How to Clean Makeup Brushes + My DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

DIY Makeup Brush Cleanser

I know you know you should clean your makeup brushes.  I spare you the first rule of Makeup 101, but I’m here to make it easier! I’ve come up (with a little help from Pinterest…) with a DIY Makeup Brush Cleanser that will make cleaning your brushes, quick, easy and thorough. With this recipe, you won’t believe what you’ll get out of your brushes!

First off, I want to give credit where credit is due-I took heavily from Live Simply’s makeup brush cleaner recipe. It’s just the best and the only way I improved on it was by adding rubbing alcohol and essential oils! She’s got a fabulously insightful blog, btw.

SERIOUS yuckies can hide out in your make up brushes.  Think bacteria, dirt and sebum.  Gross. 

Here we are, fighting the war against wrinkles and adult acne and we are rubbing bacteria, dirt and sebum all over are face daily.  Really pretty counterproductive. 

Plus, makeup brushes can get really expensive-investing in the right brushes can make all the difference in how your makeup looks.  So once you drop some cash on your brushes, it only makes sense to take care of them so they will last longer.

So, let’s get down and dirty and wash those brushes weekly-your skin will thank you.

You’ve probably seen some gimmicky makeup brush cleansers. Don’t waste your money.  

This DIY couldn’t be cheaper or easier to make and the ingredients can be used on lots of other DIYs. 

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Ingredients:

  1. Castile Soap*
  2. Distilled Water
  3. Witch Hazel**
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Rubbing Alcohol
  6. Essential Oils (optional)

*Use castile soap in my Foaming Face Wash recipe, DIY Cleansing Wipes, Fruit & Veggie Wash & Spray and DIY Body Wash.

**Use witch hazel in my Hydrating Rose Spritzer, DIY Toner Wipes, Blood Orange Hibiscus Toner, Spray Deodorant and Hair Growth Spritzer.

How to Make a DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner:DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Recipe:

1 cup Distilled Water

1/2 cup Witch Hazel (find it HERE)

2 tsp. Castile Soap (find it HERE)

1 tsp. Rubbing Alcohol (find it HERE)

1 tsp. Olive Oil (find it HERE)*

10 drops Essential Oils (find them HERE) **optional*

*You don’t have to use olive oil. Any oil will work except coconut oil since it is solid. 

** I use tea tree and lemon essential oil for extra cleansing and anti bacterial action! You don’t have to use any essential oils though. It is not vital to the cleansing effectiveness of this DIY.


Add all ingredients into at least a 12 ounce glass container. I found mine at Ikea but you can find them on Amazon as well. Glass jars work just fine!

Be sure to store your makeup cleanser in the fridge so it doesn’t grow bacteria and defeat it’s purpose!

How to Properly Clean Makeup Brushes:

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

  1. Pour DIY brush cleaner into a glass jar. I pour enough to make it about an inch deep. You want enough cleaner so that all the brush hair is submerged.
  2. Add 1 or all of your brushes and swirl them around to help the cleanser thoroughly reach all the brush hairs. *Doing one brush at a time is not necessary but it definitely is more thorough.
  3. Leave brushes in the solution for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse each brush in the sink
  5. Lay brushes on a clean towel and allow to dry over night. 

>>Always dry your brushes flat or tilted slighting downward.  You don’t want wetness to rest at the base of the brush.  This could loosen the glue and cause hairs to fall out.  <<

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

For those of us who want to get super serious about keeping bacteria away from our brushes, you can make a daily makeup brush cleaning spray. This will help keep bacteria to a minimum on a daily basis.

DIY Makeup Brush Daily Spray:

2 ounces Witch Hazel (find it HERE)

15 drops of Orange Essential Oil (find it HERE)

15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil (find it HERE)

To Use:

  • Simply spray 3-4 spritzes on each brush after use.
  • Allow to dry in-between uses.

Citrus oils are very cleansing and will help disinfect while dissolving dirt and sebum.

makeup brush spritzerDIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

I much prefer this DIY brush cleaner over mixing up a solution each time you want to wash your brushes because each of these ingredients contribute to thoroughly cleansing your brushes and pulling out 4+ ingredients each time is a recipe for procrastination! Washing makeup brushes is one of those things that is too easy to put off for another day! 

Why not just use soap and water? You can and I have many times but I promise, this recipe is so much more effective. Not to mention, I believe it works faster and leaves your brushes smelling so good! When it comes to your skin, I want the peace of mind that I am not smearing bacteria all over my skin. 

The first time I used this recipe I knew I had a winner. My brushes got cleanser then they’d ever been and with less effort then my previous brush cleaning methods. The gunk and yuck that came out of my brushes was crazy! I should’ve done this months ago!

This DIY makeup brush cleaner works like a charm. As you can see from my pictures, my light pink bristled brushes are brand new looking after a cleaning! I wish I had taken before pictures because you won’t believe how well this cleanser works!

xx, Jenni


DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

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