Now, consider the fact that, by their very nature, sponges are prone to bacteria growth: "The longer something stays wet, the more likely it is for mold to grow," says Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab Director, Carolyn Forte. "Plus, the fact that these sponges touch your face and likely have bacteria on them makes it all the more important to keep them clean and dry."
That means you really need to be cleaning your sponge daily, especially if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin. "With daily use, any makeup tool can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution and bacteria," says Mark Chi, Global Trainer & Makeup Artist at beautyblender. Now you'll think twice before skipping a cleaning.
As a best practice, Chi says it's best to wash your beautyblender first thing in the morning before applying makeup. It works double duty: "That way, not only will my beautyblender be clean and disinfected before it touches my sensitive skin, my blender will be wet and ready to use." Regularly scrubbing your makeup brushes and sponges prevents baked-in stains and gross bacteria growth. So what's the best way to get your beautyblender squeaky clean without ruining it? Let us count the ways:
The best way to clean a beautyblender
Using gentle bar soap, dish soap, or beautyblender's cleansing solid is what our pros recommend for best results. Blendercleanser is the brand's cleansing solid (it also comes in a liquid form, if that's your jam) that is specially formulated to remove stains gently without damaging the sponge.
"Blendercleansers are all natural and protect all of my makeup tools from 99.7% of all harmful germs and bacteria for a full 24 hours after washing, even if stains are left behind," says Chi. This is how to use a cleansing solid for the most thorough clean:
- Thoroughly wet your sponge and rub it against the bar soap, taking care to work on stained portions.
- Squeeze the sponge out under running water until water runs clear and sponge is no longer sudsy when squeezed. Repeat step one if stains remain.
- Roll sponge out on a dry towel and let air dry.
How to clean a beautyblender with dish soap
Jami Svay, a professional makeup artist, loves using Dawn dishwashing soap. "It's gentle so it doesn't shred the sponge, but it's a degreaser so it breaks down the foundation and concealer with ease," Svay says. Forte agrees, saying "a warm, sudsy solution of a good grease-cutting dish liquid, like Dawn should work well." Here's how:
- Dab a dime-size amount of soap onto the sponge. "Squirt a little Dawn directly on the sponge for more lather and to treat any stains," says Forte. Massage the blender for 60 seconds.
- "Squeeze and work [the soap] into the sponge with your fingers, then let it soak in the sudsy water a few minutes," says Forte.
- "Squeeze it again, then rinse it thoroughly until no suds remain and the water runs clear," says Forte. Gently roll it on a clean towel to remove excess moisture and lay flat to dry thoroughly.
On the other hand, beautyblender pro Chi says you can wash your blender with dish soap, but that he doesn't recommend doing it often.
Can you clean a beautyblender in the microwave?
In 2018, people started microwaving their beautyblenders like crazy when this Twitter hack for cleaning makeup sponges went viral. Could squeaky-clean beautyblenders really be as easy as popping them in the microwave in a dish of soapy water? "I have seen this work, but the first time I tried this, I set my beautyblender on fire," said Chi. Because of that, we wouldn't recommend trying it, but if you do decide to go this route, make sure your sponge is completely submerged in water and watch it like a hawk the entire time it's in the microwave.
When to replace your makeup sponge altogether
Sometimes, no amount of cleaning can save your sponge. "When cared for properly, replace your beautyblender about every three months if you are using it daily," says Chi. He notes that if you only use it occasionally, it can last up to six months or longer. To know when to toss your makeup sponge, look for these telltale signs:
- Lingering stains that don’t wash out
- Tears or rips
- A blender that's lost its "bounce" and feels soft and squishy instead of plump and springy