Home Beauty How to Remove Old Makeup Stains from Clothes Like a Pro?

How to Remove Old Makeup Stains from Clothes Like a Pro?

By isha.m
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Remove Old Makeup Stains from Clothes

I didn’t know sighs could’ve been that heavy.

I was looking at my favorite white dress and wanted to wear it so badly.

But damn! That old stain of makeup told me – AHA! NOT TODAY!

All of it sounds a bit relative to you, too.

Looks like I’m not the only one who has failed to remove old makeup stains from clothes.

But is it too late? I don’t think so!

Today I’m about to tell you everything you need to know about cutting off those makeup stains on clothing. And yes, you’re going to get some extra tips as well.

So, let’s start scrolling.

Understanding Makeup Stains: What Makes Them So Stubborn?

Stubborn – this is probably the best word to define old makeup stains on your favorite clothing. Even harder rubbing can’t get rid of makeup stains.

But how do you remove old makeup stains from clothes quickly?

Well, the only thing you need to know is the right removal methods, and you will be all good to go!

But first, you need to understand why they’re so hard to remove and why, with time, they become harder to get rid of.

So, Why Makeup Stains Are Hard to Remove?

Suppose you’re in a rush, applying your makeup like a pro, and, oops, a little mascara lands on your collar. You think, “No big deal, I’ll just wash it off later.”

Fast forward to laundry day, and there it is—that stubborn mascara stain, refusing to budge.

The culprit? Makeup products are often designed to withstand the elements, be it rain, sweat, or a few tears during a particularly emotional movie.

The same durability that keeps your makeup intact all day long is what makes it cling stubbornly to your clothes.

Makeup stains can be a concoction of oils, waxes, pigments, and other long-lasting ingredients. They form a bond with the fabric fibers that even the most robust laundry detergent might struggle to break.

So, the next time you’re battling a makeup stain, know that it’s not you—it’s the makeup’s fault.

How Does the Age of the Stain Affect Its Removal?

With time, the stain’s components penetrate deeply into the fabric’s fiber. That’s why it’s said that even the toughest stain can go away if treated on time.

“The deeper the stain goes, the harder it’ll be for the cleaning agents to reach it.”

Besides, time makes the bond between the stain and the fabric stronger. So, after a certain period, the stain becomes more resistant to any cleaning solution. This is where the need for a more aggressive removal process pops up.

Pre-Treatment Tips: Preparing Your Clothes for Stain Removal

When it comes to getting makeup stains out of clothes, putting them up for laundry without pre-treating lowers the chances of success.

Preparing Your Clothes for Stain Removal
Preparing Clothes for Stain Removal

Here are a few useful tips you can try using for the pre-treatment:

  • Don’t delay in addressing the stain, even if it’s been a while. The longer you wait, the tougher it’ll be to loosen the stain.
  • Understand the type of stain first, whether it’s water-based, protein-based, or oil-based, and choose the cleaning method accordingly.
  • If it’s fresh, blot the stain, not rub it. This will make things worse and potentially spread the stain.
  • Check out the care instructions mentioned on the cloth’s label. Let your local dry cleaner handle that, or go for a specific cleaning agent, as the fabric requires. The same goes for using hot water or cold water.
  • For oil-based makeup stains, such as lipstick and foundation, use oil-based stain remover or dish soap. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before washing it up.
  • Test the cleaning agents before applying. Otherwise, they might lead to discoloration.

Okay, these were just some basic tips. But don’t forget to pick the right stain remover before washing it up.

Hold on! You don’t know how to pick that up? Okay, let’s make it easier then.

How to Choose the Right Stain Remover for Different Makeup Products?

As I said before, you need the right weapon to fight the stain, and this is how you pick it:

Oil-based Makeup

If the stain is from oil-based makeup, such as lipstick and foundation, use dish soap. It works great on this type of stain, just as it does on grease stains.

Letting it sit for 30 minutes should be enough.

As an alternative, you can use laundry stain removers, as they too do the same thing. Just don’t forget to check out the product instructions before using them.

Powdered Makeup

When the source of the stain on your favorite shirt is something like eyeshadow or blush, try using a dry cleaning solvent. It helps a lot with delicate fabrics.

Choose the Right Stain Remover
Choose the Right Stain Remover

Waterproof Makeup

If you’re stuck with pesky stains from mascara or eyeliner, it’s time to let an oil-based makeup remover handle the situation.

This type of makeup remover is good at taking care of several types of stains, including waterproof makeup. As an alternative, you can try micellar water as well.

Home Remedies vs. Commercial Cleaners: What Works Best for Pre-treatment?

This one is a tough choice, as you never know if trying your home remedies on fabric will work or not. But the wrong commercial cleaner can mess with clothes as well. Now the question is which one you’ll want for your cloth’s pre-treatment.

Let’s ease that up with a few pros and cons for both of them:

Home Remedies

Organic, personal, and sometimes surprising!

From baking soda to white vinegar, there’s a plethora of household heroes ready to take on stains. These can be gentle on fabrics and the environment, making them a fantastic go-to for everyday stains.


  • Often readily available (vinegar, baking soda, or dish soap)
  • Comparatively, a cost-effective option
  • Gentler than commercial cleaners
  • Safer to the environment


  • Not always as effective as commercial cleaners
  • Require more knowledge for application

Commercial Cleaners

Commercial stain removers are designed to be stain-busting specialists. They come equipped with powerful enzymes and chemicals tailored to tackle specific types of stains.


