How to Clean Makeup and Beauty Tools

Make up tools
Diana Healey / The Image Bank / Getty Images

We all want to look our best, but using dirty makeup and beauty tools can leave less-than-desirable results. More frightening than going out looking a little off is developing a skin rash or infection from bacteria-laden tools.

Learn how to properly clean ten common beauty tools for your health and your best self.

  • 01 of 10

    Makeup Brushes

    make up brushes
    Gabriella Imperatori-Penn / Stone / Getty Images

    Unless you have extras, pick a time to clean your makeup brushes when you're not in a rush.

    • First, wet the brush well with plain, cool water. Try to wet only the bristle part to prevent weakening the adhesive that holds the brush to the handle.
    • Place a dab of gentle shampoo or detergent in the palm of your hand and swish the brush through the shampoo, making sure it gets into the center of the brush.
    • Rinse with plain water, keeping that handle dry.
    • Gently squeeze the water out of the bristles,...MORE keeping them lying as flat as possible. Lay the brushes flat on a towel to air dry, at least overnight before using.
  • 02 of 10

    Ultrasonic Facial Brushes

    ultrasonic facial brush
    @So_Victoria / Twenty20

    Even though you use a cleanser with your ultrasonic facial brush, it still needs to be cleaned regularly, at least weekly. 

    • Unscrew the brush head.
    • Use a few drops of liquid antibacterial soap on an old toothbrush to scrub between the bristles.
    • Rinse well with warm water and then clean the handle with with the soap and a soft cloth.
    • Allow the brush head to air dry overnight separated from the handle.
  • 03 of 10

    Eyelash Curler

    Eyelash Curler
    Atsushi Yamada / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Mascara, eyeliner and bacteria can all coat the surface of your eyelash curler. None of that sounds very conducive to good eye health. A curler should be cleaned at least weekly; daily if you have sensitive eyes or any type of eye infection.

    • To clean the curler, wet a cotton pad or ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe down all the surfaces that come in contact with your eyes.
    • Keep moving to a clean part of the pad as you work. When it looks clean, make one last pass with a clean pad dipped in...MORE rubbing alcohol.
    • Rinse with plain cool water because the alcohol may dry out any rubber or plastic components.
    • Allow to air dry on a clean towel.
  • 04 of 10

    Makeup Pencil Sharpeners

    Pencil Sharpener
    Shantanu Botre / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Eyeliner, eyebrow and lip liner pencils all become dull and need to be sharpened. And, each of these has been in contact with body fluids before they are put in that sharpener. To prevent cross-contamination, the sharpener should be cleaned after every use.

    • Simply dip an old toothbrush into some rubbing alcohol and carefully get into the edges of the sharpener.
    • Rinse well with cool water and allow to air dry.
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Tweezers

    Tweezers
    Glowimages / Getty Images

    Tweezers are used for lots of tasks and almost all of them involve contact with body fluids. To lessen the chance of infection, tweezers should be cleaned after every use. 

    • For overall cleaning, wash the entire implement with a bit of antibacterial hand soap and warm water.
    • Then, dip the tips in rubbing alcohol or rub with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
    • Allow to air dry on a clean towel.
  • 06 of 10

    Manicure and Pedicure Tools

    manicure tools
    Image Source / Getty Images

    There are horror stories about infections from manicure and pedicure tools because the tools come in contact with dirt, bacteria and body fluids. Proper cleaning is essential.

    Dispose of single-use items like wooden sticks and cotton pads after every use. Metal implements should be washed with warm water and antibacterial soap using an old toothbrush to get into the hard to reach areas and then the edges cleaned with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol after every use.

    Plastic or synthetic materials like...MORE toe separators or nail brushes should be wiped down with rubbing alcohol. Abrasive surfaces like nail files and buffers can be cleaned by brushing with that clean nail brush.

    Make sure tools are completely dry and stored properly in a clean container. Do not leave dirty tools in an airtight plastic bag or container because that can promote the growth of bacteria.

  • 07 of 10

    Curling and Flat Irons

    flat iron
    Rich Legg / E+ / Getty Images

    Hair spray and other hair products can build-up on curling and flat irons and all of that heat simply bakes it onto the surface. You can't just dunk these appliances in water, and scraping off the gunk can damage surfaces.

    • Unplug the appliance and make sure it is completely cool.
    • Then wet a cotton pad or ball with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and go over the sticky surfaces. Allow it to work for a few minutes. You may need to use several pads to complete the job.
    • Wipe down with a clean, damp...MORE cloth and then a soft, dry cloth.

    The irons can also be cleaned by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of water. Apply the paste to the sticky areas with a soft cloth and "scrub" lightly. Wipe away the residue with a clean cloth dipped in plain water and then dry with a soft cloth.

  • 08 of 10

    Hair Brushes, Combs and Hair Accessories

    Hair brush
    Douglas Sacha / Moment / Getty Images

    Hairbrushes and combs collect lots of oily dirt, dead skin and hair products on their surfaces. If you don't clean them regularly, all of that gunk is transferred back to your hair and can leave it looking dull and flat.

    For plastic and metal bristle brushes and combs:

    • First, remove as much hair as possible from the brush or comb with your fingers or with tweezers.
    • Next, dampen the brush or comb with water and work in a bit of shampoo. Use your hands to work the shampoo into the bristles or...MORE teeth.
    • Fill a sink with warm water and allow the brush and comb to soak for at least fifteen minutes. Finally, use an old toothbrush to loosen and residue that might remain.
    • Rinse well with warm water and allow to air dry on a clean towel.

    For natural boar bristle brushes, cushioned brushes and wooden handled brushes:

    • Skip the soaking step because it can damage parts of the brush. Instead, you may need to repeat the shampoo and a bit of water using an old toothbrush and then rinse well and allow to air dry.

    Don't forget to clean plastic and metal barrettes, headbands and clips. They can be cleaned the same way and you may need to use a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to remove hairspray residue.

    For fabric headbands and bows, follow label directions, or spot clean with a gentle detergent and plain water. Allow the items to air dry and then spritz on a bit of spray starch or fabric sizing and gently reshape with your fingers.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Shower Loofahs and Poofs

    Shower tools
    Natasha Nicholson / Radius Images / Getty Images

    Your body may be clean after a bath or shower, but where did all that dirt and oil go? Into your loofah or bath poof; where all of that moisture and warmth encourages little bacteria to grow.

    • After every use, rinse the loofah or poof well. Shake it out and hang to dry (outside the shower is best).
    • At least once per week, clean everything thoroughly by soaking in a diluted bleach and water solution (1 tablespoon of household bleach to two cups of warm water) for five minutes.
    • A poof can be tossed in...MORE a washing machine with bath towels.

    Never use a loofah or poof if you have cuts or sores on your skin. Replace loofahs and poofs regularly to prevent mold and mildew.

  • 10 of 10

    Mirrors

    Mirror
    Jamie Grill / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    You may not think of a mirror as a beauty tool, but we'd be pretty scary if we didn't have one. Whether your mirror is a large one over the bathroom sink, a hand-held mirror or one that has extra lighting, you can easily keep it crystal clear.

    • Make your own glass cleaner by mixing one part ammonia and one part water in a spray bottle. Be sure to label the container.
    • Use the homemade cleaner or a commercial brand sparingly and then wipe down with a microfiber or other lint free cloth.
    • For...MORE tough hair spray stains on mirrors and windows, wipe the area with a cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol and then dry with the lint free cloth.