How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes + Sponges

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An important yet often overlooked part of your makeup routine is washing your makeup brushes. As daunting as this process can be, it’s a really important step to help keep your skin clear because lots of bacteria can build up over time in your makeup brushes.

In fact, if you don’t clean your makeup brushes, you’re more likely to experience clogged pores and breakouts. In severe cases, the bacteria left behind on the brush and reapplied to your skin can cause infections.

But don’t worry. In this post, we’ll go over how to clean makeup brushes effectively and without stress.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges

If you’re cleaning large makeup brushes, we recommend using our Paw Paw: Brush Cleaning Soap and Paw Paw Brush Cleaning Mat.

Step-By-Step Process for Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Follow these steps for clean makeup brushes:
  1. Choose your brush cleanser.
  2. Lather and swirl: Use lukewarm water to wet your dirty brushes, then swirl the brush over the soap. Use your fingers or a brush cleaning mat to rub the bristles clean.
  3. Rinse and dry: Next, rinse the soap from your brush and lay your brushes flat to dry.

Step-By-Step Process for Cleaning Sponges and Beauty Blenders

  1. Lather away: Start by squeezing the sponge a few times under running water to ensure it’s completely wet. Then, dip it in your soap and massage it thoroughly in the sponge to loosen the caked-on makeup.
  2. Rinse and repeat: Now it’s time to use warm water to rinse the soap off and squeeze out any excess water. You may need to repeat this step a few times until the water runs clear. Leave your blender out to dry completely.

Spot Cleaning Brushes

You might be worried about breakouts and want to keep everything super clean. Or you might notice a lot of buildup on your makeup brush while you’re doing your makeup. In both cases, you can do a quick spot cleaning during your makeup application.

Just use the AOA Brush Cleaning Spray to keep things clean as you go along. The spray will quickly and easily remove powder color from your brush while also disinfecting. This spray is great if you use the same brush for bronzer and blush and don’t want the colors to mix and interfere with your makeup application.
To use the AOA Brush Cleaning Spray, start by wiping off all excess color from your brush. You can even give the brush a few taps against your counter while it's still dry to start the excess color removal process. Then, spray a few times to make sure all hairs are covered on the brush. Then, gently swipe the makeup brush back and forth on a clean paper towel until dry.

How Often Should I Clean My Makeup Brushes and Sponges?

Since makeup brushes and sponges are such a breeding ground for bacteria, you should clean them at least weekly, especially the brushes you use near your delicate eye area, like concealer brushes. This area is more likely to become contaminated or infected.

For brushes you only use with dry products, you can go longer between washes — aim to wash these every two to three weeks.

Since mold can accumulate in sponges and beauty blenders, it’s essential to check these for mold if you forget to let them dry completely. To do so, cut the sponge open and see if you notice any mold growing. If you do, throw out the sponge immediately. If it appears clean, continue using the sponge pieces.

Did you start cleaning your makeup brushes but realize you need new brushes instead? Shop our makeup brushes and sponges here!