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How to Sanitize and Clean your Face Painting Brushes and Sponges

There are two kinds of face painters, those who find the cleaning up after a gig a relaxing time with their kit to make it look sparkling and new, and those who dread cleaning time and would rather do anything else.

Cleaning your Face Painting Brushes and Sponges

Regardless if you finding joy or not in the process, your face painting tools do need cleaning in between each event, and during the event as well. The good thing is that there are plenty of products available to help you clean your face painting brushes and sponges faster and more effectively.

Having a clean kit makes you look more professional and it also helps you avoid allergic reactions or passing on bacteria from one client to another one. A clean kit will help you get more customers and will make your designs look better as you colors will look bright and even instead of being contaminated with other colors that were left over on your brush or sponge due to bad cleaning techniques.

Cleaning your Face Painting Brushes at a Gig

There are many different ways to get this done, and each painter has their own rules. Some places have very strict regulations regarding the cleaning of your supplies while face painting at an event and you must follow their directions, others leave it up to you, counting on you to make good decisions of course.

There are painters that change brushes with every kid and never double dip their brush, meaning that once the brush has touched the skin they won't touch another container of paint. These face painters usually carry dozens of brushes with them, and have a method in which after using a brush they rinse it, then they spray a sanitizer, like alcohol, on them, and let them dry fully before re using them. At a large festival that might require an extra person around doing that for you. At a small event you might just choose to take enough brushes so that the cleaning happens at home.

Other painters choose to simply rinse their brush in between each kid in a small cup of water. For these kind of face painters we recommend using the Rinse Well as it provides you with a steady stream of clean water and allows you to keep your kit looking clean, instead of having a cup of dirty looking water on your table. It is also a great idea to add a few drops of Lush Brush, a great face painting brush soap that helps you get your brushes cleaner faster and has natural ingredients usually used as sanitizers. 

A more compact option, if you don't have room for the Rinse Well, is the Airtight Stainless Steel Brush Washer, this great container comes with a grid that you can use to rub your brushes against to help remove all of the paint faster, and it helps to push the pigments down to the bottom of the container so that the surface of your water looks cleaner. It also comes with an airtight seal, so when you are done you can seal it and put in your kit without the risk of spills. 

 Cleaning Your Face Painting Sponges at a Gig

Most people would agree that cleaning a face painting sponge thoroughly while face painting at an event is not an easy task, since sponges are porous and have a larger contact surface with the skin. We always suggest to other face painters to use one sponge per child, and ideally you would not double dip, meaning your sponge would only be loaded once, then you can paint, and then set aside the sponge to be washed at home. \with larger sponges you can load and rotate the sponge to reload. Face Painting Sponges are inexpensive and you can take 50 to 100 to an event without adding a lot of weight to your kit. Once the face painting sponge is used, we suggest  throwing them inside a mesh bag so that they can air dry while you continue to paint, preventing them from getting smelly while they are still moist. 


Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Face Painting Brushes at Home

Once you get home the cleaning fun really begins! Now you have the time to take care of doing a deep clean without being rushed, hopefully!

To clean your brushes we suggest that you first rinse them really well in a bowl of clean water, you can add a cleansing pad at the bottom of your water bowl to help remove the excess paint faster. Now is time to grab some Lush Brush or your favorite face painting brush soap and put a drop or two on the bristles and work them between your fingers very gently until the soap has worked its way into all of the bristles. Rinse them again and then carefully shape the bristles between your fingers and let them dry out while laying down over a towel or hanging upside down. Do not put your face painting brushes to dry right side up since that pushes moisture into the ferrule, which can cause the glue to come off and the wooden handles to crack. 

You can soak your brushes in the EBA Hand Sanitizer Spray and let them dry for a couple of hours. You can also spray your face paints and kit with this product to kill germs with the 70% alcohol base. 

Face Painting Brush Washing Tutorial

If after cleaning your brushes you notice that the bristles are a bit out of shape, you can always do a quick dip of the bristles into a pot of boiling water, being careful not to get burnt. Keep in mind that only the bristles should be under water, if you put the ferrule under the water the glue that holds your brush together might dissolve. Shape the bristles with your fingers if needed.

How to Re Shape your Face Painting Brushes

Once your brushes are clean, it is time to store them in a good brush wallet to help them stay clean, in shape, and protected from items in our face painting kit that could damage them.

 Cleaning Your Face Painting Sponges at Home

Now that you are back home, you can take care of your face painting sponges. The easiest thing to do is to wash them in your washing machine. Simply toss all of your sponges inside a mesh bag and wash them by themselves. You can use warm water and your favorite soap, just make sure that all of the soap is thoroughly rinsed after washing, and it is always better to use scent free soaps to reduce chances of allergic reactions. We do not suggest using the dryer as it can melt the sponges. It is best to take them out of the mesh bag, squeeze any access water out of them and lay them flat over a towel to allow them to air dry completely before you store them. If you have an issue with pet hair lingering in your washing machine, you might end up with the hair in your sponges, so hand washing might be better in that case.

If you'd rather wash them by hand, then you can use Lush Brush or your favorite face painting brush soap to help remove all stains and paint from them. Some like to soak their sponges first with some soap, and then rinse them. If you use a soap that is safe to be used on the skin, like Lush Brush, then you don't have to worry about 100% of the soap being removed from the sponge before they dry, as the soap residue will not irritate the skin.

Using dark face painting sponges ,like the Splash Sponges we designed, is a great way of keeping your sponges looking cleaner even after many uses. Lighter colored sponges tend to get stained over time, and the contrast between the light sponge color and dark paints makes them look dingy and used. We hope these tips help you keep a cleaner, sparkly kit that you would be proud to show off to all of your clients every time you set up at a gig!

Don't forget to check the rest of our Face Painting Tips blog for more ideas and tips to help you be the best face painter on the planet! 

Leave us your comments bellow and let us know how do you clean your own brushes and sponges.

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Rebecca butler - June 21, 2019

Rather than spray my brushes with alcohol, I use a pump for solvents like you would see acetone in at a nail salon. One pump provides a small puddle to swish your brush in. I am also a surgical professional and alcohol only kills germs while wet. Once dried, it no longer kills germs. So one can allow the cleaned and sanitized brushes to be rinsed and used again rather than waiting for them to completely dry.

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