Brush Washing 101 – How To Clean A Makeup Brush in 20 Seconds or Less

Hello Lovelies,

Thank you for tolerating my prolonged absence. I’ve been suffering from Blogger’s Block and for a long, long, L-O-N-G time nothing has tempted me to add to the noise that is the world of beauty blogging.

Image via here.

I’m still not sure if I’m ready to be back on the blog at full blast just yet so I might just be Gone Girl instead of Shop Girl for a little while longer but I recently got talking with some of my fellow beauty blogger friends about brush washing and they wanted me to share how I clean my brushes so here I am – Brush Washing 101, at your service.

Now, I used to spend at least 20 minutes trying to wash a single makeup brush coated in liquid foundation with every shampoo, soap, face cleanser in my bathroom, but the method I use now has changed my life forever and I hope this tutorial helps those of you too who are still struggling with your dirty brush demons.

This technique takes me only a few seconds per brush and it literally takes mere minutes to do a handful since it’s very effective and easy.

I never thought I would say this but I actually enjoy brush washing now and you can too!


  • DAISO Brand Detergent for Puff & Sponge (RM5.30/ gst inclusive)
  • A DAISO Silicone Vegetable Scrubbing Mat (RM5.30/ gst inclusive)
  • Any Dirty Makeup Brush
  • Hair Tying Elastics (standard soft and stretchy type)
A Match made in Brush Washing Heaven

A match made in Brush Washing Heaven – DAISO Vegetable Scrubbing Mat & Detergent for Puff & Sponge. My advice is to stock up on this duo…FOREVER!!!

I have gushed about the DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent previously in this post if you would like to read my original product review.

Note that the product I’m using today is the DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent.

There is another product at DAISO called the DAISO Brush Cleaning Detergent but it is not the same and does not do the job quite as well.

There is also another product on the DAISO shelves called a Woman Detergent (!) and it looks eerily similar to my beloved Puff & Sponge Detergent.

I have no idea if the Woman Detergent cleans brushes but I suppose it works on, ahem…women lol

Let me know if you know how that one works!


Wet The Brush

Run the water down the bristles but away from the brush ferrule (the metal part of your brush).

Wetting the hairs too much inside the ferrule reduces the lifespan of a brush as it can soften and loosen the glue that holds the bristles in place. Overexposure to water can also cause rusting of the metal so avoid.

Wet the brush

Wet the brush


Add The Detergent

Next, add a generous drop of DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent to your wet brush bristles. Spread it on and rub it into the bristles with your fingertips if you wish.

Daiso Puff & Sponge Cleanser

Daiso Puff & Sponge Cleanser

A little squirt will do

A little squirt or two does the trick and a bottle of this lasts me months of almost daily washes.

I then wet the silicone mat and occasionally might add a generous drop of the detergent to the mat too when I’m feeling enthusiastic.

 STEP 3:

Scrub Away In Circles

Brush the bristles against the mat in a circular motion to dislodge the makeup and grime from the brush. You don’t have to use a lot of strength – just steady but gentle circular motions against the little bumps along the mat will yield good results.

I do this away from the tap not under it, for economy. It saves needing to add more detergent.

wirl the brush across the vegetable mat in a circular motion

Swirl the bristles of the brush against the vegetable mat in a circular motion

If there is too much cosmetic grime building up on the mat as I scrub, I just rinse the mat in between scrubs – not the brush because then I have to reapply more detergent and that can be wasteful. (I’m stingy, I know!)

Rinsing both the mat and the brush under the tap during the scrubbing process wastes a lot of detergent but if you’re feeling generous, by all means go ahead.

I repeat the scrubbing until there is no longer any visible makeup on the mat or the brush but the detergent is so effective that it practically melts away all the cosmetic gunk in seconds. It’s amazing! This Daiso detergent powers through both dry and liquid makeup gunk like a boss.


A Final Rinse-Off

When I no longer see any makeup grime on the mat or the brush, I give the two a final scrub and rinse together under the tap like so…

The Final Rinse Off

The Final Rinse Off under running water to remove all traces of makeup and detergent from the brush


Wring Out Excess Water

I always keep the brush with bristles facing down where possible

I always keep the brush with bristles facing down where possible to release water away from the ferrule

A Final Squeeze to get rid of excess water

A Final Squeeze to rid of excess water


Hang It Out To Dry On A Rail – Any Rail!

Seriously, you don’t need to invest in a fancy brush hanging mechanism…or even sticky tape.

The fact is, any towel rail, anywhere in the world will do!

This changed my brush drying life and I first saw the method on the Street Love Blog. You can read more about the origins of this ingenious method in Fiona’s post and she has a link there in her post to the brilliant girl who she first saw do it on Instagram. Thank you so much for sharing, Fiona. I love this method above all others too!

The best part is there are suitable rails literally everywhere so I can wash my brushes at home and in hotel rooms too.

This hair elastic method is the bee’s knees!

Hanging out to Dry

Hanging out my darling to dry in the bathroom.

For skinnier brushes, you just loop the elastic around a few more times as necessary.


So easy and versatile that it works for any size of brush and you can line several up in a row just like this.

Side View

Side View

And, as you can see, the silicone mat is so handy it has a hook that lets it hangs there to dry on the rail right alongside the brushes.

I love it so much and it’s so affordable that I often buy this along with the DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent as a gift bundle for my family and friends.

It Hangs!

It hangs!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it was useful to you in some way!

I change up the method slightly for makeup sponges and still haven’t found a great way to dry my sponges hygienically but yes, the detergent works just as well on makeup sponges too.

With sponges, instead of the mat, I use my fingers to do the scrubbing. I find the mat a little harsh on the sponges.

Do you use a similar method to the one I’ve shown here or do you do something completely different.

I’d love to hear all about your brush washing and drying techniques too!

