Easy Steps to Bacteria-Free Makeup Brushes

If you are constantly breaking out, or getting eye infections (eye bumps), then it’s most likely due to something you are overlooking daily. Your MAKEUP BRUSHES!!

Did you know bacteria, fungi, and microbes harbor on your makeup brushes?! Yes they do! Let’s not get into scientific details, but please understand that germs can grow from grease, moisture and dirt.  Your makeup may be clean, but air pollution, dust, and dead skin cells can build up on your brushes too, which can breed acne-causing bacteria.

The best way to keep your skin glowing and acne-free is to maintain clean brushes and sponges. According to the Harris Poll ( surveyed 1,113 women over the age of 18), 61% of women only clean their brushes once a month, while 22% of women NEVER clean their brushes at all! Yuck !! Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, you can find effective and affordable brush cleaners to keep your beauties germ-free.

I tend to use good ol’ baby shampoo with a touch of alcohol to wash my brushes once every 2 weeks. Alcohol can be a bit drying for some, however it works for my brushes, and the baby shampoo balances it out. Check out these quick and affordable solutions to washing your makeup tools!

Johnson Baby Shampoo $3-$5

brush cleaner

Dr. Bronner Pure Castile Soap $5-$10

brush cleaner

Dawn Dish Washing Soap $3-$7

(Some people have their opinions about not using this, however it does work and should be used sparingly.)

Brush cleaner

Quick- Fixes:

Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner $8.50

brush cleaner

E.L.F. Brush Cleaner $3

brush cleaner

BH Cosmetics Brush Cleaner $10

brush cleaner


  • Cup or Bowl
  • 1 cup warm water (add more water if needed)
  • Your cleaner of choice
  • Paper towel (or lint-free wash cloth)
  1. Squeeze a quarter size amount of brush cleaner into the warm water and stir with your finger.
  2. For tough stains, place the brushes (or sponges) into the soapy mix and let sit for 2-5 mins (if not, skip to step 3)
  3. Squeeze a dime size amount of cleaner in the palm of your hand and swirl each damp brush into your palm using circular motions:hand
  4. Rinse each brush under warm water, being sure to rinse the brush in the direction of the bristles so it does not fall apart. Squeeze out any excess water.
  5. Lay each rinsed brush onto the paper towel (or clean wash cloth) to dry. Never dry brushes straight up, as this can loosen the glue and cause bristles to fall apart.brush_care12

For quick-fixes: Grab a few paper towels, spray the brush cleaner on them, and swirl your brushes gently in back and forth motions until clean. I recommend using quick-fix cleaning for light powder brushes and eye shadow brushes.

Follow these simple steps to keep your makeup tools bacteria-free! I usually spray my powders, blushes, shadows, lippies, etc with alcohol every few days to keep germs from growing and spreading to my face. You don’t have to wash your brushes and sponges daily; however, it is good to get into the habit of keeping these tools squeaky clean.

Stay beautiful!

Sana Akibu


Sana Akibu is a beauty enthusiast residing in New York City. She loves all things natural skincare, and currently operates her own skincare line; Natural Thrive Products. She can be found in her kitchen whipping up body butters for clients, or at her local Sephora testing out the latest and greatest in makeup. Find her on IG: @Sanakibz