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How to get makeup out of clothes

A makeup spill can be a nightmare to clean! But if you act fast and use these tips on how to remove makeup from clothes you can easily get the stain to disappear!


By Cleanipedia Team

flatlay of make up and removing make up from clothes

Key steps to removing makeup from clothes

  1. Remember to act fast, before the stain can set.
  2. Before you put items in the machine, always check the care label on your clothing to determine any specific washing instructions.
  3. Test a small spot of the stain before attempting the whole garment.
  4. Although the stain may not come out after the first wash, persistence is key!

Any woman will know it’s easy to accidentally spill a bit of makeup on your clothes, but not so easy to clean it. This article provides helpful tips on how to remove makeup stains from clothes.

Removing makeup from clothes can be tough but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Every woman has been there: you’re getting ready and drop your blusher all over your favourite skirt – disaster! If you act fast, before the stain can set, your clothing can be saved. Removing makeup from clothes can be easy if you follow this simple guide.

Remember, to achieve the best results, use the correct cleaning solution for the type of stain you have! For example, a mascara stain is an oil-based stain, so it needs to be treated with a product that has grease-removing properties.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

How to get makeup out of clothes: The process

  1. Remove caked-on makeup by gently scraping the area with the plastic spoon or brush away excess powder. Be careful not to rub the stain into the fabric further.
  2. If the stain is fresh, blot with a paper towel until no more makeup can be lifted.
  3. Pour a few drops of the cleaning solution stated for the type of makeup directly onto the spot. If you are using dishwashing liquid or detergent, you can add a couple of drops of water too.
  4. Work the solution into the stain using your thumb and forefinger.
  5. Use the toothbrush to rub the stain in a circular motion, but be careful not to damage your clothes.
  6. Wash the item as normal, following the directions on the care label.
  7. When washed, do not place the clothing in the dryer but allow the garment to dry naturally on a clothesline. If any of the stain remains, heat from the dryer can cause the stain to set making it harder to remove from your clothes on a second attempt.
  8. If the stain has vanished and you’re running short on time you can dry your garment with a quick blast of the hair dryer.

Removing makeup stains from clothes is a repetitive process. So if the makeup hasn’t vanished on the first go, then try again. Your favourite skirt doesn’t need to be put in the bin; persistence, a bit of elbow grease and guidance on how to get makeup off clothes will save your skirt and any other items you accidentally spill makeup on. Remember it’s also a good idea to regularly clean your makeup brushes.

Types of makeup stains

In order to know how to remove makeup from clothes, you need to understand the type of stain you are dealing with. There are two basic types of makeup – oily and non-oily. Eyeshadows, blushers, and other powders are non-oily, whereas products like lipstick or mascara are oily. Each product will have its own method for treating any stains.

How to remove makeup stains: What you'll need

For the best results you should attempt to remove makeup from clothes as quickly as possible. Makeup is generally applied at home so you can usually act instantly.

Before you try to remove makeup from clothes always check the care label on the garment to determine any specific washing instructions for your fabric. Also test a small spot of the stain before cleaning the whole area – you don’t want to make the stain worse or damage your clothing.

What you’ll need:

  • Plastic spoon
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • The cleaning solution appropriate for the type of makeup (see below).

How to get lipstick out of clothes

Follow the steps above and use alcohol or witch hazel as your cleaning solution. Always test on a small area first; once you're satisified, gently blot with a cotton wool ball before rinsing. You can find more tips on how to remove lipstick stains in our other Cleanipedia article.

How to get mascara and eyeliner out of clothes

Mascara or liquid eyeliner can be removed with simple washing-up liquid. Use one part washing-up liquid to two parts cool water and sponge with a clean white cloth before blotting. Repeat until the stain disappears, before sponging with cool water and blotting again.

How to remove foundation from clothes

Use a small amount of laundry detergent like Persil, using your finger to work into the stain.  Wash as normal - and repeat if the stain isn't removed. Avoid drying the clothing until the stain has gone. If this doesn't work, you could try two parts washing-up liquid with one part hydrogen peroxide - but test this on a small area first. Let this sit on the stain for 30 minutes before washing.

We have more advice in our article on how to get rid of foundation stains.

How to get eyeshadow, blusher and powder out of clothes

Thankfully, powder stains should be a little easier to get out of clothes. Simply use a liquid laundry detergent without bleach on the mark before washing as normal. Another alternative is obvious but can be effective - try a gentle make-up remover.

Step by step guide for how to fix broken make-up powder

When it comes to understanding how to fix broken highlighter, eyeshadow and other powder make-up there are five easy steps to follow.

  1. Gather all the piece of your broken make-up powder into the compact, ensuring you gather any bits that may have fallen out.
  2. Crush it all up together (yes, this includes any parts that weren’t originally broken!)
  3. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the make-up powder and allow it to soak it.
  4. Place the cling film over the top of the mixture. This will allow you to press the make-up back into the compact giving you a smooth mixture.
  5. Use the back of a spoon or your finger to press the mixture into the compact.

Originally published