This Viral Cleaning Hack Involves a Microwave and a Makeup Sponge

April 18, 2018
Margaret Fisher
By: Margaret Fisher | by L'Oréal
This Viral Cleaning Hack Involves a Microwave and a Makeup Sponge

If you’re a fan of using makeup sponges to apply your foundation and achieve seamless coverage, chances are you’re already aware of the one downside that comes with being a makeup sponge lover—having to get them completely clean. While you may have washing your makeup brushes down pat, cleaning a makeup sponge is a whole other story—as evidenced by your (possibly) permanently stained sponge. And that explains why the internet has been going crazy over a makeup sponge cleaning hack, popularized on social media, involving your favorite convenient kitchen appliance: the microwave. That’s right, no special tools or cleansers necessary. But before you rush to try the hack yourself, read on to find out everything you need to know.

How to Clean a Makeup Sponge in the Microwave

Ready for clean makeup sponges? We spoke with board-certified dermatologist, and consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali about his thoughts on the latest viral makeup sponge hack. While he admits to not knowing enough about this particular hack, he does support the surge of interest in cleaning makeup sponges. Why? Because dirty makeup sponges are a huge cause of breakouts amongst his patients. “I’m all for people cleaning their makeup products as often as possible,” he says. So, why not try it the trendy way? Here’s how to clean your makeup sponges, with a little help from your microwave:

Step One: Create a mixture of cleanser and water. Microwaving your makeup sponges on their own isn’t enough to make them as good as new. In fact, it’s a bad idea. To try this hack, some suds will need to be involved. In a microwave-safe cup, mix a mild face wash, brush cleanser, or baby shampoo with water.  

Step Two: Microwave your makeup sponges in the mixture. Drop any sponges you want to clean into the cup, making sure they get fully saturated. Next, it’s time to put your microwave to use. Pop the cup inside and set the timer for one minute—that’s all it takes. 

Step Three: Remove and rinse. When the clock runs out, carefully remove the cup. You should see the water turn a different color due to the collection of makeup residue. Now, all you need to do is wring out any of the mixture that may be left in your sponge (be careful not to burn your fingers!), and rinse off any lingering soap. After you’ve taken those steps, you’re free to get back to bouncing and blending makeup onto your face.

I'm all for people cleaning their makeup products as often as possible. Dirty products are a HUGE cause of breakouts in my patients. 

3 Things to Know Before Microwaving Your Favorite Makeup Sponge

This hack may seem too good to be true, and while we wouldn’t go that far, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start punching in the numbers on your microwave.

1. You may shorten your sponge’s life. According to Dr. Bhanusali, there’s a chance that the heat from the microwave could degrade fibers in your sponge and effect its long-term viability. Still, that shouldn’t necessarily discourage you from trying this hack. The truth is, makeup sponges aren’t meant to stand the test of time. Even if you diligently clean your sponge(s), you’ll want to replace them regularly (about every three months) to maintain a hygienic beauty routine. 

2. Don’t immediately wring out the wet sponge. When your microwave dings, alerting you that time’s up, it may be tempting to immediately grab your makeup sponge. But don’t do that. Remember, there’s hot water involved. To avoid burning yourself, give your makeup sponge a few minutes to cool, then wring out the excess water.

3. Your sponge must be wet. Don’t skip getting your sponge wet out of fear of burning yourself, this will surely backfire. In fact, others have already tried it. Early followers of this hack quickly learned the hard way that putting a dry sponge in the microwave leads to a burnt, melted mess.

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