Thursday, May 23, 2024
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How to Get Foundation Out of Clothes

Well, the obvious answer would be not to get it into your clothes in the first place. But if you wear foundation, you are bound to get it on shirts, jackets, scarves, bras, sometimes even pants or skirts. It’s inevitable because the foundation gets messy. Putting it on gets messy (my poor carpet over the various years of random places I’ve lived!). It gets all over your sheets, it gets on the light switches and walls. 

Yes, if you don’t wash your hands thoroughly (or even if you do), the stuff still manages to get everywhere.

The alternative is not wearing it at all – but how realistic is that? If you’re anything like me – not very. If you are glamour- and makeup-obsessed, you’re probably wearing foundation. And not just one type either! Most of us layer it on! It doesn’t even have to be the liquid-based kind (although these are the worst culprits due to the oil base). 

Many “Hints from Housewives” and other archaic guides will tell you to just use a little dish soap. Use a toothbrush! Scrub until the stain is gone. But most of us are getting our foundation on our clothes, items, etc. because we are rushed for time as it is. If we had the time to be ever so careful, we wouldn’t continually run into this problem.

I know my most cringe-worthy moments are hugging people – friends, family members, acquaintances, boyfriends – and letting go to step back and realize the damage you have just done to their shirt, collar, shoulder, etc. From the bottom of my heart, I genuinely am sorry – I am sure that was a real pain for you to get out!

What To Do

But enough about the whining and the causes. Let’s talk about how we are going to get the stains out. If you’re fortunate enough to catch it early, you generally can get it out with soap and water, or even makeup remover. If your foundation stain is a lost cause from scrubbing, you CAN try and throw it in the washing machine, but you’ll definitely want to spot treat it first. 

And as much as we hate to say it, the housewives were right – a little dish soap does go a long way, but mix it with the third part of hydrogen peroxide for the best chance of removing it. If you didn’t even realize you had a stain until you were about to throw it in the wash (and if you’re like me, you are way too blissfully hopeful and overconfident in your laundry detergent), you probably just throw it in and hope for the best, right? Well, maybe. 

But if you’re also in a hurry and automatically throw everything in the dryer immediately after your clothes are clean, well, you may be out of luck.

Drying your clothing with foundation stuck to it is probably the worst thing you can do. It just bakes the formula into the fibers and settles there. Depending on the type of clothing, the type of foundation, and how bad the stain is, sometimes a good dry cleaner can get it out – but don’t always expect this to be the case. 

If you’ve had enough trials and tribulations, you may just stop wearing white or light clothing altogether because you are hopeless when it comes to staining (not that I speak from experience, because my black clothes have suffered the same fate!).

But don’t fret – there are still a few other things you can try. Shaving cream has been known to pull foundation from collars, carpet, and bathmats. If that doesn’t work, you can add a bit of alcohol to your shaving cream for a stain removal concoction. 

The Tide To-Go pen has also been a pretty handy dandy tool for getting foundation out. These are all things you want to do to pretreat before you put your soiled laundry in the wash. Some of these pre-treating options may need a few rounds before you see it working, but most people find success here.

We’d go into the stains of powder foundation – but it’s usually pretty easy to get out with a hairdryer (blowing it away from clothing not into clothing) or a damp sponge and water. These formulas typically aren’t oil-based, so there is far less chance of staining.

What’s really important here is that you don’t have to stop wearing foundation, or clothes for that matter. I personally wouldn’t recommend either, but hey – to each their own. What you CAN do is start seeking out foundations that aren’t oil-based. Which is a challenge, but they are out there. 

Or just switch to a powder foundation, which we mentioned before. You may not get the look and the longevity you are hoping for, but you may save some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe.


My basic take is that everything has a cost or an effect. Makeup in general can clog your pores, certain types of clothing can irritate your skin. The sun can cause cancer, the list goes on. You just have to prioritize and come to the realization that things happen and there isn’t always a solution.

That being said, get out there, keep wearing your foundation and keep being gorgeous!

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