There has to be a reason why thousands of women around the world invest €14 on a tear drop shaped sponge, right? It promises streak-free application with minimum product waste, and is sworn by bloggers from Americas to Asia.

However, these cute pink makeup essential tends to get dirty rather quick; what’s worse is that foundation can sometimes seep in as well, and the mess can become inaccessible. To ensure that they continue to do their job well for longer than a week, you have to keep them clean. They can be stubborn but there’s a way around it, and you can make them last much longer than a week (change them after three months though).

1. WASH IT AFTER EVERY USE

It may sound excessive but it is necessary. The material of a makeup sponge can really get attached to foundation, primers and cream blushes, so make sure you get the gunk off it after every use, gently.

2. KEEP IT WARM AND GENTLE

Use your regular face wash or a gentle soap (like Dove?), create a foam and wash the sponge gentle. Make sure that the water is warm. Alternatively, you can also make a soapy dip, soak it for 30 minutes and rinse it till the water runs clear. The idea is to use a cleaner that is designed for facial usage.

3. PACK IT UP

Once clean, put the sponge back to where it came from – it’s plastic box. This will keep it safe from collecting dust or makeup on the loose in your vanity.

4. DOUBLE THE EFFORT, DOUBLE THE REWARD

Have you seen Nivea’s oil based make removers? If you keep them still for 15 minutes, water will completely separate from the oil, and it will be two very distinct fluids in a bottle. That cleanser works wonders for makeup removal because when combined, oil helps loosen makeup, and water wipes it away. Apply the same logic to your beloved sponge – soak it in oil and then wash it away with a facial cleanser.

5. DRY WITH PAPER TOWELS

Wring all water out, and then wrap the sponge in a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture. If it still feels damp, let it sit in a dry location for a while, and then place it in it’s container.

Some experts also suggest heat sterilisation once a month. This is where you soak the sponge in water, let it sit until the sponge sinks or is completely soaked, and then microwave for 30 seconds. Keep an eye out for abnormal sponge ballooning and excessive smoke.

There are professional blender cleaners available as well, if you feel like a little splurge. They cost a little more than the sponge itself, and are stocked at most stores, including Sephora.

Oh, and some makeup artists also put their blenders in lingerie net and throw them in a washing machine for a gentle cycle, just in case you are feeling experimental or need clean, dry sponges really fast!