How to Get Foundation Out of White Clothes

Woman putting clothes into dishwasher

Picture this. You have a big day ahead, so you put on your favorite outfit and go to apply your makeup. You start by dipping your makeup brush into your foundation, but you didn't grip tightly enough. The brush slips out of your hand, hitting your white-colored top, and drops down onto your bathroom rug. 

Panic. Your foundation is now soaking into various things it was never supposed to be in contact with. Suddenly the words "long-lasting" flash through your head. It doesn't seem like such a good thing now. 

So, now what? Is it ruined forever? How can you possibly get the foundation out of white clothes? 

Don't worry. We will go over all the dos and don'ts when it comes to removing those difficult makeup stains. 

Powder Stains

The first thing you have to think about is what type of foundation has found its way onto your white clothes. 

Let's begin with how to remove powder foundation. Powder foundation is made up of loose pigments and minerals and, as the name implies, is a dry product. 

So, if it is a powder foundation, avoid the urge to rub it or brush it off immediately. You may just end up pressing more of the product into your clothes. Start by blowing on the area to remove any excess before more of it finds its way into the fibers of your clothes. 

This technique is more successful if you have a blow dryer. It creates a much stronger flow of air, and you can blow out some of the powder. Use the blow dryer on the cool setting. Hold the blow dryer up to the fabric on the opposite side of the stain. Once it's in place, blow the air through the clothes to remove as much as you can. 

After you blow as much as you can out and off, look the area over. If you still have a stain, apply a little makeup remover to your clothes with a cotton pad. Once it's had time to soak, rinse it out and put it in the washer or wash it by hand. You don't want to let the stain set.

Oil-Free Liquid Foundation Stains 

Let's get into something a little trickier, a liquid foundation. There are multiple kinds of liquid foundations, and we're going to start with an oil-free formulation. 

These are foundations like HIDE Premium Foundation that is a water-based product. Our formulation is also transfer-resistant so that it won't rub off of your skin onto your clothes easily. 

If you get an oil-free liquid foundation in an item on white clothes, immediately treat the area. The longer you let a stain sit, the harder it will be to remove it. 

As soon as you notice the stain, for best results, grab shaving cream and rubbing alcohol. Any foam shaving cream brand will work, but make sure it’s not a gel.

First, cover the area with foam shaving cream and allow it to sit for several minutes. Once it has worked its magic,, gently rub the foam into the stain. 

If you have an extra stubborn stain, use a little bit of rubbing alcohol with the shaving cream. After a few minutes, rinse it off with cold water. 

Repeat this process a few times until the stain starts to disappear. When it is breaking down, you can use warm water to rinse it to help remove any product traces. 

Keep in mind that many stains come out best after being rinsed or soaked in cold water, then washed out in warm or hot water. Sometimes warm or hot water first can set the stain instead of helping to remove it.

Finally, run it through the wash to get off any foundation, shaving cream, and alcohol  left behind.

Make sure the stain entirely out before you throw it in the drier. If you dry it, it will completely set any remaining stain, and you will likely never get it out. 

Oil Liquid Foundation Stains

A lot of liquid foundations are oil-based. If the foundation you get in your white clothes is oil-based, you are now a grease fighter. 

The most common grease-fighting household product is dish soap. Dish soap is made for dissolving oil and grease, but it is mild and gentle to use on your clothes. For these reasons, it works well at fighting oil-based makeup stains.

So go to your kitchen and cover the stain with a few drops of dish soap after rinsing it with cold water. Remember, you don't want to rub the area right away because this could set the stain. 

After it's had a few minutes to start breaking the foundation down, get an old toothbrush. Begin scrubbing the stain until you see the foundation lifting out. Rinse and repeat as necessary. However, you don't want to use a toothbrush on super delicate fabrics. Instead, use the back of a spoon to help work out the stain. 

If the stain is still there, though, you can use a mixture that's two-thirds dish soap and one-third hydrogen peroxide. Allow the mixture to settle into the stain for at least 30 minutes. You can also just use laundry detergent if you don't have dish soap. Apply it directly to the stain and let it sit. 

Once it's finished soaking into the stain, blot it out. Use a clean, dry towel or rag to blot the area to help lift out the stain. You want to dab and not rub during this step. After you've lifted out the stain with a towel, gently rinse the area to get out any detergent and makeup still there. 

You may have to repeat these steps a few times to remove the stain altogether. Finally, run the garment through the wash for the finishing touches. 

Removing Foundation Stains Life Hacks 

Now that we've gone over the basics, let's go over a few other hacks that could help you save your white clothes from foundation stains. 

Makeup Wipes

Makeup wipes can remove makeup from more than just your face. If you aren't at home with access to the previously mentioned supplies, but you have makeup wipes, use them. 

The most important thing is not to let the stain set in the fibers of your clothes. Rinse the area with water, and then gently press your makeup wipe onto the stain. Try not to rub the area too much because you don't want to push the product further into the fabric. 

After you pat as much of the foundation out of your clothes, rinse the area again. Makeup wipes can sometimes leave a residue on your clothes that will turn into a noticeable spot. 

Using Bleach

Reach for the bleach as a last result if the above tips don't work. However, you can't use bleach on clothes made out of silk, wool, leather, or spandex. There are also certain synthetic fabrics that you shouldn't use bleach on, so always check the label. 

If your fabric can cope with bleach, first soak the clothes in a water and laundry detergent concoction. After the presoak, put the garment in the washer using equal parts detergent and bleach to remove any remaining foundation. 

Don't ever put bleach directly onto the stain. Since bleach is such a strong chemical, it can quickly eat away at the fabric and ruin it. 

Don't Mix Chemicals

Speaking of chemicals, don't get carried away mixing them to remove a stain. If you combine the wrong things, it can be dangerous for your health, and no clothing item is worth it.

For example, never mix bleach and dish soap. This concoction creates toxic gas fumes that are harmful to breathe in. The gas made is called chloramines, and exposure to these gases can cause nausea, chest pain, wheezing, and many other nasty symptoms. 

So always read the labels and warnings before combining more than one product. 

In Summary

HIDE premium products work great on your skin but are not ideal in your white clothes. However, if you do get our foundation or concealer on your clothes, don't panic. Several things work to get different makeup formulations out of clothes.

Remember to try not to set the stain by rubbing too early or throwing it in the drier before it's totally been removed. Make sure you always read the labels on your clothes and the products you're using to fight the stain to stay safe.



Bleach Mixing Dangers | Washington State Department of Health

Dear Science: How does soap make things clean? | Washington Post

How to Wash White Clothes - Best Way to Bleach Clothing | Good Housekeeping