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How to Sanitise Your Make-up Bag

  • Melissa Keen

The Coronavirus outbreak is causing the best of us to give Marie Kondo a run for her money in cleaning. But it’s not only during a viral pandemic that you should take care of your hygiene; 1/4 of women reportedly never clean their make-up bags, and most people only clean their make-up brushes once every 4 weeks!

It’s time to sanitise that make-up bag, people. Grab some anti-bacterial wipes, get those hands washed and get ready to feel a whole lot better – or cleaner, at least.

Make-up Bag

How long have you used your current make-up bag for? We’d bet it’s a long time! And when was the last time you cleaned it…?

With so much make-up and brushes rolling around in our bags, it’s inevitable our bags will end up quite dirty. But it isn’t just visually unappealing – it’s full of bacteria and germs that can infect our make-up and brushes, too! You need to stay on top of cleaning out your make-up bag, particularly while it’s so important to stay hygienic.

Empty your bag out and turn it inside out. Use a face wipe or, ideally, an anti-bacterial wipe to thoroughly clean the inside of the bag. If you have a fabric make-up bag, chuck it into your washing machine on a gentle cycle.

Now onto the products!

Eyelash Curlers

Eyelash curler gunk will ruin that beautiful natural curl you’re after. Not only that, but they can harbour some serious germs that can cause eye infections.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to clean them up! Use a lighter to melt off the old gunky mascara, then simply wipe away with an anti-bacterial wipe. Leave them to dry and you’re good to go!

Keep on top of your eyelash curler cleaning routine by giving them a quick wipe down after every use. If they’re looking worse for wear, it’s time to accept defeat and invest in a new pair – trust us, your eyes will thank you for it.


Lipstick can be cleaned by giving it a wipe with a sanitiser wipe. Or if you have alcohol spray, spray the bullet of the lipstick and wipe off the excess with a clean tissue.

Remember, lipsticks should only be used for 18 months after you’ve opened them. If your lipstick starts to look odd or smell, bin it!


You can clean powders by spraying them lightly with an alcohol solution. That’s RUBBING alcohol – not your gin and tonic!

Make-up Brushes/Sponges

Make-up brushes and sponges can harbour the most bacteria as they are swept across our faces, allowing bacteria to spread.

Brushes should be washed often. Invest in a make-up cleansing fluid to clean and anti-bac brushes after each use. Simply pop some of the liquid onto a tissue, and wipe the brush bristles over the tissue before re-shaping the hairs.

Once a week, a deeper clean is necessary. Purchase some baby shampoo and use it to deeply cleanse your brushes each week. Use warm water to rinse away the suds, and try not to get the ‘ferrule’ – that’s the bit holding the bristles in – wet, as it can ruin the brush. Wash brushes more often if you have acne or any skin condition that can be exacerbated by bacteria.

Use the same technique with your sponge; after applying some baby shampoo, keep squeezing clean water in and out of the sponge to remove all germs and old make-up.

Gently squeeze out excess water on an old towel, leave brushes lying down horizontally to dry overnight, and voila – you’ll wake up to perfectly clean, good-as-new brushes!

Remember – never blow off excess product from a brush as you will be blowing more bacteria onto them. Instead, lightly tap it off.


Eyeliner is easy – and vital – to clean. Simply give it a good sharpen to ensure your eyes are safe from infections.


Mascara should be replaced every 4 months (we know, we were surprised too!) To keep your mascara bacteria-free, it’s important to never share your mascara with anyone else.

Never “pump” your mascara wand in and out to get more product on the brush, either. You’re pumping bacteria into the mascara when doing this, and drying out the formula prematurely. Instead, gently move the wand from side to side.

It goes without saying but if you catch a contagious eye infection like conjunctivitis, throw away your mascara immediately or you’ll risk re-infecting yourself.

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.