How to Get Makeup Out of Clothes?


Have you ever been caught with lipstick on your collar or an unsightly stain on an otherwise pristinely white blouse? If your answer is yes, keep reading.

Most modern cosmetics companies supposedly use non-toxic, environmentally friendly elements in their products. Still, you can expect even the best, professional makeup to contain water, different types of wax, and a helping of clay, pigments, and oils that can mark your clothes.

This article will look at how to get makeup out of clothes, delivering some useful tips and guidelines on how to remove foundation, mascara, and lipstick from your favorite outfit without ruining it.

How to Get Makeup Out of Clothes?

The first thing to do when presented with a makeup blemish on your clothing, is to take a look at the ingredients of your beauty products.

Identifying specific ingredients goes a long way toward finding the right stain remover for the job. In all cases, follow these guidelines:

 1. Stay Away From Harsh Chemicals

Spot removal chemicals are widely used to get rid of household stains. They include acetic acid, acetone, ammonia, amyl acetate, sodium thiosulfate, and oxalic acid.

Although these products can be useful, be sure to follow the dilution instructions and safety protocols. Better yet, avoid using them altogether when removing makeup stains from things you wear, as many chemicals are poisonous and have been known to cause serious skin and lung irritation.

Incorrect use of harsh chemicals can also cause discoloration or fading of dyed materials. Additionally, it can cause damage to acrylic fibers, plastic compounds, or delicate fabrics.

 2. Don’t Wait for It to Dry

If, despite your best attempts to organize your makeup, you still end up with a stain on your clothes, act quickly to prevent the stain from setting. Once a spill dries out, it’s much harder to get makeup out of clothes.

Methods used to remove dried spots include brushing with a stiff-bristled brush, treating with a flushing fluid, scraping, freezing, tamping, and sponging.

Not all methods are appropriate for use on different types of fabric.

 3. Apply and Blot

For emergency, on-the-spot action, blot excess liquid with paper towels. Then rinse with water as soon as possible. Do not rub or scrub the stain at this stage.

NOTE: A protein-based stain will set if hot water is used when removing makeup stains.

 4. Pre-treat and Wash

Pre-treating stained fabrics is particularly useful when the spot is oily or greasy.

Apply the stain remover agent directly to the spot and work it into the fabric gently. Wash the item as normal to get rid of the stain and residual product.

DID YOU KNOW: Some of the hardest stains to remove from clothes are hot cocoa and blood. Permanent marker, tomato sauce, and grass stains are also difficult to remove.

How to Get Makeup Foundation Out of Clothes?

Different makeup stains call for different stain removal processes. Let’s take a closer look at the most effective methods to try.

Powder Foundation

Powder-based foundation is made from a mixture of talc, pigments, emollients, and binding agents. In some cases, natural or synthetic wax is added.

To remove dry stains from your powder foundation, follow these guidelines:

  1. Shake off any excess powder still visible.
  2. Rinse with warm water from the back of the spot. Try to use water with higher pressure to remove foundation from clothing.
  3. Pre-treat the stain using a good liquid laundry detergent.
  4. Work detergent into the stain with a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to loosen the stain.
  5. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  6. Wash normally at the highest temperature suitable for the fabric.
  7. If the spot persists, repeat from step 3.

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundation marks present their own challenge. These cosmetics are usually water-based but can feature fatty alcohol components which can result in nasty, oily spots on clothing if your top-of-the-line travel makeup bag fails.

If you are wondering how to remove a foundation stain, proceed as follows:

  1. Remove any excess professional makeup from clothes with a clean cloth or paper towel. Be sure not to rub as this will aggravate the smudge. Simply blot gently.
  2. Rinse the item of clothing in warm water to dilute the stain.
  3. Use a liquid laundry detergent and a soft brush to pre-treat. If the blemish is obviously oil-based, dish soap will work equally well.
  4. Wash at the highest permissible temperature as per the item’s cleaning instructions.
  5. Clean makeup sponges after use to prevent recurrence of foundation mishaps.

NOTE: The above mentioned methods for removing foundation are suitable for cotton or poly-blend fabrics. Stains on wool or silk may need to be tended to by professional dry cleaners.

Key Takeaways

When removing stains, steer clear of harsh chemicals and attempt removal as soon as possible. Blot, don’t rub.
Liquid laundry detergent and a soft nylon brush work best for removing powder or liquid foundation spots.
Mascara and other oil-based cosmetics can be removed from clothes with liquid detergent or oil-free makeup remover.
Lipstick stains respond to pre-treatment with a liquid detergent or dish soap.
Additional cleaning suggestions include makeup wipes, rubbing alcohol, shaving cream, and baking soda.

How to Get Mascara Out of Clothes?

Mascara and eyeliners count oils, waxes, and dyes among their ingredients. To make it even more problematic, these beauty products tend to be waterproof.