Disclaimer: I personally love and use the DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent almost daily. I use it on all the brushes that rotate through my life. It’s a cheap cleanser that works for me but I know some of you own some prized artisan brushes and it may not sit well with you to use anything but a Bobbi Brown/ MAC/ Sephora etc brush detergent. To each their own and my tutorial does come with this disclaimer – consider my materials and technique at your own risk. All images and commentary in this post except where indicated are by me. Please do not use without a credit link back to this blog. The products in this post were purchased by me and I am not affiliated in any way with DAISO.]



  1. @ shadesofsplendour: Aww…thank you, babe! You are the sweetest. I missed blogging and will ease myself back into it.

  2. Wonderful post from you as usual! ❤

    The silicone mat so cute! It hangs! :D. I bought the square pot silicone mat and it's too huge so I bought the egg cleaner from Daiso and I've been using that since.

    I used to be skeptical about using DAISO Puff & Sponge Detergent to wash my makeup brushes. After some time I just couldn't be bother anymore and none of the brushes died on me yet *touch wood*. It's a time and life saver I tell you.

    Using towel rail to dry makeup brushes is the best method I've tried. Just hang all babies there and didn't need to bother about it 😀

  3. @ Fiona: Thanks but I owe the drying technique to your Instagram and blog posts. It seriously changed my brush cleaning life in a big way. Thank you so, so much!
    As for the mat, I have that square pot holder mat too but I find it so big and floppy that I thought this would be a better choice as it hangs right there with the brushes. It’s so good – you need one too! I found it in the Kitchen aisle at Daiso.
    I have been trying to find the brush egg that everyone seems to talk about but no luck yet. I think it will be hard for it to compete with the hanging mat though – the fact that it hangs so conveniently makes it truly awesome!

  4. Nah, no worries. I picked up the idea from other Instagrammer as well. The egg is at the laundry section. It’s marketed as mini laundry thingy haha.

  5. @ Fiona: Oh, it’s in the Laundry aisle! No wonder I couldn’t find it. I kept assuming it was a kitchen item. Thanks, I’ll go and check it out when I am next there. Thank you!

  6. @ arpitabread: Yes, it is an awesome way to handle the chore of brush cleaning and drying. Go for it, girl!

  7. Oooh, that’s an awesome idea with the hair ties! (Too bad my room/bathroom doesn’t have those…. lol) I have the egg scrubby thing, works just as well too, along with the trusty Daiso cleanser. I think I’ll be cleaning some brushes tonight. XD

    P/S: The ‘women detergent’ is to remove stains from clothing. 😀 It’s really quite effective!

  8. @ Laura: I’m surprised, I mistakenly thought that everyone had access to a bathroom rail but perhaps you could improvise with a rod balanced upon two drawer knobs or something.
    I’d like to get that silicone egg thing too since it’s inexpensive and see how it compares with the scrubby mat.
    Oh, and thank you so much for clarifying what the Daiso ‘Woman Detergent’ is for. There I was letting my imagination run wild lol

  9. I use the same method to dry my brushes too! I found that technique from a Youtuber when I was googling for ways to dry my brushes without a brush guard 😀 I don’t use the mat that you have, but I have a smaller one that I got from Daiso as well, which I believe is supposed to be used on the face >.< heheh

  10. @Choulyin: I was gifted a Dry ‘n’ Shape but I actually love this rail and elastic method. It’s just so cheap and works. I know the face mat you are talking about! Have to love Daiso for making our lives easier, don’t you think!

  11. What a great way to wash & clean those brushes ShopGirl! I went to Daiso and bought the same tools to wash mine over the weekend. So impressed! Definitely saves a lot of time & I’m more keen to wash my brushes more often now. 🙂

  12. @Nadia: I’m glad you like the method. I’m so happy to share this very effective and easy way to get those brushes clean and yes, let’s power through those grimy brushes more often! I wash my brushes after every use now – no stress at all – and I used to dread brush washing so much. Enjoy!

  13. I did this again last night. It just makes me so happy how easy it is!!! Though I did use the brush cleaner from Daiso. Not the puff and sponge product you mentioned since I still haven’t seen it in stores! 😦

  14. @ carolific: I agree, brush washing is so easy when you have the tools and methods down to pat. It actually only takes me ten seconds or less per brush but I thought I’d be conservative and title the post with some leeway for sink dawdlers.
    I’m happy to hear the Brush Detergent works for you. I might try it but I love this Puff & Sponge Detergent so much that unless Daiso are completely out of stock – I won’t buy the other.

  15. @ Just Me, The Mrs: You’re welcome! Please do try it, this method should take away all the stress of cleaning and drying those brushes. Enjoy!

  16. @ KJ: Daiso is a treasure trove of wonders and oddities and full of tools for some cool life hacks and it helps that everything is at a flat RM5 price (not incl.gst).
    The scrubbing mat here started out life in the kitchen aisle as a vegetable scrubber but as you can see, it totally moonlights as my fave brush mat too.
    I never really get tired of going to Daiso. I feel like this became a Daiso cheerleading post…they should really pay me for the shoutout lol

  17. Haha yes, I took one look at this mat and knew that it had so much more potential to it than just a life of scrubbing potatoes.
    I adore this scrubber so much I have several backup units in case they stop selling it. #hoarder
    Daiso = Hack Paradise

  18. I was at Daiso again yesterday and I came across the brush. I’ve never noticed it until you blogged about it ! Looking at the brush I seriously do not link it to anything related to makeup because it’s in the kitchen section. Kudos to you for giving this vegetable brush a new function.

  19. @KJ: Lol yes, it deserves so much more than a life scrubbing spuds. The other thing I love about it is how it hangs neatly on any rail. I even take it with me when I travel so I can have clean makeup brushes every day!

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