In your war on cosmetic stain removal, have these cleaners or ingredients on hand:
1. Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
2. Hydrogen peroxide
3. Cleaning solvents, such as lighter fluid, turpentine or mineral spirits.
4. Any good all-fabric bleach
5. Chlorine bleach
6. Household ammonia
7. Clean white cloth
Obviously, it is best to attempt to remove the stain as quickly as possible. Fresh stains come out much easier.
Let's begin with lipstick.
Be sure to read the care label on any garment before attempting to remove the stain. You may find your garment to be "dry clean only." Lipstick, because it is an oil based form of makeup, can best be treated with a pre-wash stain remover before attempting to wash the shirt or blouse. Don't rub the stain - it may only drive it in deeper. Blot the stain with a clean white cloth, and rinse in warm water. If the stain is persistent, try applying a good liquid household detergent to the stain, again not rubbing the material.
Often, rubbing alcohol will remove lipstick stains. Dab the stain with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol, then add a small amount of household detergent, and wash the garment per label care instructions.
Household ammonia is another good resource for removing lipstick. First blot the stain with a bit of water to remove as much of the lipstick as possible, then treat with a little ammonia, and rinse and wash per care label instructions. Do not use ammonia on silk or wool! (also be very careful on colour items!)
Also try the following to remove lipstick: Spray a little hairspray on the stain, let stand a few minutes, and then wipe off the hairspray with your white cloth. Rinse, and launder per label care instructions.
If the garment is a high priced guest item, a professional dry cleaner is probably your best choice.
Removing finger nail polish is also fairly easy. Simply use an acetone based fingernail polish remover to remove the stain. You can also place the stain over a small bowl and attach with a rubber band to secure the stain over the bowl. Using a stainless steel spoon, gently drip small amounts of fingernail polish remover over the stain and let the residue drip into the bowl, working it in with your finger. Launder per label care instructions. (be careful to do this with colour items!)
Removing mascara requires different intervention. Because it is oil based, an oil solvent from a dry cleaning establishment works the best. The enzymes in the dry cleaning solvent breaks down the protein glue, which is the substances that attaches the stain to the fabric, and also attacks the stain itself. Let dry, brush off the residue, and launder per care label instructions.
Liquid makeup stains are tough to remove. (base, self-tan lotion, etc.) You can try using colourless dishwashing soap as a removal agent. As liquid makeup is oil based, this works the best for cutting the stain. As liquid makeup is oil-based, the same method is used as in cleaning mascara stains. Brush or blot off any excess, and use a dry cleaning fluid such as K2R Spot Cleaning fluid, or Afta Cleaning Fluid to flush the stain. (Be careful not to use on acetates!) Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
Removing hair dye stains by blotting the stain with isopropyl alcohol until the stain is removed. You can also use turpentine, lighter fluid, and mineral spirits on certain fabrics. Launder or dry clean per care label instructions. Be warned, though - hair dye is one of the toughest stains to remove.
There are many different ways to remove stains from cosmetics. Many of the processes used work as well on carpet and furniture as well as clothing. Determine if your makeup stain is oil based or non-oily, and proceed from there. Always carefully follow any care label instructions and laundering information.