  • Formulated for certain types of stains
  • More effective than home remedies
  • Come as ready-to-use
  • Powerful enough to tackle stubborn stains


  • Comparatively expensive
  • Come with harsh chemicals

Top 3 Ways to Remove Old Makeup Stains From Clothes

You’ll find hundreds of people out there who had to throw away their favorite dresses.


Just because they didn’t know how to remove makeup stains from clothes at home.

Don’t worry; you won’t have to be one of them if you simply try these techniques.

Ways to Remove Old Makeup Stains From Clothes
Remove Old Makeup Stains From Clothes

Vinegar and Baking Soda

I bet you’ve got these two in your kitchen. This versatile duo is amazing as natural stain fighters. So, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a blush or lipstick stain on your dress; they can fight it as long as it’s a non-greasy stain. All you have to do is get white vinegar, baking soda, and a spray bottle, and follow these steps.

Step 1: Take some white vinegar and fill the spray bottle with it. Spray the stained area with it till it’s completely saturated.

Step 2: Drop a bit of baking soda on that area and start rubbing the mixture into the cloth. If needed, add some more vinegar.

Step 3: Let it sit for 30 minutes. This will give the mixture time to work on the stain.

Step 4: Rinse the stained area from the back. Use cool water, and keep doing that for a few minutes. This will loosen the stain and help to detach it from the fabric.

Step 5: Respray the stained area again with vinegar. Then get a bucket and fill it up with cool water. Now, mix a few tablespoons of laundry detergent in it along with half a cup of vinegar.

Step 6: Now submerge the dress in there and let it soak overnight. This will loosen any remaining stains on the clothes that will go away after washing the fabric. If the stain is still there after that, repeat the previous steps.

Peroxide and Dish Soap

This combo is an amazing way to get rid of stubborn stains, especially protein-based ones such as foundation or mascara.

To make the peroxide and dish soap technique useful, you need to put together a bunch of things. Yes, I’m talking about dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, a spray bottle, and a clean cloth. Once you put these things together, all you have to do is:

Step 1: Fill the spray bottle with dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Keep the ratio of dish soap at 1/3 and 2/3 for hydrogen peroxide.

Step 2: Now spray the stained area with it till it’s completely saturated. Then put on the gloves, take the clean cloth, and start rubbing the stain gently to loosen it.

Step 3: Let the mixture sit overnight. This will break down the tough stain.

Step 4: After that, rinse the stained area properly. Use cool water here. If the stain is not gone fully, soak it again overnight.

Baking Soda

Seeing oil-based makeup is never fun but a pure nightmare. This is where the baking soda technique comes in handy.

It’s amazingly useful for getting rid of stains like foundation and lipstick. But to try this technique, along with baking soda, you’re going to need dish soap, glycerin, and a spray bottle. Once you’ve got all of these, start with –

Step 1: Put 1 tablespoon of glycerin and dish soap in the spray bottle. Now add one and a half cups of warm water and give it a proper shake.

Step 2: Now keep spraying on the stained area till it’s properly soaked. Leave the solution there for 15 to 20 minutes. This will break down the greasiness of the stain.

Step 3: Put the dress in the washing machine and drop a tablespoon of baking soda in there. This will help absorb the greasy residue, if there’s any.

Step 4: Dry the dress by hanging rather than using a dryer.

Knowing When to Give Up

Probably, you’ve already tried everything from rubbing alcohol onto the stain to rinsing it with hot water. But should you give up already?

Well, if the answer to any of the following questions comes in ‘YES’, I’d say you should give up this time:

  • Is there a possibility of a color change or bleeding?
  • Has the stain gone too deep or become too extensive?
  • Will the cleaning process weaken the fabric?
  • Have you already used harsh chemicals?
  • Is the fabric too delicate for harsh cleaning methods?
  • Does the garment hold high sentimental value?

Wrapping Up

I can feel the disappointment when someone fails to make their favorite garment as good as new again. Yes, I’ve been there too. That’s why, in this blog, I tried to show the easiest and most effective ways to remove old makeup stains from clothes.

The blog also aimed to show you why older stains are so stubborn. Also, it showed which one is better between commercial cleaners and home remedies.

I hope with all these, you can finally say goodbye to that old makeup stain on your clothes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best stain remover for makeup?

It’s better to use any heavy-duty laundry detergent after pre-treating the stain with a stain remover or dish soap. Make sure it’s designed to take care of the stains you’re trying to tackle.

Does vinegar remove makeup stains?

Vinegar can remove stains from light makeup, such as powder makeup. But no expert recommends using it for oil-based or heavy makeup.

Are makeup stains removable?

Most of them are when they’re treated quickly and correctly. But stubborn stains or stains left untreated for a long time can be so permanent that not even the best washer can clean them up.

What is the best stain remover for foundation?

To get the foundation off the clothes, I’d say it’s wiser to use dish soap for the pre-treatment of the stain first. After that, you should use a heavy-duty laundry detergent for a better result. If the first time is not enough for cleaning, repeat the process.

What is the best thing to take makeup off with?

I can’t call any one solution the best, as the combination of the right pre-treatment and washing plays a part. You need to decide which technique suits the stain and the fabric the best.

What do dermatologists recommend for removing makeup?

Dermatologists mostly recommend micellar water, old-based cleansers, and creamy cleansers. These are gentler methods and cause no irritation to the skin.

Can old makeup stains be removed?

Yes, it’s possible, but the success rate depends on a few things, like the type of makeup, the fabric, and how old the stain is.

How to remove old makeup stains from clothes without washing them?

If the cloth is not washable, take a damp cloth and start blotting with it. Later on, use baking soda and dish soap paste to pre-treat the stain. This should loosen the stain.

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