How to…Remove Makeup Stains from Clothes

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I’ve ruined way too many of my favourite tops with some stray concealer or liquid eyeliner, so I know how heartbreaking the situation can be. Luckily, between reading too many Martha Stewart articles, getting tips from my mom, and lots of trial and error on my part, I’ve picked up all the tricks and tips you’ll need to remove any makeup stain quickly and easily. Go ahead, learn from my mistakes, it’s what I’m here for.

Act Fast

This is the most important step of any stain. Even if you don’t have time to completely launder the clothing item, make sure you take a few quick pre-treating steps to keep the staining from setting. As soon as you notice the stain, take the item of clothing off. Using a knife or spoon, scoop off any excess makeup you can get off without rubbing the fabric at all. Now, rinse the stain, and if you don’t have time to do anything else, let it soak in a sink full of water. As far as water temperature? As hot as you can get it.

Apply the Antidote

There are lots of stain treatment products on the market, so next time you’re out be sure to pick up a bottle of whichever one you prefer. I personally have tried Shout Ultra and it got 2-day-old hot-fudge stains out of my white coat, so I’d definitely recommend it. Also pick up some ammonia (you can find it at Walmart with the cleaning products), which works great on oily makeup stains, like lipsticks, glosses, and liquid foundation or eye makeup. Squirt on your stain-removing spray (or ammonia) and gentle dap the stain with a clean wet cloth. Add an extra coat of stain-remover and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before washing the garment normally. The stain should be at least 80% removed before you wash it, or it may not come out.

Go Old-School

If you don’t have any ammonia or Shout on hand, you may have to bring out your inner pioneer and use whatever you can find. Anything with a gentle soap in it can be used: shampoo, dish soap, hand soap, face fash, bar soap. I’ve use a bar of Ivory and dish-soap combo many of times that has worked minerals. Apply the soap to the wet garment after it has soaked for a bit in hot water, and try different combinations of what you have. Gentle hand wash it under the warm water with the soap until the stain is mostly out, before washing it normally.

If It’s Too Late

Well, the stain just didn’t come out, now you have limited options. If it is a light tank or layering top, you might be able to get away with wearing it underneath a cardigan or other similar that hides the stain, just don’t forget and take off your sweater. If you can’t layer the clothes, you can try sewing an embellishment like a faux flower, or brooch over the stain, if it’s in an appropriate location. If all else fails, you can turn your soiled shirt into an earth-friendly reusable tote bag.

What Do You Think?

Any other tips for getting makeup out of your clothes? Does this ever happen to you, or am I the only klutz when it comes to getting ready half-asleep at 8 am? Leave a comment and let me know!

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6 Comments
  1. Rosy Rosy says:

    You may also want to try adding 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of regular white vinegar to the last rinse cycle when you’re washing.

    I had stains on the arm of a white jacket and it just wouldn’t come off, even after several washes (I didn’t have any bleach). I added vinegar and the stain was completely gone. You can do this even on colored clothes cycles. It works incredibly well.

  2. Tan Tan says:

    I have found mixing bi-carb soda & vinegar together into a paste & applying to the stain works. Leave the paste on overnight & wash as normal

  3. George George says:

    I have found that both Gojo hand cleaner and Ultra Dawn are extremely effective for removing oil based stains like this. The secret weapon for Sharpe has to be ordered, Amodex.

  4. Marissa Marissa says:

    ” I’ve use a bar of Ivory and dish-soap combo many of times that has worked minerals.” I think you mean “I’ve used a bar of Ivory and dish-soap combo many times that has worked miracles.” Please proofread next time!!! Otherwise, excellent article.

  5. annalisa annalisa says:

    Just re dye the whole entire shirt !

  6. Lovey Lovey says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Now my sister will sure learn this technique .

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