How to Get Foundation Out of Clothes

Whether you are wearing a plain white tee or a brand new yellow dress for the summer, there is nothing worse than putting it on and accidentally getting a giant makeup stain on it. Not only is it a huge eyesore, but it can feel impossible to get out. 

Luckily, there are some ways to remove a foundation stain, so before you toss your favorite shirt in the trash, be sure to give these a try. I have tried them all myself and found them to be the most effective way of getting foundation out of clothes.

Where to Start

The first thing to consider when you notice the stain is to figure out what type of foundation stain it is. There are many forms of foundation and each will need different methods of removal. We’ll get into specifics of how to remove each in the next section. 

A powder stain comes from loose or pressed powder. This can be foundation, bronzer, or even a blush. The makeup of these products are the same. 

A liquid-based foundation is pretty self-explanatory: a liquid. However, there are tons of types of liquid foundation, so find out if it is oil based or oil free liquid foundation to help decipher which removal method will be the most effective. 

Powder Based Foundation Removal

A powder-based foundation can be a large stain. This can come from putting a shirt on or from fall out while applying your makeup. If it is from fall out, the stain can be splotchy and cover almost the entire piece of clothing. If the powder has not rubbed into the piece of clothing yet, try flicking off as much powder as possible. DO NOT RUB. This will only make things worse. Blowing on it may also be an effective removal method. 

Moving forward, if at all possible, stick to waiting until after putting on makeup to put on the outfit you will be wearing to prevent this from happening. 

To remove a powder-based foundation, you will need: 

  1. Liquid soap
  2. Clean Cloth or Sponge
  3. Water
  4. Dry Towel

Pour a bit of liquid soap onto a clean cloth or sponge and rub it onto the stain. Rinse the clean cloth or sponge under water and gently rub the stain in a circular motion. Keep repeating this process until the soap is fully gone. Use the dry towel to get the remaining water out of the piece of clothing. Run it through the wash like normal and the stain should be gone. Simple enough!

Oil Based Liquid Foundation

If you discover that your stain is from oil-based liquid foundation, you will need just a few more items to get the job done. Note that oil-based liquid foundations are listed with oil as the main ingredient and typically come in a cream form or apply extremely thick. There should be a significantly different feeling than typical foundations at the drugstore. 

If you are stuck with an oil-based liquid foundation you will need:

  1. Liquid Dish Soap
  2. Clean Cloth
  3. Laundry Detergent
  4. Cold Water
  5. Spray Bottle (for delicate clothing)
  6. Toothbrush (optional)

Wet the fabric with cold water. Add dish soap to the stain and let it soak in. This will counteract the oil from the foundation. Use the toothbrush or a clean cloth to rub the dish soap around. Blot the remnants off with a dry cloth. 

Make sure to blot and not rub to prevent spreading the stain. Rinse the stained area with cold water again. For more delicate material, use a spray bottle for each time you need cold water. If this is not working or the stain is really bad, try using dishwasher liquid first instead of dish soap. Lastly, wash the piece of clothing like normal. 

Oil-Free Liquid Foundation 

Oil-Free Liquid Foundation is a much different removal process. This is the most common foundation type, so make a mental note to have this all on hand in case you get caught in a pinch. You will need:

  1. Shaving Cream
  2. Rubbing Alcohol
  3. Clean Cloth
  4. Water
  5. Dry Towel

Spray a generous amount of shaving cream on the stain. Let this sit for a few minutes. Grab a clean cloth and rub it into the shaving cream to loosen up the stain. You can add some rubbing alcohol if the stain is not cooperating. Rinse with cold water. If you need to, repeat the steps with warm water instead of cold. Pat the area with a dry towel to get the excess water and wash as normal. 


So there you have it, the best removal methods for each type of foundation stain. Now that you know how to get foundation out of clothes, you will never have to worry about saying goodbye to your favorite top or panicking to pick out a new outfit for your big event. 

If you are out and get a foundation stain on your outfit, try using a makeup wipe. This can work in emergency moments and can get you through the night. Be sure to address the stain when you get home to see if the steps above are necessary. Regardless, toss it in the wash just to be safe.

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