How to Clean Reusable Cotton Rounds

Whether you've made your own cotton rounds or have chosen from our list of the best zero-waste makeup remover pads, reusable makeup and skincare rounds are the gift that keeps on giving.

While the choice to switch to a zero-waste alternative is easy, caring for our new facial rounds can leave us scratching our freshly-cleansed noggins.

Why use reusable cotton pads?

Single-use cotton rounds not only take loads of water to produce but include harmful toxins that are bad for both our skin and the environment. As a "bonus", most single-use cotton rounds end up in landfills or, worse, the ocean. Their zero-waste alternatives, however, are not only toxin-free but also reduce waste while helping us save our pennies for a rainy day.

Before we dive into the how-tos on cleaning your reusable makeup and skincare rounds, you should first note their composition, which is almost always a woven fabric of sorts. If you used our tutorial, then you'll have a material-based round (with one rough side used for exfoliation and a softer side for gentle cleansing). A lot of store-bought cotton round alternatives also use material be it something organic like cotton, linen, bamboo, or a close (semi-synthetic) alternative.

Here's how to care for your homemade or store-bought reusable makeup remover pads.

How to clean reusable makeup pads

What you need

  • a mesh laundry bag (optional)
  • your laundry detergent of choice

Before we get started, it's important to note that you should wash your reusable makeup remover pads before their first use. Facial skin is highly sensitive and prone to clogging so you'll want to make sure your pad is squeaky-clean before using it remove makeup or apply skincare.

Step 1

Good news! Your homemade or store-bought reusable makeup remover pads can get cleaned in the washing machine. However, their size and composition mean they will break down if left to their own devices in the whirling chaos.

Enter: the mesh laundry bag.

This holey bag is intended for situations just like this and allows for smaller, more delicate items to get machine-washed without facing wear and tear. I found a lovely eco-friendly mesh bag online but, for the craft fundis among us, here's an easy tutorial on how to make your own at home.

Place your reusable makeup rounds in the mesh bag and, If there's some space left over, add in your reusable face masks and save on water.

Step 2

When it comes to cleaning aids, it's best to avoid bleach, fabric softeners, and stain removers and stick to skin-safe washing detergent. Your pads won't need much to get clean due to their size and using erosive agents are detrimental to the pads' overall composition and strength. On top of that, these liquids often contain harmful petroleum and toxins which will see the pads doing more damage than good when it comes to caring for your skin.

With a simple washing powder/liquid added, set up a warm wash for a light-colored load and add your prepared mesh laundry bag to the mix. Hit the go-button and see to your day's to-do list before you join in on the washing and end up spiraling!

Step 3

Once you're summoned by the increasingly passive-aggressive jingle of your washing machine, it's time to dry. Some store-bought pads allow for tumble-drying but be sure to carefully read the package's instructions to make sure. For the rest of us, homemade or purchased, you'll want to airdry your reusable rounds, and as a rule, the sunnier the better!

Place your rounds in direct sunlight and, much like a good tan, remember to flip them over for consistency. The sun will not only see to a quick (and natural) dry but it'll also help purify the pads by lifting any remaining odor and lightening stains.

Step 4

Now, this is more of an inbetweener and will see to your reusable makeup rounds lasting years and years. To keep stubborn stains at bay, gently wash your rounds with warm water and soap in the basin after each use. A quick cleanse will do wonders in the realm of keeping your rounds fresh and hygienic in between deeper cleans on laundry day.


Are reusable cotton rounds hygienic?

By nature, reusable cotton rounds are hygienic as they do not contain the harmful toxins and chemicals that their single-use counterparts have. For optimal hygiene and freshness, reusable rounds should be given a quick courtesy wash in between uses and a deep clean via the washing machine on a regular basis.

How long do reusable cotton rounds last?

If washed and cared for correctly, a reusable cotton round can last for 3-5 years averaging out at around 600-1000 washes. A handful of reusable cotton rounds could end up replacing thousands of single-use rounds - a thought-provoking reminder on how reducing waste starts with rethinking how we consume and use everyday products.

How to make DIY reusable makeup remover pads?

On the totem of zero-waste consumerism, making comes before buying, which is why we've already whipped together a breezy how-to on making your own reusable makeup pads. With a few scrap items of fabric found around the house, you and your sweet mug will be beaming in no time.

Final Thoughts

Switching to a zero-waste lifestyle means we get to replace single-use and (more often than not) toxin-riddled products with healthy, durable alternatives that are as easy on our wallets as they are on the planet. These how-tos help eco-conscious consumers get the most out of their zero-waste alternatives by teaching them how to maximize product longevity and minimize waste.

I love that all it takes is one DIY project or purchase and a small adjustment to your laundry routine and voila- a makeup round goes from single-use to a 5-year contract.


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