Step-by-Step Guide to Maintaining Your Beauty Tools

Maintaining your beauty tools is easier than ever with this guide!

You know you should be taking better care of your beauty tools... just about every magazine you ever picked up since your "Seventeen" years has contained at least one gentle admonishment on the matter. Well, the time has come to do it. Cleaning your tools not only extends the life of your products, but it also keeps them safe and healthy, too. And when you take good care of your tools, they take good care of you.

This guide explains how to keep your brushes, sponges, tweezers, spoolies and other beauty tools properly cleaned and maintained. 

How to clean makeup brushes

Clean your brushes every week to two weeks to keep blemish-causing germs off your brushes, makeup, and skin. Do these steps with the brush part pointing downward, and the handle upward. Try not to get a lot of water where the brush and handle meet. That's where the glue that joins the two are, and you don't want to weaken that bond.

Step 1 | Rinse the bristles. Run them under warm water for about 60 seconds. 

Step 2 | Soap them up, Work a small amount of gentle cleanser ( lash cleanser works great) into the bristles. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Step 3 | Condition After the second rinse, massage a few drops of oil, such as olive or apricot kernel, into the bristles. 

Step 4 | Rinse well

Step 5 | Blot and dry Press your brush into a dry towel, then reshape the bristles and lay the brush on a flat surface to dry overnight.

makeup brushes

How to clean makeup sponges

For starters, make sure you're washing the right type of sponge (also known as a " beauty blender"). Reusable sponges are treated with antimicrobial agents, making them excellent candidates for reuse, but basic foam sponges are not. Don't try to salvage your disposable foam makeup applicators — they are a breeding ground for bacteria, which will only multiply as they sit out wet. Throw them out after several uses. Clean your beauty blender once every week to two weeks. Replace it after three months. If your reusable sponge comes with its own cleanser, use that. Otherwise, mild cleanser or dish soap is fine.

Step 1| Wash your hands thoroughly

Step 2| Rinse the sponge under warm water, squeezing it several times to loosen old makeup

Step 3| Apply a dime-sized amount of cleanser and work into a lather. Work the soap into your sponge

Step 4| Rinse and Repeat as often as needed until water runs clear.

Step 5| Blot your sponge into a dry towel, getting as much water out as possible. Let it air dry overnight.

makeup sponges

How to clean spoolies

You likely use this tool every day — you just might not know it had a name. A "spoolie" is the tiny spiral brush used to clean your lashes, apply mascara, and brow gel. You can buy spoolie brushes individually and use them to comb your brows, separate your lashes and exfoliate your lips. And yes, you should clean them! Every two weeks is ideal. Replace once a month. 

Step 1| Rinse the spoolie in warm water

Step 2| Apply Apply soap (again, lash cleanser is fine)

Step 3| Rub the soap in with your fingers

Step 4| Rinse and repeat until the bristles are clean of residue and hair and water runs clear


How to clean hair brushes

While you can use mild cleanser or liquid dish soap, we recommend vinegar — it is naturally antiseptic, and it's excellent at loosening sticky residue left by styling products. Clean your hairbrush once a month.

Step 1| Remove as much hair as you can from the brush

Step 2| Fill a large bowl with two cups warm tap water and two cups white vinegar

Step 3| Soak the brush for five minutes

Step 4| Scrub and give it a good cleaning — use a comb, toothbrush, nail brush, or your fingers to get all of the gunk off and out

Step 5| Rinse your brush for a couple of minutes and let it air dry overnight.

hair brushes

How to clean tweezers and other metal tools

Tweezers, eyelash curlers, nail and cuticle clippers and other metal tools are simple to clean; simply moisten a cotton ball or Q-tip with rubbing alcohol and give them a once-over. Do this about once a month. Note | This is for personal use tweezers only. Lash tweezers need to be adequately sanitized in between clients in an approved disinfecting solution such as Barbicide for 10-15 minutes. 



There you have it! Once you get in the habit of regularly cleaning your tools, you'll be glad you did. They will last longer and serve you better. If you really have a hard time remembering, set a calendar reminder on your phone, so you never miss a date to show your beauty tools some TLC. 

Megan Krause
Mom | Writer | Editor | Goofball | Living + Loving in Phoenix


  • Sydney

    Hey Brooke! Thanks for your comment. Glad the article was helpful. No, you don’t need to clean the spoolie in your mascara, just make sure you replace your mascara every 4-6 weeks to prevent bacteria buildup. Use the steps above to clean the spoolies you use to brush your lashes and brows!


  • Brooke

    Love the new word I learned- spoolie. But, it is not recommended to clean your brush that you use daily in the actual mascara tool, right? I’m sharing. Thanks for the reminder..

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