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How to remove mascara stains from your clothes, furniture and carpet

You’re getting ready for a big night out when all of a sudden you fumble the mascara wand. It rolls down your dress and lands on the carpet, leaving behind a trail of mascara as black as midnight. Unfortunately, there’s no fast way to remove mascara stains, but the good news is, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to do it. Check out how our cleaning pros handle this one.

How to remove mascara from clothing

Threads owner, Robert Bell, recommends treating the stain with two common household products. This method is not recommended for silk or wool.

  1. Pre-treat the stain with a laundry detergent of your choice.
  2. Launder in the hottest water the fabric will allow. If the water is not hot enough, the dye in the mascara could spread to other areas. Use your regular detergent and a mild oxygen bleaching agent, such as Oxi Clean, to fully remove the stain. (Note: Test the oxygen bleach first on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it is safe to use for the garment).
  3. If the stain is completely removed, machine dry the garment. If not, repeat the above steps.
  4. If the stain persists, have the garment professionally cleaned.

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How to remove mascara from upholstery

Jack White, vice-president of technical services for Rainbow International, suggests the following for removing mascara from upholstery. This method is not recommended for silk, antique or vintage upholstery.

  1. Always follow directions on the care label of the upholstery.
  2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry solvent.
  3. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.
  4. Repeat until the stain disappears or is no longer absorbed into the cloth.
  5. If the stain remains, mix 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of warm water and sponge the stain with the solution, alternately blotting with a dry towel to remove the stain and the excess liquid. A spotter machine or wet/dry vac is another efficient way to remove water from upholstery.
  6. Rinse detergent from upholstery by alternately sponging area with water and blotting with a dry towel to remove excess.
  7. Blot until moisture is absorbed or use a wet/dry vac or a spotter machine to extract it more quickly.

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How to remove mascara from the carpet

White also suggests the following for removing mascara from a carpet. He does not recommend trying these steps on silk or wool carpets.

  1. Always follow manufacturer’s care instructions.
  2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry solvent.
  3. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.
  4. Repeat until the stain disappears or is no longer absorbed into the cloth.
  5. If the stain remains, mix 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of warm water and sponge the stain with the solution, alternately blotting with a dry towel to remove the stain and the excess liquid. A spotter machine or wet/dry vac is another efficient way to remove water from upholstery.
  6. Rinse detergent from upholstery by alternately sponging area with water and blotting with a dry towel to remove excess.
  7. Blot until moisture is absorbed or use a wet/dry vac or a spotter machine to extract it more quickly.
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