How I Clean My Makeup Brushes (And Then Some Other Methods)

Honestly I hate cleaning makeup brushes with a burning passion. It’s just a really long and tedious process and my hands are all shriveled afterward. BUT, I cannot stress enough how important it is to regularly clean your makeup brushes.

Brushes are a perfect place for bacteria to manifest, especially if you are using them to apply cream products. All that caked on, old product sitting in between your bristles for days can get very germy, and even start to grow mold. Also, using a brush with old product still on it and that may have picked up dirt and oils from your face during previous applications is not hygienic for your skin and can cause you to break out. This is why I would recommend washing your brushes about once every week, if you have a tendency to use them daily. This is my latest method of cleaning my brushes, and then some other methods I’ve used in the past that also work well.

Step 1: I use a mixture of coconut oil and dish soap. I like to use coconut oil because it is excellent at removing makeup from my face while also moisturizing it without leaving an oily residue, so I thought it would be perfect for cleaning makeup brushes. The dish soap is to get a more deep and thorough clean throughout the abundant bristles in each brush. I put these two ingredients in a bowl and microwave it so that the coconut oil melts and the consistency of the mixture is liquidy and foamy.




Step 2: For this step you can use any surface you wouldn’t mind getting messy, like an old towel or even newspaper. You could also find textured pads specifically for cleaning brushes online. I just used a plastic disposable plate I had left over from Christmas when I was giving out plates of cookies to everyone. So, basically what I do is dip the brush into my little bowl of coconut oil and dish soap (just one dip! Not a whole lot of the mixture needs to be on the brush) and then I swirl it around on the plate to get all of the built up product off and also to wipe off excess oil and soap.


Step 3: I then rinse the mixture out of the bristles. Since I use coconut oil, I use hot water to rinse because using cold water would cause the oil to solidify and stick to the bristles, making it difficult to rinse out. Some of the other methods I will list below can be used with cold water, though. When I rinse the brush, I also make sure to aim the bristles downward so that all the product comes out of the brush and down into the drain and also so that the water doesn’t seep into the ferrule (the metal part of the brush) and loosen the glue, causing the bristles to become loose and shed. Make sure you rinse product out until the water runs clear in the sink, and you can use your fingers to gently squeeze excess product from the brush that may have accumulated at the base of the bristles. If you have the means of hanging your brushes upside down in order to dry, I would recommend to do that, but since I can’t find a way for that at the moment I just lay them on a towel.

Other Methods of Cleaning Makeup Brushes

    • Olive oil and dish soap – this is the very first method I ever tried. It’s basically the same as the one I just wrote out, except using olive oil instead, which may be easier to access for some people. The only thing with this is that you have to make sure to very thoroughly rinse the bristles so that an oily residue isn’t left behind on them.

    • Face Wash- This one is quite an easy one. Face wash is good for brushes because you already know it’s meant to remove facial impurities and is a gentle cleanser, which won’t be to harsh on your soft makeup brush bristles.

    • Baby Shampoo- this is similar to using face wash. Baby shampoo is great because of it’s gentle cleaning ability, and is actually recommended by hair dressers to use to clean synthetic hair extensions.

    • Bar Soap – Bar soap is easy because I just liked to swirl the brush directly onto the bar of soap under running water, then rinse the brush. While this gave a very thorough and deep clean to the bristles, what I didn’t like was how stiff scratchy it left my brushes. If you are going to use bar soap, I would recommend some type of gentle conditioning of your brushes with a lightweight oil following cleaning.

    • In between uses of a brush when I just don’t have time to thoroughly wash it and wait for it to dry, I like to use this nifty gadget from Mikasa beauty. You just swirl your brush in it to get excess product off, and its super easy to take out of the container and clean. You can find it on their website, and use my code KARENK25 for 25% your purchase.


Hopefully this was helpful in showing you different ways you can clean your brushes, and the importance of keeping your makeup tools and face clean and healthy.

❤ KK

2 thoughts on “How I Clean My Makeup Brushes (And Then Some Other Methods)

  1. I’ve never heard of coconut oil and dish soap before, but I am ready to try it! I’ve been using my face wash for the longest time to clean my brushes, but that was just because I was too lazy to actually look up how anyone else cleans theirs, but I am ready to venture out and try new methods now!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s