Can You Put Makeup Brushes in the Dishwasher: A Comprehensive Guide

In the ever-evolving world of makeup application, maintaining the cleanliness of your tools is of paramount importance. One common question that frequently pops up among makeup enthusiasts is, “Can you put makeup brushes in the dishwasher?” It’s a valid concern, considering the convenience that a dishwasher can offer when it comes to cleaning various items. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the details of whether or not you should toss your beloved makeup brushes into the dishwasher, exploring the dos and don’ts to ensure your brushes stay in pristine condition while achieving optimal hygiene.

Why the Question Arises

Before we dive into the specifics of whether or not you should use the dishwasher as your go-to brush-cleaning method, let’s understand why this question arises in the first place. Makeup brushes are essential tools in any beauty arsenal, and they come into direct contact with various products, including foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and more. Over time, these brushes accumulate makeup residues, oils, and dead skin cells, which can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly. This has led individuals to seek quick and efficient cleaning methods, including the dishwasher.

The Pros of Using a Dishwasher

One cannot deny the convenience that dishwashers offer when it comes to cleaning a wide range of items. Here are some of the advantages that might tempt you to consider using the dishwasher for your makeup brushes:

  1. Efficiency: Dishwashers are designed to clean and sanitize items effectively, thanks to their powerful jets of hot water and detergent. This efficiency might lead you to believe that it can tackle your brushes with ease.
  2. Time-Saving: Cleaning makeup brushes manually can be time-consuming. The dishwasher, on the other hand, can clean multiple brushes simultaneously, saving you precious time.
  3. Sanitization: Dishwashers are capable of reaching high temperatures during the cleaning cycle, which can effectively kill most germs and bacteria, providing a level of sanitization that manual cleaning might not achieve.

The Cons of Using a Dishwasher

While the dishwasher may seem like an attractive option for cleaning makeup brushes, there are several downsides to consider:

  1. Damage to Bristles: The bristles of makeup brushes are delicate, and the high-pressure jets of water in a dishwasher can damage them. Over time, this can lead to bristle fraying, making your brushes less effective in makeup application.
  2. Residue Buildup: Dishwasher detergents can leave behind residue on your brushes. This residue might react with makeup products, affecting their quality and potentially causing skin irritation.
  3. Handle and Ferrule Damage: Makeup brushes consist of not only bristles but also handles and ferrules. The dishwasher can cause the glue that holds these components together to weaken, leading to detachment and rendering the brushes useless.

The Best Way to Clean Makeup Brushes

Considering the potential risks and disadvantages of using a dishwasher, it’s clear that it’s not the ideal method for cleaning your makeup brushes. So, what’s the best way to ensure your brushes are both clean and in excellent condition?

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin, gather the following supplies:

  • Mild liquid soap
  • A shallow bowl or container
  • Lukewarm water
  • Clean towel or paper towel

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Fill the shallow bowl or container with lukewarm water and add a few drops of mild liquid soap. Swirl the water to create a soapy solution.

Step 3: Clean the Brushes

Dip your brushes into the soapy water and gently swirl them to dislodge makeup residues and oils. Be careful not to submerge the entire brush, as this can weaken the glue holding the bristles.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the brushes under lukewarm running water until the water runs clear, and there is no soap residue left. Ensure that the bristles are pointing downward during rinsing to prevent water from seeping into the ferrule.

Step 5: Dry Properly

Gently squeeze out excess water from the bristles using a clean towel or paper towel. Reshape the bristles with your fingers if needed, and then lay the brushes flat on a clean surface to air dry. Avoid standing them upright, as water can seep into the handles and ferrules, causing damage.


In the quest for maintaining both the hygiene and longevity of your makeup brushes, it’s essential to prioritize their care. While the idea of using a dishwasher might be tempting due to its convenience, it’s best to avoid it to prevent potential damage to your beloved brushes. Instead, opt for a gentle, manual cleaning method using mild soap and lukewarm water to ensure your brushes stay clean, germ-free, and in tip-top condition.

Remember, the quality of your makeup application is directly influenced by the condition of your brushes, so take the time to care for them properly. Your skin will thank you for it.

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