Can You Wash Make Up Brushes In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Make Up Brushes In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash makeup brushes in the washing machine. However, it’s important to note that this method comes with risks as the heat and agitation can potentially damage the brushes. It is recommended to use a gentle shampoo or soap to clean the brushes by hand.

Makeup brushes are essential tools in every beauty enthusiast’s collection. Over time, they accumulate makeup residues, oils, and bacteria, making regular cleaning imperative. While the idea of tossing your makeup brushes into the washing machine may seem convenient, it raises a critical question: Can you trust this method without risking damage to your precious brushes?

In this article, we will explore the possibilities and provide you with a detailed guide on how to safely clean your makeup brushes, whether by washing machine or by hand.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Make Up Brushes In The Washing Machine


  • Use a Gentle Cycle: If you choose to wash your makeup brushes in the washing machine, opt for a gentle cycle to minimize the risk of damage.
  • Secure Brushes: Place your makeup brushes in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them from excessive agitation during the wash.
  • Hand Wash Preferred: For a safer and more gentle cleaning method, consider hand washing your makeup brushes.
  • Gentle Shampoo or Soap: When cleaning makeup brushes by hand, use a gentle shampoo or soap specifically designed for brush cleaning to maintain their softness and quality.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Ensure that all soap or shampoo residue is rinsed out of the brushes during the cleaning process.
  • Reshape and Air Dry: After washing, reshape the brush bristles and allow the brushes to air dry completely to prevent damage and maintain their form.


  • Skip Mesh Bag: If you opt for machine washing, do not skip using a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect the brushes from being tossed around and damaged.
  • Use Harsh Detergents: Avoid using harsh detergents, bleach, or chemicals that can damage the brush bristles or compromise their quality.
  • Hot Water: Do not use hot water, as it can weaken the glue that holds the bristles in place and affect the shape of the brushes.
  • Wash Too Frequently: Avoid washing your makeup brushes too frequently, as excessive cleaning can lead to wear and tear. Aim for a cleaning routine that balances hygiene and brush longevity.
  • Store Wet Brushes: Never store your makeup brushes when they are still wet, as this can lead to mold and bacterial growth. Ensure they are completely dry before storing them.

Steps To Wash Makeup Brushes In The Washing Machine:

If you decide to use the washing machine method, here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1

Preparation: Gather your dirty makeup brushes and place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. Ensure that the bag is securely closed to prevent brushes from escaping.

Step 2

Select a Gentle Cycle: Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. Avoid using hot or warm water, as it can damage the brushes.

Step 3

Add Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent or soap designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach.

Step 4

Wash and Rinse: Start the washing machine cycle and allow it to complete. Ensure that the rinse cycle is thorough to remove all soap residue.

Step 5

Remove and Air Dry: After the wash, remove the makeup brushes from the mesh bag and gently reshape the bristles to their original form. Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel or hang them with the bristle end facing downward to air dry completely.

Alternative Washing Methods For Makeup Brushes:

If you prefer a gentler approach or want to avoid the risks associated with machine washing, consider the following alternative methods to clean your makeup brushes:

Hand Washing:

  • Wet the bristles of your makeup brush with lukewarm water, being careful not to wet the handle or ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles).
  • Apply a small amount of gentle shampoo or brush cleaner to your palm or a brush cleaning pad.
  • Gently swirl the brush in your palm or on the cleaning pad to lather the shampoo and remove makeup residues.
  • Rinse the brush thoroughly under lukewarm water until the water runs clear and all soap residue is removed.
  • Gently squeeze out excess water using a clean towel.
  • Reshape the brush bristles and allow it to air dry completely before using it again.

Brush Cleaning Solutions:

You can also use specialized brush cleaning solutions or sprays designed for quick cleaning between uses. These products allow you to spot-clean your brushes without the need for a full wash.


Can I use a front-loading washing machine to wash makeup brushes?

Answer:  Front-loading washing machines generally provide a gentler washing cycle and may be a better option if you choose to machine wash your brushes.

How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

Answer:  It is recommended to clean your makeup brushes at least once a week for hygiene and to prevent makeup buildup.

Can I use dish soap to clean makeup brushes?

Answer:  While dish soap can be used in a pinch, it is not the ideal choice for cleaning makeup brushes, as it may not be gentle enough for the bristles.

Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process for my makeup brushes?

Answer:  Avoid using a hairdryer, as the heat can damage the bristles. It’s best to let them air dry naturally.

Are there specific brush cleaning products for different types of makeup brushes (e.g., synthetic vs. natural bristles)?

Answer:  Yes, there are brush cleaning products designed for both synthetic and natural bristle brushes. Be sure to choose a product that matches the type of brushes you have.

Final Words:

In conclusion, the decision to wash makeup brushes in a washing machine should be made with caution, as it comes with potential risks to the quality and longevity of your brushes. While it is possible to use this method, it is generally safer and more effective to clean your makeup brushes by hand using gentle shampoo or soap.

By following the recommended dos and don’ts and maintaining a regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that your makeup brushes remain in excellent condition, providing you with flawless makeup application for years to come.

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