These days, we’re all more conscientious about the products we use on our skin, from non-toxic skincare products to makeup. But the one thing we often don’t think about is our makeup brushes and what’s lurking on those brushes? Dirt, oils, and bacteria! This is why cleaning those makeup brushes on a regular basis is so important for both the health of your skin and the longevity of your makeup brushes! Cleaning your makeup brushes, the natural way, is super easy and budget-friendly. Let me walk you through how to clean makeup brushes and the DIY makeup brush cleaner that I swear by.

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Why Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Most of us wouldn’t think of going to bed without first washing off all the dirt, oils, grime, and makeup from the day. (PS: Here are the best natural face cleansers, in my opinion.)

Clean makeup brushes with castile soap

This same idea should be applied to makeup brushes. Makeup brushes come into direct contact with not only skin but also makeup.

  • Makeup brushes can collect dirt, grime, oils, and excess makeup. This may cause the brushes to not perform as well over time.
  • Another issue with dirty makeup brushes is the spreading of dirt and oils (that lurk on the brushes) to the skin which can cause breakouts.

Just like with the face, it’s important to give those makeup brushes a good cleanse. This is essential for keeping your skin and brushes healthy.

DIY makeup brush cleaner

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes

How often you clean your makeup brushes depends on how often you use them and also if your skin is actively breaking out.

  • If you wear makeup on a daily basis (or regularly), then washing once a week or twice a month is a good idea. Personally, washing my makeup brushes once a week feels like way too much, so I go with twice a month (and sometimes once a month because #life).
  • If you only wear makeup on an occasional basis, you may only need to wash your makeup brushes every so often.
  • If your skin is actively breaking out, washing your makeup brushes once a week isn’t a bad idea. In the past, I struggled with hormonal acne after having my babies (well into my 30’s, like many women). During this time, I washed my makeup brushes once a week since the brushes were touching the breakouts on my face and I didn’t want the bacteria lingering on the brushes and potentially spreading and causing new breakouts on my face.
DIY makeup brush cleaner with witch hazel and castile soap

What About Makeup Sponges or Beauty Blenders?

Makeup sponges and beauty blenders are typically used wet, so it can be a breeding ground for bacterial growth. I recommend cleaning sponges and blenders daily, after every use. Using a squirt of castile soap and hot water should be good enough for a daily cleaning.

How to Make a DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

I originally shared this DIY makeup brush cleaner 6 years ago on Live Simply. I can’t believe it’s been that long! Since that time, this makeup brush cleaner has become one of the most popular recipes on the blog. Turns out we all really need to clean our makeup brushes. This recipe is super easy to make, budget-friendly, and uses easy-to-find ingredients to create an effective makeup brush cleaner that’s gentle and tough at the same time.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes
5 from 4 votes

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

How to make an easy homemade makeup brush cleaner. Non-toxic and natural, this makeup brush cleaner works to remove dirt, grease, and other pore-clogging debris from makeup brushes. Use this makeup brush cleaner once a week or as often as needed.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Course DIY
Cuisine Beauty, Body
Servings 1 time use cleaner for one or multiple makeup brushes



  • Mix the ingredients together in a drinking glass or small bowl.
  • Add the makeup brushes to the mixture. Swish the brushes back and forth in the mixture and then let them soak for a few minutes.
  • The mixture will go from clear to dirty very quickly. After a few minutes, remove the brushes, dump the solution, and rinse the brushes under fresh, clean water.
  • Let the brushes rest on a towel to completely dry.


This makeup brush cleaner is designed to be made once and used for a one-time cleaning. If you want to make the recipe in advance and store it in a jar for multiple uses, see the original recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
castile soap and witch hazel makeup brush cleaner

The Best Makeup Brush Cleaner Ingredients

Witch hazel is an astringent that comes from a plant. It’s a naturally-derived ingredient that has been used for centuries for skin health and to fight off infections. This astringent will help remove foundation and other makeup residue from the brushes. If you don’t have any witch hazel, just use extra water and castile soap instead (I’ve done this many times).

Castile soap is a plant-based soap made from vegetable oils (olive, coconut, palm) and plant oils. It’s very effective at removing dirt and germs and will help loosen the dirt and oils from the makeup brushes. There are many ways to use castile soap.

Both products are easy to find online (via Amazon) or in stores (typically the body or pharmacy department).

clean makeup brushes

Watch How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Break out your makeup brushes this weekend, make this DIY makeup brush cleaner, and enjoy the amazing feel and benefit of using freshly-clean makeup brushes. I think you’ll notice a difference in not only the application of your makeup but also the health of your skin.

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