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How to Get Foundation Out of Clothes (9 Easy Ways)

Last Updated: July 2, 2021

Have you ever finished applying your foundation, only to find an oily stain on your t-shirt? Liquid foundations, especially those with an oil-base, are the hardest to remove as they set into fabric fibers easily.

Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to remove these makeup stains. To counter the pigment, you’ll need a grease-fighting agent like dish soap or detergent to break down the product and ensure that no oil marks are left behind. 

Follow these 9 simple methods to wash away foundation stains for good-as-new clothing!

How to Get Foundation Out of Clothes

Pre-Treat and Wash

Starting off with the most common and easiest way to remove stains, apply a pre-treatment product (such as Shout) according to the instructions on the product. Work the product into the stain with your fingers or a soft brush, allow it to sit for 20+ minutes, then wash normally.

If you don’t have a pre-treatment product, we highly recommend buying some. It’s cheap, lasts forever, and can save your garments!

Apply Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you don’t have a pre-treatment, try liquid detergent. This might seem like a no-brainer but, when used in its concentrated form, laundry detergent can help break down any oil-based makeup stains.

Without diluting the laundry detergent, apply a few drops directly onto the stain and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Afterward, add a little bit of water and scrub with a toothbrush. Once the stain is out, rinse the spot with cold water before throwing it in the washing machine.

Note: This method works best with a heavy-duty detergent, such as Tide.

Use Cold Water and Dish Soap

This super-simple method can be done in your kitchen! First, spray a bit of cold water onto the stain. Next, depending on the size of the mark, add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap and let sit for about 5 minutes. 

Once you’ve given the soap a chance to soak in, very gently scrub-in with a toothbrush or even your finger—this will help break down the oils in the make up. Once scrubbed, dab away the soap with a clean paper towel and finally, run the stain once more under cold water. You may need to repeat these steps a few times before the stain fully disappears. 

Use Makeup Remover Wipes 

If you have a package of wipes for late-night make-up removal on hand, you can also use these to scrub away small foundation stains.

This method is best when used right away, as it will prevent the pigment from setting into the clothes. 

Apply Shaving Cream

The foam shaving cream in your bathroom cabinet is another hack for removing foundation stains. Simply spray the foam cream onto the mark, let sit for 3 minutes, rub into the fabric with your fingers, and rinse with cold water. 

Depending on the size of the stain, you may need to repeat these steps several times or rinse with warm water––hotter temperatures may help break down the makeup. Once you’re satisfied with the area, dab dry with a clean towel and toss in the washing machine for a final rinse. 

If you don’t have shaving cream on hand, try substituting with shampoo!

Use a Blow Dryer (for Powder Foundation)

If a powder foundation has spilled onto your clothes, it’s easiest to blow stains away rather than rub in further.

Use your mouth or a hair dryer to gentle blow away foundation marks. If the pigment has already worked its way into the fabric, use any of the other methods to remove. 

Another tip: You can also use a lint roller or piece of tape to lift up the powder foundation that hasn’t set in.

Try Rubbing Alcohol

If you have a particularly stubborn stain, try using rubbing alcohol to scrub it out. Instead of directly applying the product, pour a small amount onto a cotton ball or clean cloth, then gently rub out the foundation stain. 

Note: This can also work well with lipstick stains, since rubbing alcohol easily breaks down waxy substances.

RELATED: How to Clean + Disinfect Used Shoes

Invest In a Stain Stick

If you consider yourself accident-prone, you might try investing in a stain removing pen, like the popular Tide-to-Go stick.

These little stain sticks are a super easy way to remove makeup stains before they set into the fabric. It’s easy to use, convenient to carry for on-the-go messes, and won’t damage or bleach your clothes. Just make sure to use it as soon as you can after you spill!


When it comes to getting foundation out of white or lighter-colored clothes, you’ll have a tougher time. If you’ve tried some methods above with no luck or with trace stains remaining, bring out the bleach!

Mix oxygen-based bleach with cool water (the packaging for your specific product will share how much product and water to use). Submerge your clothing in the mixture and let it soak for at least 6 hours.

When the time is up, check to see if the stain remains. If it’s still there, you’ll want to make a new solution and repeat the process (it may take a few times depending on the severity of the stain). If it’s gone, simply wash as usual!

The Bottom Line

We can all get a little messy when applying our make-up. But no need to worry, our guide has your back, front, or wherever your foundation stain happens to be. 

Next time you drip some foundation onto your favorite pair of jeans, try one of these methods for how to get foundation out of clothes. With grease-fighting products like these on hand, foundation stains don’t have to be the end of the world.