November 09, 2023

How to Clean Makeup Sponges in 5 Ways

5 Best Ways To Clean Makeup Sponges

Makeup sponges have become essential tools many people use for flawless makeup application. Like your makeup brushes, makeup sponges must be cleaned regularly to keep them free of germs, bacteria, and product buildup. Dirty makeup sponges are one of the reasons for acne breakouts and irritation. They also won't blend your makeup as smoothly as a fresh and clean sponge.

In this article, we'll provide tips on how to clean makeup sponges and techniques for storing and drying them regardless of their types and materials. Regularly cleaning your makeup sponges will help you achieve better and longer-lasting makeup while preventing skin irritation and acne. Follow these simple steps to clean makeup sponges and keep your makeup sponges clean as new.

How frequently should you clean your makeup sponges?

Determining how often to clean your makeup sponges depends on how often you use them, what type of makeup you apply, and how you store them. Considering these things can help you decide what schedule you should make to clean makeup sponges. If you use your sponges every day, it’s good to wash them at least 2-3 times per week. People with oily or acne-prone skin should clean sponges more often than others since bacteria can lead to more acne breakouts.

If you only use sponges occasionally or for lighter makeup, weekly or twice-a-week cleaning is sufficient. It’s good to analyze sponges regularly and wash them immediately if you notice visible stains. Make a cleaning schedule based on your habits and skin’s needs.

5 Ways to Clean Makeup Sponges

1. Use Mild Soap and Warm Water

    mild soap and water for cleaning sponge

    Using mild soap and lukewarm water is an effective cleaning method recommended by many makeup artists and cosmetic brands. The soap can break down and dissolve the built-up oils, makeup, and bacteria on used sponges. When combined with water, the soap lifts away and rinses off the dissolved residue, leaving a fresh and clean sponge.

    2. Use Olive Oil

    olive oil for cleaning makeup sponge

    Olive oil is an effective natural ingredient for cleaning stained makeup sponges. It works well to break up and dissolve makeup residue due to its oil-based properties. Apply a light coat of olive oil to saturate the sponge, massage it for 30-60 seconds, focusing on stained areas, and then rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.

    3. Soaking in Micellar water

      Soaking in Micellar water

      Micellar water is an effective and gentle way to clean makeup sponges. To use it, pour a small amount of micellar water into a cup or bowl and then soak the dirty makeup sponge in the liquid. Gently squeeze and massage the sponge to allow the micellar water to break down and dissolve the makeup residue. The micellar water breaks down and removes even waterproof makeup.

      4. Microwaving

        microwaving makeup sponge

        Microwaving is one quick method used to clean and disinfect makeup sponges. To use this technique, you start by wetting the makeup sponge and placing it in a microwave-safe bowl. Add water and a few drops of mild liquid soap to the bowl. Microwave the bowl for 1-2 minutes, which helps to kill bacteria and disinfect the sponge effectively. After microwaving, let the sponge cool and rinse it under running water to remove any soap or residue. Microwaving is a quick method. However, It's important to be cautious and avoid overheating or damaging the sponge.

        5. Cleansing Pad

          A cleansing pad is an effective tool for cleaning makeup sponges due to its texture. To use it, wet your makeup sponge and add a small amount of mild liquid soap to the cleansing pad's surface. Gently rub the sponge against the textured side of the pad, moving it in circular motions to remove makeup residue from the sponge's surface. Continue until the sponge appears clean, and rinse it under running water. After that, allow the sponge to dry in the air. A cleansing pad is a portable method to refresh sponges after each use or deep clean weekly.

          How to Dry Makeup Sponges

          Knowing how to dry makeup sponges is equally crucial as cleaning makeup sponges. Drying makeup sponges ensures they remain clean and ready for your next makeup application. Here are some steps that you can follow to dry your makeup sponges:

          Squeeze out water

          After cleaning, gently squeeze out excess water from the beauty sponge. Don't twist or wring forcefully, as this can damage its texture. Remove as much moisture as possible, then stand the sponge upright or lay flat in a dry area.

