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Five Tips on How To Get Mascara Out of Clothes
If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen when you have on a crisp, white shirt, are headed to an important event, and are already fifteen minutes late. As you hurriedly apply that second coat of mascara, you drop the mascara wand, and it lands on your collar, flips off your pocket, and makes a track of kohl-colored stains down the front of your top.
Besides the fact that it’s annoying, it can be devilishly hard to remove mascara stains from clothing, especially if the stains come from waterproof mascara formulas or contain “fibers.”
Our advice? Don’t cry over makeup stains; it’ll only make your mascara run. Instead, change your shirt, and follow a few simple steps to easily lift the stain from your clothing, upholstery, or other fabrics.
First, a little science lesson about what makes mascara, mascara.
What Is Mascara?
Mascara is a product used on eyelashes to lengthen and thicken them. Longer, thicker lashes help the eyes look wider and make you look more awake.
Because this product sits on your eyelashes, very close to your eyes, it has to contain certain types of ingredients to give it staying power so it doesn’t slide off your lashes, irritate your eyes, or make a mess underneath them.
Inside most traditional mascaras, you’ll find:
- A pigment. Very black and deepest black are favorite shades that require a dark pigment. While carbon black is a common ingredient in many traditional mascaras, we never use it in RMS Beauty mascaras.
Carbon black is a byproduct of coal mining and a known carcinogen and toxin. Instead, we use iron oxides to keep our colors pure and safe.
- Polymers and preservatives. These synthetic ingredients are often derived from petroleum, another coal mining byproduct. They may also be created in a lab with chemicals that can mix together to create formaldehyde, a common ingredient in numerous traditional mascaras.
- Thickening waxes. Waxes help coat the lashes, add volume, and create a fuller look. RMS Beauty’s Straight Up Volumizing Peptide Mascara contains a blend of candelilla wax, shea butter, and carnauba wax to help coat lashes. We also include a super-intense pro-peptide to nourish lashes and stimulate lash health.
The ingredients in mascara can make it hard to remove stains, but with a little effort, you can lift it and save your clothes. However, plant-based ingredients are generally easier to remove than synthetic ingredients. Waterproof mascara formulas usually contain silicone, which is very difficult to remove from virtually anything (including your lashes).
Waterproof mascara requires makeup remover to remove from your lashes and a lot of work to attempt to remove from your clothes. Instead of choosing a waterproof formula, choose a formula with plant-based, natural ingredients that naturally bind to your lashes for a lasting effect.
Additionally, mascara with “fibers” that are made to help your lashes look longer can wreak havoc on a shirt or skirt. Made with nylon, silk, or rayon fibers that attach to your lashes when you apply the mascara, these are notorious for falling out and adhering to your clothing.
Whether you’ve gotten waterproof, fiber-filled, or any other type of mascara on your shirt, we’ve got some solutions to help you remove the stain.
How Can I Remove Mascara From Clothes?
The most successful stain removals happen fast. In other words, if you have time, treat the stain immediately. If you’re in a rush, try treating the stain with one of the suggested cleaning agents below and laundering it later.
1. Soap and Water
You’ve got it nearby, and if you’re at work or in a rush, soap and water applied quickly to a stain will likely be enough to lift it out of your clothes. This also works best for mascara smudge stains instead of full-blown, heavy color stains.
Use a cotton ball or paper towel to gently rub the smudge off of your clothing.
2. Makeup Remover Wipes
Dabbing the affected area with a makeup remover wipe seems like a sure way to remove a stain, but the problem is that the wipe may contain ingredients that would stain your garment. To safely use this method, place the stained side of the fabric face down on a clean white cloth or paper towel.
Use a makeup remover wipe to press the stain gently into the cloth. Once the stain is on the cloth, follow up by treating the stain with a mild detergent or stain spray and then laundering.
3. Laundry Detergent
Stubborn stains may not respond to a makeup remover wipe, or the garment's care label may advise against an oil-based solvent. If that’s the case, try laundry detergent.
Make a paste with warm water and powdered laundry detergent. Apply the paste directly to the stain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Toss the garment in the washing machine and wash with cold water.
You can use liquid detergent for this method, too. Skip the water and apply liquid detergent to the stained area, and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
If the stain persists, you can repeat this process several more times until the stain dissolves completely.
4. For Heavy Fabrics or Coats
Some fabrics require a little scrubbing action, especially if they are heavy, waterproof type outer garments. For this method, you’ll need a little hot water, a toothbrush or other small scrub brush with soft bristles, and a cleaning solution of your choice (as long as it is safe for the fabric).
With the garment laid over a clean white cloth or paper towel, spray a small amount of cleaning solution on the stain. Using the brush, gently rub the area until the stain begins to lift. Use clean, cool water to wipe away the stain.
5. For Carpet
Technically not your clothes, but let’s face it; the mascara wand falls to the floor, doesn’t it? If mascara has left a nice tattoo on your creme-colored carpet, here’s a solution to remove it.
Make a solution of ¼ cup dish soap to one cup of warm water. Use a sponge to blot the stain out. Avoid scrubbing, as this can make the stain spread. If the stain persists, make an ammonia solution with a tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water. Blot the carpet with this solution to lift the stain.
No matter what kind of stain you try to remove, always use cold water first. Hot water can cause a stain to set, so use it as a last resort.
Also, always check the care label to ensure the fabric can be laundered. If it is an item that needs dry cleaning, you’ll need professional help to get the mascara off your clothing.
Other helpful hints:
- Avoid using hairspray. This old wives tale has ruined many dresses and shirts. Hairspray can contain ingredients that are impossible to remove from clothing or can damage delicate fabrics.
- Skip the shaving cream. Pre-treatment with shaving cream is useless and may even worsen your stain. Shave gels, for instance, can include dyes that can leave an even bigger stain on your shirt.
- Use a pillowcase. If you don’t have a laundry bag, use a pillowcase for washing your stained article of clothing. Put your item in the pillowcase and loosely tie it before tossing it in the washer. This way, you’ll remember to check to see if the stain has been removed before tossing it into the dryer, where the stain could be permanently set in.
- Bleach. It can seem like a no-brainer if you’ve gotten mascara on a white item, but using chlorine bleach won’t just remove the stain; it can leave a yellow burn mark on the clothing that will permanently damage it.
Instead, try non-chlorine, color-safe bleach if the care label says it is safe to use.
If you’ve tried all the methods above and still can’t remove the stain, try seeking a local dry cleaner for assistance. They may have a professional-grade stain removal product that can remove the stain and spare the article of clothing.
Go Green and Stay Clean
When you use greener, cleaner cosmetics, stains are easier to remove. At RMS Beauty, our commitment to using the cleanest, greenest ingredients has set the bar for the clean beauty industry.
Our products, like our long-lasting mascaras, outperform traditional beauty counterparts and are made with high-quality ingredients that are safe for your eyes and lashes and don’t require a team of scientists to get out of your clothes. Want to learn more about our products and learn how to find the perfect shades to suit your skin? Check out our guide.
A bit clumsy when it comes to makeup application? That’s okay. RMS Beauty has you covered with products that keep you looking fabulous and don’t include weird, harsh ingredients that can harm your body or ruin your clothes.