To remove dark, stubborn mascara stains, follow these steps:

  1. If your mascara is waterproof, try an oil-free makeup remover to lift the spot.
  2. Next, pre-treat the stain with a good liquid laundry detergent.
  3. Wet the smudge thoroughly and then proceed to work the detergent into the spot. A toothbrush works well for this task.
  4. Leave the garment for 20 minutes before rinsing in hot water.
  5. Machine-wash on a warm temperature cycle. Be sure to consult the care instructions on the label.
  6. Repeat from step 2 if the blemish refuses to lift.
DID YOU KNOW: One of the most famous documented stains in human history rests on the Shroud of Turin, which dates back to the Middle Ages or even earlier.

How to Get Lipstick Out of Clothes?

Lipstick stains are notoriously difficult to remove from clothing. This is due to the fact that lipstick is oil-based and packed with bright pigments.

The best way to remove lipstick or lip balm smears from clothing is as follows:

  1. If the stain is heavy, place the item of clothing in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  2. Then, try to remove the excess of the product by scraping it off with a toothpick, dull knife, or the edge of a spoon. Be gentle, to prevent damage to the fabric.
  3. Place a dry, clean cloth on top of the lipstick smudge.
  4. Apply dish soap to another damp cloth and dab the back of the stain with it to get lipstick out of clothes. Rinse the dabbing cloth regularly, to prevent re-distributing the lipstick and exacerbating the problem.
  5. Rinse with warm water to flush the spot.
  6. Pre-treat the area with liquid laundry detergent and a soft nylon brush or toothbrush.
  7. Leave the detergent to work its magic for 20 minutes.
  8. Wash on the warmest possible cycle without rinsing off the liquid detergent.
  9. If the stain persists, repeat the process or try a ready-made spot treatment or stain remover.

General Tips for Getting Makeup Out of Clothes

What gets makeup out of clothes? Apart from the tried-and-tested methods of stain removal featured thus far, other tips include:

Use Hair Spray With a High Alcohol Content

Treat the area with hairspray with a high alcohol content. Allow the spray to dry before blotting with cold water and a paper towel.

Use a Spoon or Plastic Knife

Scrape the top, solid layer of the spatter off with a spoon or dull knife. Then press and rub an ice-cube to the stain and blot with paper towels or a clean cloth.

Use Shaving Cream

Remove foundation from shirt collars and jackets by using foam shaving cream. Dampen the affected area on the clothing item and liberally smear with shaving cream. Rub gently to work through the fibers of the fabric, then leave to sit for a few minutes. Wipe off with cold water and wash on a normal washing cycle.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

Soak a cotton ball or the tip of a clean cloth with high-grade rubbing alcohol. Rub over the stain to remove oily smears from lipstick and other oil-based beauty products.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Stains in Clothes

The abrasive nature of baking soda is perfect for dislodging stubborn particles caught in the fibers of stained fabric. Mix baking soda with water until you get a thick paste. Apply to the spot and allow to dry completely. Rinse the baking soda off to draw the stain away.

Use Makeup Wipes or Instant Stain Remover

Makeup wipes are rather versatile. Keep a stash in your makeup organizer and use it to remove makeup smudges from your clothes. This method works best when applied to fresh spills.

Store-bought detergent pens and wipes are particularly useful in a pinch. Follow instructions to lift the stain effortlessly while on the go.

DID YOU KNOW: Whether you are starting a makeup line or simply wanting to know how to get makeup stains out of clothes, being part of the $80 billion global cosmetics market warrants the knowledge.


You needn’t throw your favorite sweater into the trash because of a makeup stain. Check out the ingredient list of your lipstick, foundation, or mascara before deciding on an appropriate method of spot removal. Act quickly and do not aggravate the blemish with excessive scrubbing. Instead opt for liquid laundry detergent, dish soap, or foam shaving cream to rid yourself of the offending smudge.


Does Coca Cola Remove Stains From Clothes?

Coca Cola can be used to remove mildew and mold. It can also be useful when removing smudges from oil-based beauty products from your clothes. Pour the drink into the washing machine with normal detergent for a thorough clean. Alternatively, pour directly onto the stain and wait 30 minutes for the phosphoric acid in the Cola to lift the spot.

Can Toothpaste Remove Stains?

Toothpaste is said to remove lipstick, ink, and grass stains from clothing. To use, squeeze some toothpaste onto the mark and work into the fibers of the fabric with a toothbrush or soft nylon brush. Repeat if necessary, then rinse and wash the garment as per the care instructions with your usual liquid laundry detergent.

What is a Good Stain Remover?

In the question of how to get makeup out of clothes, store-bought laundry stain removers such as OxiClean and Tide To Go top the list. However, your usual liquid laundry detergent and dish soap can be used successfully, if you follow the correct procedure. Also consider using rubbing alcohol, baking soda, or oil-free makeup remover to do the job.


My eyes rarely take a break from staring at my laptop's screen—I am Big Brother, scanning the web for news and information worth sharing. Full transparency—a substantial chunk of my screentime is also dedicated to watching TV shows, but balance is key, right? Writing is how I choose to share my findings with the world while keeping my love of language and creativity alive.

Latest from Sandra

How to Wash Dog Toys? [Steps to Washing Different Toy Types] Can You Give a Dog Melatonin? [Indications, Dosage, Side Effects] How to Get Makeup Out of Clothes? How to Clean Makeup Sponges [Detailed Guide]

Leave a Reply