Makeup Artist: How to clean and disinfect your brushes.

 Brush Makeup Female Make-up Brushes

Make-up brushes can be a haven for dirt and bacteria, that coupled with the fact that the brushes get used ON YOUR FACE, can really give you pause when you go to use them. This is why I have decided to write this post about how I wash my make-up brushes to give myself peace of mind when I’m working or gussying up. If you are a make-up artist you MUST deep clean your brushes after every day on set and spot clean between clients/models. If you only use your brushes for personal make-up applications I suggest hiving them the ol’ scrub at least once a week.

Deep cleaning make-up brushes.


You will need:

  • Stack of clean towels (about 3).
  • 2 clean cups or tumblers.
  • Anti-bacterial dish soap.
  • Miltons disinfectant.
  • Clean water.
  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Cotton wool.
  1. Lay out one towel on a clean dry surface for the brushes to dry on roll the other towel up to create a slope for the brushes to dry on. This is to prevent water running into the glued part of the brush and causing the bristles to become loose.
  2. Set up your cups and pour about 2/3 of the cup full of water. In one cup pour roughly 2-3 tablespoons of anti-bacterial dish soap, in the other a table spoon of Miltons.
  3. Take your brushes and gently swoosh it (yes, that is the technical term) in the soapy water, then take the wet brush and gently run it over your palm to dislodge any powder or dirt. When doing this take care not to let the water get into the glued area of the brush. Some brushes with oil based products on will probably need a more hands-on soap application, for this just put a small amount of soap on your hand and then go to town, in some cases a rinse and a second soap application might be needed. Rinse the brush with clean water.
  4. Next take your washed brush and dip the bristled ends into your Miltons solution, hold it there for 10 – 20 second (to save time a bunch of brushes can be dipped at the same time. Give your brushes another quick rinse.
  5. Hold your brush by the handle and gently squeeze the bristles to get the excess water out. Lay the brushes down to dry with the bristles gently resting on the bottom towel and the handles resting on the rolled up towel. Leave your brushes like that until they are 100% dry.
  6. Next use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and run it along the handles of your brushes. Don’t forget to give your brush pouch or roll a quick wipe with the alcohol too! This step is more geared toward make-up artists, if you are cleaning your personal stash feel free to skip this step or just use a damp cloth to wipe the handles down.
  7. Bonus: insert a piece of roller towel or paper towel between your brushes and your make-up roll, this will keep hard to remove stains off your roll and make everything look very clean and sanitary.

Spot cleaning brushes

Accessory Makeup Professional Set Brushes Dirty

You will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.
  • Paper towel.
  • Anti-bacterial wet wipes.
  1. Take your used brush and gently spray a bit of alcohol on the bristles, the brush can then gently be rubbed back and forth along the paper towel to remove all the make-up. Brushes should then be set aside to dry before being used again. The handles can be wiped down with wet wipes or alcohol on cotton wool (I recommend this for professional make-up artists).
  2. Another method of spot cleaning is to simply swipe the brush bristles over a wet wipe and leave to dry. This method is gentle and convenient so I would recommend this technique for personal use. Plus then you have an anti-bacterial wipe to quickly wipe down your work surface when you are done.

I hope this post was interesting and insightful. If you have any tips for cleaning make-up  brushes please let me know in the comment section below.

Have a beautyful day.


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