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Top 8 Ways to Remove Makeup Stains from Clothing

By isha.m
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Remove Makeup Stains from Clothing

I couldn’t believe my own eyes.

It was my favorite shirt. Not because the color was my favorite, but because it was the dress I wore on my first date with my husband.

For the first time, I cursed myself for not knowing how to remove makeup stains from clothing.

I took a paper towel and rubbed it, but things got worse. Then I took a cotton ball and started rubbing the stain with water. Still, no result. The liquid foundation was still there.

Then I threw it in the washing machine. Even tried to dry-clean it. But no luck; the stain is still there!

Does all of it sound too familiar? If yes, then this blog is for you!

Key Takeaways:
Makeup stains are tough to remove as they come with high pigmentation and oil-based ingredients.
Using a makeup wipe, alcohol, shaving cream, a blow dryer, hairspray, ice cubes, detergent pens, and wipes is effective in removing makeup stains.
For delicate fabrics, it’s wiser to choose a perm press or gentle cycle. But for sturdier fabrics, a normal cycle with hot water is enough.

Why is Makeup So Hard to Remove?

I don’t think you’ll find even a single lady who doesn’t want their makeup to last. But that definitely won’t be the case if the makeup is on their clothes instead of their faces.

Now the question is why it’s so hard to remove makeup from almost any clothing item these days. Well, the credit goes to not only its high pigmentation but also its ability to last longer. Actually, the makers formulate makeup in such a way that it can resist wear and tear for the whole day. So, it acts stubbornly on clothes as well.

Another reason why getting makeup stains removed is such a tough job is because of its oil-based ingredients (mostly used in foundations and lipsticks).

So, just trying to wash them off with water won’t do any good. In fact, water can make the stain harder to remove by binding it to the fabric.

But saving your favorite garments shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve got the right techniques in your sleeves. Don’t worry; that’s where you’re going.

Remove Makeup Stains from Clothing: The 8 Best Ways

Who said just putting some random makeup remover on clothes was enough to wipe the stains? Nobody, I guess.

Remove Makeup Stains from Clothing: The 8 Best Ways
Remove Makeup Stains from Clothing

So, here are some ways you can follow to remove makeup stains from clothing next time:

1. Makeup Wipe

When you’ve got some fresh but light stains on your clothes, wiping them quickly with a makeup wipe can possibly remove them.

It’s better to use a makeup wipe not because it’s super convenient but because it’s also good at stain removal without using any water.

2. Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a great trick for oil-based makeup stains.

Yes, I’m talking about mascara or lipstick stains. All you have to do is apply a bit of alcohol to a piece of cloth and dab the stain, just like you do with micellar water.

3. Shaving Cream

Yes, you’ve heard it right. Shaving cream is an effective stain remover, especially for something like concealer or foundation.

Just put a thin layer of shaving cream on the stain and let it sit there for 10–15 minutes. Then, rinse it with cool water, and the stain should be gone.

4. Blow Drying

If you’ve got any dried eyeliner or mascara on your dress, a blow dryer can help loosen it.

All you have to do is get it started, hold it at a safer distance, and blow out the stain. After that, simply brush off the loosened particles.

5. Hairspray

When your clean white cloth is stuck with stubborn stains, try to remove them with a non-aerosol hairspray. Just spray a bit on the stain, use a clean cloth to blot, and wash it up.

6. Ice Cubes

When you want to remove lipstick stains from your dress, you need something that can help solidify the oils. As far as my research says, ice cubes are great at it.

Once you gently rub the makeup stain with ice cubes, feel free to use your preferred cleaning method.

7. Soap and Water

This old and classic solution is still relevant for water-based makeup, some oil-free makeup, and light stains.

First, get some liquid laundry detergent and rub it on the stain. A bit of dishwashing liquid will also do the trick. Once you’re done with the rubbing, rinse it with cold water.

8. Detergent Pens and Detergent Wipes

When you want to remove the stain quickly, these two pre-treating options can be really helpful. Simply apply them directly to the stain and wash it in cool water to remove the stain.

Don’t forget to check the product’s instructions before you treat the stain with it.

You can also remove makeup stains from bedding by applying some tips and tricks. 

How to Remove Specific Makeup Stains?

I used to wonder which makeup stain remover I should use depending on the type of fabric or item of clothing. Guess what? I was wrong.

It depends a lot on the type of makeup as well. In fact, using the wrong technique can set the stain on your clothes forever.

removing makeup stains
Removing Makeup Stains

So, here are a few techniques you can try when it comes to removing the following stains:

How to Get Nail Polish Out of Clothes?

  • Step 1: Scraping: Get a spoon or dull knife first to remove excess polish by scraping it. But make sure you’re not damaging the fabric. 
  • Step 2: Applying Acetone:  Take a cotton ball and soak it in acetone. This usually works as a nail polish remover. Now dab the stain, but don’t scrub, as that can spread it. But if the fabric is delicate, go for a non-acetone makeup remover to remove the stain.
  • Step 3: Rinsing: Now rinse the cloth with cold water.

How to Get Lipstick Out of Clothes?

  • Step 1: Blot the Stain: Grab a clean cloth or paper towel and remove the excess lipstick first.
  • Step 2: Using an Oil-Based Remover: Put some oil-based makeup remover on the stain. Afterward, use a soft brush and gently rub the fabric with it.
  • Step 3: Using Alcohol: If it’s a tough stain to remove, put some alcohol on a cotton ball and rub it there. Once you’re done, rinse it with cool water.

How to Get Mascara Out of Clothes?

