How to Clean Makeup Brushes at Home

March 7, 2018

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Makeup brushes are probably the most common thing that isn’t cleaned regularly but should be. Think about it… every time you use your makeup brushes, they are collecting oils and dirt from your face which can lead to bacteria growth. If they’re left out in the open in your bathroom, the moisture in the bathroom can accelerate that bacteria growth. Then, you use the makeup brushes again and are re-applying that bacteria to your face, leading to acne breakouts.

In this post I’m going to talk about how to clean makeup brushes. There is no need for expensive soaps or washes either. In fact, the ingredients needed are probably already in your home.


The things needed are the following:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. Dawn Dish Soap

Why Olive Oil?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a natural makeup remover. That’s right! Olive Oil has plenty of benefits for your body and your skin is no different. While most makeup removers on the market will do the job, Olive Oil is a green alternative to remove makeup.

Olive Oil has the same healthy fats as avocado and helps plump and moisturize the skin with healthy nutrients such as Vitamin E and Vitamin A – all while removing makeup and helping to cleanse the skin. Because of its moisturizing properties, it’s great to use on makeup brushes.

Benefits of Dawn Dish Soap

The dish soap in this “recipe” acts as an additional cleanser and antibacterial agent. By combining the dish soap with the olive oil, this ensures that all bacteria and dirt will be cleansed from the makeup brushes along with the reaming makeup that lingers.

Using Dawn Dish Soap (personally, I like to use the blue one!) will thoroughly cleanse the brushes, but using too much can strip the fibers of the brushes – so that’s where the moisturizing olive oil comes into play.


Gather the makeup brushes and lay them on a clean paper towel. Turn on the faucet to a luke-warm temperature. On a separate plate, combine equal parts of Dish Soap and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. There is no need to mix these ingredients. Place the brush face down on the plate and pick up an equal amount of dish soap and olive oil on the brush. “Scrub” the brush on the palm of the hand and watch the makeup come off of the brush. Rinse with warm water thoroughly and squeeze the extra moisture out with a towel. Lay flat on a paper towel to completely dry (about 12-24 hours)

Do NOT place the brushes stem side up (bristles in the air) as the water can drip down into the brush head and dissolve the glue which holds the fibers and brush together. Lay flat or hang upside down for best results.

Once the brush is dry, brush them along a paper towel to spring back into shape.


Rissa is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer alongside with managing her blog, So Very Me. She also runs a YouTube channel making family style vlogs and videos. When she’s not working, she’s usually playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her two pups, Kiba and Zoey.

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Awesome – I don’t wear a lot of makeup but have a teenage daughter who does, her brushes are always everywhere!