Clothing inside washing machine

How to get makeup out of clothes

If you or your teen wears makeup, there’s a chance that foundation, mascara or lipstick could spill or stain your clothes. These stains, just like your makeup, can typically be removed when treated correctly. With the right methods and tools, you may be able to remove all types of makeup stains, from mascara to foundation.

Clothes inside a running washing machine Clothes inside a running washing machine

What removes makeup from clothing?

There are many ways to remove makeup from clothing using items you already have in your house. A simple way to remove makeup is to apply detergent or stain treatment to the stain and wash in the warmest water safe for the garment. Alternative methods include using an oil-free makeup remover or wipes, spot remover, soap and water, or baking soda. However, the method you use can change based on the type of makeup stain you are removing. 

Be sure to check the care label on your garment before washing or treating stains.

Detergent icon


You can prepare a soaking solution of laundry detergent, like Swash® Free & Clear¹, and very warm water for your stained garments. Allow the clothing to soak for at least 15 minutes. If needed, you can follow up by machine washing with color-safe bleach if recommended by the item’s care label. Then, air dry the garment to inspect for any remaining stains before you place it in the dryer. Repeat the process and air dry the garment if any stains do remain. If the garment is put in the dryer with stain residue, the stain can further set into the clothes.  


You can also use detergent as a spot treatment by adding detergent directly to the stain. Then, machine wash in the warmest water recommended on the garment’s care label.

Makeup remover icon

Makeup remover

A non-flammable oil-free makeup remover can often remove the stains from both regular and waterproof makeup. Dab the stain with the makeup wipe or a cotton pad dipped in liquid makeup remover. This is especially helpful if the stain is new and has yet to soak into the fabric of your clothing.

Spot remover icon

Spot remover

Spot remover pens or wipes can be helpful for smaller stains and can be carried with you on-the-go. Be sure to blow off any excess makeup sitting on the surface of the fabric, then saturate the stain with the spot remover until it comes off.

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Soap and water

If you’re out of the house and without a spot remover pen or wipe, a simple way to try to remove the stain is by dabbing warm water and a very small amount of soap into the fabric to help lift the stain out of your garment. Avoid using a paper towel or napkin to remove the stain, as it can stain the fabric with the paper’s residue. Be sure to fully wash the item when you’re back home.

Blow dryer icon

Blow dryer

Loose powders from foundation to eyeshadow can sometimes spill from your makeup containers onto your clothes. Wiping them can further spread the stain instead of treating it. You can try using a cool setting on a blow dryer to blow the loose powder off your fabric. Make sure to angle your garment while blow drying to avoid simply blowing the powder across the surface.

Ice icon


By holding an ice cube to the stain, the cold water from the ice can help to remove the stain without spreading it.

Removing makeup from clothes: a step-by-step guide

Whether you’re getting ready for work or your kids are experimenting with makeup, your clothing may be stained by the products you put on your face. However, these stains can usually be removed by diluting the stain, spot treating with a stain remover or detergent, and washing with warm water.

  • Laundry detergent 

  • Clean cloth

  • Water

  • Toothbrush (optional)

Step 1: Remove excess makeup 

If you are trying to get liquid foundation or concealer out of clothes, remove any excess makeup off the surface of the fabric by gently blotting with a clean cloth or paper towel or by using the back of a butter knife or spoon to scrape the makeup off. Be sure to blot the fabric and avoid pushing the liquid deeper into the clothing. To further flush the stain out, you can rinse in water through the back of the stain to dilute it.

If you are removing powder foundation or other powder-based makeup, gently shake or brush off the excess powder instead of blotting it. You can also use a hair dryer to blow the makeup off the clothes.

Step 2: Pretreat

If necessary, pretreat the stain by using a stain remover treatment or a liquid detergent and let the treatment sit on the clothing for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Wash

Machine wash using the warmest cycle recommended by the care label.

Step 4: Air dry 

Air dry the clothes after washing. Avoid placing clothes in the dryer until they are fully dry and free of all stain residue.

Step 5: Repeat (optional) 

If there are still stains remaining on your garment, feel free to repeat the process until you are satisfied.

 Explore Whirlpool® washers

Whirlpool® washers can help you care for your family’s clothing. Browse all front load and top load washers with varying capacities and features to customize the cycle to simplify your washing needs, and help keep your clothes bright and clean.

Clothing hung inside a closet Clothing hung inside a closet

How do you get mascara out of clothes?

Begin by using a dull knife or credit card to gently scrape off the excess makeup and avoid rubbing at the stain. Then gently use a nonflammable makeup wipe to rub the stain and transfer it to a paper towel. Continue this process until no more mascara transfers onto the towel. 

Rinse the stain with hot water and treat it with a laundry detergent or spot treatment. Let the garment sit for 20 minutes before rinsing again. Feel free to repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the result.

How do you get lipstick out of clothes?

Gently remove all excess lipstick with a butter knife and pre-treat by massaging liquid detergent into the stain and let the detergent sit for 15 minutes.

Wash according to your clothes care label either by machine or by hand in the warmest water permitted. Air dry completely and repeat the process if the stain is not fully removed.

If your lipstick-stained clothing is dry clean only, you can try to scrape off any lipstick and blot the stain with a clean paper towel before placing the item in a garment bag. Be sure to take it to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.

Person removing a shirt from a dryer Person removing a shirt from a dryer

How do you get makeup out of white clothes?

You can generally follow the same steps to remove makeup from white or colored clothing. However, if after treatment the stain persists or the clothing is yellowed, you may need to use another spot treatment or liquid chlorine bleach.

If you are treating washable silk or wool, avoid bleaching altogether and repeat the stain treatment process until the stain is removed.

Explore Whirlpool® laundry sets

With the help of Whirlpool® laundry sets, you can take care of your family’s laundry needs with pairs designed to work together. On select models featuring a Pretreat Station, you can soak, scrub and wash all in one spot with a built-in faucet and pretreat brush for quick, easy access to tools that help you get it all done at once.

Discover more laundry tips and advice from Whirlpool brand

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1. Swash® products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.