How to Get Mascara Out of a Shirt

Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila. I share my 44-year experience as a Beauty Professional in this blog.This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your Aesthetician for your beauty needs.

Messy mascara marks on your favorite shirt can ruin your day. These stubborn stains are known for their tenacity and difficulty to remove. But fear not, this article will guide you through various effective methods to get those pesky mascara stains out of a variety of fabrics.

Let’s bring back the sparkle to your clothes!

Key Takeaways

  • Soap and water, makeup remover wipes, and laundry detergent are effective solutions for removing mascara stains from shirts.
  • Oxygen bleaching agents and alcohol can also be used to dissolve mascara stains on clothing.
  • Different fabrics may require special considerations when removing mascara stains. Heavy fabrics or coats may need additional steps, while carpets and upholstery should be treated with care.
  • It’s important to avoid rubbing the stain and use warm water for laundering to effectively remove mascara stains from shirts.

Understanding Mascara Stains

Mascara is a cosmetic product used to enhance eyelashes, usually in the form of a liquid or cream. It contains pigments and oils that can leave stubborn stains on clothing.

What is mascara?

Mascara is a cosmetic product that boosts the length, thickness, and darkness of eyelashes. It’s available in different types such as waterproof, volume-boosting or lengthening and comes with various applicator brushes to achieve different looks.

Composed primarily of pigments for color, oils for smooth application, and waxes that help it adhere to lashes – mascara enhances your eye makeup look. However, because of these ingredients – particularly the waxes and oils – removing mascara stains from clothing can be tricky business!

Why is it difficult to remove from clothes?

Mascara stains can be particularly tricky to remove from clothes due to their composition. Mascara contains pigments, oils, and waxes that are designed to adhere to your lashes for long-lasting wear.

However, when mascara comes into contact with fabric, it can create stubborn stains that are challenging to eliminate. The oils and waxes in mascara can penetrate the fibers of the fabric quickly, making it difficult for regular washing methods alone to completely remove the stain.

Additionally, waterproof mascaras contain additional ingredients that make them even more resistant to removal. Therefore, it’s crucial to take prompt action when dealing with mascara stains and use effective techniques and cleaning agents specifically designed for removing cosmetic stains from clothing.

Tips for Removing Mascara Stains

To remove mascara stains, try using soap and water or makeup remover wipes.

Soap and water

To remove mascara stains from a shirt, start by using soap and water. Take a bar of stain solution or some liquid dishwashing detergent and mix it with warm water. Then, grab a clean cloth or sponge and gently blot the affected area with the soapy mixture.

Continue doing this until the mascara stain starts to lift from the fabric. Remember to work from the outside edges of the stain towards the center to avoid spreading it further. Rinse out the cloth and repeat as necessary until the stain disappears.

Makeup remover wipes

Makeup remover wipes are a convenient and effective solution for removing mascara stains from clothing. These handy wipes are pre-moistened with gentle cleansing agents that can break down the mascara residue and lift it from the fabric fibers.

Simply take a wipe and gently dab at the stain, being careful not to rub too vigorously as this can spread the stain further. The makeup remover wipes will help dissolve the mascara, making it easier to remove.

Once you have treated the stain with the wipe, follow up by washing the garment as usual to completely remove any remaining residue. Using makeup remover wipes is a quick and hassle-free method for eliminating mascara stains from your favorite shirts or dresses.

Laundry detergent

To remove mascara stains from your shirt, laundry detergent can be an effective solution. Look for a heavy-duty liquid detergent that contains enzymes, as these enzymes help to dissolve the stain.

First, dampen the stained area with cold water and then apply a small amount of the detergent directly onto the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to work in the detergent and let it sit for about 10 minutes before laundering as usual.

The enzymes in the detergent will help break down the mascara stain, making it easier to wash away.

If you don’t have a heavy-duty detergent on hand, you can also try mixing warm water with liquid dishwashing detergent and using a sponge to apply this solution onto the stain. Blotting rather than rubbing is important when dealing with mascara stains to avoid spreading them further into the fabric.

After blotting with dish soap mixture, rinse out any residue thoroughly before washing according to care instructions.

Oxygen bleaching agents

Oxygen bleaching agents are an effective solution for removing mascara stains from your shirt. These agents work by breaking down the stain and lifting it off the fabric. You can find oxygen bleach in laundry detergents or as a separate product.

Simply follow the instructions on the packaging to use it correctly. Oxygen bleaching agents are safe for most fabrics, but always do a spot test before applying them to your entire shirt.

By using oxygen bleach, you can easily get rid of those stubborn mascara stains and keep your clothes looking fresh and clean.


Alcohol can be a useful tool for removing mascara stains from clothing. You can use pure alcohol to blot the stain with a cotton wool disc, which helps to break down and dissolve the mascara.

Another option is to use hairspray, which contains alcohol, to dissolve the stain without having to wash the clothes right away. Just spray it onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before blotting it away.

