How to Wash Your Brushes


I hear 2 common questions about makeup brushes, one more disturbing than the other. The more frightening question being “Should I be washing my makeup brushes?”
The less-concerning one being “How, and how often, should I wash them?”

Well, gather up those dirty little things because your brushes are getting a bath!
Plus, I bet you have the 2 cheap ingredients to make your simple cleaning solution too.
This solution can be used to wash both natural hair and synthetic brushes.

You will want to do a deep cleaning like this every 2 weeks if possible, every month at the very least.wash-brushes


You will need a gentle shampoo, such as baby shampoo, and alcohol.

Don’t you love the generic baby shampoo I have? Would you trust  “Top Care” from a small town grocery store to wash your baby’s hair with?
I don’t know that I would put it on a baby’s head, but I’d definitely put it on my brush heads.


Fill a container with 2-3 cups of lukewarm water.


Add approximately 3 tablespoons of baby shampoo. It does not have to be precise. I don’t measure.


Add just a splash of alcohol.

Now drink the mixture. Just kidding.
The alcohol will help to break down oils from liquid and cream products but use sparingly as it can be drying to natural hair brushes. It won’t affect synthetic brushes at all.


Use one of your brushes to mix the solution until you see suds. Lots of rub a dub suds.


Now it’s time for your brushes to get into their relaxing hot tub.

Swish the brush heads around in your solution, then rinse the brush heads under lukewarm, never hot, water. Make sure to rinse until the water runs clear. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to work the excess makeup out of the bristles. Do not let your brushes sit in the solution to avoid loosening of the glue inside the ferrule.

As an alternative, you can of course place a small amount of cleanser/shampoo in your palm and wash each individual brush my swishing around your hand. However, beware as this can dry your hands out pretty quickly if you have lots of brushes!


Now lay them flat to dry. Make sure to lay on a towel to absorb moisture.

Never dry your makeup brushes with the brush head down. It will ruin their shape.
You should also avoid drying them standing up as water will loosen the adhesive in the ferrule (silver part) and over time, it will detach and result in increased shedding.


Let the brushes dry overnight and by morning, they will be free of bacteria, breakout-causing oils and as a bonus-will smell like a little baby’s head!


I hope this has been helpful to you and if you’ve never washed your brushes, I hope you’ll start doing so!
Your brushes will work better and your skin will thank you! And now I’m thanking you, for reading 🙂


  1. Tiare Vincent

    04/06/2014 at 4:44 PM

    great tips!!! i use this exact method except i use dr bronzers peppermint soap instead of baby shampoo:)

    1. Ivy Boyd

      04/06/2014 at 7:40 PM

      Awesome! That’s actually my new favorite method and I’ve been meaning to do an updated brush cleaning post! I use the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender bar soap and swipe the brushes right across the bar. Do you use the liquid soap?

  2. Bri Slater

    08/22/2014 at 8:04 AM

    I’ve always used makeup removing facial wash

    1. Wake Up For Makeup

      08/25/2014 at 3:48 PM

      Oh that totally works too, Bri! Any gentle cleanser really so you’ve got the idea!

  3. Lauren Wheeler

    10/18/2014 at 3:07 PM

    would this work for powerd press like the one you get with the fit me mainline foundation

    1. Ivy Boyd

      10/18/2014 at 4:02 PM

      Hi Lauren! Good question! For powder puffs, you can either buy replacement ones in the beauty aisle of Target or Walgreen’s or yes-you can wash and re-use. To do that, wet the puff entirely then work a little of baby shampoo or gentle cleanser into it with your fingers. Make sure you rinse and squeeze out thoroughly, letting it dry overnight! Thanks for reading!

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  5. Candace Reeves

    10/26/2015 at 8:06 AM

    Fantastic method. I used vinegar to clean my brushes but I don`t like the smell. I found your recipe and my intention is to try it next week. I am planning Sunday to be washing day 🙂 Thank you for sharing such an useful information! Greets!

  6. Tomboy223

    12/31/2015 at 6:28 PM

    This really dose work I have used it and it dose smell like a baby’s head to

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  8. Rafidah

    01/08/2016 at 10:15 PM

    Very good tips… ???
    But I do have a question..
    Actually I’m a Malay girl..
    I don’t drink alcohol..
    So how do I wash the brush without using an alcohol for the second ingredients..?

    1. Tina Marie

      01/23/2016 at 8:59 AM

      Hi Rafidah

      It is not drinking alcohol, its rubbing alcohol(the one for cuts and sanitizing). If you do not have one, maybe vinegar can work.

      1. Ivy Boyd

        01/24/2016 at 12:28 PM

        Yes 🙂 It is the alcohol found in the first aid aisle, not alcohol for consumption.

      2. Rafidah

        01/24/2016 at 9:09 PM

        To Tina Marie & Ivy Boyd..

        Ooo I see..
        Thank u so much for the tips…

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