How to get makeup stains out of clothes: Save your favorite outfit with these simple steps

Many have experienced that moment you're about to leave the house when you spot a makeup stain on your clothes. Removing makeup stains can be tricky business, but TAG24 crafted a lifestyle guide with the best ways to remove pesky makeup markings to save your favorite clothes.

Do you need help getting makeup stains out of clothes? Check out these at-home hacks to save your favorite items from pesky makeup markings.
Do you need help getting makeup stains out of clothes? Check out these at-home hacks to save your favorite items from pesky makeup markings.  © 123rf / Gottalot

While makeup is a wonderful thing, it can easily transfer to your clothes and leave behind pesky and unwanted stain.

This is especially true when you're trying to get dressed in a hurry, or when you're applying makeup after throwing on your outfit for the night. So, how do you get makeup stains out of clothes?

Stains can happen at the most inconvenient of times, but fear not!

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Here are a few simple ways to effectively remove makeup stains from your clothes without much of a fuss.

How to quickly remove makeup stains from clothes

Many makeup items contain fats, oils, waxes, and color pigments that tend to cling to the fibers in clothing, making these stains harder to remove. Sure, makeup stains can be a pesky problem. But thankfully, there are many things you can try at home before splurging on overpriced stain removers.

The general rule of thumb is actually quite simple: For most makeup stains, it helps if you start by dabbing any excess makeup with a paper towel to absorb the product's residual oil and grease.

Pro Tip: Try not to rub the stain because this could spread the product or push it further into the fabric. Instead, carefully dab it.

Bust out the makeup remover

Makeup remover can be used to treat makeup stains.
Makeup remover can be used to treat makeup stains.  © Unsplash/@element5digital

For this method, try pouring a small amount of makeup remover onto a cloth or use a makeup remover white and gently dab the stain, working from the outside inwards. Ideally, the stain will start to fade away slowly. Then, rinse the piece of clothing with cold water, and dab it with a paper towel to dry. For heavier stains, try throwing the item in the washing machine before moving to the next step.

Keep in Mind: To prevent the garment from getting dirtier, make sure the makeup remover is free of oils.

Taking out stains with baking soda

After you've treated the stain worth makeup remover and waited for your clothing to dry out, moisten it again with a little water. After you have done this, apply some baking soda to the stain and rub it gently in until it starts to foam. Let it soak for about an hour. Next, you can simply toss it into the washing machine.

Top Tip: This method is especially recommended for oil-based makeup stains. It's more suitable for white and light-colored fabric that is made of cotton, linen, or wool.

Remove makeup stains with bread

Sometimes, dabbing a makeup stain with bread can effectively remove the color from the stain.
Sometimes, dabbing a makeup stain with bread can effectively remove the color from the stain.  © Unsplash/@color0911

This is an odd one, but hear us out. Try rubbing a piece of bread on the stain. Sometimes, the bread will absorb the makeup and lightly remove the color from the stain. Keep in mind that you'll probably still be able to see the stain to some degree, but it's a solid last resort when your on-hand options are limited.

This method is especially effective for foundation and lipstick stains, or with makeup stains on darker fabric.

Remove makeup stains with ice cubes

Before the stain has a chance to dry on your clothing fully, try to scrape any excess product away. Once you've done this, rub it with an ice cube in a circular motion. In between ice cubes (they melt, of course) dab the fabric lightly with a paper towel. Continue swapping out ice cubes and treating the stain until it's effectively removed.

Ice cubes are especially effective in treating stains from liquid foundation, concealer, and self-tanner.

Remove makeup stains with bile soap

Try treating your makeup-stained clothing with bile soap.
Try treating your makeup-stained clothing with bile soap.  © Unsplash/@mnelen

After dabbing as much of the stain out with a paper towel, moisten it slightly and rub bile soap onto the stain. After soaking the stain in bile soap for about 15 minutes, put the clothes into the washing machine.

This should help to remove color pigments and grease left behind from the makeup.

Remove makeup stains with hairspray

Before treating it with hairspray, any excess makeup should be removed from the clothing with a spoon or by dabbing it with a paper towel. Once this has been done, generously soak the stained area with hairspray.

