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DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner with Lemon and Tea Tree Oil

Makeup brush cleaner - Dr. Axe

You may be wondering, how do you take care of and disinfect makeup brushes? In addition to the health hazards that can be caused by bacteria collecting on makeup brushes, dirty brushes can also cause less-than-desired results in your makeup application. Plus, if you want your makeup brushes to last, you have to get rid of the buildup because it can cause the fibers of the bristles to weaken and break. (1)

Use my DIY makeup brush cleaner for an easy, natural way to clean makeup brushes. Read on for the instructions.

Pour the Castile soap and olive oil into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid. Blend with a spoon. Castile soap is the best choice because it is pure and antibacterial. This pure plant-based soap is great since it does not contain chemicals or preservatives. Olive oil works to not only loosen the dirt, but it helps keep the bristles of your brushes conditioned.

Now, add the essential oils. Both lemon essential oil and tea tree essential oil are antibacterial. Lemon essential oil is a natural disinfectant and keeps those brushes smelling fresh. It has the ability to cleanse toxins that may be present. Tea tree essential oil contains similar properties and is one powerful antiseptic while still being gentle on your brushes. Blend all ingredients well.

To take care of your makeup brushes using your new DIY makeup brush cleaner, start by rinsing the bristles of your brushes under warm running water (ideally filtered water, if possible), bristles facing down. Place a small amount (about the size of a quarter) of the homemade makeup brush cleaner in a small dish. Add about 2 tablespoons of warm water to the dish. Gently swirl the brush in the dish while rubbing makeup residue off.  Then, rinse under warm running water again, keeping the bristles facing downward so that the base of the brush does not get wet as it could loosen the glue that is holding the bristles together.

Now that you have cleaned your brushes, gently reshape the bristles to ensure they are going in one direction and use a paper towel to gently blot them to help remove excess water. Allow them to dry on a clean cloth overnight. I recommend cleaning them once a week.

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner with Lemon and Tea Tree Oil

Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 14–16 servings


  • 1 cup castile soap
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 drops lemon essential oil
  • 8 drops tea tree essential oil


  1. Place all ingredients in a large jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Blend well.
  3. Wet brushes facing downward.
  4. Then, place a small amount of brush cleaner in a small dish with a little warm water.
  5. Swirl brushes in cleaner, gently squeezing out excess dirt.
  6. Rinse well.
  7. Pat dry.
  8. Dry overnight on a clean cloth.
Josh Axe

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