How to get mascara out of clothes

How to get mascara out of clothes

A day can be going perfectly until you look down and realize that you have gotten mascara on your shirt. Mascara is one such item that can seriously stain your shirt, jeans, or even the carpet if you drop the wand. So, if you often apply mascara when putting on makeup, what do you need to do to remove mascara stains from your clothing?

To get mascara out of clothes, use a stain remover stick like Tide-to-Go or a pink Zote detergent soap bar before putting the clothes in the washing machine. Mascara can also be removed from clothing by using a combination of grease-fighting dish soap and a small amount of water. Things like baking soda and vinegar may also remove more stubborn mascara stains.

It is likely to require some elbow grease, but if you work at it, even the most stubborn mascara stains will usually come out of your clothes. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t seem to work the first time. Listed below are several different methods you can use to remove mascara from your clothing.

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Ways to get mascara stains out of clothes

Accidents can happen! If you’ve accidentally dropped your mascara wand onto your clothes and are wondering how to get mascara out of clothes, keep reading! We’ve got some tips for you:

1. Laundry detergent

First, try using the laundry detergent you have in your cupboard for removing mascara. Get the affected garment in water that is as hot as the washing instructions allow. You can then scrub at the spot with whatever detergent is available or use your favorite stain-removing detergent stick (Tide-to-Go, Shout, Wash n’ Rinse, etc.).

If you don’t have the stain-removal stick but have a stain remover spray, use it. Let the stain remover sit for at least 20-30 minutes. Then wash the garment. You can also use a pink detergent soap bar made by Zote (which comes highly recommended by a dry cleaner employee, so it really does work).

If the stain comes out completely, then you can machine wash the piece of clothing. However, if the stain has not completely come out, then you will need to repeat this process several times. Drying a stain can make it permanent, so make sure you inspect your stained (or previously stained) clothes before you put them in a heat drying cycle.

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2. Dish soap

Another route you can take to remove mascara from clothing is dish soap and water. Most dish soaps have grease-fighting agents and since mascara is an oil-based product, a soap such as Palmolive or Dawn will likely be a pretty safe choice.

First, gently blot the affected area with just enough pressure to remove the mascara. Then, using a combination of hot water and a dish soap of your choice, use a soft-bristled brush (like an old toothbrush) to scrub at the spot until it has been worked out. It’s okay if you haven’t managed to get the stain out entirely. If you start to notice it wearing away, then you can throw it into a load of wash with the hottest water possible (see the garment’s tag for washing information).

Now, this may not work the first time you try it. It is advisable to repeat this process three or four times (if necessary) to remove the remaining mascara. Keep working at it until the stain disappears. You can also add a small amount of household ammonia solution to the mix if the stain persists.

Additionally, if you happen to have any drycleaning solvent on hand, give it a try. Gently dab with a little bit of solvent and see if that has any effect. This is a good first option to try if you have managed to get a mascara stain on a piece of your dry-clean-only clothing. IF you are very gentle when working the spot, you may be able to completely work it out of the fabric without damaging your clothes. However, this may take a lot of time and patience before the stain is completely removed.

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3. Baking soda & vinegar

If you’re more interested in using a natural method rather than a bleach solution, there are a few things you can try. Mind you, these materials are not as strong/powerful as bleach or dishwasher detergent, but with sufficient application, they should work just fine.

First, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle some baking soda over the mascara stain and then pour vinegar on top of the stained area.

Once the fizzing has subsided, start working on the spot with a small scrub brush. If this doesn’t work, you can also try using baking soda and a little bit of lemon juice. Do the same as above, but replace vinegar with baking soda. It won’t foam or bubble, so you can just start scrubbing the spot right away. Once you have worked at it for a while, wash the garment with your regular liquid detergent.

As with most of the methods already spoken about, either of these tricks will take a lot of time and likely have to be done multiple times to get the mascara stain completely out. You should try scrubbing it at least two or three times before giving up the fight, as it were.

Remember, do not dry your clothes if you haven’t managed to remove the stain. Doing so will almost always make it permanent.

4. Professional dry cleaning

If you have tried each of these tricks and none of them have worked, bring your stained clothing to a dry cleaner as soon as you can. When you take it in, make sure to point out exactly where the spot is so they can see it and know to pay extra close attention to it. Most dry cleaning stain removal methods are extremely successful, so you should be able to count on getting your clothing back perfectly clean.


Lots of us have been there – You’ve successfully finished applying your makeup without any accidents. Then, the mascara wand slips Resulting in stained fabric and you wondering how to get mascara out of clothes. A mascara accident can happen anytime (and has happened to lots of us!), so it’s good to know how to get the stain out if it does happen.

If you use waterproof mascara, this can be an exceptionally stressful accident! But, with some stain remover, dish soap, and warm water, you’ll likely be able to remove mascara stains from your favorite clothes. For trickier stains, you may need to bring out the fabric-safe bleach or rubbing alcohol. Good luck!

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