Can Vinegar Clean Makeup Brushes? – Safely Take Your Makeup Brushes from Dirty to Pristine

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Home » Blog » Natural & Non-Toxic » Can Vinegar Clean Makeup Brushes? – Safely Take Your Makeup Brushes from Dirty to Pristine

Makeup brushes are vital tools for achieving a flawless, natural, and airbrushed look that will help you confidently face the day. However, dirty makeup brushes can wreck your skin and cause rashes and acne breakouts. To maintain a healthy complexion, ensure that your makeup brushes are clean. But how can you do so? Can vinegar clean makeup brushes?

Absolutely! Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner that can clean various items, including makeup brushes. 

This natural solution is the best alternative to expensive brush-cleaning agents. It can safely wipe away dirt and bacteria on your makeup bristles for just a few pennies.

Are you excited to know how to keep your makeup brushes clean to keep your skin healthy? We got you covered!

Can Dirty Makeup Brushes Cause Acne Breakouts?

Yes, dirty makeup brushes can cause acne breakouts in addition to inflammation, irritation, and even infections.

According to physician and skincare expert Dr. Deborah Lee, dirty makeup brushes are a potential reservoir of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus, a dangerous and contagious bacteria that can trigger many harmful skin conditions. 

This means that if you don’t wash your makeup brushes, bacteria will penetrate the deeper layers of your skin and will affect the health of the skin on your face.

Also, besides disturbing your skin, using oil-filled and cakey brushes will ruin your makeup application and products. Instead of achieving that flawless look, your makeup will look chunky and even spotty.

Can Vinegar Damage Makeup Brushes?

If you are hesitant to clean your makeup brushes with vinegar, we tell you there’s no need to worry about it.

Vinegar is a safe, natural cleaner that can make your makeup brushes clean and look brand new. While no makeup brushes can last forever, cleaning them with vinegar can prolong their life.

Vinegar is likewise famous for being a natural disinfectant and anti-bacterial. It can clean the bristles of your brushes effectively and, at the same time, prevent fungus and germs from growing on your brushes.

Unlike other harsh chemicals, vinegar won’t damage your brushes in any way. It is a mild solution that won’t distort or break the brush bristles.

What Type of Makeup Brush Can I Clean with Vinegar?

There are many types of brushes that you can clean with vinegar. Some of them are below:

  • Foundation brush
  • Eyeshadow brushes
  • General makeup brushes
  • Bronzer brush

Can I Clean Beauty Sponges and Blenders with Vinegar?

Yes, you can clean makeup brushes, blenders, and sponges with vinegar. Vinegar will effectively clean makeup sponges and beauty blenders without you having to worry about ruining them. Just make sure to rinse them well afterward so that no residue is left behind.

Don’t worry about the smell of vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, so once the sponge or blender is dry, you won’t smell the vinegar at all.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar?

Now that you know, you can use vinegar to clean the makeup from your brushes and sponges without damaging them. Here’s how to clean dirty makeup brushes with vinegar:

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 mug/jar of warm water
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • ½ tsp. of liquid dishwashing soap

Step 1: Pour warm water into a mug or jar. Add one tablespoon of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Stir the mixture.

Step 2: Swirl the brushes in the mixture. Move the brushes around until the makeup residue slowly disappears. Once the brush is clean, rinse it with warm water.

Step 3. Dab the brush with a clean towel to remove excess water. Use your fingers to smooth out or reshape the brush. Allow the brushes to dry overnight. 

Can Vinegar Kill Bacteria and Germs from Makeup Brushes?

Vinegar has acetic properties, which makes it a natural disinfectant. It can kill bacteria and germs developed in a dirty makeup brush.

As such, you can use vinegar as a disinfectant for your makeup brushes. It can also clean away oil and dirt, which are responsible for the proliferation of bacteria or viruses in your makeup brushes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

It depends on the type of makeup brushes and how often you use them. If you apply liquid products (like foundation and concealer) with a makeup brush, you should clean them regularly (at least once a week) to eliminate the wet products.

For the brushes you use on your eyes (like eyeliner and eyeshadow), clean them after every two weeks. Your eyes are more likely to get an infection than your skin, so you must clean them regularly and thoroughly.

Meanwhile, the brushes for dry products require at least one wash a month. If you don’t keep them clean, they could be a breeding ground for bacteria.

How Often Should I Replace Makeup Brushes?


While cleaning your brushes will add to their lives, unfortunately, there are no brushes that will last forever. Here are some indications that it is time to swap out your brushes for new ones:

  • Even after you clean your makeup brushes, the bristles are still stiff.
  • The bristles are already falling out.
  • If the brush returns to its original shape after you wash it and once dry. 

If you want a makeup brush that can last longer and allow you to achieve an excellent makeup finish, buy good quality brushes.

Quality brushes should feel soft once they touch your palm or face. It should be smooth, not very dry, and bristly.

Should the bristles be falling off even if you haven’t used them, chances are the brush is of low quality. Meanwhile, if the bristles start to fall off, replace your brushes with new ones. 

What Household Items Can Clean Makeup Brushes?


You can use other household items to clean beauty brushes. Most of them, or maybe all of them, are available in your house:

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo can clean makeup brushes, too. Just pour some baby shampoo into warm water and swirl your makeup brushes.

Massage the makeup bristles with your fingers. Make sure to rinse them with water and leave them to dry.

Liquid Dish Soap

Liquid dish soap does a good job of cleaning makeup-caked brushes. Apply the liquid soap to a sponge and wipe the brushes with it. Rinse the brush with water, wipe them with a towel, and leave them to dry.

Vinegar and Lemon

Vinegar and lemon are potent cleaners for cleaning makeup brushes and killing germs.

To clean with this mixture, put two tablespoons of white vinegar and one tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of hot water. Soak the tip of your brush in the mix, then rinse it with warm water.


After reading this, you should know how dirty makeup brushes can affect your skin, possibly causing acne breakouts, inflammation, allergic reactions, and other skin infections.

Cleaning your makeup brushes with vinegar will not damage them but remove oil and dirt and kill bacteria and other germs. If you run out of vinegar, use baby shampoo, liquid dish soap, or vinegar and lemon to clean them.

To get the most out of your makeup brushes, clean them regularly and replace them when necessary. Doing this will help you achieve a flawless look without compromising your skin.

To learn what else you can clean in your home with vinegar, read our article – Does White Vinegar Clean Jewelry? How to Revive Your Jewelry’s Radiance