How to Clean a Beautyblender to Avoid a Germ-Infested Sponge

Find out the best way to clean a beauty sponge, and why you should make a point to do so often.

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How to Clean a Beauty Blender to Avoid a Germ-Infested Sponge , Woman makeup artist cleansing beauty blender with foam
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This is a judgment-free zone, and if you don't clean your makeup tools regularly, you're far from alone. In a survey conducted by makeup brush brand Anisa International, 61 percent of participants admitted they clean their makeup brushes less frequently than once a month. That cadence isn't ideal especially when it comes to makeup sponges. A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology assessed the extent of microbial contamination in used lipsticks, lip glosses, eyeliners, mascaras, and Beautyblenders, and the sponges had the highest level of contamination. The researchers suggested that could be because people typically dampen the sponges before using them, and the moist environment may allow bacteria to thrive (cute!).

While the Beautyblender (Buy It, $20, sephora.com) and other makeup sponge equivalents make seamless blending easy, they are one of the most overlooked tools when it comes to sanitization, says Ami Mallon, global educator for Jane Iredale. And failing to clean your makeup sponges not only puts your skin at risk (more on that in a few), but it also shortens the life span of your sponges and stops them from working as effectively due to all the makeup, dirt, and oil that becomes packed inside, says Mallon. If you've been skipping out on cleaning your Beautyblender and makeup tools in general, take this as your sign to start.

Why You Should Clean Your Makeup Sponge Regularly

If you've been experiencing "random" breakouts lately and have been skipping on washing your Beautyblenders, that could be the culprit, says Laurel Geraghty, M.D., board-certified dermatologist. "The reality is that makeup brushes, sponges, and applicators can be breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and other germs," says Dr. Geraghty. "[Makeup tools] gradually accumulate dirt, germs, leftover makeup, and skin products. Germs can grow and flourish in your makeup brushes. If you keep applying and reapplying with the same old applicators, you can spread germs around, potentially contributing to irritation, breakouts, and skin infections." (Related: How to Clean Makeup Brushes In 3 Easy Steps)

Suffice to say, cleaning your Beautyblender will be worth a little effort. It's "especially important for people prone to blemishes and repeated skin infections, such as impetigo (which can present with yellow crusting or sores around the nose or mouth)," says Dr. Geraghty.

You should also make sure to throw out your sponges every so often, no matter how diligent you are about cleaning them. On the official Beautyblender website, the brand suggests replacing the sponge every three to six months. Kim Baker, celebrity makeup artist and founder of founder of Glamazon Beauty, agrees.

Bottom line, if you care about your skin and the quality of your makeup application, cleaning your beauty sponges is a non-negotiable. (Related: This Beautyblender Dupe Is Just $1 On Amazon)

The Best Way to Clean a Beautyblender

All three experts interviewed for this story agree that the best way to clean your Beautyblender is to use a gentle cleanser and water for a deep clean. As a rule of thumb, "if a cleanser is gentle enough to use on sensitive facial skin, it's safe to use on a brush (or sponge), too," says Dr. Geraghty. If you'd prefer, you can use a cleanser explicitly made for cleaning makeup brushes, such as Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid (Buy It, $16, sephora.com).

In an ideal world, you'd use that method after every single use of your sponge. If that's not realistic, using the deep clean method once a week will suffice, provided you also give your sponge a quick wash after every use, says Mallon. To do so, she recommends spraying the sponge with a brush/sponge cleaning spray such as Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner (Buy It, $20, amazon.com), then rubbing it on a clean towel. (Related: Why Are TikTok Users Freezing Their Beautyblenders?)

How to Deep Clean Your Makeup Sponge

When it comes time to give your Beautyblender a deep clean, here are the steps you should follow, according to Dr. Geraghty.

  1. Start by saturating your Beautyblender with warm water.
  2. Once the beauty sponge is wet, apply a gentle cleanser directly onto the sponge and massage the sponge for 30 to 60 seconds. Dr. Geraghyty is a fan of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (Buy It, $12, amazon.com).
  3. After massaging your cleanser of choice into your sponge, rinse with warm water until you no longer see soap or makeup leaving the sponge.
  4. Lay the sponge on a paper towel or hand towel to dry.
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