How to Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural cleaner that can tackle a wide variety of cleaning projects, including your makeup brushes. Don’t worry about them smelling like vinegar. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, so once they dry, you won’t smell the vinegar. You can use the vinegar to actually clean the makeup off your brushes, or you can use it to disinfect them once you’ve gotten the makeup off.


EditCleaning Brushes in Vinegar

  1. Create the solution. Place a cup of warm or hot water in a mug or jar. Add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Pour in 1/2 a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Stir it in to make sure the solution is mixed well.[1]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 1.jpg
    • You can also just use two parts vinegar to one part water, skipping the soap.
  2. Swirl the brushes in the solution. Swish each brush in the solution. Move it around until you can see that it’s clean, and then take it out to rinse in cool water. Repeat for each brush, washing and rinsing each one separately.[2]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 2.jpg
  3. Let the brushes air dry overnight. On a clean paper towel, dab the brush a few times gently to get rid of the extra water. Smooth out any bent bristles with your fingers, reshaping the brush. Place the brushes flat on the paper towel to dry. They can sit out overnight to dry.[3]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 3.jpg

EditUsing Vinegar for Disinfecting

  1. Run the brush under water. Start by rinsing the brush under running water. Make sure the tip is down towards the sink, so the makeup runs out. Also, try to mostly just get the bristles under the water, as the water can weaken the glue and the finish on the brush.[4]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 4.jpg
  2. Rub some shampoo into the brush. To clean the brush, use a bit of baby shampoo. You can use other shampoos, but baby shampoo is gentler. Rub it into the brush, using your fingers or by swirling the brush around your palm. Rinse the shampoo out, working until the water runs clear.[5]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 5.jpg
  3. Create a vinegar solution to disinfect the brushes. Add one part water and two parts vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) to a bowl or jar, giving it a swish to mix it up. Swirl the brushes in the solution for a minute or so, trying to mostly get the bristles. Once you’re done, run them under water again to get the vinegar out.[6]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 6.jpg
  4. Dry the brushes overnight on a paper towel. Pat the brushes gently on a paper towel to get most of the excess water out. Use your fingers to shape the bristles into the correct shape if they’re bent. Lay the brushes on a paper towel to dry overnight.[7]
    Clean Makeup Brushes with Vinegar Step 7.jpg

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Dirty brushes
  • White or apple cider vinegar
  • Baby shampoo or dishwashing soap (optional)
  • A jar or bowl
  • Paper towels


  • Between cleanings, rub the brushes gently on a towel to help keep them clean.
  • Try to clean your brushes every two weeks. You can go a month if you use a quick-drying brush cleaner in between the times you deep clean the brushes with vinegar.[8]

EditSources and Citations

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