How to Clean Makeup Brushes Between Clients

Cleaning your makeup brushes is important for keeping your makeup kit clean and bacteria-free. It’s also a great way to prevent the spread of germs between clients. When you’re a makeup artist, it’s essential to keep your brushes clean between clients. It is sanitary, but it also ensures that your makeup application looks good. 

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Between Clients

Making sure your makeup brushes are clean is crucial for the health and well-being of your clients and the overall appearance of their makeup. In this blog post, we’ll share tips on cleaning makeup brushes between clients. Keep reading to learn more!

10 Effective Ways on How To Clean Makeup Brushes Between Clients

1. The Dishwasher Method

To clean your makeup brushes, fill a dishwashing machine with lukewarm water and submerge the brushes. Turn on the machine for 5 minutes, remove the brushes and rinse them under running water. Reshape the bristles to their original form and lay the brushes flat or horizontal to dry on paper towels or an old cloth.

2. The Shampoo Method

Fill the sink with lukewarm water and add baby shampoo to create suds; mix. Place brushes in the mixture, gently swish to remove makeup residue, reshape bristles to original form, and lay flat/horizontal to dry on paper towels or an old cloth. Do not use hand soap as it leaves a sticky residue.

3. The Over-the-Sink Method

Dip a paper towel into warm water, ring out the excess moisture, and place it under the faucet. Carefully turn on the water directly from the faucet, not a sprayer. Dip a makeup brush into the sink and swirl to remove makeup residue. Repeat as needed to remove all residues and reshape bristles to their original form. Lay flat/horizontal to dry on paper towels or an old cloth.

4. The Steam Method

Place the brush under a steaming pot of water, allowing the bristles and handle to be simultaneously exposed to the steam. This will cleanse and disinfect the brush. Be careful not to get the wood handle of the brush wet, as it will warp and swell.

5. The Alcohol Method

Place a paper towel or an old cloth on the countertop and place brushes on top of this surface with bristles/handles hanging off. Dampen a cotton ball in alcohol and swab out any stains, residue, and bristles until they are white again. Allow drying completely before using.

Place a Paper Towel

6. The Anti-bacterial Soap Method

To clean your makeup brush, fill a small container with warm water and a drop of soap. Swirl the brush around in soapy water to remove all the makeup. Rinse the brush under warm water, reshape the bristles to their original form, and lay flat/horizontal to dry.

7. The Toothpaste Method

To clean your makeup brushes, start by wetting them with warm water. Then, squeeze some toothpaste onto a paper towel or an old cloth and gently rub it into the bristles in small circular motions until the makeup stains disappear. Finally, rinse the toothpaste residue with warm water, and reshape the bristles to their original form. Lay your brushes flat or horizontal on a paper towel or an old cloth to dry.

8. The Masking Tape Method

Tear off a small piece of masking tape so the sticky side is exposed. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and gently roll the brush onto the tape. This will remove all makeup residues and allow them to be easily peeled off. If you use this method, ensure that none of the bristles come unstuck from the base or handle, as these can be very hard to reattach!

9. The Shaving Soap Method

Take a small amount of shaving soap and place it in a shallow dish. Swirl your makeup brush around the soap until you see all the grime being drawn off. Rinse under warm water, reshape bristles to their original form, and lay flat/horizontal to dry on paper towels or an old cloth.

10. The Dish Soap and Bottle Method

To clean your makeup brushes, fill a small plastic bottle with warm water and add a tablespoon of dish soap. Shake the bottle until the water is soapy, then spritz your brush bristles with the mixture. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and brush it against a paper towel or old cloth to remove all the makeup residue. Rinse the brush under warm water, reshape the bristles, and lay the brush flat to dry.

Some Helpful Tips and Suggestions

1. If possible, clean your brushes before every client.

Clean Your Brushes Before Every Client

2. Keep a small spray bottle of Brush Cleaner and a microfiber towel in your station so you can quickly spray the dirty brush and wipe it off.

3. If faced with a client with tons of shadow on their lashes, clean your brush well between each lash application.

4. Get into the habit of cleaning your brushes after every set of lashes for optimal hygiene conditions.

5. Wash your brushes every few weeks with mild soap to remove residue buildup.

6. Toss out or donate old brushes with loose bristles, shedding, etc. You don’t risk putting other people at risk for disease transmission.

7. Store your makeup in an airtight container when not in use to prevent dust, dirt, and other pollutants from settling in your makeup.

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap to Clean Makeup Brushes

It has been reported that Dawn Dish Soap has been used to clean makeup brushes. It is said to break up the oil on the brush and thus remove face paint built-up. While this may sound like a time-saver, it can damage and severely dry out the bristles. This is especially true for brushes made from natural fibers such as squirrel, sable, and badger.

Soap does not clean well by itself. It will leave a soapy film on everything you wash with it! You will need to use a cleaner that breaks up oil and grease like Dawn Dish Soap. The problem is Dawn leaves a residue and dries out the bristles. If you use baby shampoo, it will dry your brushes out.

There are specific brush shampoos made just for this purpose that doesn’t leave residue and will not harm the bristles or remove too much of the leather on sable or squirrel brushes.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes Without Bleach

Many recipes on the Internet suggest you use bleach to clean makeup brushes. If you do not have access to a specific brush, shampoo, dish soap, or baby shampoo will be your best option. However, using bleach can damage the leather on natural bristles, dry the bristles, turn the handles yellow over time, and cause staining to your tile grout.

Baby Shampoo Will Be Your Best Option

Bleach is also harmful to you if it gets into your eyes or on your skin. So while it may be an option for cleaning brushes, other more healthful options are available, and bleach should be avoided if these other options will give you the same results.


Makeup brushes will look their best and clean better if you use a brush cleaning solution. The key to keeping your makeup brushes looking and feeling like new is proper maintenance, so the less time it takes for them to be back in service, the quicker you can get back to work! And that means having enough supplies on hand at all times.

You should always have two sets of makeup spatulas for each end of the day’s work. When you’re finished with both clients’ makeups during the first appointment of the day, rinse out your brush as usual and place it into its designated spot. We hope this blog post on how to clean makeup brushes between clients has been helpful. If you have any questions or want to know more, then feel free to comment below!

Jane Hubbard

Jane Hubbard

Jane has always been passionate about hair and beauty. After many years of working as a hairdresser specialist, she decided to start her own consultancy business. She is an experienced haircare and beauty consultant, and she loves helping others find the perfect look for them. She has been writing articles for DIY quickly for over 3 years. In her free time she enjoys keeping up with the latest news in the industry, practicing yoga, and spending time with her friends and family.

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