How to remove foundation stains on clothes

Foundation stains can ruin an outfit! Don't let this happen to you - read on for tips on removing foundations stains effectively!

Updated 17 September 2019

Open foundation bottle spilling out leaving a foundation stain on fabric

Key steps:

  • The sooner you treat the stain, the easier it'll be to get off.
  • Remove as much as possible with a spoon or cloth before starting, being careful not to rub it in further.
  • Pre-treat with washing detergent and wash as normal. Check this process for other makeup stains.
  • Avoid tumble drying – the high heat could make any remaining stain harder to remove.

Removing foundation stains is one of those problems every woman will have encountered and yet, even when you know how to get rid of foundation stains, it’s still frustrating.

Learning how to get rid of foundation stains on clothes should be the first thing we are taught when we start experimenting with makeup as it’s an inevitable side-effect of oil-based products. Foundation stains, as with all stains, are best treated quickly. However, before you attack the stain, make sure you check the sewn-in care label on your item to determine the proper cleaning method for the fabric. If the material is delicate or listed as ‘dry clean only’, it is best to take your clothing item to a professional cleaner.

If you spill foundation, don’t worry – your clothing can be rescued! Foundation stains can be removed from clothes with the correct strategy and quality cleaning products such as a laundry detergent with stain-removing properties like one from Persil.

How to Remove Foundation Stains:

  1. Liquid foundations will quickly absorb into the fibres of your clothing so start by gently removing any excess product with a blunt knife or spoon. When using the knife, take care to always use it moving away from your body to avoid injury. Gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel, using a lifting motion to sponge out the foundation without smearing it deeper into the fabric. 
  2. Pour a small amount of laundry detergent (such as Persil) onto the affected area and use your fingers to work the solution into the stain as a pre-treatment. When using any cleaning product, always read the instructions to check it is suitable for the fabric and test on a hidden area first.
  3. Wash as normal with Persil and leave to air-dry. If the stain still hasn’t lifted, repeat the whole cleaning process again. Do not tumble dry until the stain has completely gone as placing a stained clothing item under the high heat of a dryer may set the stain more permanently.

How to Remove Powder Foundation Stains:

Powder stains are much easier to remove from clothes, as they are not oil-based like liquid foundations. To remove a powder stain, combine a small amount of liquid laundry detergent with water and work into the stain as before. Wash as normal and hang to air-dry.

You don't only need to remove foundation stains after spills or accidents - it's also an important part of caring for your makeup applicators! Try our tips on washing makeup brushes or cleaning beauty blenders and sponges.
Originally published 19 July 2018