          Towel blotting

          Gently blotting with a clean towel or cloth can help speed up drying time for a makeup sponge. After washing and squeezing excess moisture from the sponge, place it between two fresh paper towels or soft cloth towels. Apply light pressure to blot and absorb residual water deep in the sponge.

          Air Dry

          The best way to dry your makeup sponge is by allowing it to air dry naturally. After cleansing and squeezing, let the sponge dry naturally by placing it in an open, dry area. Don’t put them in closed containers or bags that block airflow. 

          Drying Stands

          An air-drying stand is an ideal way to dry makeup sponges after washing. The open-air design of the stand allows airflow all around the sponge for drying. Simply place the squeezed-out wet sponge upright into the slots or prongs of the stand.

          How to Store Makeup Sponges

          Properly storing your makeup sponges between uses helps keep them clean and well-preserved.  Here are some tips on how to store your makeup sponges:

          Ventilated Containers

          Storing makeup sponges in ventilated containers is best for preventing bacteria growth. The open-air design allows airflow so no moisture gets trapped inside after cleaning. Ventilated storage containers maintain dryness and freshness between uses.

          Separation from Other Makeup Products

          Storing makeup sponges separately from other makeup products helps prevent cross-contamination and preserve freshness. After use, sponges contain dirt, oils, and bacteria that can transfer to powder or cream products if stored together.

          Avoid Airtight Containers

          Closed containers or sealed bags trap moisture inside after washing instead of allowing the sponge to dry out thoroughly. This can promote bacterial growth. Instead, use open containers like mesh or cloth bags and cups with holes that allow ventilation.

          How Long Can You Use the Same Makeup Sponge 

          When it comes to makeup sponges, it's important not to use them for too long. Makeup sponges should be replaced every 2-5 months with regular use. The porous material unavoidably accumulates makeup residuals, skin oils, and bacteria. No cleaning method can entirely remove this buildup after months of use. For hygienic applications, it's best to replace sponges around 4 times yearly.

          However, how long a sponge lasts depends on several factors: how often you use it, the type of makeup you use, and how you clean and store it. With heavy daily use, replace more frequently every 1-2 months. Throw out immediately if you notice tearing, smell, or mold. Properly cleaning, drying, and storing sponges in clean, ventilated containers can extend their lifespan slightly. Remember that makeup sponges are not as expensive as other makeup products and are meant to be replaced. Replacing the sponge every few months gives the best and safest makeup application.


          Cleaning your makeup sponges regularly is essential to remove buildup and bacteria for hygienic, flawless makeup application. By learning how to clean makeup sponges properly, you can improve the lifespan of these beauty tools. Be sure to use mild cleansers like soap or olive oil to remove the buildup. Additionally, the proper drying and storage of your makeup sponge are vital to prevent bacterial growth and extend its usability. By thoroughly cleaning, drying, and storing your sponges, you'll maintain hygienic application with these helpful makeup tools.


          What is the best way to clean a makeup sponge?

          The best way to clean a makeup sponge is to rinse it under warm water and create a soapy solution with gentle liquid soap.

          How often should the makeup sponge be cleaned?

          If you are a regular sponge user, it’s good to clean them at least 2-3 times per week. People with acne-prone or oily skin must clean their sponges more often than others.

          What happens if you don't wash your makeup sponge?

          If you don't wash your makeup sponge, it can accumulate makeup residue, oils, and bacteria and lead to skin irritation, acne breakouts, and eye infections if used near the eyes.

          What can I do with old makeup sponges?

          You can repurpose old makeup sponges for various tasks. You can use old makeup sponges for cleaning tasks like dusting or use them as soft polishing pads for jewelry or glasses.

          Should you wash makeup sponges after every use?

          Yes, you should wash makeup sponges after every use. This prevents the buildup of oils, makeup residue, dirt, and bacteria in the sponge. Regular washing keeps sponges fresh and hygienic for applying makeup to your face.

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