How to Clean Silicone Beauty Tools and Personal Devices

Just because it's antimicrobial doesn't mean it doesn't have to be cleaned.

Whether it's a gentle facial cleansing tool (like the PMD Pro), a nifty face mask brush, or a feel-good vibrator, all silicone-based beauty tools and personal devices need to be cleaned, too. Wondering how to clean silicone sex toys or how to clean a face brush? Below, we've tapped the experts on the benefits of using silicone, how best to clean silicone tools, and what not to do when sudsing them up.

Benefits of Using Silicone

First, let's go over why you'd want to choose a silicone beauty tool and personal device over other types of materials. According to Ben Segarra, co-founder of meejee, silicone is more hygienic for skin (and down under) than other materials. "It is almost impossible for bacteria to grow on silicone due to its non-porous surface and natural antimicrobial properties," he says. "This prevents you from putting unwanted bacteria onto your skin, unlike nylon bristles or other materials that grow bacteria after the first use."

Another added benefit of using a silicone-based beauty tool, like the meejee ($80, meejee.com) and PMD Pro Smart Facial Cleansing Device ($69; amazon.com), is that silicone is gentle on the skin. "Unlike other materials like plastic or metal that can be abrasive and cause micro-lacerations (tiny little cuts in the skin), silicone is non-abrasive and won't damage the skin," explains Segarra. Not only that, but silicone is a more environmentally friendly material compared to others. "Silicone won't grow bacteria or degrade over time like plastic does, which means you can use it for much longer without having to replace it. And unlike plastics, silicone is non-toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, and it does not leech any harmful chemicals back into the environment," says Segarra. Silicone can be recycled after a lifetime of use, and if incinerated in a landfill, it will convert back into harmless ingredients, like amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.

Silicone beauty tools, like I Dew Care Silicone Brush ($8; ulta.com), can help with product application in a few ways. The silicone brush "helps keep your hands out of your skincare jars, and using a tool like a silicone brush will actually help you use less product because it'll assist in applying a uniform layer of product," explains Sunju Kim, Vice President of Product Development at MBX.

How to Clean Silicone Face Brushes and Personal Devices

Because of its hydrophobic and antimicrobial properties, silicone devices are very low maintenance when it comes to having to clean them, according to Segarra. With that being said, it still needs to be done. The best way to clean a meejee, Foreo, PMD, or any other facial brush is with soap and warm water once every one to two weeks if you are using it consistently. "Any standard soap will do, just make sure you thoroughly rinse off all soap residue before drying," explains Segarra. "It's also helpful to dry your device after use by patting it with a lint-free towel."

As for how to clean a silicone vibrator, you essentially want to clean it in the same way as a silicone beauty tool, but much more frequently. "You need to clean your silicone toys before and after each use," says Tyler Aldridge, Director of Product at maude. "Hand wash your silicone sex toy in warm water with antibacterial soap or any device cleaner. Rinse, dry, and store away from other silicone devices."

If you live in an area that has hard water, you might notice a powdery white substance on your brush. That's minerals, and although it's not dangerous, it definitely doesn't look the most hygienic. To remove the problem, soak the silicone pieces in distilled white vinegar for about 30 minutes to cut through the mineral deposits.

What Not to Do When Cleaning Silicone

When figuring out how to clean a sonic face brush, "you want to avoid using oil-based cleansers, clay-based cleansers, or cleansers with granular exfoliants as they may damage the silicone," explains Segarra. Also, if you've been wondering how to clean a face brush with alcohol, Segarra advises against it. "Avoid using any cleaning products that contain alcohol or acetone, as they may damage the silicone and irritate the skin," he says.

As for how to clean silicone toys, you need to first figure out your device's resistance to water—some silicone sex toys are fully waterproof, while others can come into contact with water but not be fully submerged. "It is important to store your device solo (away from other silicone devices) and dry your device fully," explains Aldridge. "Additionally, scented soaps or household cleaners can break down the silicone and should be avoided."

No matter what, don't neglect washing a silicone beauty tool. Just because something is antimicrobial doesn't mean it's completely immune to bacterial colonization. To prevent breakouts and keep your tools working at their full potential, wash them regularly just as you would a makeup brush or hair brush.

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