How to Clean Makeup Brushes With Vinegar

How to Clean Makeup Brushes With Vinegar

We are asked to stay home during these turbulent times. But being on lockdown doesn’t have to be boring, women are using this lockdown period to improve their makeup skills. And this is why glossy eyeshadows, pink lipsticks, and floating eyeliners are in style during this season. 

Replicating any of these looks requires you to use your makeup brushes over and over again. So, it’s important that you keep your overused makeup brushes clean. We are going to show you some proven and easy ways to clean makeup brushes using vinegar.

Why Should I Clean My Makeup Brushes?

Before exploring how to clean makeup brushes, there are several reasons as to why this should be done. These tips are touted by various makeup gurus, dermatologists, and celebrities. They include the following:

Keeping cleaner brushes will help a person apply their makeup better on their skin

The best way to learn whether a person has applied their makeup properly is to avoid getting it from streaking or patching once placed on the skin. Aside from the way a person applies their makeup, using dirty tools can make its look worse. Finally, it will help you save time when applying makeup on your skin.

Get a lower chance of irritating when using clean makeup brushes

Using a makeup brush to apply makeup can accumulate dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. When used again without cleaning, it can clog pores and cause more acne. Aside from that, a person’s skin will feel uncomfortable when using a dirty brush. Once your face is clogged with pores, this will make it even harder to hide it and will cause your look to have an uneven finish.

Extend the life of your brushes by keeping them clean

Aside from the benefits of keeping a person’s skin clean, keeping your brushes clean can help you maintain your makeup collection in the long run. Once they are used again, the bristles do not have the soft, flexible quality they have once they were new. Doing this as a regular habit will help prevent them from getting bent in the long run.

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Using dirty brushes can make your makeup dirty

In the long run, neglecting to clean makeup brushes after every use will collect bacteria and dirt. The same bacteria can then grow when you use this brush on the makeup. Cleaning them as often as possible, especially after putting on your makeup, would stop this unwanted growth, keep your face looking great, and keeping your makeup bacteria-free.

woman is washing dirty makeup brush

What Materials are Needed to Clean Makeup Brushes

In this section, let us explore what materials are used, aside from vinegar, by various people as their natural makeup brush cleaner. When you enter “diy makeup brush cleaner” or “how to clean makeup brushes diy” in any search engine, you can find an endless list of products that you can use. The items this article will list down include vinegar, shampoo, oil, and soap.

One of the popular results when looking for a cleaning problem is “how to clean makeup brushes with shampoo.” Eimear McElheron first cited this in a popular video. In an article by, she says that using shampoo and water can help clean most brushes except heavy-duty foundation and waterproof eyeliner. Her demonstration involves lathering shampoo all over the brush to remove as much build-up and rinsing it after.

Meanwhile, Wellness Mama wrote an article about using unscented mild liquid soap to clean makeup brushes. They recommended this material, especially for brushes that were dipped in synthetic makeup. Using this type of soap can help cleanse and avoid getting a stinky brush once it is dried.

When learning how to clean makeup brushes naturally, both articles recommended using olive or almond oil with soap or shampoo. The oil is applied onto the brush and is followed by the soap to get rid of stubborn caked makeup in between each bristle. Doing this will help keep the brush soft and malleable once it dries.

The central ingredient that will be used in this article is vinegar. It is touted as an odor-free, accessible cleaning agent for makeup brushes. It is acidic enough to bite through the caked makeup between bristles and kill the bacteria present. The next section will discuss how to use this ingredient while using water, mug or jar, soap, and towel.

Cleaning Makeup Brushes Using Vinegar

There are two methods when it comes to making use of vinegar for cleaning your brushes. It is done through the following steps:

  1. Using a clean jar or mug, pour in one cup of warm or hot water.
  1. Combine a half teaspoon of a soap of your choice with around a tablespoon of vinegar.
  1. Once mixed well, stir each brush in the jar.
  1. Rinse the brush in cool water.
  1. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the brush is cleaned.
  1. Remove excess water by tapping the brush against a clean towel.
  1. Smooth out the bristles to form its original shape using your fingers.
  1. Let dry overnight by placing it on top of a towel.

Cleaning makeup brushes with vinegar and baking soda is another way to keep a makeup brush set in great condition. It is done as follows:

  • Combine one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda in a clean jar.
  • Stir until the baking soda has dissolved.
  • Add in two tablespoons of soap with a cup of vinegar in the mixture then stir well.
  • Finally, include a few drops of coconut or olive oil into the mixture and stir.
  • Put your makeup brushes into the solution in reverse, soaking all the bristles.
  • Leave for an hour.
  • Take out the brushes and scrub the bristles from each brush one-by-one with your fingers.
  • Rinse the brushes with clean water.
  • Let the brushes dry.
  • Repeat previous steps with a new solution as needed.
clean makeup brushes with vinegar
Photo Credit: instagram

Sterilizing Makeup Brushes Using Vinegar

Here are the steps in order to keep any site of makeup brushes makeup-free and bacteria-free in between uses:

  1. Open your faucet and put your makeup brush bristles under the running water. Angle the bristles so that they are at a downward angle.
  1. Use mild soap on the wet makeup brush and rub it gently using fingers.
  1. Rinse and repeat steps 1 and 2 until the brush is makeup-free.
  1. In a clean bowl, combine a ratio of 1:2 of water and vinegar.
  1. Swirl the brushes into the solution.
  1. Rinse the brushes under running water, bristles angled down.
  1. Remove excess water by dabbing onto a clean towel.
  1. Leave to dry overnight on a clean towel.


How often should one keep one’s makeup brushes clean?

Various dermatologists recommend maintaining your brushes every two weeks. When left unused for a long time, you should clean them at least once a month. That way, they will be ready for any makeup application once they are dry.

Why should I avoid exposing the rest of the brush to the solutions mentioned or pass it under water?

A lot of makeup gurus explain that exposing the rest of the brush in water will weaken the glue holding the bristles together. There is a metal part, called a ferrule, that holds the bristles to the makeup brush’s handle. Getting wet too often will weaken its strength or could rust away, thus making the brush unusable.

If I don’t want to soak my brushes, how can I clean my brushes?

An alternate way to clean your brushes in between uses is passing the bristles gently through a dry, clean towel. You can also make use of several pieces of tissue paper or toilet paper as an alternative.

How should I dry my makeup brushes?

After cleaning using any of the methods mentioned in this article, place them horizontally on a dry towel or tissue paper. This will help prevent any of the remaining water and solution from eating through the ferrule and lose bristles in the process.

How else can I keep my makeup neat and tidy?

Wipe down all your palettes every after use. You can use a moist, antibacterial towelette to wipe down the sides and around your palette. Doing this will keep the loose powder from attracting bacteria to grow around it.
Another tip is to clean your makeup bags. Since you store your makeup and makeup brushes to bring with you on the go, neglecting to clean them will let the growing bacteria and dirt on the inside contaminate them.


When fully enjoying the benefits of makeup to one’s overall health, keeping your makeup brushes clean is one habit that should be practiced as often as possible. This article focused on how to clean makeup brushes with vinegar. Aside from that, there are also explanations of other methods and materials that can be used as alternate solutions.

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