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How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner


How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner: Maintaining clean and hygienic makeup brushes is an essential aspect of any beauty routine. However, you don’t necessarily need specialized brush cleaners to achieve this. Learning how to clean makeup brushes without relying on commercial brush cleaners is not only budget-friendly but also empowers you with the knowledge to keep your brushes pristine using everyday items.

We’ll explore expert methods and techniques to effectively clean your makeup brushes without the need for store-bought brush cleaners. These alternative methods utilize common household ingredients, making them accessible and environmentally conscious options. From gentle yet thorough cleansing to preserving the bristles’ quality, you’ll discover various approaches that cater to different brush types and bristle materials.

Whether you’re a makeup enthusiast, professional artist, or someone looking to elevate their beauty routine, understanding how to clean makeup brushes without brush cleaner is a valuable skill. Not only does it enhance the longevity of your brushes, but it also contributes to a flawless makeup application by ensuring that your brushes are free from product buildup, dirt, and bacteria.

Join us on this journey as we delve into creative and effective ways to achieve spotless makeup brushes without relying on commercial products. By embracing these methods, you’re embracing a sustainable approach to beauty while taking your makeup game to the next level.

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner

How do you clean makeup brushes without makeup cleaner?

Liquid dish soap can efficiently remove makeup product residue that has already caked. Apply some dish soap to a sponge and wipe your brushes on the soapy sponge. Rinse the brush with lukewarm water, wipe it down with a towel, and then leave it flat to dry.

You can effectively clean makeup brushes without specialized makeup cleaners using household items. Here’s how:

Warm Water and Gentle Soap: Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle liquid soap or baby shampoo. Swirl the water to create a soapy solution.

Submerge and Swirl: Submerge the brush bristles into the soapy water. Gently swirl the brush in the water to loosen makeup residue, oils, and dirt.

Cleanse and Rinse: Use your fingers to work the soap through the bristles, massaging gently. Rinse the brush under lukewarm running water, continuing to work the soap out until the water runs clear.

Repeat if Necessary: For heavily soiled brushes, you might need to repeat the process until the water runs clear and the brush looks clean.

Squeeze and Shape: Gently squeeze excess water from the bristles using a clean towel. Reshape the bristles to their original form.

Air Dry: Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel with the bristles hanging over the edge to allow air drying. Avoid standing brushes upright while wet, as water can seep into the handle and adhesive.

Regular cleaning with this method helps maintain the quality of your brushes and prevents the buildup of bacteria and old makeup. It’s recommended to clean your brushes every 2-4 weeks, depending on how often you use them.

What is the best natural brush cleaner?

Castile Soap and Jojoba Oil

Combine a tablespoon of liquid Castile soap, half a tablespoon of jojoba oil, and about a cup and a half of warm water in a bowl. Submerge the bristles in the solution and agitate to loosen up gunk. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clean.

The best natural brush cleaner is a mixture of gentle, eco-friendly ingredients that effectively remove makeup residues, dirt, and bacteria while keeping your brushes in good condition. A popular and effective homemade brush cleaner can be made by mixing equal parts of gentle liquid soap and olive oil.

Liquid castile soap, derived from natural oils and free from synthetic chemicals, is a great choice. It cleans the brushes effectively while being mild on bristles. Olive oil helps to condition and soften the bristles.

To create this brush cleaner, follow these steps:

  • Mix one part liquid castile soap with one part olive oil in a bowl.
  • Dip the brush into the mixture and gently swirl it.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water until the water runs clear.
  • Gently squeeze out excess water.
  • Reshape the bristles and allow the brush to air dry thoroughly.

Another natural option is using white vinegar and water. Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water, then follow the same cleaning process as mentioned above. Vinegar has natural disinfecting properties, making it a suitable option for removing bacteria from your brushes.

Can I use shampoo to clean makeup brushes?

Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of either gentle shampoo or clarifying shampoo. Using plain soap and water can dry out the bristles. Swirl each brush tip in the bowl. For a good lather, you can also massage each brush tip in the palm of your hand.

Yes, you can use shampoo to clean makeup brushes as an alternative to specialized brush cleaners. Shampoo is a commonly used option due to its ability to break down oils and residues on the bristles. When choosing a shampoo, opt for a gentle, sulfate-free formula to prevent damaging the brush fibers.

To clean your brushes with shampoo, follow these steps:

  • Wet the bristles under lukewarm water, avoiding soaking the base of the brush where the bristles are attached to the handle.
  • Place a small amount of shampoo in your hand or on a clean surface.
  • Gently swirl the brush bristles in the shampoo, working up a lather.
  • Rinse the brush under running water while continuing to massage the bristles to remove makeup residues and shampoo.
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the water runs clear and the brush is thoroughly clean.
  • Gently squeeze out excess water from the bristles.
  • Reshape the bristles to their original form.
  • Allow the brushes to air dry by laying them flat on a clean towel, with the bristle end hanging off the edge to ensure proper drying and to maintain their shape.

