Tired of losing half of your bottle of fancy foundation each time you use a blending sponge? Then maybe you’ve made the switch over to a less-porous silicone sponge. After making the swap, you’ve probably noticed that you’re making less trips to Sephora to restock your makeup products, but there’s one thing that silicone sponges have in common with other blending tools: they need to regularly be cleaned.
So how often should you be washing yours? Honey Artists makeup artist Robert Greene says that after every use is ideal, but once a week at the bare minimum if you’re only using the sponge on yourself. “I would clean my sponge after every use. That’s the benefit of a silicone sponge, the product remains on the surface and is not absorbed therefore allowing you to fully clean your sponge,” he says.
The best method for cleansing the sponge is to wash it with a gentle soap or rubbing alcohol. If you really want to sterilize it, Kristine Cruz, makeup artist at Antonio Prieto Salon in New York says to boil it to free it of germs.
Neglecting to wash a silicone sponge isn’t that different from slacking on your skincare routine. Bacteria can build up on it, which can lead to breakouts in addition to the tool just not working at its full potential. “If you don’t regularly clean your sponge, it will be unusable since these sponges do not absorb product,” explains Greene. “If you don’t wash it then you will have a sponge that’s collecting layers of foundation on it, which will make your foundation look muddy, and its definitely not good for your skin.”
Silicone makeup sponges don’t just help you ride out your next foundation purchase, the tool itself also lasts longer, too. When should you finally leave your sponge to RIP? Both makeup artists say that when you start to see tears or rips in the tool, it’s time to replace it.
This article originally appeared on InStyle.