How To Clean Your Eyeliner (Easy Ways!)

Whether you like your eyeliner precise in a wing or fishtail style, or more laidback with a subtle smudgy style, you’ll want to ensure your eyeliner is clean and free from any germs. In this article, we will look at the importance of cleaning your eyeliner and how to clean your eyeliner.

How To Clean Your Eyeliner

A sanitizer mist can be used to effectively clean your eyeliner. Alternatively, you can dampen a tissue with 70% rubbing alcohol then wipe your eyeliner with the dampened tissue.

How Long Does An Eyeliner Last?

Eyeliners can last anytime from three months to three years, depending on the formula of the product.

Liquid eyeliner can be bacteria prone due to the damp environment of the product. Furthermore, germs can be transferred from our eyes onto the liquid eyeliner.

A pencil eyeliner can last longer as any bacteria transferred to the product can be regularly removed by sharpening the pencil.

If your liquid eyeliner starts to smell funny, or your eyeliner pencil develops a white film that you can’t remove by sharpening, then it is time to replace your eyeliner.

Importance Of Cleaning Your Eyeliner

You should try to put a little time and effort into keeping your eyeliner sanitized. 

Here are a few ways to do it:


Your eyeliner comes into contact with your eyes and eyelids, which as we previously mentioned, can harbor bacteria. Regularly cleaning your liner will reduce the risk of this bacteria irritating your eyes and resulting in an infection.


Perhaps you are in the habit of sharing products with friends when you get together. This can lead to cross-contamination and is another reason to ensure you clean your eyeliner on a regular basis.


If you are susceptible to acne or breakouts then keeping all your makeup products clean, including your eyeliner, plays an important part in managing this.

To Avoid Replacing

If you want to avoid replacing your eyeliner once a month, then keeping it hygienic will help with that. No one wants to spend their hard-earned cash needlessly.

How To Clean An Eyeliner 

How To Clean An Eyeliner 

It is recommended that you sanitize your eyeliner once a week. However, some sources believe eyeliner should be cleaned after every use. 

To keep your eyeliners clean, you can use alcohol, disinfectant spray, or any sanitizing spray for makeup products. Many makeup brands carry their own versions of these.

How To Clean Eyeliner Gel

If your eyeliner of choice is a gel pot, then spritz the gel with some alcohol and allow it to air dry. 

Clean the brush you use with a little soapy water and dip it in alcohol. Don’t forget about the cap of the pot. Give it a rub with alcohol or spritz it with disinfectant too.

How To Clean Eyeliner Pencil

To keep your eyeliner pencil bacteria-free, regularly sharpen it to remove the surface where any bacteria may be lingering.

 You can also spray a little disinfectant onto a tissue and give the pencil a wipe.

 In addition, you can dip the sharpener into some disinfectant to ensure it stays hygienic and safe to use.

How To Clean Liquid Eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner can come as a felt-tip pen or a brush-tip applicator.

Felt-tip Liquid Eyeliner

To ensure your felt-tip eyeliner is in good condition and free from any nasties, you can use a sanitizing spray and a sanitizing wipe.

Carefully, squeeze the felt-tip out and catch it in a sanitizing wipe, then spray it with 70% IPA or alcohol. Let it dry for a minute or so before closing the lid.

Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner

If you apply your liquid eyeliner using a brush tip, ensure you spritz the brush tip with an alcohol spray to prevent bacteria build-up. 

How Do I Make My Dry Eyeliner Work Again?

How Do I Make My Dry Eyeliner Work Again

If your eyeliner has dried up, there are a few things you can try to breathe some life back into the product:

Liquid Eyeliner

The tips below should help your liquid eyeliner last longer.

Shake It

Sometimes a good shake is all it takes. 

When you give liquid eyeliner a shake, you will probably hear the little ball bearing inside the pen. This helps mix the product up inside. It is more common in a brush tip eyeliner than a felt-tip eyeliner.

Run It

Another way to help prolong the life of your liquid eyeliner is to run the tip back and forth across the back of your hand or the inner side of your wrist. 

This can just encourage a little more product out. If the liner is felt-tipped, then running it across a warm damp paper towel could entice more liner out for you.

Hot Water

Sometimes the liquid eyeliner substance in your pen can become thick and gloopy, affecting the flow of the product. 

  1. Keeping your eyeliner pen capped and placing it in a cup of hot water for just a few minutes can loosen things up. 
  2. When you have removed the pen from the hot water, give it a few shakes then run the tip across the back of your hand. 
  3. This should promote the flow of ink, and what first might appear as a mess, should soon transform to clean, solid lines. 
  4. Repeat this process as needed.


If you’re desperate to reinvigorate that eyeliner pen, then you’ll get a chance to put your fine motor skills to the test. 

  1. First open the back of the pen. 
  2. This may be a twist-off or you may need to use your nails or some tweezers to pry it open. 
  3. Using the tweezers, take hold of the ink rod from inside the pen and remove it. 
  4. Next, dip the end of the rod in warm water- around 30 seconds or less should be enough time. 
  5. Remove from the water and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  6. Put it back in the pen and close it. 

Contact Solution

Sometimes with liquid eyeliner, the reason it has become unusable is the applicator. 

To combat this, rinse the applicator with a contact lens solution. 

Then add a drop or two of makeup remover to your liquid liner and give it a stir. 

This should rejuvenate the product and prolong its lifespan. 

Gel or Cream Eyeliners

Below you will find some tips to help extend the life of cream and gel eyeliners.

Eye Drops

Gel and cream eyeliners can often become hard and compacted inside their pot, rendering them unusable. However, you can bring them back to life:

  1. First use something long, thin, and sharp to crack the hardened surface (a needle, a toothpick, or a safety pin will do nicely for this). 
  2. Then add a few eye drops and let them spread through the pot. 
  3. Use your thin, sharp object to mix it up until the liner has a more even consistency.


To get a gel liner working again, add a few drops of unscented oil to the palm of your hand. 

Then dip the brush you use for the liner into the oil and swirl this into the gel liner. 

Close the jar. 

After a few minutes, the product should be wearable again.


Adding a drop of heavy, unscented moisturizer can be the solution to bringing the cream liner back from the brink. 

Mix it up with your liner brush. 

This is very much a short-term solution, but it will buy you some time.

Pencil Eyeliner

To make your dry pencil eyeliner work again, there is one main tip.

Use A Hairdryer

If you find your pencil liner is refusing to work properly, it may have become a bit dry inside the stick. The key to solving this is your hairdryer! 

Holding the pencil about a foot away from the nozzle of the hairdryer, apply heat along the length of the pencil. 

This will melt the liner enough to make it wearable again.

Keeping your eyeliner clean and free from germs means you can use it longer without the threat of infection. 

If you think your eyeliner has no life left in it, think again. Try our tips above to rejuvenate the product and save some money in the process.