Expert Advice

How to Get Foundation Stains Out of Clothes

A foundation stain on white clothing.

Did you have a makeup mishap involving one of your favorite items of clothing? The power of long-lasting makeup is a blessing when it’s on your face, but a curse when it’s on your clothes or bedding.

Luckily, with just a little stain removal know-how, you can say goodbye to those stains for good.

Top Tips to Remove Foundation Stains from Clothes

Act Quickly

While it may be tempting to throw the item into your laundry basket to tackle during your next laundry cycle, the best time to attack that stain is as soon as you notice it. When foundation is left on fabric, the pigments sink further into the fibers and stains become more challenging to remove. With some quick thinking, you can prevent a stubborn stain from setting in.

Use Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Before you reach for a specialist stain removal product, try the same formula that you’d use to remove makeup from your face. Oil-based formulas can make things worse by adding new stains to the mix, so make sure it’s an oil-free eye makeup remover.

An oil-free makeup remover works to dissolve the foundation and loosen any fountain debris from cloth fibers.

Has your stain disaster struck while you’re out of the house? A quick swipe with a makeup wipe, such as No7 Biodegradable Cleansing Wipes, can tide you over until you’re back home.

Leave Delicate Fabrics to the Professionals

Some fabrics don’t respond well to at-home cleaning and stain removal. If you have a silk or wool garment, take it as soon as possible to a dry cleaner instead of trying to tackle it at home. Is your stain on a cotton or poly-blend fabric? Try the steps below, making sure to check the garment’s care label first.

How to Get Liquid Foundation Out of Clothes

Liquid foundation spreads quickly across the fabric, so it’s essential to remove the excess swiftly to keep the affected area as small as possible.

  1. Using a fresh paper towel or a clean cloth, gently blot the surface of the stain to soak up any excess liquid foundation and prevent it from spreading further. Don’t push with force as this could embed the stain further into the garment’s fibers.
  2. Use warm water to rinse the stain.
  3. If the culprit is an oil-free liquid foundation, reach for a laundry detergent or pre-wash stain treatment. If you’re dealing with an oil-based formula, try a few drops of dish soap mixed with a little water. It might sound strange, but this helps to dissolve grease and oil, making the stain easier to remove.
  4. Apply the laundry detergent, pre-wash stain treatment or dish soap to the affected area and gently work it into the fabric with a soft-bristled toothbrush or old cloth. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes (or follow the instructions on the soap/detergent product’s label).
  5. Wash the garment on the warmest temperature that the care label allows. If the stain still hasn’t disappeared, you might need to wash it again to remove all traces of the foundation. Do not put through the dryer until the stain is removed as much as possible as the heat may “seal” in the stain.

How to Get Powder Foundation Out of Clothes

Take care when removing the loose particles of powder foundation, as you can easily spread, smudge or push the foundation further into the fabric.

  1. Holding the item over a sink or bin, shake off as much of the powder as possible – it can help to blow gently on the item to remove the excess from the surface. If you can still see powder on the surface, gently brush it off with a clean toothbrush or a clean mascara spoolie, taking care not to apply pressure and force it further into the fabric.
  2. Holding the fabric stain-side down, run warm water through the stain to push as much out of the cloth fibers as possible.
  3. Pre-treat the stain with a laundry detergent or pre-wash stain treatment. Gently work it into the fabric and leave to sit for 10-20 minutes (or following the instructions on the soap/detergent product).
  4. Put straight into the washing machine and wash on the highest temperature recommended on the label. You might find you need to wash the item twice to completely remove the stain.

No7 Beauty

No7 Beauty

Writer and expert