  • Step 1: Scraping: When the mascara is completely dry, scrape it off if there are any excess flakes. You can use a spoon or a dull knife for the job.
  • Step 2: Use Dish Soap: Put dish soap on the stain in small amounts. You can use laundry detergent as well. Use your finger or a soft brush to work the stain.
  • Step 3: Rub Alcohol: If the stain is still visible, use cotton balls and a bit of alcohol to clean it. Now rinse it with cool water.

How to Get Foundation Out of Clothes?

  • Step 1: Blot the Excess Foundation: Take a clean cloth and blot the excess foundation, if there’s any.
  • Step 2: Use Laundry Detergent: Pick a gentle laundry detergent and apply it to the stain. If you don’t have any laundry detergent at that moment, you can use a dish soap solution.
  • Step 3: Use Pre-Wash Treatment: You can use a pre-wash stain remover for stubborn stains.

How to Get Eyeliner Out of Clothes?

  • Step 1: Blot the Stain: Grab a clean cloth and blot the eyeliner stains gently. Then use some laundry detergent or dish soap on the stain.
  • Step 2: Use Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover: Check if the stains are on the go. If not, use an oil-free eye makeup remover. Then wash it as per the fabric’s care instructions.

The Best Laundry Cycle to Remove Makeup Stains

Using your washing machine is probably considered a common way to remove makeup stains from clothes. This is where the right laundry cycle matters the most. But how are you going to figure that out?

Well, that depends on the following two things:

Type of Fabric

When you’ve got stains on your delicate fabrics, I’d suggest going for a perm press or gentle cycle. Keep the water cool here, as hot water with harsh cycles can ruin the delicate fibers.

But if the fabric is sturdier, there’s no problem selecting a normal cycle with hot or warm water. Just make sure it’s happening as per the care label.

Severity of Stains

If you see the stain is fresh, hit the standard wash cycle. Make sure you’re picking the appropriate water temperature. But if it’s stubborn, pre-treat the stain with a stain remover. And if it’s okay for the fabric, use hot water with a heavy-duty cycle.

How to Remove Makeup Stains in Public

Just imagine yourself walking on the road. Suddenly, someone absent-minded bumped into you and smashed their eyeshadow on your favorite jacket.

Now, what will you do then?

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Grab a clean napkin or tissue and absorb the excess makeup immediately by blotting.
  • Step 2: Dampen a tissue/cloth with water and blot the stain again. Be gentle, and don’t let it spread.
  • Step 3: If the stain is still there, use a bit of liquid soap and keep blotting. A bit of makeup remover will also do the trick.
  • Step 4: Try rinsing the area with a clean but damp cloth.
  • Step 5: If you fail to get makeup out of clothes, use a stain remover pen or wipes on the stain.
  • Step 6: Blot the stained area dry. Use a clean tissue for that.
  • Step 7: Keep repeating the steps till the stain is gone.

Removing Makeup Stains Without Washing

Indeed, washing up is one of the best ways to go when you’re trying to remove makeup stains. But depending on your fabric and type of dress, that’s not always an option.

So, should you never wear makeup again? Definitely not if you’re trying these waterless methods to remove stains from your dress:

  • Makeup wipes: For fresh makeup spills.
  • Rubbing alcohol: For lipstick stains.
  • Shaving cream: For stubborn stains.
  • Hairspray: For lipstick stains.

Additional Tips for Handling Makeup Stains

No matter how much you are used to makeup stains, they’ll always piss you off. But there are a few tips that you might find handy in such a situation, and here they are:

  • Act on the stain as fast as you can. That will make it easier to remove.
  • Blotting is always better than rubbing, as that will prevent spreading.
  • Ensure proper tasting of cleaning products first, as they can lead to discoloration of the fabric.
  • Skip harsh chemicals, excessive scrubbing, and hot water, as these can damage the fabric.
  • Blotting with petroleum jelly can be useful in removing stains.
  • Always pick laundry stain removers that contain enzymes.
  • Pre-treating self-tanner stains with baking soda makes it easy to remove the stains. It can even take care of grease stains.

Wrapping Up

Okay, I admit it!

When you want to remove makeup stains from clothing, things can land in a tougher phase at times. But that’s only when you’re trying the wrong techniques. I hope this blog has fixed that up for you, at least to a certain extent.


From now on, you won’t have to worry about your lipstick stains, eyeliner, nail polish, or foundation stains. And even if you get stuck with a stain in public, this piece of writing has a solution for that too.

So, the next time you wear makeup, make sure to throw your worries in the trash can.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are makeup stains removable?

Of course! At least most of them are but with proper treatment. Though some of the stains need professional attention, the rest can be removed with the right technique.

Can makeup be washed out of clothes?

Indeed, they can be washed out of clothes. But again, that depends on whether proper treatment is being applied. Along with pre-treatment, the stains need the help of the right washing cycle.

Does makeup come off clothes?

Yes, it can easily transfer to clothes. If the makeup has long-lasting properties, the stain can be a bit tough to get rid of.

How do I get makeup out of jeans?

Blot the excess makeup from your jeans and pre-treat it with laundry detergent. Afterward, brush the stain gently and wash as per care instructions. Repeat if the stain is not gone at once.

How do I remove foundation stains from clothes?

Taking action quickly is the key here. Just blot the stain before pre-treating it with dish soap, detergent, or stain remover, and then wash as per instructions.

How do I remove old makeup stains from white clothes?

Start by pre-treating the stain with baking soda. If you don’t have that, use dish soap paste. After applying, let the soda/paste sit. Later on, agitate the stain and wash the cloth. If the first time doesn’t work, repeat the process.

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