Have you ever been getting ready for a day of work and had your makeup brush fall out of your hand? Jumping out of the way to avoid getting makeup on your clothes was a spur of the moment decision but now you have a makeup carpet stain to deal with. 

Until you get liquid foundation, mascara, or liquid eyeliner on your carpet, you haven’t experienced the true horror of makeup stains. I’ll show you how to get makeup out of carpet before you are left with a permanent reminder of what dropping makeup on the carpet can do. 

How To Get Makeup Out Of Carpet 

To get makeup out of carpet, you must act quickly and use a vacuum or a spoon to remove any excess makeup from the area. Then take a cup of cold water, place five drops of liquid detergent, and blot the stain. Avoid using an overabundance of water and soaking the carpet; it makes the stain harder to remove and increases the chance of it spreading. 

Don’t scrub the stain as that can cause it to set. Also, stay away from abrasive cleaners and hot water. 

Expert Guide on How to Remove Makeup Stains from Carpet 

Carpet fibers just love to soak in anything you place on them; therefore, the quicker you can act, the better your chances of recovering your original carpet coloring. 

I always like to choose the least harsh product to remove makeup stains; the last thing you want is a damaged or discolored carpet in addition to a stained carpet! 

General Stain Removal Guidelines 

Removing makeup stains from a carpet requires a few different solutions based on the type of stain you are dealing with. Here are some general stain removal guidelines for carpets. 

  • Act quickly and do not do anything that pushes the stain further into the carpet; for liquid products, use a spoon to grab any excess; for powder products, hold a vacuum over the spill. 
  • If using a commercial carpet cleaner, vinegar solution, or even rubbing alcohol, you may want to use cleaning gloves. 
  • One of the most common mistakes is applying pressure to a stain to get it out. We understand the desire to scrub it out, but hold off on that until you follow the proper steps. 
  • Cold water is your friend when it comes to removing makeup stains. Warm water could cause the stain to spread further across the carpet.
  • Buy yourself a great microfiber cleaning cloth, you will use it for more than just makeup stains; also make sure you have access to cold water to complete this process. 
  • Some products around your house for these situations include nail polish remover, liquid detergent, makeup remover, and hydrogen peroxide. 
  • Always test a cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area to ensure you don’t have issues with discoloration; as great as peroxide or nail polish removers can be there is a chance they could interact incorrectly with your carpet fibers. 

Eye Shadow

Learning how to get eyeshadow out of carpet is something they should teach anyone who buys this product. Eye shadow just seems to be the one that falls on the ground and creates a headache. 

  1. Determine if you are dealing with a liquid or a powder eye shadow stain; the initial step for removal is different. 
    • With a liquid eye shadow spill, take a spoon, place it on the edge of the stain, and lift it up and across to grab as much excess off the carpet.
    • Powder eye shadow should be vacuumed first; use the small attachment on your vacuum and hover it just over the surface of the carpet, do not rub the vacuum back and forth over the stain.
  2. Take a few drops, about a teaspoon of liquid laundry or liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of cold water, and mix into a small container. 
  3. Take a clean cloth and dip a portion of it into the solution you made. 
  4. Gently blot the stain with the solution until the liquid is absorbed. 
  5. Continue this process until the stain starts to dissolve. 
  6. Avoid soaking the carpet and scrubbing, as this will not help colored or dyed cloth return to life. 
  7. If you still struggle to get the makeup out with the detergent, you can repeat the same process with a bit of white vinegar. 

Powdered Makeup (Foundation, Eye Shadow, and Blush)

With powder stains, it’s important to contain the mess; depending on how the excess foundation or blush got on the carpet, it may easily spread to the surrounding area. Act quickly and remember that getting the area overly wet may make the stain removal process longer. 

  1. Use the attachment on your vacuum to clean up the powder makeup on the top layers of the carpet, don’t use a vacuum brush to scrub the makeup; this is just the first step in the process; you will still need a stain remover. 
  2. Mix a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent or dishwashing soap into one cup of cold water. 
  3. Take your clean cloth and gently blot the stain with the detergent and water mix. 
  4. Each time you blot the stain, use a clean area of your cloth, you can use a paper towel, but microfiber cloths tend to do a better job of absorbing the excess makeup. 
  5. Keep repeating this process with your cloth until the stain has completely released from the carpet; using a white cloth may help you to see the clean areas of your cloth. 

