Condo Blues: How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges Naturally

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges Naturally

I have a bunch of dirty makeup brushes, beauty blenders, and sponges that are dirty and could use a little extra love. I use them to apply stage makeup, some of it that is activated with 99% alcohol which can be rough on brushes and applicator tools (and skin. Skincare is even more important when using water resistant makeup.)

So if you are considering using rubbing alcohol to clean your makeup tools – don’t. Unless you like replacing makeup brushes on the regular. That is why the makeup brushes featured in this post are a cheap, but serviceable, synthetic bristle set that I only use for stage makeup. I have a separate set of natural bristle makeup brushes for my every day makeup.

Either way, this homemade makeup brush cleaner will work and care for both types of makeup brushes and tools.

How to Make DIY Makeup Brush, Beauty Blender and Sponge Cleaner


non toxic diy makeup brush beauty blender sponge cleaner
I use this exact stand-up foldable makeup brush bag and can't recommend it enough, especially for travel! Save this makeup cleaner recipe to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

The two best ingredients to use to make a makeup brush and blender cleaner are dish washing liquid (plant based or conventional work equally well) and olive oil. Olive oil is also a fantastic makeup remover (since oil is drawn to oil) as well as a moisturizer and conditioner for brush bristles. Dish washing detergent is made to remove cooking oil and grease which makes it the best thing to remove pigment, dirt, and excess olive oil from your makeup tools.

Tip: to keep your makeup brushes cleaner in between liquid washes, use a makeup brush cleaning sponge like this one to remove pigment and powdered products after each use. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

Olive oil – Olive oil is also a good makeup remover because olive oil help dissolve the oil in your makeup products because oil attracts oil and water attracts water. Olive oil is a fantastic skin moisturizer.

Liquid dish washing detergent

Small bowl

Spoon, whisk, etc.

Rinse water


Very helpful but not necessary: a silicone makeup brush cleaner pad. 

Step by step how to Clean Makeup Brushes and Blenders the Easy Way Tutorial

1. Pour equal parts of dish washing liquid and olive oil in a small bowl. Use the spoon/whisk/whatever to completely mix the ingredients together. If you get a weird white emulation, you’re doing it right.


how to make makeup brush beauty blender sponge cleanerMy makeup brush cleaning pad  has suction cups on the bottom to keep it from slipping on the counter when you use it and looks like a cute little fox! You can get my fox makeup brush cleaner pad here

2. Put a brush into your homemade brush cleaner, covering the bristles with your homemade cleaning solution and trying to avoid the metal ferrule (otherwise it can rust, loosen, and the bristles may shed.)

how to make non toxic makeup brush cleaner


3. Work the solution into the brush bristles with your fingers or on the silicone brush cleaning mat.

DIY makeup brush cleaner recipe 
As you can see I did not follow my own advice and got makeup brush cleaner on the ferrule - oops.

4. Rinse the cleaner from the bristles with plain water, trying to avoid the metal as much as possible.

5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until the brush bristles are clean and free of makeup.

6. Lay the clean brush on a towel and allow it to air dry.

how to clean makeup brushes the quick and easy way 
Nice and clean!

You can clean beauty blenders and sponges the same way as you cleaned your makeup brushes. I like to dip my sponge or beauty blender in to the makeup cleaning solution, work it through, and them soak in clean water for a bit. After I remember I have stuff soaking in the bathroom sink (truth, I often forget until I see it,) I work the cleaner through the makeup sponge again and rinse it out fully with clean water as many times as needed until it is clean and free of makeup and cleanser.

Looking for more makeup brush, beauty blender, and sponge cleaning and storage ideas? Check out the following options – and more! - below!

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