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Whether you have two makeup brushes or two hundred, it’s important to properly care for them. You don’t need anything fancy to clean your makeup brushes, you can actually use household items! Today, I’ll teach you how to wash your makeup brushes with dish soap.

I LOVE creating colorful makeup looks with bright, pigmented eyeshadows and glitters.

But when I use a bright pink or blue pigment with an eyeshadow brush, I can’t use the same brush the next day with a soft brown – when you use dirty makeup brushes, it makes your eyeshadow look muddy.

Of course, I should be washing my eyeshadow brushes regularly anyway to keep them clean and sanitized! And I do – about every two weeks, I wash ALL my makeup brushes (and sponges, but that’s a different post!). I’ll wash them more often if I’ve used them all before the two weeks is up.

Oh, and DEFINITELY wash your makeup brushes if you share them with other people, do your friend’s makeup, or use someone else’s brushes.

Makeup brushes directly touch your face, and can carry oils, dirt, bacteria, or anything else you have on your skin. You don’t want to share that with others.

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

Supplies Needed:

  • makeup brushes
  • dish doap
  • warm water
  • towel

While you could probably use any type of dish soap, I highly recommend using the classic blue Dawn dish soap.

I’ve seen this soap recommended many times for makeup brushes, because it’s gentle, cuts grease, and doesn’t have any overpowering chemical scents that could hurt your brushes.

I get my blue Dawn dish soap at Dollar Tree for $1, but it is a small bottle that I have to repurchase fairly often. You can get a much larger bottle (four of them, actually!) on Amazon, which in the end would be more cost effective.

Optional Supplies:

I personally don’t have to condition my makeup brushes, but certain brands or individual brushes might feel dry and rough after washing. To fix this, you can add a little bit of Olive Oil (yep, right from your kitchen!) to your soap, which will help condition the bristles and keep them soft while you clean them!

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

Step 1: Get it Wet

Typically I wash my brushes in a sink, but this type I am using small containers of water and soap in order to take better photos and show you my process!

Make sure you are using lukewarm to warm water when cleaning your makeup brushes.

Hot water can loosen the glue holding the bristles together inside of the makeup brush, and cold water doesn’t wash them as well.

Don’t leave your brushes in the water for too long, just enough to get them wet and ready to get soapy!

Tip: Only put your makeup brush bristles in water, not the entire brush handle! This will help keep the glue inside your brush intact ✨

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

Step 2: Get Soapy!

Dip your brush into some dish soap, or pour some directly on your brush!

Step 3: Massage & Swirl

Massage the soap into the bristles until it is all soapy! I like to put the brush between my thumb and index finger and gently move them back and forth to make sure my brush is completely saturated with soap.

Alternatively, you can place your brush in the center of your palm and swirl it around. Be careful with this method, and make sure you are gently swirling and not misshaping the bristles against your palm.

Spending your time working the soap into the bristles is important because you want to make sure and clean the bristles in the center of the brush, where makeup and bacteria might be hiding.

During this step, your soap will probably turn the color of whatever product you used with it – that’s okay! It means that it is working and getting the product out.

Tip: Wash your makeup brushes in the afternoon or evening so they are dry when you get ready the next morning! ✨

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

Step 4: Rinse it Out

This one is simple, but swish your brush in water or rinse it in your sink until the water runs clear and no soap remains in the brush.

Step 5: Squeeze out Excess Water

Take a clean, dry towel, and squeeze as much water as you can out of your brush!

Don’t rub your brush on the towel – you want it to keep its shape, and this could cause bristles to fly in every direction.

Instead, wrap your brush in a towel (I like to place mine horizontally on a towel and fold it over the other side of the brush) and squeeze the water out.

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

Step 6: Let them Dry

Line up your makeup brushes on a towel to dry! Small brushes might only take a couple hours to dry, while big or dense brushes could take 12+ hours.

To help with the longevity of your brushes, tilt them slightly with the bristles pointing downwards.

This helps the water in the bristles to drip out of the brush, away from the handle where there is glue that holds the bristles in place. If you let your brushes dry vertically with bristles up, the water can drip into the glue and make your bristles fall out faster.

Above, I show how I like to dry my brushes. I roll up one end of the towel, so that the handle is slightly elevated!

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap -

That’s it! It’s so easy to wash your makeup brushes with dish soap. I mean, you do have to repeat the process for every brush you own, but it will feel SO nice when all your brushes are clean! 

There may be affiliate links in this post. Please see terms and privacy for more information.

If you haven’t already, check out the rest of the Sanitization Series here ⬇

Sanitization Series:

  1. Why You Should Sanitize Makeup
  2. EASILY Sanitize Eyeshadow Palettes
  3. Wash Makeup Brushes with Dish Soap
  4. Disinfect Makeup Tools
  5. Clean Makeup Sponges
  6. Sanitize Lipstick in 2 Minutes
  7. Ultimate FREE Makeup Sanitization Guide!!!!


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