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How to Get Makeup Out
of Sheets and Pillowcases

December 20, 2022

If you’ve ever gone to bed and forgotten to remove your makeup, we feel you. We’ve all done it, and most of the time, everything turns out okay. But sometimes, we end up with terrible makeup stains and smears on our pillows and sheets. And when those stains happen on white bedding, it may seem impossible to remove dark red lipstick stains or streaks of black mascara—unless you know how to get makeup out of sheets like a pro.

Because cosmetics feature so many formulas like liquid, powder, and cream, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for removing cosmetic stains. And the ingredients in those cosmetics add to the problem. Most of the makeup stains you’ll encounter are from water-based or oil-based cosmetics, which can be challenging to remove with only machine-washing.

The next time you forget to remove your makeup or drop a makeup brush on your clean white sheets, use this guide to make cleanup fast and easy.

Tips to Remove Makeup From Bedding

Regardless of whether the makeup stains on your sheets are foundation or lipstick, oil-based or water-based, there are a few common steps for how to get makeup out of bedding:

  • As with most stains, time is of the essence. The sooner you tackle a makeup stain on your bedding, the easier it will be to remove it.
  • Always begin by removing excess makeup gently. Be careful not to spread the stain or drive the makeup further into the fabric.
  • Apply the recommended stain remover to an out-of-the-way spot to check for colorfastness. A spot test is essential when using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on delicate fabrics like silk.
  • Give the cleaning solution enough time to break down the stain before moving to the next step.
  • Never put bedding with makeup stains in a machine dryer until you are sure the stains are removed. The heat from a clothes dryer can set a stain and make it permanent, so air dry to be sure.

These tips for how to get makeup out of sheets and other bedding should cover most of your cosmetic catastrophes. You can even use many of them to get makeup out of clothes. But when you’re treating makeup stains that are particularly oily or bright, you’ll need a more specific approach.

Whether you find powdered foundation stains on your pillowcase or mascara smears on the comforter, we’ve got you covered.

How to Get Foundation Out of Bed Sheets

Foundation may be the most common makeup stain found on bedding, so it’s good to know how to clean up different types of foundation. How you handle a foundation stain will vary because the cosmetic can be formulated as a powder or liquid. Keep in mind that liquid foundation can be water- or oil-based, so know what kind of stain you’re dealing with before you begin.

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Powder Foundation Stain Treatment

  • Blow off excess foundation powder, then scrape away any remaining powder with a butter knife.
  • Use makeup wipes to brush across the stain very gently to loosen the foundation.
  • Massage a drop or two of liquid laundry detergent into the stain.
  • Let the stain remover work on the foundation stain for 10 minutes.

Removing Liquid Foundation Stains

  • Soak the foundation stain with shaving cream.
  • Let the shaving cream break down the foundation stain for two minutes.
  • Rub the shaving cream into the stain with your fingers.
  • Rinse the stained area from the reverse side and check the results.
  • Saturate the stain with rubbing alcohol if the stain still shows.

Once you’ve completed the stain removal step, it’s time to wash and dry the bedding. If the stain is still visible after washing, use a cloth dampened with hydrogen peroxide to dab away the rest. Rinse the stained area with cold water and let the bedding air dry.

How to Get Mascara Out of Sheets

Creating gorgeous eyelashes is a wonderful skill, but knowing how to get makeup out of bedding may be even more wonderful. If you’re a mascara master, you already know mascara comes in waterproof, curling, volumizing, and numerous other versions. While there are more than a handful of mascara formulas, you only need to know one way to take care of mascara stains. Here’s how to get mascara out of a pillowcase or sheets:

  • Remove excess mascara very carefully.
  • Mix warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a bowl.
  • Dampen a microfiber cloth with the soapy water, and blot the mascara stain lightly.
  • Rinse and dampen your cloth often and move to a clean part of the cloth as needed.
  • Spray the mascara stain from the opposite side until the water runs clear.
  • Wash your bedding and let it air dry.

Removing mascara stains on pillowcases and other bedding may seem daunting. But when you have the right tools and know-how for how to get makeup out of bedding, you can save the day (and the sheets)!

How to Remove Lipstick Stains on Sheets and Pillows

When you’re learning how to get makeup out of sheets and pillows, lipstick can be your most challenging foe. Most lipstick and gloss are oil-based and often contain much more oil than other cosmetics—and plenty of dye. The large concentration of oil in lipsticks means you want to use something to cut the grease along with something to dissolve the dye.

Lucky for you, the same natural cleaner and stain remover can handle both jobs, and it’s likely already in your cabinet. Here’s how to get makeup stains off bed sheets and pillowcases using rubbing alcohol or witch hazel:

  • Use a butter knife or other flat-edged utensil to scrape away excess lipstick gently.
  • Dip cotton balls in witch hazel or isopropyl alcohol and dab the lipstick stain with light pressure.
  • Switch to clean cotton balls when the used ones no longer soak up any color.
  • Rinse the stained area from the opposite side of the stain with cold water.
  • Wash your bedding according to the care label and check the stain.
  • Repeat the process above if the stain is still visible.

Resist throwing the sheets in the dryer. Even if the color is completely gone, there could still be some oily residue down in the fabric. Remember, heat from a dryer can set a stain, so you may only get one shot at it. Play it safe and hang the bedding to air dry.

How to Get Makeup Out of a Comforter

Comforters rarely need cleaning as often as sheets and pillowcases. But when your comforter gets makeup stains, you don’t want to wait and risk letting it become permanent. If the stain on your comforter is powder makeup, use the steps above on how to get makeup off sheets that are powder-based.

Use the tips below if the comforter stain is from liquid makeup:

  • Lay the comforter flat on the carpet with a towel between the floor and the stain.
  • Cover the stained area with baking soda and let it absorb the oily makeup for 30 minutes.
  • Brush the baking soda off the stain with a paper towel.
  • Pour enough distilled white vinegar to soak the stain if any oily residue remains.
  • Use a cloth dampened with water to blot up any remaining makeup stain.

If your handy work gets the comforter looking presentable again, then you’re good to go. If the makeup stain still needs work, or the comforter could use a good cleaning, machine wash the comforter. For down comforters, add a half cup of white vinegar to help rinse out the laundry detergent residue.

Now that you know how to get makeup out of sheets, pillowcases, and comforters, you won’t have to worry if you forget to remove your makeup before bed. The next time you get makeup on your bed, you will most likely change the bedding. Why not go ahead and refresh that mattress and wash your pillows? Clean pillows and a fresh mattress help control odors, manage stains, and create a healthier sleeping environment.

What’s Next on Your Cleaning Checklist?

Use this guide when your makeup gets on something it shouldn’t and make makeup stain removal more manageable. And when your housekeeping routine derails or you encounter some particularly stubborn stains, we’ve got your back. If you found these tips helpful, check out our extensive library of helpful housekeeping guides for cleaning, disinfecting, organizing, and so much more.

We want you to have a clean home more often without all the work—and we want to help you enjoy more free time. Whether you do it yourself or let The Maids® handle the dirty work, we’re on a mission to make keeping homes clean easier than ever. We also want your home to be a healthier place to live.

From weekly maid service to seasonal cleaning projects, our healthy approach to cleaning is a part of every residential cleaning service we offer. Get your free online estimate today and discover how The Maids can make a difference in your home.

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