How to Do a DIY Eyelid Scrub for Blepharitis

If you've ever woken up with dry, itchy, flaking eyelids you've probably had blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis may cause symptoms such as:

  • Burning
  • Tired eyes
  • Blurred vision

Fortunately, simple eyelid scrubs (along with a few other techniques) can help to relieve the symptoms quickly.

A man washing his face in the sink
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Types of Blepharitis

According to the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation, there are two major types of blepharitis:

  • Anterior Lid Margin Disease (ALMD): Crusting on the eyelashes due to a superficial infection by any of a number of micro-organisms.
  • Posterior Lid Margin Disease (PLMD): The glands within the eyelids produce an irregular thick, oily, and unstable tear film to cover the front of the eye.


Hot compresses and eyelid massage can be helpful in treating the symptoms of blepharitis. In addition, supplemental flaxseed and/or fish oils can sometimes reduce symptoms.

Eyelid scrubs can be effective for relieving dry, itchy, flaking eyelids due to either ALMD or PLMD, though PLMD is more likely to return over time.

Eyelid scrubs are exactly what they sound like: a process for removing material from the eyelids in order to treat blepharitis. Since they're inexpensive and easy to perform at home, eyelid scrubs are a great way to keep your eyelashes clean and alleviate symptoms.

It's easy to find over-the-counter eyelid scrubs in pharmacies, and these can be very handy in the office or on the go. There's no reason, however, to purchase eyelid scrubs for in-home use: it's easy to make your own for a fraction of the cost.

Making Your Own Eyelid Scrub

Most doctors currently recommend commercially prepared eyelid scrub packets. They tend to contain anti-bacterial soaps or chemicals that do a better job than baby shampoo. If you don't happen to have a packet handy, however, try the following approach.

What You Need

  • A clean washcloth or Q-tip
  • Warm water
  • Baby shampoo

What to Do

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in warm water.
  3. Apply a small amount of baby shampoo to the washcloth.
  4. Close one eye and gently rub the base of your eyelashes with the warm washcloth. Rub the entire area for one minute. (A Q-tip may be a gentler option and preferable if you have marked inflammation.)
  5. Carefully rinse your entire eyelid with clean, cool water.
  6. Repeat with your other eye, using a clean washcloth/Q-tip.

Useful Tips

  • Your eye doctor may recommend performing an eyelid scrub two or three times each day to help alleviate your symptoms.
  • Some eye doctors may suggest an over-the-counter cleansing agent to use in place of baby shampoo.
  • Always use a clean washcloth for each eye to avoid spreading germs or bacteria from one eye to the other.
  • If you suffer from blepharitis, eyelid scrubs might become part of your daily eyelid hygiene routine.
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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Duncan K, Jeng BH. Medical management of blepharitis. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2015;26(4):289-94. doi:10.1097/ICU.0000000000000164

  2. Sparker, Charles et al. Blepharitis. Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF). Web. 2016.

  3. American Optometric Association. Blepharitis.

Additional Reading