How To

Super Simple How To: Brush Cleaning

Brush Cleaning How To

When was the last time you cleaned your make up brushes? If you can’t remember, it’s probably time to buckle down and get it over with for the sake of your brushes and your skin.  This how-to is super easy to follow and uses products likely already found in your kitchen.  The two simple ingredients will help to remove make up from your brushes, disinfect them to keep gross things off your skin, and moisturize them for smooth application and beautiful looking bristles.

You will need:

  • Dish soap
  • Olive oil

That’s it.

You’ll also need something to mix them in and some towels but I figured you could gather that on your own and that list was much more dramatic.

On to the cleaning:

Dirty brushes

Start with some dirty brushes.  As you can see I have a small problem where I can’t seem to stop buying Real Techniques brushes.  They are amazing and super reasonably priced.  I just bought the stippling brush and it is miraculous.

Olive oil and dish soap

Start by adding a couple of drops each of the olive oil and dish soap to some warm water in a small cup or shot glass because they are literally the perfect size for this.  Mix it up a bit with your finger, or a utensil if you’re picky.

brush cleaning

Dip the tips of your brushes into the mixture.  You do not need to get the entire end of the brush wet because: 1. most of the make up is going to be concentrated at the tip and 2. getting water up into the part where it attaches to the handle can cause wear and damage.  So focus on just getting the tip and up to just before it connects to the handle in the mixture.


Blot the brush on a paper towel to remove make up and excess water.  Move with the brush and don’t force the bristles to go in a direction they naturally don’t want to.  You don’t need to jam it into the paper towel to get all deep in there.  Be gentle and just continue to blot until you stop seeing color.


Rinse briefly in cold water to remove excess cleaning solution and leftover make up.  Again be sure only to get the tip wet.  Blot again afterwards to remove excess water.


Lay the brushes out to dry on a towel or hang with the brush side down if you have those abilities.

I use this method to clean my brushes on a regular basis and I always love how soft they feel afterwards and how much easier products glide onto my skin.  There are tons of brush cleaners and different methods out there, and I’m sure they all do a great job cleaning brushes, but I love just being to grab things that I already have laying around the house.

Let me know what you thought of this how-to.  I’d love to try and do another one next week so give me some suggestions if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see 🙂


34 thoughts on “Super Simple How To: Brush Cleaning

  1. Love it! I was actually looking at some Parian Spirit brush cleaner earlier! I’ve heard good things about that stuff, have you ever tried it or heard of it? I think this post is great because some people really have no idea how bad dirty brushes actually are for their skin!!!


      • It does! 🙂 I have never put olive oil in while cleaning! I would be afraid of a residue staying on the bristles and transferring onto my makeup, olive oil spoils a lot more easily that other oils! I am too paranoid 😛

      • This is definitively a valid concern. I only use 3-4 drops in the solution so its not very much when its spread across my 20ish brushes. I also made sure to include my rinsing step above, which is very important to getting any extra soap or oil out.

      • Very true on the few drops! I love seeing how every person does things a little differently. We can all learn from each other. I love it! I’ll have to try it sometime! I may substitute for coconut oil. I use coconut oil to condition my hair already 🙂

      • Dude coconut oil is a miracle worker. I feel like you can use it for everything. Love it.

      • EVERYTHING!! I can clog pores and give acne on the face though! I was bummed about that. Everyone’s skin reacts differently though. I am not acne prone, so I was surprised! I researched, and it is comedogenic!

    • I have not tried any brush cleaning solutions but I know most of them are made with good stuff to keep your brushes happy. I think no matter what you’re cleaning them with, they will appreciate not being covered in make up and bacteria so everyone should be happy 🙂

    • I have heard that before as well! I guess theoretically it makes sense water sitting in a towel can breed mildew and mold so I would imagine it could do it in the brush as well.

      Instead of laying my brushes on a towel I usually push my brushes into a piece of styrofoam and turn it upside down propped up on two boxes and put a towel between the boxes to catch the water. It may seem like a lot but I’ve been doing for a couple months and its really easy. The only issue I have would be the fact that after a few uses you run out of new places to push the brushes into and it’s time for new styrofoam which I can usually get for a couple bucks at a craft store!

  2. Hi! I’ve never used olive oil on my makeup brushes before! Great idea!
    Also, LOVE your necklace in your little profile pic thing. It’s GORG. ❤

  3. thanks for the tip, very useful, I tend to wash mine like every 3 months…or sometimes even longer…like every 6 months..which is really bad!:D

    • I definitely recommend every couple weeks if you can. This process only takes me about 15 minutes so it’s really not too bad if you can just remember every once and a while.

    • No problem. It’s super convenient since I always have it in my kitchen anyways. Just make sure to rinse off any residue before using them again 🙂

  4. Pingback: Part 2: #30daysofbeauty | Seeking Subtle Glow

  5. What great tips. I have heard about using olive oil before, but I still need to try it. Thank you for linking up to Monday Morning Makeup Madness. I hope that you link up again next week.

  6. great tip, I never considered putting any oil in the solution, although oils can do wonders for taking makeup off the face 🙂

  7. Brill how to post 🙂 I use this method, well antibacterial Soap & baby oil, I think any Soap & oil based product works fine, they all do the same job so that’s all that matters :’) p.s. k also have the problem that I cannot stop buying real techniques brushes!! They’re just too good & so affordable 😀 xox

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