The alcohol in the spray serves as a solvent and after 10 short minutes of soaking, you should be able to remove the stain by brushing the area with a toothbrush until it's no longer visible.

This is especially useful against lipstick stains, and it's particularly effective when followed by a quick spin in the washing machine.

Hairspray isn't just good for holding a hairstyle. It can also be used to treat makeup stains on clothing.
Hairspray isn't just good for holding a hairstyle. It can also be used to treat makeup stains on clothing.  © Gavin Allanwood / Unsplash

Remove makeup stains with nylon pantyhose

Makeup stains caused by loose powder should not be wiped away with water, as this will embed them further into the fabric. Instead, try blowing them away with a hair dryer!

After a quick blast, briefly shake out the garment and gently brush a pair of nylon pantyhose over the stain, allowing it to absorb the dye particles.

This method is good for removing powdery makeup such as blush, powder foundation, and eye shadow.

Remove makeup stains with shaving cream

Shaving cream foam can be used to treat makeup stains at home.
Shaving cream foam can be used to treat makeup stains at home.  © Unsplash/Manik Roy

First, moisten the stain with water, apply a little shaving cream, and gently massage the product into the cloth. After the foam has done its thing and soaked for about 10 minutes, rinse it off with cold water and let the item dry.

Shaving cream can be used for oily makeup stains from products like concealer and foundation.

How to get makeup stains out of white clothes

Any of the previously mentioned makeup stain removal methods should do the trick on most clothes – even white pieces. That being said, we recommend trying the shaving cream method first on white clothes, as it's effective in its own right and won't dye the clothes in the process.

If the shaving cream method is ineffective, try adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the stain, and then repeat the shaving cream method.

How to get liquid makeup stains out of clothes

Liquid makeup stains should be treated with shaving cream or a laundry detergent and dish soap mixture.
Liquid makeup stains should be treated with shaving cream or a laundry detergent and dish soap mixture.  © Unsplash/@iamhiteshdewasi

The two best ways to get liquid makeup stains out of clothes are as follows:

  • Use the previously mentioned shaving cream and rubbing alcohol method
  • Mix laundry detergent and dish soap and dab it on the stain gently using a microfiber cloth

Try to be extra cautious while treating the stain so don't accidentally spread or intensify it.

If you try the laundry detergent and dish soap method on for size, be sure to dab at it carefully without rubbing the fabric as this could spread it and cause more of a headache.

How to get old makeup stains out of clothes

In the case of older makeup stains on clothes that you've rewashed time and time with hopes that the stain might come out, we suggest one of the following:

  • Pour white vinegar on the stain, then combine equal parts of baking soda and vinegar and apply the mixture.
  • Mix peroxide and soap and apply the solution onto the stain.

These methods can prove incredibly effective at removing old makeup stains from clothes, but it is important to note that once the clothes have been washed in the washing machine, your chances of getting the stain out are much lower.

Make sure that if you stain your clothes with makeup, try one of the above methods for removal before giving the piece of clothing a spin in the washing machine.

How to prevent makeup stains in clothes

Applying makeup with brushes is one way to reduce the chance of accidentally staining your clothes with excess product.
Applying makeup with brushes is one way to reduce the chance of accidentally staining your clothes with excess product.  © 123rf/nyul

To prevent unattractive makeup stains on your favorite blouse, new shirt, or jacket, here are a few tips:

  • Get dressed before you put on makeup
    If you usually stain your clothes while putting them on after applying makeup, try switching up the process and get dressed first. To be safe, you can put a towel over your shoulders when applying your makeup to protect your outfit.


  • Use makeup utensils
    If possible, makeup should be applied with brushes and sponges rather than with your fingers or hands. This helps lessen the likelihood of accidentally grazing your makeup-filled hands across your clothing and accidentally staining them.


  • Use setting sprays
    Such sprays have proven to be an effective way of reducing makeup rub-off. Not only that, but it also keeps your makeup looking fresher for longer.
If that's not a win-win, we don't know what is.

Getting makeup stains out of clothes can be easy

While makeup stains are bound to happen, rest assured knowing many of them can be removed rather easily, saving your favorite clothes from early retirement.

If you find yourself facing the predicament of an accidental makeup stain, try some of our suggested methods to remove it!

Cover photo: 123rf/gottalot

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