How to get makeup out of your carpet: Easy methods for tackling mascara, lipstick or foundation stains

Accidentally dropped your favorite product and frantically wondered how to get makeup out of carpet? Don’t panic - there are some simple solutions for getting that stain to lift right out

a composite image of a carpet stained with eyeshadow on the left, and beige carpet in a bedroom with bed and side table, on a beige/pink background.Used to illustrate an article on 'how to get makeup out of carpet'
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

We’ve all been there; you’re happily applying your makeup when suddenly, something slips and falls out of your hand - straight onto your previously immaculate carpet. Most of us will need to know how to get make-up out of the carpet at some point – and luckily, the entire process is pretty straightforward.

When it comes to makeup stains on carpets, the key is to act swiftly. If your makeup is left to set in for hours without being addressed, getting stains out of carpet will be that much trickier, and the likelihood of having to deep clean your carpet to get those pesky stains out is much higher.

But thankfully, no makeup stain is unsalvageable! As with cleaning blood out of your carpet, whether you’ve dropped your beloved foundation, your favorite mascara, or your brightest eyeshadow, there are easy methods to get them out of your carpet without any need to bring in the professionals. We spoke to cleaning pros who shared their expertise on the best way to clean makeup stains from your carpet.

How to get makeup stains out of your carpet

If you need to know how to get makeup out of your carpet, you'll be glad to know that, thankfully, it's a fairly easy job. However, the tools and methods do vary slightly depending on what specific piece of makeup has stained your carpet – so be aware that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. 

"Different types of make-up will require different cleaning methods, and you should also consider the material of your carpet too, as both elements can impact the cleaning method you should be using," Kirsty Barton, cleaning expert at Alternative Flooring, tells us.

"The most important thing though, is to tackle the stain straight away. And if you’re ever unsure, or if you run into a particularly difficult stain, be sure to consult an expert carpet cleaner."

How to get foundation out of the carpet

Foundation is easily spilled or dropped when applying makeup in a hurry. Jack Ogden, flooring expert from ScS explains, "Depending on whether the stain is liquid or powder based, you can get these out of your carpet in different ways. The best thing, again, is to act quickly, especially if it’s a foundation/liquid product stain."

A makeup counter with a womans hand holding a foundation

(Image credit: Getty images)

Liquid foundation:

1. If your stain is liquid foundation, the first course of action is to gently blot it to soak up any excess. Do this with a dry piece of kitchen towel. "Try to be extremely gentle, and avoid rubbing the stain as this will cause it to spread more and insert itself deeper into your carpet," advises Jack.

2. Then create your cleaning mixture. "For foundation, it's best to use a dishwashing detergent mixed with cold water - you only need to use a few drops, advises" Kristopher Ayoub, owner of carpet cleaning services Ayoub N&H

3. Apply this mixture to the stain, and leave for a couple of minutes.

4. After this time, dab at the stain gently with a clean microfiber cloth, to absorb the excess moisture and make-up. "Once the area is clean, use another towel to blot with clean water," Kristopher said, to ensure you don't leave any dishwashing liquid on your carpet.

5. Then, cleaning expert at HomeHow, Joyce French, recommends applying baking soda to the stain, before leaving it overnight. This should absorb more of the foundation if any staining remains.

6. "The next day, vacuum up the baking soda," she says. "Most or all of the stain should come up with the baking soda." If part of the stain remains, repeat the steps above.

Powder foundation:

For powder foundation, Jack advises running over the stain with your best vacuum first. "With powder products such as setting powder, or bronzer, you can usually get rid of the majority of this by hoovering. But, try and stick just to the affected area to avoid spreading it out.

"If there is still some residue left over, this can be easily cleaned in the same way as a liquid stain."

If that's the case, repeat the above steps for liquid foundation on your powder foundation stain.

How to get eyeshadow out of the carpet

person holding eyeshadow palette

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cleaning eyeshadow stains out of carpet requires a similar method to foundation. Again, Jack suggests that vaccuuming beforehand can be useful before blotting at the stain itself.

1. Vaccum up any excess eyeshadow as quickly as possible. Do this carefully, being careful not to spread the product – a more direct vacuum nozzle can be helpful here.

2. If you prefer, you can also try and lift up the excess eyeshadow (especially if the eyeshadow is brightly colored) using a blunt butter knife. 

3. Mix together dish soap with cool water in equal parts, and apply this to the stain using a microfiber cloth. Leave for five minutes.

4. Come back to the stain, and blot at it with your wet microfiber cloth, until it begins to disappear.

5. If the stain remains, repeat the process as many times as needed.

How to get mascara out of carpet

person holding mascara wand and tube

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When addressing mascara stains, Kristopher notes that warm water should be used instead of cold water. You'll also need a few additional products - namely, soap and ammonia (or white vinegar). 

