How to Get Makeup Out of Clothes: 8 Genius Solutions

No dry cleaning required.

One truth universally acknowledged is that regardless of your level of hand-eye coordination, makeup spills and smudges are bound to happen. And when they do, you’re left wondering how to get makeup out of clothes, ideally without making the stain look worse. I got eight genius solutions for getting makeup stains out of your clothes fast and easy.

1. Use a Makeup Wipe

Makeup wipes don’t just work on your face–they can actually help get makeup off your clothes. It’s an old backstage trick you can occasionally spot at fashion shows when makeup artists realize they’ve smeared something on themselves while trying to protect the models’ clothes. It’s sneaky and it works. Just grab one and gently blot or rub until the offending makeup stain is lifted away.

A couple of things to remember: This is most effective on a fresh spill that hasn’t had time to dry or set. And you’ve got to spot-test anything that you aren’t sure is colorfast or that might water-spot like silk on an area that doesn’t show before going to town on it—you don’t want to ruin anything delicate. But on things like cotton? Makeup wipes are basically a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for makeup on clothes.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Soak a cotton ball or the tip of a washcloth in rubbing alcohol and then rub it over the makeup stain. Rubbing alcohol is particularly effective at removing lipstick stains, since alcohol can break down oily and waxy stains.

3. Shaving Cream

Who knew shaving cream can lift a stain? Apply a squirt or two the stain and let it sit for ten minutes. During that time, the cream will dissolve the stain. After ten minutes, wipe off the shaving cream with cold water.

4. A Blow Dryer

If you use any kind of loose powder on your face, you know how frustrating it can be if you spill it on your clothes (especially if it’s light powder on dark fabric). Any attempt to wipe it away is met with a smeared mess that’s even more noticeable than the original dots of powder were. So what do you? Grab a blow dryer. Blast the powder off the fabric and you’re good to go.

5. Hairspray

Who knew? Hairspray can actually help you get rid of a tricky lipstick stain. Apply hairspray to the stain and let it dry. Let the hairspray dry and follow up with a wet wipe. Note: this only works if the hairspray contains alcohol. Alcohol-free hairsprays will do nothing for a makeup stain.

6. Ice, Ice Baby

Applying ice cubes is another way to get makeup out of clothes. Grab a cube and rub it vigorously on stain. Ice (and cold water) works to lift a stain, while using hot water during a spot treatment can actually spread the stain. Avoid hot water at all costs when trying to spot treat a minor makeup stain. Save the hot water for when you toss in the washer.

7. Soap and Water

If all you have on hand is soap and water, you can still try to get a makeup stain out. Just don’t grab a paper towel or napkin. Instead, dab cold water on the stain and the teensiest spot of soap. Then, rub the fabric against itself and allow the friction to lift the stain. This is better than using a paper product, as it can flake off and leave the fabric smeared with little white bits, potentially make the stained area look even worse until you’re able to give it a proper washing.

8. Detergent Pens and Detergent Wipes

Designed for treating stains on the go, detergent pens like Tide to Go can provide a quick fix. For the best result, make sure to blot off any excess gunk off your fabric before taking applying the pen to it. When you press the tip into the clothing, the detergent solution will come out. Rub the tip of the detergent pen against the fabric until the stain starts to come off. Then, wipe off any extra solution. Detergent pens are reusable and safe to apply to most fabrics, including those labeled “dry clean only.”

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