Does Mascara Come Out of Clothes? What’s the Best Way Without Ruining Your Top?

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You are getting ready for a night out, and suddenly your mascara wand falls on your dress and rolls all over the carpet. Mascara is everywhere! What do you do? You try to use water repeatedly, but it doesn’t come off. 

Mascara looks fabulous on our eyelashes but not very good on carpets, clothes, or towels.

Does mascara come out of clothes?

You can’t quickly remove mascara stains, but there is a good chance the stain will eventually come off with a little work.

This article will shed light on how to remove not only stubborn mascara but even hard-to-remove waterproof mascara. All you will require is basic cleaning supplies found around your home.

So let’s look at the various ways you can clean mascara off your clothes.


Does Mascara Come Out Of Clothes? What’s the Best Way to Do It?

There are a bunch of ways to tackle your frustrating mascara stain. The best way to do it depends at least somewhat on what type of material your clothing is made of.

To start with, if you can see clumpy chunks of mascara on your clothing, use a toothpick, knife, or other utensils to get off any chunks that you can. That will make it easier to get the rest off with a cleaner.

1. Using Rubbing Alcohol

Soak cotton balls in rubbing alcohol, then douse the stain with any liquid while fresh and spread it to other areas.

Once you have removed a good amount of the mascara, pour a liquid cleaning agent. You can also substitute with sanitizers. Just be sure to use clear sanitizers.

Using sanitizers made for kids might leave a stain as they come with sparkles or dye.

2. Make-up Remover

Make-up removers help remove make-up from your face; they can also help remove mascara stains from your clothes. If the stain is still fresh, this method might work best. Soak q-tips or cotton balls in your make-up remover like Micellar water.

Dab the affected area gently. Be careful not to rub.

Repeat this process until the mascara is no longer coming off. 

If the stain is on a heavy cloth, it is unlikely that it penetrated to the other side. However, if it is light clothing, it has likely gotten all the way through.

So turn it inside out, pour some make-up removers at the back, and gently dab again.

If the stain is on a heavy cloth, it is unlikely that it penetrated to the other side. However, if it is light clothing, it has likely gotten all the way through.

As a precaution, you can also put some paper towels or a rag at the front of the stain when pouring the make-up remover. The aim is to prevent the mascara stain from spreading on the cloth and the paper towel.

As stated earlier, this method works if the stain is fresh. If not, try the other methods we provided.

3. Dish Soap

Popular dish soaps like Joy or Dawn could also be of use. They’re great at removing color, they can even take out hair dye.

There are several ways to go about this: The first involves pouring a generous amount of the dish soap directly on the stain and then using your fingers or toothbrush to rub the area gently.

You can mix the dish soap with a bit of water, dip a cloth or sponge on the stain, then dab gently on the stain.

4. Stain Removers

Stain removers work just like dish soap works. First, spray the stain remover on the affected region, and then using your fingers or a toothbrush, gently work it. Let it sit for a couple of hours before washing it off.

We recommend harsh removers instead of dish soap if it is a tough stain. We can suggest an example of a tough stain remover is Spray n' Wash .

Resolve Spray 'n Wash Laundry Stain Remover 22 Ounce, (Pack of 2)
  • Spray n Wash Trigger is specially...
  • Penetrate and eliminate the toughest...
  • Spray n Wash is safe for all colorfast...

5. Liquid Detergent

Liquid detergents are another way to go. For this, you would pour a generous amount on the stain and let it sit for a while before washing it off.

Even though it sometimes works well, we recommend going for the other methods mentioned above before resorting to liquid detergents. 

6. Bleach

Use bleach if the above options don’t work because the stain is tough. Bleach works on the adamant stains, but they have a significant drawback.

Using them harms your clothes and is generally bad for the environment if you have to use them as a last resort. 

And of course, some clothing will be ruined with bleach, so tread carefully here and read your label.

7. Shaving Cream

This cleaning agent is not as common as expected, but the result might surprise you. Just put some of it on the affected area, leave it for a while, then clean it with cold running water.

8. Hair Spray

Hair is another unlikely cleaning agent that might come to your rescue. Not all hairsprays are helpful, only a specific kind will work. If your hairspray has high alcohol content, you are in luck. When it comes to using it, treat it like rubbing alcohol. 

There is also another way to go about with hair spray. First, spray a good amount on the stained area, then let it dry. Once thoroughly dried, use a damp cloth or a wet wipe to wipe it off.

9. Hydrogen peroxide 

Hydrogen peroxide is used just as rubbing alcohol is used. However, it is a little stronger than rubbing alcohol so use it cautiously.

Things You Should Not Use and Things Not Do

1. Rub the Stain

The urge to rub the stain is always tempting, whether the stain is lipstick, mascara, or other makeup. It might look like rubbing could help solve the problem, but you’re mistaken. Rubbing makes it worse! It makes the stain spread even though it looks like it’s starting to lighten.

2. Soak in Water

In case of a stain, most people usually opt quickly for water; however, this might not be the best idea. It is a terrible idea when the stain is especially with mascara stains.

Most mascaras, if not all, have wax or oil, both of which are hydrophobic. Water might even make the problem worse by spreading the dye.


It’s a good idea to test your cleaner out in an inconspicuous location of your fabric if you’ve got a stain on it. Of course, it’s already stained, so if you can’t get the stain out, you’ll probably be tossing the garment anyway

You should also be familiar with the fabric you are dealing with; know how much effort you should put in. For instance, silk requires less pressure than cotton. Knowing your fabric also helps you know which products stand a chance of removing the stain.

Mascara stains can be tricky, so try scraping first before treating it for whatever method you are going for. Use a toothpick or your fingernail; if the stain is more prominent, you can use a blunt knife. Scraping is essential as it also helps to prevent the spreading of the mascara.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).