How to clean brushes: my tips

Dec 10, 2020 | Blog

“So then my brush goes between my fingers as if it were a bow on the violin, and absolutely for my pleasure!” Vincent Van Gogh

Today I want to share with you some tips on how to keep your beloved brushes healthy. It may seem trivial to you, but to keep your brushes in top condition there are a few steps to follow:

1. Remove as much colour as possible from the brushes with a cleaning cloth; soak them in solvent to remove the oil paint.

2. Wash them with soap and water and then dry them, giving the bristles their own shape.

3. Store them with the bristles facing upwards in an airy place.

Mi raccomando: try to prevent environmentally aggressive products from entering the drain!

What about the brushes you haven’t used for a long time?

To clean synthetic brushes, dip them in egg white, then rinse with warm water and they are as good as new! Natural bristles should be occasionally moistened with mineral oil to keep them soft.

Hardened brushes?

Here are my tricks:

  • Water and vinegar: boil half a litre of water with a glass of vinegar in a pot. Immerse the brush and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse with soap and water, dry and apply a few drops of mineral oil.
  • Water and aloe vera: mix some warm water and a spoonful of aloe gel, soak the brush for about thirty minutes; dry it well.

How to cleanmake-up brushes?

How to clean brushes
How to clean make-up brushes Magaly Arocha artist tips

Someone asked me in the comments on my Instagram post (How to keep our beloved brushes healthy: artist’s tips) if the same tricks apply to make-up brushes.

I did some research and I found that the frequency of washing depends on:

  • The brush type Synthetic brushes need to be washed often. On the other hand, natural bristle brushes prevent the proliferation of bacteria and can therefore be washed less frequently.
  • The frequency with which you apply your make-up. If you wear make-up every day, wash your brushes at least once a week; if you wear make-up infrequently, wash them every 10 or even 15 days.

I suggest you wash them with mild, neutral, environmentally friendly soaps. Avoid conditioners.

How to wash make-up brushes

  • If the brushes are lightly stained, you can use baking soda.
  • If they are quite unclean: soak the bristles in a solution of vinegar and water to disinfect them and here there is a similarity when we talked about my tricks for art brushes.
  • Pour a few drops of soap directly onto the bristles and rub vigorously but gently to avoid damaging them.
  • Rinse well, even several times, to remove soap traces and preserve the bristles.
  • Let them dry naturally.
How to clean brushes
How to clean make-up brushes: Magaly Arocha figurative artist tips

Sources: Trabattelli online;; ilfaidate;

Do you have any doubts or know any other tricks for cleaning and maintaining your brushes?

If you want to share your opinion on the matter, I will be happy to read it!