Works fine every time! Also I wash my face with olive oil and would never ever go back to any other 'cleanser'. It works great and is cheap!

  11. I thought your post giving such a good information about cosmetics product etc.

    Best kabuki brush & Best eyeshadow brushes

  12. Thanks a lot!Your method really saved my brushes!!!And in no time!

  13. Thank you for info about How to Clean Make-up Brushes!!!

  14. It will damage the fur i think, isn't?
    I have a big collection of brushes and i think the best solution for saving them from dust is to buy good quality of brushes which have security instructions + the covers along with the pack. It is not a luxury product rather than it has become a necessity for the public. I have bought a pack from last month and i got a very good packing which can be used permanently as dust particles & little nasty bacteria & germs lay all over them.

    1. Umm, it's not just dust and grime. what about the oils and bacteria your brushes pick up from your skin and cosmetics?.simply encasing them in a brush cover will make things even worse giving all that bacteria a nice snuggly plastic blanket so they can breed even quicker. You have to clean your brushes even if you keep them in covers.

  15. nice..............

  16. Wow! I had no idea that I can clean all of my make up brushes with such simple ingredients like vinegar and dish soap! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely try this method! Regards! Cambrisge Heath Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  17. I do the similar steps, however I put my brushes with bristles down, to prevent water/moisture from loosening the bristles from the shaft/metal portion. In order for the brushes not to get bent I wrap a paper towel at the bottom part of the bristles. This also helps to absorb the excess water.


Post a Comment