Keep in mind that while shampoo can be effective in cleaning makeup brushes, using a brush-specific cleaner or a natural mixture can also provide additional benefits such as conditioning the bristles and disinfecting them. Regular cleaning of your makeup brushes is essential to maintain their performance, extend their lifespan, and ensure healthy application of makeup.

What cleans makeup brushes well?

“Good ole Dawn or any dish soap is hard to beat, and is definitely cheaper than most brush-specific shampoos. They cut down on grease and oil-based makeup, as well as powder products,” says Alex Levy. A clean, dry towel or paper towels.

A quality brush cleaner specifically designed for makeup brushes is the optimal choice for effectively cleaning them. These cleaners are formulated to break down and remove makeup residues, oils, and bacteria while being gentle on brush bristles. Look for a cleaner that is suitable for the types of bristles you have, such as natural or synthetic fibers.

For a natural and effective option, a mixture of liquid castile soap and olive oil can also clean makeup brushes well. Liquid castile soap is gentle and eco-friendly, cleansing the brushes without causing damage. Olive oil helps condition the bristles, maintaining their softness.

Alternatively, a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water can be effective due to vinegar’s natural disinfecting properties. It helps remove bacteria from the brushes while also breaking down makeup products.

Whichever option you choose, the cleaning process involves wetting the brush, swirling it in the chosen cleaner, rinsing thoroughly, reshaping the bristles, and allowing the brushes to air dry. Consistent cleaning not only maintains brush performance but also ensures a hygienic application of makeup. Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of brushes and for preventing skin issues caused by dirty brushes.

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner

What are alternative methods to clean makeup brushes without commercial brush cleaner?

Discovering alternative methods to clean makeup brushes without relying on commercial brush cleaners opens up a world of budget-friendly and eco-conscious options. These methods utilize readily available household items to effectively cleanse your brushes and maintain their hygiene. Here are some key alternatives:

Baby Shampoo or Mild Soap: Mixing a gentle baby shampoo or mild soap with lukewarm water creates a foamy solution that effectively dissolves makeup residues and oils from the bristles.

Olive Oil and Dish Soap: A mixture of olive oil and dish soap can break down stubborn makeup while nourishing bristles, making this method ideal for deep cleaning.

White Vinegar and Water: A diluted solution of white vinegar and water acts as a natural disinfectant, removing bacteria and odors from the brushes.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil’s antibacterial properties help remove makeup while conditioning bristles, particularly in dense brushes like foundation or powder brushes.

Castile Soap: Known for its versatility, castile soap mixed with water can gently cleanse brushes without harsh chemicals.

Rubbing Alcohol: A quick-drying option, rubbing alcohol sanitizes brushes effectively. Mix it with water to prevent excessive drying of bristles.

Witch Hazel: Witch hazel not only cleanses but also soothes the bristles, making it suitable for sensitive skin and brushes.

Water and Microfiber Cloth: For quick spot cleaning, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth and gently wipe off makeup residues.

Exploring these alternative methods empowers you to tailor your brush cleaning routine to your preferences while keeping your brushes clean and maintaining their quality. 

How can I effectively clean makeup brushes using everyday household items?

Effectively cleaning makeup brushes using everyday household items is not only convenient but also ensures that your brushes remain free from makeup residue, bacteria, and oils. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieve a thorough clean:

Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need a gentle cleaning agent such as baby shampoo, mild soap, olive oil, vinegar, or even coconut oil. You’ll also need a bowl, lukewarm water, a clean towel, and a surface to dry the brushes on.

Mix the Cleaning Solution: Depending on your chosen method, mix the cleaning agent with lukewarm water in a bowl. For instance, baby shampoo or mild soap requires a few drops, while olive oil can be combined with dish soap.

Dip and Swirl: Dip the bristles of the brush into the cleaning solution without fully submerging the handle. Gently swirl the brush in the solution to dislodge makeup residue and oils.

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the brush under lukewarm water, continuously swirling and squeezing the bristles to ensure all residue is removed.

Shape and Dry: Gently reshape the bristles and squeeze out excess water. Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to air dry, ensuring the bristles are hanging over the edge to maintain their shape.

Avoid Submerging the Handle: Be cautious not to submerge the handle of the brush in water, as this can loosen the glue holding the bristles in place.

Repeat as Needed: For brushes with heavy buildup, you may need to repeat the process a few times until the water runs clear.

By incorporating these everyday household items into your cleaning routine, you’re promoting clean, bacteria-free brushes that contribute to flawless makeup application. Regular cleaning not only extends the life of your brushes but also ensures your skin remains healthy and makeup applies smoothly.

