Are Makeup Brushes Dishwasher-Safe? The Truth About Cleaning in Machines

Tired of spending ages cleaning your makeup brushes by hand? Ever wondered if there’s a quicker way to get them squeaky clean? Imagine tossing your brushes in the dishwasher and having them come out spotless. Sounds like a dream, right?

You’re not alone in your quest for efficiency. Many makeup enthusiasts have pondered the same question: Can you really wash your beloved brushes in the dishwasher? Well, today, we’re diving into this hot topic to uncover the truth and simplify your beauty routine.

Pros and Cons of Washing Makeup Brushes in the Dishwasher

When it comes to washing makeup brushes in the dishwasher, there are both advantages and drawbacks to consider. Here are some key points for you to weigh before deciding on this cleaning method:

  • Pros:
  • Convenient: You can clean multiple brushes at once in the dishwasher, saving you time and effort.
  • Efficient: The hot water and high pressure of the dishwasher can thoroughly clean and sanitize your brushes.
  • Eco-friendly: Using the dishwasher may consume less water compared to hand-washing each brush individually.
  • Cons:
  • Damage: The intense water pressure and heat in the dishwasher can cause the bristles of your brushes to shed or lose their shape.
  • Residue: Some residual makeup or cleaning agents may remain on the brushes if not rinsed properly before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Space: Larger brushes or delicate brush materials may not fit well or be suitable for dishwasher cleaning.

Consider these points carefully to determine if washing your makeup brushes in the dishwasher is the right choice for you.

How to Prepare Your Makeup Brushes for the Dishwasher

Before loading your makeup brushes into the dishwasher, there are a few essential steps you should take to ensure effective and safe cleaning. Follow these tips to prepare your brushes properly:

  • Gather Your Brushes: Collect all the brushes you want to clean in one batch.
  • Remove Excess Product: Wipe off any excess makeup residue from the brushes using a soft cloth or tissue.
  • Inspect the Brushes: Check for any stubborn or dried-on makeup that may require pre-soaking.
  • Pre-Soak if Necessary: For brushes with tough residue, consider soaking them in warm soapy water for a few minutes to help loosen the product.
  • Place Securely in Dishwasher: Use a designated brush cleaning tool or a mesh bag to secure the brushes in the dishwasher and prevent them from moving around during the cycle.
  • Select a Gentle Cycle: Opt for a gentle or delicate cycle with lukewarm water to protect the brush bristles from damage.
  • Avoid High Temperatures: Steer clear of hot water settings to prevent melting or loosening of the glue that holds the bristles together.
  • Air Dry Thoroughly: Once the dishwasher cycle is complete, lay the brushes flat on a towel to air dry completely before using them again.

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By following these simple preparation steps, you can maximize the effectiveness of washing your makeup brushes in the dishwasher while ensuring they remain in good condition.

Selecting the Right Dishwasher Cycle and Detergent

When washing makeup brushes in the dishwasher, choosing the appropriate cycle and detergent is crucial to ensure a gentle yet effective cleaning process. Here’s how you can make the right choices:

  • Selecting the Cycle:
  • Opt for a gentle or delicate cycle on your dishwasher to prevent damage to the brushes. This setting typically uses lower water pressure and temperature, ideal for protecting delicate bristles.
  • Avoid high-temperature cycles that can deform or melt the bristles, leading to irreversible damage to your brushes.
  • Choosing the Detergent:
  • Use a mild detergent or a specific brush cleaner designed for delicate items. Harsh chemicals or strong formulas can deteriorate the bristles over time.
  • Avoid bleach or vinegar as they can be too abrasive for the brushes, causing fraying or breakage.
  • Precautionary Tip:
  • If you’re unsure about the compatibility of a detergent with your brushes, you can test it on a small brush first before committing to washing the entire set.

By following these simple guidelines, you ensure that your makeup brushes receive a thorough cleaning in the dishwasher without compromising their quality.

Tips for Maintaining Brush Quality After Dishwasher Cleaning

  • Use a brush guard after washing your brushes to help them keep their shape.
  • Air dry brushes with bristles pointing down to prevent water from loosening the glue.
  • Avoid storing brushes in airtight containers to prevent mold growth.
  • Regularly inspect your brushes for any damage or shedding.
  • Consider conditioning natural hair brushes to keep them soft and supple.

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Brush Maintenance Tips
Use brush guards
Air dry with bristles down
Avoid airtight containers
Regularly inspect for damage
Consider conditioning

Myth Busters: Common Misconceptions About Dishwasher Cleaning

Have you heard rumors about whether it’s safe to wash your makeup brushes in the dishwasher? Let’s debunk some common myths to help you make an informed decision:

  • Myth #1: Dishwashers Damage Brushes: Dishwashers often use high water temperatures and intense cycles that can be too harsh for delicate brush bristles. This can lead to fraying and shedding over time.
  • Myth #2: All Brushes Are Dishwasher-Safe: Not all brush materials are suitable for dishwasher cleaning. Natural hair brushes may lose their softness and shape when exposed to the heat and moisture in dishwashers.
  • Myth #3: Dishwashing Saves Time: While it’s convenient to toss your brushes in the dishwasher, the drying process may take longer than air-drying. Properly drying your brushes after washing is crucial to prevent mold growth.
  • Myth #4: Dishwashers Sanitize Brushes: While dishwashers can effectively clean brushes, they may not completely sanitize them. Residual makeup and bacteria can still linger on the bristles.

Remember, maintaining the quality of your brushes requires gentle care and regular cleaning with suitable products.


So, when it comes to washing your makeup brushes, remember that the dishwasher may not be the best option. It’s important to treat your brushes with care to maintain their quality and effectiveness. By using gentle cleaning techniques and suitable products, you can ensure that your brushes stay in top condition for longer. Keep in mind the potential risks of using the dishwasher, such as damage to bristles and incomplete sanitization. Taking a few extra minutes to hand wash your brushes can go a long way in preserving their longevity and performance. Your brushes deserve some TLC, so give them the care they need to keep you looking fabulous!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash my makeup brushes in the dishwasher?

It is not recommended to wash makeup brushes in the dishwasher as the high heat and strong water pressure can damage the bristles, especially delicate ones.

Are all types of brush materials safe for dishwasher cleaning?

Not all brush materials are suitable for dishwasher cleaning. Natural bristles and fragile brush hairs can be easily damaged by the harsh conditions inside a dishwasher.

Does using a dishwasher for makeup brushes speed up the drying process?

Dishwashers may take longer to dry makeup brushes than air-drying. The extended time can affect the shape and quality of the bristles.

Does washing makeup brushes in the dishwasher completely sanitize them?

Dishwashers may not thoroughly sanitize makeup brushes. It’s important to use appropriate cleaning products and techniques for effective sanitization.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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