How to Get Makeup Out of Clothes

Is it possible to remove foundation, lipstick, and mascara from clothing? You’ve come to the right place! Makeup stains can be banished forever by following these simple steps.

Stains of all kinds sometimes get on your clothes, and that’s why it’s a good idea to know how to remove them-whether they’re coffee stains or permanent marker stains. There’s something particularly frustrating about makeup stains. Makeup is supposed to make you look good, not like a mess. In the course of the day, you may accidentally brush your face against your shirt, get foundation on your collar, or drop your mascara. When you hug or kiss someone, you might also accidentally get makeup on their clothes. (I’m sorry!) It might look bad in the moment, but if you know how to remove makeup from clothes, those stains will disappear in no time.

Generally, makeup stains can be removed by acting quickly and using a high-quality detergent, says Jennifer Ahoni, senior scientist at Tide. The composition and ingredients of different makeup may add unique challenges.” For instance, waterproof mascara might require a different stain remover than a liquid foundation, which in turn might be treated differently than a powder blush. Lipstick might be your toughest challenge in this arena.

Find out how to remove different types of makeup from your clothes. Learn how to remove nail polish from nearly anything once you’re up to speed.

How to get foundation out of clothes

Liquid foundation

The majority of foundations contain a base that binds pigments together, explains Ahoni. She says the key difference between treating liquid foundation versus powder foundation is removing any excess on the surface at the beginning.

What you’ll need

  • Detergent for liquid laundry
  • Soap for dishes
  • Clean cloth or paper towel
  • The water

Step-by-step directions

  1. To remove excess liquid, use a paper towel or clean cloth, being careful not to push it deeper into the fibers. Don’t rub, blot.
  2. To dilute the stain, rinse the garment in warm water.
  3. After removing excess foundation, pre-treat the stain with liquid laundry detergent (any will do), which contains surfactants and enzymes to break up the stain. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently work the detergent into the stain and let it remain on the fabric for 20 minutes.
  4. Due to the makeup’s oily base, some liquid foundation stains can actually resemble grease stains. Therefore, you can also try removing the stain with dish soap. Put a small amount of dish soap, like Dawn, on the stain and rub it in with your fingers for about 20 minutes.
  5. Place the garment in the washer with other items without rinsing off the detergent or dish soap. It will give your wash an extra boost of cleaning power if you leave the detergent on the stain, says Ahoni. Warm water helps break up stains, so wash at the warmest temperature recommended on the care label.
  6. Before drying, repeat steps 3–5.

Cotton and poly-blend fabrics work best with the above techniques. It’s best to take your garment to the dry cleaner if your stain is on a silk or wool fabric. If you attempt to remove the stain on your own, you may end up doing more harm than good.

Powder foundation

Take extra care when removing powder foundation from fabrics, says Ahoni, since powder foundation contains loose particles. Make sure you don’t spread the powder or embed the stain further.

What you’ll need

  • Paper towel or cloth that is clean
  • Laundry detergent in liquid form
  • The water

Step-by-step directions

  1. Shake off as much powder foundation as possible. Ahoni advises brushing off any foundation that remains gently without pushing it into fabric fibers.
  2. Run warm water through the stain’s back. The higher the water pressure, the easier it will be to remove it. As with liquid foundation, you will follow the same general wash guidelines after removing the excess.
  3. Pre-treat the stain with liquid laundry detergent, using enough to cover it. Work the detergent into the stain gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  4. The garment should be washed on the warmest temperature recommended on the care label without rinsing off the detergent.
  5. Before drying, repeat steps 3 and 4 if the stain persists.

Using warm water on other types of stains, such as blood stains and mustard stains, may cause the stain to set and become impossible to remove. Don’t dive in without knowing what to do, depending on the stain.

How to get lipstick out of clothes

Lipstick is one of the hardest types of makeup to remove from clothes. What’s the reason? This is due to the oil-based nature of these beauty products. Ahoni explains that lipstick acts like a glue that binds pigments together in a variety of colors. (Incidentally, this is also something you should keep in mind when trying to remove actual oil stains from your clothes.)

These pigments are particularly attracted to synthetic fibers. In order to treat lipstick stains, you need to act quickly, but even if the stain has already set, you can still treat it. Using these steps, you can also remove ChapStick or other lip balm from clothing.

What you’ll need

  • Cloth that is clean
  • Soap for dishes
  • Laundry detergent in liquid form
  • Using a spoon or butter knife
  • Removes stains
  • The water

Step-by-step directions

  1. Place a clean, dry cloth on top of the lipstick stain to remove any excess.
  2. To remove heavy lipstick stains, place the garment in the freezer for 20 minutes. Before applying the cloth to the stain, scrape off any excess frozen stain with a spoon or butter knife.
  3. Using a damp cloth, dab the back of the stain with dish soap. Each time you dab, make sure to use a clean part of the cloth to avoid accidentally transferring lipstick.
  4. To dilute the stain, rinse the area with warm water.
  5. Apply liquid laundry detergent as a pre-treatment. Apply enough detergent to cover the stain, gently rub the detergent into the stain with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  6. The garment should be placed in the washer with other items, using the warmest temperature recommended for the item on the care label, without rinsing off the detergent.
  7. If the stain persists, repeat steps 3–6 before drying. Try using a store-bought stain remover as a pretreatment or when you repeat the above steps before drying the garment if the stain is really stubborn.

How to get mascara and eyeliner out of clothes

Since mascaras contain oils, waxes, and dyes, you’ll need to pre-treat the stain with detergent first. The dark color of most mascaras makes it extremely important to treat them right away and not spread the stain. As a pre-treatment for waterproof makeup stains, you can use an oil-free makeup remover. Otherwise, follow these directions from Ahoni to remove mascara and eyeliner.

What you’ll need

  • Cloth that is clean
  • Laundry detergent in liquid form
  • Remover for makeup
  • Toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Removes stains
  • The water

Step-by-step directions

  1. To break up the stain, use liquid laundry detergent, which contains surfactants and enzymes. With a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently work detergent into the stain and let it remain on the fabric for 20 minutes.
  2. Hot water should be used to rinse the stained area.
  3. Wash at the warmest temperature recommended on the care label.
  4. Before drying, repeat steps 1–3 if the stain persists.

General tips for removing makeup stains from clothes

You need to act fast no matter what kind of makeup you’re trying to remove or what type of fabric you’re trying to remove it from. If you’re at the office, out to dinner, or anywhere else out of the house, you can’t remove your clothes and work on the stain. These DIY methods can tide you over until you get home in those cases.

  • Ahoni recommends spraying a high-alcohol hair spray on the stained area and allowing it to harden into the fabric. Now take a clean paper towel and dip it into cold water, being careful not to soak it completely. To remove the makeup and hair spray, blot the stained area with a damp paper towel. Repeat as necessary.”
  • Another option is to scrape away the top layer of the product with a spoon or, preferably, a plastic knife. Then rub an ice cube in a circular motion over the stain. Make sure the makeup is completely removed from the fabric,” Ahoni advises. After that, blot and dry the wet area with a paper towel, removing most of the makeup. Repeat the process until the stain is no longer visible.
  • Whenever you are away from home, keep an on-the-go spot treatment like a Tide To Go Pen or Shout Wipe & Go Instant Stain Remover on hand. We promise you’ll find yourself using it on all kinds of stains more than you think!

If you have any other stubborn stains, we’ve got some tips for you, too! You’ll definitely need our guides on how to remove ink stains and superglue, so bookmark them.

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