What are the benefits of learning to clean brushes without relying on store-bought cleaners?

Learning to clean makeup brushes without relying on store-bought cleaners offers a range of benefits that encompass both practicality and sustainability. Here are some compelling advantages of adopting alternative cleaning methods:

Cost-Effectiveness: Household items like baby shampoo, mild soap, and olive oil are economical alternatives to commercial brush cleaners. You save money in the long run by using items you likely already have at home.

Accessible and Convenient: Everyday household items are readily available, making impromptu brush cleaning easy and convenient. You don’t need to wait for a specific product to arrive or make an extra trip to the store.

Customization: Alternative cleaning methods allow you to customize the cleaning solution to suit different brush types and your personal preferences. You have control over the ingredients and their proportions.

Eco-Friendly: By avoiding store-bought cleaners, you reduce your consumption of packaged products and contribute to a more environmentally friendly approach to beauty care.

Less Chemical Exposure: Some store-bought brush cleaners may contain harsh chemicals that can affect both your brushes and your skin. Using gentle household items minimizes your exposure to potentially irritating or harmful substances.

Skill Development: Learning to clean brushes with household items enhances your knowledge of alternative beauty practices and promotes self-sufficiency in your grooming routine.

Sustainable Beauty Routine: Incorporating eco-conscious methods aligns with a sustainable lifestyle, showcasing your commitment to reducing waste and embracing responsible consumption.

Reduced Waste: By avoiding single-use commercial cleaners, you contribute to reducing plastic waste and unnecessary packaging.

Mastering the art of cleaning makeup brushes without store-bought cleaners empowers you with a range of effective, efficient, and environmentally conscious options. This approach not only benefits your brushes and skin but also aligns with a holistic approach to beauty care that prioritizes both personal well-being and the health of the planet.

Which techniques cater to different types of makeup brushes and bristle materials?

Different types of makeup brushes and bristle materials require tailored cleaning techniques to preserve their quality and functionality. Understanding these variations ensures that you clean your brushes effectively without causing damage. Here’s how to cater to different types of brushes and bristle materials:

Synthetic Brushes: Synthetic bristles, commonly found in foundation and concealer brushes, can handle both water-based and oil-based cleansers. You can use gentle alternatives like baby shampoo mixed with water, ensuring the bristles don’t become overly saturated.

Natural Bristles: Brushes with natural bristles, often used for powder products, require extra care. A mixture of olive oil and mild soap can effectively dissolve makeup residues while maintaining the bristles’ softness and quality.

Dense Brushes: Brushes with dense bristle arrangements, like kabuki brushes, benefit from a mixture of coconut oil and dish soap. This combination effectively breaks down makeup while conditioning the bristles.

Sensitive Skin Brushes: For brushes used on sensitive areas like the eyes, opt for witch hazel mixed with water. It’s gentle on both the bristles and your skin.

Blending Brushes: Brushes designed for blending, like fluffy eyeshadow brushes, can be cleansed using a diluted solution of white vinegar and water. This helps disinfect the bristles while maintaining their shape.

Quick Spot Cleaning: Quick spot cleaning for brushes between uses can be achieved with rubbing alcohol on a cloth. This method swiftly sanitizes brushes without excess moisture.

Regardless of the brush type or bristle material, avoid soaking the entire brush, as this can loosen the adhesive holding the bristles. Catering your cleaning techniques to match the specific needs of your brushes ensures their longevity, optimal performance, and your continued enjoyment of flawless makeup application.

How To Clean Makeup Brushes Without Brush Cleaner


Mastering the art of cleaning makeup brushes without relying on commercial brush cleaners opens a world of possibilities that align with both practicality and sustainability. By embracing alternative methods that utilize everyday household items, you’re not only taking a step towards budget-friendly beauty care but also contributing to a more eco-conscious and holistic approach to grooming.

The benefits of learning these techniques extend far beyond saving money. You’re empowered with the ability to customize your cleaning solutions, catering to different brush types, bristle materials, and your personal preferences. This customization ensures that your brushes remain clean, bacteria-free, and primed for flawless makeup application.

Moreover, by reducing reliance on store-bought cleaners, you’re actively participating in a more environmentally friendly beauty routine. You’re diminishing plastic waste and minimizing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that some commercial cleaners may contain.

As you embark on this journey of alternative brush cleaning, you’re not only taking care of your brushes but also fostering a deeper understanding of your beauty tools and their care. This self-sufficient approach aligns with the broader concept of sustainable beauty, encompassing responsible consumption, waste reduction, and an appreciation for the beauty that both lies within and radiates from you. So, step into a world of cleaner brushes, healthier skin, and a more conscious beauty regimen by exploring these effective and resourceful cleaning methods.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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