Could you be suffering from moldy makeup sponges and brushes? It’s much more common than you think!

Let’s be honest. Cleaning a makeup sponge or brush doesn’t hit high on the priority list for most people. Whether you’re running late and don’t have time or just don’t schedule it into your daily routine, this essential process often gets overlooked. Then one day you look down and… is that mascara on your Beauty Blender? Nope! That’s actually mold. How did it get there? You accidentally provided the perfect environment for it. Welcome to the world of moldy makeup sponges and brushes.

According to a 2015 poll, 39 percent of the respondents admitted to cleaning their tools less than once a month and 22 percent never clean them.¹

The problem with dirty brushes isn’t just how it affects makeup application though. Unwashed sponges and brushes are dream homes for bacteria, molds, and mycotoxins. A research study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that 70-90% of all products they tested were contaminated with fungus and bacteria. When they looked at beauty sponges… they were particularly cringe-worthy. Over 96% of the sponges researchers studied (which were used by regular people!) contained fungus.² Over three-quarters of the respondents said they never cleaned their sponges and over half admitted they didn’t clean them after dropping them on the ground.

We get it- life can get crazy! But when it comes to tools that touch your face and get close to your eyes, mouth, and nose every day… cleanliness is definitely the way to go.

When molds and bacteria grow rampant on your beauty products, they cause a long list of problems. You have irritating skin issues such as clogged pores, breakouts, rashes, and skin irritations. That’s annoying by itself simply because of how much time you can spend applying makeup in the first place. But they can also cause serious health issues. These problems can range from pink eye to staph and fungal infections.³ And those are also just the effects we know about so far.


Think about where you store your makeup tools. Chances are, you’re either leaving them on a counter or storing them in a closed bag in your bathroom.

When it comes to mold, these are perfect conditions for settling in.

You provide them moisture from the shower and sink. You put them either in a dark cabinet or turn the light off for them. And you’re even nice enough to keep the room temperature at a lovely, livable level! Throw in some oxygen and you’re makeup brushes become the perfect little Petri dish homes for mold and bacteria.⁴

Then, you dab the moldy makeup sponges and brushes on your face…

Definitely not the highlight of your day. The issue, other than being unwanted house guests, is the health effects these molds can cause as mentioned earlier. Again, the skin problems are irritating but not life-threatening. With over 100,000 species of molds⁵ and 30,000 species of bacteria⁶ though, short and long-term health effects are the real cause for concern. Researchers are still conducting studies trying to understand exactly how these bacteria and molds, not to mention the toxins molds can produce, affect our health. Think respiratory issues, brain fog, gut health, neurological problems… It’s a pretty long list and we’re continuing to learn more every day.

So, while life can get busy and we can all be forgetful, cleaning makeup tools should always be at the top of the to-do list. Even though it’s a pain!


There are a few steps to take when ensuring you’re not a member of the moldy makeup sponge and brush club.

For brushes and sponges, keep them out of the bathroom! Take away that moisture-rich environment so molds and bacterias don’t feel welcome. It’s a frustrating but easy step to take- plus it’s for your health! Also, make sure they’re dried completely and then store them in a tightly sealed bag to avoid anything floating around in the air. Like dirt… or mold.

Next, keep those things clean. For brushes, experts recommend cleaning them at least once a week and at a minimum twice a month.⁷ Honestly though, more often is the key to success here. This step also helps with the longevity of the brushes, and with how much they cost nowadays, that’s definitely not a bad thing!

When it comes to sponges, it depends on the ones you bought. If they’re the use once and throw away variety, use them once and throw them away! The companies made them for single-use, not durability, so they aren’t as washable as the rest. For reusable sponges, beauty experts recommend cleaning them after every use. As annoying as that sounds, it makes sense. With the products you use on them and how you use them, they’re ultra-prone for bacteria and molds.⁸

Next step? Replace them when they’ve reached the recommended time frame, not when they’re falling apart. No matter how well you clean them, eventually, build-up will occur. Experts recommend a few years for brushes and only a few months for sponges. And that’s if you’re cleaning properly.


With ongoing research pointing more towards negative health effects from molds and bacteria, cleaning your makeup tools is a simple step to combat. 

All the money spent on beauty products won’t matter if you’re breaking out or feeling under the weather. Not to mention the money you’ll have to spend on doctor visits to figure out why you’re not feeling well in the first place.

So, take the power away from those pesky microorganisms and stop using moldy sponges and brushes.

  • Clean your tools
  • Replace them at the right time
  • Keep them in a safe environment

Beauty, in this instance, should not lead to pain!

Still Have Questions?

A member of our team is here to help!  Click on “Get Started ➤” below to book a consultation with a member of the HOMECLEANSE team. We have a few quick questions that will help us put together a roadmap to solve or prevent all of your mold problems.

Two minutes of your time could lead to better health for you and your family.

  1. Business Wire. (2015, May 20). Anisa international: 61 percent of women who use Makeup BRUSHES clean them less than once a month or not at all. Anisa International: 61 Percent of Women Who Use Makeup Brushes Clean Them Less Than Once a Month or Not at All | Business Wire.
  2. Bashir, A. and Lambert, P. (2020), Microbiological study of used cosmetic products: highlighting possible impact on consumer health. J Appl Microbiol, 128: 598-605.
  3. Leung, J. (n.d.). Microbiome and Makeup Brushes. Dermveda. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home . EPA.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture. (2019, July 17). What are molds? AskUSDA.
  5. Dykhuizen D. (2005). Species Numbers in Bacteria. Proceedings. California Academy of Sciences56(6 Suppl 1), 62–71.
  6. American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). How to clean your makeup brushes. American Academy of Dermatology.
  7. Sarhan, L. (2015, January 3). Common makeup mistakes that could jeopardize your health. Bellatory.