Lipstick Stains 

When doing your research for removing lipstick stains from carpets, you will probably see ammonia mentioned as a potential solution. I prefer to avoid ammonia as it can cause carpet discoloration. 

  1. Remove any excess lipstick with a butter knife or spoon, and do not apply pressure or push the lipstick down into the carpet. 
  2. Start with a mixture of liquid laundry detergent and water. About five drops of the detergent in a cup of water should be sufficient. 
  3. Blot the stain (no scrubbing) with a clean corner of your fresh microfiber cloth. 
  4. Continue this process until the stain is gone. 
  5. If you struggle to see any results, you can use a commercial universal carpet stain remover; once spraying on the remover, you can scrub it into the stain a little and let it sit to see if it loosens. 

Mascara and Liquid Eyeliner 

My favorite solution for removing mascara and liquid eyeliner from the carpet is to use an eye makeup remover (especially those convenient wipes!). The eye makeup remover was created specifically for removing eye makeup from a human, but it can work on carpets too. 

  1. Choose an oil free eye makeup remover to use as your cleaning solvent for mascara. 
  2. Place a little eye makeup remover on a white cloth and dip it into the spill, do not scrub. 
  3. If eye makeup remover is not a solution you have or want to use, you can substitute white vinegar. 
  4. Continue the process of blotting and then apply more solution with a clean section of the cloth. 
  5. When all of the mascara and liquid eyeliner are removed from the carpet, take a clean cloth and wash the area with a few drops of liquid dish soap diluted into a cup of water. 

Nail Polish 

The most commonly asked question about nail polish removal is whether or not it’s safe to use a standard nail polish remover or a paint remover on a carpet. 

The answer is a cautious yes. If you are smart about purchasing a dye-free nail polish remover and you test it in an inconspicuous area of the carpet, it could work. (I like the baking soda method better!)

  1. Use a spoon to remove any excess nail polish still sitting on top of the carpet fibers.
  2. Take baking soda and apply it liberally to the area you are working on. 
  3. Next, use ginger ale (standard, not flavored) and pour just a little of it onto the baking soda. 
  4. You will see it start to bubble, and that is great; let it sit for about ten minutes. 
  5. Next, take a clean white cloth and start to blot the mixture pulling up as much of the nail polish as you can. 
  6. When you get all of the nail polish up, run a vacuum over the area to remove any excess baking soda, you can also clean with a soap and water solution when done. 

Old Makeup Stains 

Old makeup creates a stubborn stain because it has soaked into the carpet at this point. 

  1. Take a bit of hydrogen peroxide and place it on a toothbrush. 
  2. Scrub the stain and see if it loosens or begins to lighten in color. 
  3. If you don’t have much luck, you may need a professional to come in and treat this stain; it’s also worth trying a commercial carpet spot-cleaning solution. 

Makeup Stain Removal Hacks to Avoid 

There are a few recommended methods that I have tried to help remove makeup from carpet, and I don’t recommend them with full confidence. When dealing with lighter carpets you have to watch for discoloration and tinting, darker carpets often have issues with stains or dye removal. 

  • WD-40: often recommended to help remove makeup, can leave a residue on the carpet and the smell is often strong to get rid of. 
  • Ammonia: some claim it will work wonders and it doesn’t stain like bleach, but it can cause discoloration. 
  • Colored laundry detergent: if your laundry detergent is a bright blue, make sure you dilute it well before using it to blot clean the carpet, using a strong concentration and dumping it onto the stain can create issues. 
  • Bleach: stay away from bleach, even when working with a white carpet. 

Can makeup stains be removed?

If you have just dropped your makeup brush on the floor, or worse, your toddler found your makeup cabinet, rest assured makeup stains come out of the carpet. I will warn you that the sooner you can act, the quicker this will be. Some of best methods to consider are soap, makeup removal wipes and even hydrogen peroxide. 

Does makeup remover work on carpet?

If your first instinct to remove makeup from your carpet was to use a makeup remover, you are not wrong. However, I will warn you that the active cleaning agent in a makeup remover can cause discoloration on your carpet. Try using rubbing alcohol, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if the makeup stain is in a really obvious area on the carpet. 

Does Dawn remove makeup stains?

Dawn dishwashing detergent is a magic household cleaning solution. If you have stubborn stains caused by makeup don’t hesitate to bring Dawn out. The best way to go about this is to mix Dawn into cold water and put together a small container of a detergent solution. Take a clean cloth and wash away any remaining stain residue.


Britt Olizarowicz