So remember, when dealing with mascara stains on your clothes, reach for some alcohol as a quick and effective solution.

Special Considerations for Different Fabrics

Heavy fabrics or coats may require additional steps to remove mascara stains. Consider using a pre-treatment stain remover before laundering, and be sure to follow the specific instructions for the fabric type.

Carpets and upholstery can also be tricky to clean, so it’s best to use a mild detergent solution and blot rather than rub the stain.

Heavy fabrics or coats

Removing mascara stains from heavy fabrics or coats can be a bit more challenging due to the thicker material. However, there are still effective methods you can try. One option is to apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly onto the stain and gently rub it in using a soft-bristle brush.

Then, let it sit for about 10 minutes before laundering as usual. Another method is to use an oxygen bleaching agent specifically designed for colored fabrics. Follow the instructions on the packaging for best results.

Remember, always check the care label on your garments before attempting any stain removal techniques to ensure they are compatible with the fabric type and color.


To remove mascara stains from carpet, start by blotting up any excess mascara with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can push it further into the fibers.

Then, mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. Use a clean cloth to gently dab the stain with the soapy water until it begins to lift. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry.

If any residue remains, you can try using rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or sponge to further break down the stain. Remember to always test any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage your carpet’s color or texture.


Removing mascara stains from upholstery can be a bit more challenging than removing them from clothing. To tackle the stain, start by blotting up any excess mascara with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Then, mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid with warm water and use a sponge to gently dab at the stain. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this could damage the fabric. Blot away the soapy residue with a clean, damp cloth and continue until the stain is no longer visible.

Finally, let the upholstery air dry completely before using it again. Remember to test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to your upholstery fabric.

Precautions and Helpful Hints

Avoid rubbing the mascara stain as this can spread it further into the fabric. Instead, gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove excess makeup before treating it.

Read more for additional helpful hints and precautions to effectively remove mascara stains from your favorite shirts.

Avoid rubbing stain

To effectively remove mascara stains from your shirt, it is important to avoid rubbing the stain. Rubbing can actually push the mascara deeper into the fabric, making it even more difficult to remove.

Instead, gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to lift as much of the mascara as possible. This will help prevent the stain from spreading and setting in further.

Remember, quick action is key when dealing with mascara stains!

Use caution with dry clean only fabrics

When dealing with dry clean only fabrics, it is important to exercise caution when attempting to remove mascara stains. These fabrics often require special care and should not be treated in the same way as washable clothes.

Instead of trying DIY methods, it is best to take these garments to a professional cleaner who has experience handling delicate fabrics. They will have the necessary expertise and resources to safely remove the mascara stain without damaging the fabric.

By taking this precaution, you can ensure that your dry clean only items are properly cared for and maintain their quality appearance.

Avoid club soda and salt

Club soda and salt are not recommended for removing mascara stains from clothing. While these ingredients may work well for other types of stains, they can actually make mascara stains worse.

Club soda can cause the stain to spread and salt can create a gritty residue that is difficult to remove. It’s best to avoid using these substances when trying to get mascara out of a shirt.

Instead, opt for other effective methods such as liquid detergent with enzymes, dishwashing detergent mixed with warm water, or blotting the stain with pure alcohol or makeup remover.

Use warm water for laundering

To effectively remove mascara stains from your shirt, it is best to use warm water when laundering. Warm water helps to loosen and dissolve the stain, making it easier to lift from the fabric.

Before washing, check the care label on your shirt to ensure that warm water is suitable for the fabric. Once confirmed, fill a basin or sink with warm water and add your preferred laundry detergent.

Gently agitate the water to create suds before submerging your shirt in the solution. Allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water and air drying or following any additional washing instructions for the garment.


In conclusion, removing mascara stains from a shirt is possible with the right techniques and products. From using liquid dish soap to blotting with alcohol or hairspray, there are various effective methods to tackle this stubborn stain.

Remember to act quickly, especially with waterproof mascara, and choose the method that suits your fabric best for the best results.


1. How can I get mascara out of a shirt?

To get mascara out of a shirt, various effective methods and steps such as washing it off with warm water and detergent or using make-up remover are required.

2. Can waterproof mascara stains be removed from clothing?

Yes, removing waterproof mascara from clothing is possible by applying specific cleaning techniques like using dish soap mixed with warm water.

3. Are there easy ways to remove regular and waterproof mascara from jeans?

Absolutely! Techniques for removing both regular and waterproof mascara stains involve pretreatment with stain removers or laundry soap before washing them off your jeans.

4. Is there any guide on how to remove mascara stains from upholstery and carpets?

Certainly, tips are available for removing not just from clothes but also for getting rid of the stubborn marks in upholstery materials and carpets effectively.

5. What should I do if a fresh Mascara mark appears on my towel?

When you notice fresh mascara stains on towels, tricks like applying make-up remover directly onto the stain followed by rinsing in cold water will help in cleaning up quickly.

How to Get Mascara Out of a Shirt
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