1. Mix together equal parts dish soap and warm water. Apply this to the mascara stain with a clean, wet microfiber cloth or sponge. 

2. Then, Joyce explains, "Blot the stain until the liquid is absorbed. Do this slowly to avoid getting the carpet too wet."

3. If, after this, the stain remains, there are two ways to tackle it. "Mix a tablespoon of ammonia with half a cup of water and sponge the stain with this solution," Joyce adds. "Then, rinse the stain with a cloth dipped in clean water, and blot dry until the liquid is absorbed."

4. The same can also be repeated with a mixture of vinegar and water. Joyce suggests mixing a "teaspoon of white vinegar with one cup of warm water", and repeating the process in step three.

5. Finally, leave the area to dry by opening doors and windows, if possible. When planning how to get makeup out of the carpet, this is always a great trick, post-cleaning.

How to get lipstick out of carpet

tub of red lipstick sat on a white dressing table, with plant in the background

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Once again, blot at the stain with a clean dry paper towel, to get as much of the lipstick up as possible. "Avoid rubbing the stain, as this may push it further into the fibers of the carpet," urges Joyce.

2. Once you've absorbed as much of the stain as possible, apply a dishwashing soap and water solution to the stain and gently blot it with a wet microfiber cloth. 

3. Leave the solution to sit for a couple of minutes, before dabbing at it with your microfiber cloth, or a piece of kitchen towel.

4. Then, cleaning with vinegar once again comes in handy! As a next step, Joyce says to, "Apply (a small amount of) white vinegar to the stain with a damp towel and dab the stain. Apply some more water with a damp sponge." 

5. Then use a clean cloth to blot the water and vinegar up. 

6. After this, she suggests weighing down the now rather wet stain with paper towels, to absorb all excess moisture, along with the remnants of the lipstick.

It's all about gently blotting and dabbing the stain. Do not rub it or scrub it. 

Though these methods should be safe on all carpets, Kirsty explained that you may need to adjust your methods depending on the type of carpet or rug you are treating. For example, she explained that carpets made from natural fibers should be addressed urgently, and shouldn’t be drenched in water.

“Carpets made from natural fibers such as jute, coir, seagrass, and sisal are naturally absorbent, therefore even water could potentially leave a mark – meaning makeup stains can be particularly problematic," she said. "To avoid stains from becoming permanent, clean them up as soon as they occur."

Kristopher also insisted that – whether you are spot cleaning makeup, or learning how to deep clean carpet – you should always be gentle. "Always blot, never rub the area. Rubbing may damage the carpet, especially with natural fiber types such as wool."

person cleaning carpet with a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth, with gloves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Similarly, if you’re unsure whether your carpet type can handle a certain product, or a lot of water, Kristopher suggests testing a small, hidden area out before employing one of the above methods for how to get makeup out of carpet.

"In general, when attempting to remove makeup from carpet, an inconspicuous area should be tested to make sure it doesn't make things worse or create a water mark, which can happen with sisal carpet and some other natural fibers."

Will makeup remover get makeup out of the carpet?

Our makeup removers take the makeup off our face easily enough – so can't we use those same products to remove makeup from our carpets?

While it should work effectively, it’s not generally advised, and is only suitable for stains that aren’t as severe. And even then, experts don’t necessarily overwhelmingly recommend it.

Joyce tells us, "You can use makeup remover to get makeup stains out of a carpet. Simply soak your kitchen towel in the makeup remover, and lightly dab the stained area. This works best for less stubborn makeup stains."

However, Jack shared that in his opinion, it isn’t a great option. "It is not recommended that you use makeup remover to try and dissolve a makeup stain from carpet, as it is designed for the skin," he said. "Plus, it’s important to be mindful of any stain and wear guarantees you had when purchasing your carpet, as using things that the manufacturers don’t suggest will void any cover/guarantees.”

Similarly, there's every chance that your makeup remover could in fact end up staining your carpet as well, particularly if it isn't a clear solution. So use it at your peril!

Can hairspray remove makeup stains?

Using hairspray when working out how to get makeup out of carpet is also possible, but not necessarily advised. 

"It's not recommended that you use hairspray on makeup stains," Jack told woman&home. "Again, always refer to the product manual which will inform you of which products you can safely use on your carpet."

In fact, Kirsty explained that hairspray could even cause long-term damage to your carpets. "Whilst other products, like hairspray, could potentially get the carpet clean, they can often cause distortion to the fibers, and can also leave a sticky residue, which can result in rapid resoiling."

If you do want to try it – knowing the risks – all you need to do is wet your stain with a cloth, spray on a fair amount of hairspray, and dab at the stain with the cloth, until the stain is lifted out.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on