How To Remove Mascara Stains From Clothes Carpet and Upholstery

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Mascara makes our eyelashes look fabulous but it is not a plus on clothes, towels, pillowcases and carpet. Learn how to properly remove the stains. Don't skip any steps or you'll be left with those dreaded mascara smudges!

How To Remove Mascara Stains From Washable Clothes and Linens

All mascaras are formulated from oils, waxes and dyes. When stains appear on washable fabrics, start by treating the oily/waxy component of the stain first with a stain remover like Shout, Zout or Spray 'n' Wash.

Work the product into the stained fabric with a soft bristle brush or your finger. Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes before washing the garment or linens.

If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Wisk, Tide or Persil are brand names) that has enough enzymes to dissolve, lift and remove the stain. After the stain remover or detergent has done its work, give the stain another light scrub with the brush and rinse in hot water. Next, wash the item as usual in the hottest water suitable for the fabric (consult the garment's care label for this information). 

After washing, check to see if any stains remain. Never dry a mascara stained fabric on high heat in a clothes dryer. The stain may be permanently set. If traces of the mascara dye remain, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach are brand names) and cool water.

Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment or stained linen and allow it to soak for at least eight hours or overnight . Check the stain and repeat if necessary.

How to Remove Mascara Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled dry clean only, as soon as possible head to a professional cleaner.

 Point out and identify the stain to help them treat it correctly.  If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Mascara Stains From Carpet

If the mascara wand hits the carpet, lift it away carefully. Don't rub the stain without treating because you may push the stain deeper in the fibers or make the smear larger.

The best stain remover for carpet is a dry cleaning solvent that will dissolve the oily/waxy component. Use a clean white cloth and blot the stain until no more color transfers to the cloth. Blot with a clean cloth dipped in plain water to "rinse" and allow to air dry. Vacuum to lift fibers.

If you don't have a dry cleaning solvent, mix one tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent and one tablespoon household ammonia with two cups of warm water. Dip a clean white cloth or sponge in the solution and blot the stain. Work from the outside edges toward the center to keep the stain from getting bigger.

Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred. It is important to rinse with a cloth dipped in plain cold water because any soapy residue left in the carpet can actually attract soil. Allow to air dry away from direct heat.

How to Remove Mascara Stains From Upholstery

The same stain removal steps used for carpet can be used for upholstery. Take extra care to avoid over saturating the fabric and the cushion underneath. Excess moisture can lead to mold and mildew problems. If the upholstery is silk or vintage, it is best to consult a professional cleaning company.

For more stain removal tips: Stain Removal A to Z