How to Use Eyelid Scrubs

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on November 09, 2022
3 min read

Eyelid scrubs are gentle cleansers that soothe inflamed eyelids and help treat some eye conditions. They wash away bacteria, oils, and crusts that form along your lash line. This helps ease itching and inflammation.

Scrubs with ingredients like tea tree oil help kill mites -- tiny critters can live in your eyelashes and irritate your eyes.

If you have red, itchy, burning eyes, eyelid scrubs might be just what the doctor ordered. But how do you use them?

They work best when you prep your eyes first. Here’s how to do it:

  • Wash your hands well.
  • Moisten a clean washcloth with warm water. Test the temperature against your wrist. It should feel warm but not hot.
  • Place the washcloth on your eyelids for about 2 minutes. This helps loosen oil and crusty debris along your lash line.

In order for your scrub to work its best for you, do this:

  • Whether you're using a premoistened pad, or using a spray or solution on a cotton swab, close your eyes and gently wipe the swab or pad back and forth along your eyelids and lashes. Be sure to use a new pad or swab for each eye.
  • Rinse your eyelids with clear water, and pat them dry with a clean towel.

Your doctor can prescribe some, but you can buy most over the counter (OTC). You could even make your own at home.

Here are your options:

Eyelid wipes. These premoistened pads get rid of pollen, oil, and other stuff you don’t want along your lash line. You can buy them online and in drugstores. The pads can be pricey, especially if you need to use them more than once a day. If they're the best choice for you, try cutting each pad in half.

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) solutions. These are a diluted form of bleach. They sound scary, but they’re safe and gentle enough to use every day. HOCl solutions kill bacteria and fight inflammation. They mimic the way your own immune system combats germs. You need a prescription for some HOCl solutions, but many are available over the counter. They come as sprays, gels, and premoistened pads. Look for ones without preservatives.

Tea tree oil. This is a powerful germ fighter. It kills the motes that cause some eyelid inflammation called blepharitis. Full-strength tea tree oil is too harsh for the delicate skin around your eyes. Look for 25% tea tree oil products or make your own. To do that, mix 1 drop of tea tree oil with 2 or 3 drops of water, olive oil, or coconut oil, then put it on your eyelid with a cotton swab or soft gauze.

Some people are allergic to certain ingredients in eyelid scrubs. Be sure to look for ones that are preservative-free.

Doctors used to recommend baby shampoo for some eyelid issues, but it has a lot of chemicals that may not be good for your eyes, so it's best to stick with the other products we mention here. Your doctor can give you more information.