How to clean your makeup sponge: Best tools and tricks to know for a good-as-new applicator

How to clean your makeup sponge: Best tools and tricks to know for a good-as-new applicator

Clean slate

Text: Emily Heng

The age-old adage 'cleanliness is next to godliness' proves apt in light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak. We trust you've been taking our nuggets of wisdom to heart by washing your hands religiously, limiting air-travel, and sanitising your phone as if your life depends on it. So, what's one more, right? Next on your to-do list: cleaning your trusty makeup sponge –– because while the Ministry of Health has warned against (needlessly) touching your face to limit bacterial spread, they sure didn't take into consideration that you're patting an accumulation of dirt, debris, and microbes on your moneymaker with a foam contraption.

We get it, you're cringing at the thought blending your foundation, concealer, and powder without assistance, but in the interest of personal hygiene –– and a smooth, clear complexion –– we say it's time to put 'em applicators in the wash. Below, a foolproof guide to acquiring a squeaky-clean sponge.

1. Pick the right soap

Dishwashing detergents or alcohol-based soaps are a no-no in this case. Not only will it damage the integrity and texture of your applicator, but any leftover residue from improper rinsing can irritate your complexion. Play it safe by opting for soaps and cleansers designed specifically to sterilise your brushes and tools. Failing that, gentler formulations such as baby soap are a safe bet, too.

2. Don't be stingy with the cleanser

Once your sponge is well-and-truly soaked, dispense a generous amount of soap directly on it. Then, begin massaging, pressing, and kneading in your palm to build up a lather. Once you've garnered a sizable number of suds, rinse it under clean water until it runs clear.

3. For stubborn stains, leave it to soak in specialised solutions

If no amount of squeezing or soap salvages your stained sponge, bring in the big guns. Kick start things by filling a bowl with water and adding in your potent cleanser of choice. Once that's done, drop your applicator into the solution and let it soak for several hours –– or even a day, if you can manage. Rinse it off after and watch the magic happen.

4. Fry the germs with fire

Yes, literally. Remember the soapy mixture we told you to concoct in the previous step? Instead of just leaving it to soak, pop the whole shebang into your microwave for 30 seconds. This will zap all lingering, residual bacteria to non-existence and leave you with an immaculate sponge.

5. Store it well

Don't just dump your applicators on your vanity and call it a day. To maintain the fruits of your labour, pop your sponges in a well-ventilated case or prop them on a stand to keep them clean, cool, and dry. Just be sure both applicator and vessel aren't damp at any point –– it'll become a breeding ground for bacteria otherwise.