How to Clean Make-Up from Carpet

Different types of make-up will respond to different type of cleaning solutions, and successful removal is dependent on knowing which solution works best for the type of stain you have.

What you will need

  • Cleaning Solution: (safe for all carpet types, but be sure to test it first in an inconspicuous place for colorfastness)
    • Lipstick: Rubbing (Isoprophyl) Alcohol, or paint remover and then dry cleaning fluid (this is safe for wool)
    • Mascara and Eye-liner: ¼ quarter teaspoon of Dawn or Joy dishwashing soap mixed with 1 cup of warm water
    • Liquid Foundation: 3 % hydrogen peroxide solution or non-flammable dry-cleaning solution (such as K2 spot remover or Afta)
    • Blush, Eye Shadow or Powdered Foundation (non-oil based): 5-6 drops of mild laundry detergent mixed with 1 cup of cold water
    • Nail Polish: Non-acetone nail polish remover with no color or fragrance (test remover on hidden spot to be sure it doesn’t lift carpet color or “melt” fibers)
  • White wash cloth (Avoid using wash clothes or towels with colors or prints as the dye may bleed into the carpet, making for another difficult stain.)
  • White paper towels
  • Spray bottle with clean water
  • Plastic Spoon

How to Remove the Stain

  1. Remove any excess or caked-on make-up with a cloth or plastic spoon, being careful not to rub or grind the stain into the fiber.
  2. Pour a small amount of cleaning solution onto the wash cloth, making sure it is damp, but not saturated.
  3. Test a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet with the cleaning solution prior to treating the stain to make sure your carpet tolerates the solution well.
  4. Blot the stain with the cleaning solution using a firm lifting motion. DO NOT rub as this may drive the stain deeper into the carpet.
  5. Repeat until stain is removed or no more color is lifted off on the cloth.
  6. For liquid foundation that has been allowed to dry into the fibers of the carpet, it may be necessary to allow the hydrogen peroxide solution to sit on the stain for an hour or more in order to loosen the stain prior to removal. To do this, apply the hydrogen peroxide to the cloth and allow damped cloth to sit directly on the stain.
  7. If you are using a dry-cleaning solution instead, make sure you read and follow all directions and warnings on the product before using.
  8. Spray the area lightly with clean water from the spray bottle to rinse.
  9. Blot with a clean white cloth to remove any remaining residue.
  10. Place a few squares of paper towel on the wet spot and weigh it down with a book or other heavy item.
  11. Let this sit for a few hours to absorb any excess water.
  12. Remove weight and towels and allow area to air-dry.
  13. When area is completely dry, vacuum thoroughly to restore texture and remove any remaining residue.

Additional Tips and Hints

  • Other Nail Polish Removal Methods
    • Spray with hairspray and blot to remove stain
    • Mix 1 T. Ammonia with 1.4 c. hydrogen peroxide, saturate stain and cover with plastic wrap, set heavy weight on top of plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. In the morning, just rinse with water! (do not use ammonia on natural fiber carpets)
    • For wool carpets, use dry cleaning solvent, blot, rinse with water, and blot to dry
  • Additional Lipstick Removal Methods
    • Apply ivory soap and blot up stain with clean cloth
    • For oil based lipsticks, work Vaseline into the stain with your fingers and scrape up with a spoon. Clean the rest with dawn soap mixed with warm water.
  • Do not saturate the area of the stain with cleaning solution. It can make the stain worse and if you’re using alcohol, it may permeate through to the backing and destroy the latex bond.
  • Never use a cleaning solution that contains lanolin or bleach as this may damage your carpet.
  • Always read and follow all care instructions and warnings provided by the carpet manufacturer.
  • Rugs and carpets with natural fibers and/or certain dyes may require special treatment. Even if you have the slightest doubt, always contact a cleaning professional for advice or service.
  • If you have an oriental rug or if your carpet is wool or silk, it is highly recommended that you have the stain removed professionally. These types of rugs/carpeting are delicate and may not be color fast. Make sure you call a carpet specialist familiar with the type of rug/carpet you have. When in doubt as to the type of material your carpet or Oriental rug is made of, check the tag, or check with the retailer/installer for your carpet.
  • Avoid walking on any damp areas of carpet. Make sure any spots you cleaned are dry before you walk on them (wet carpet fibers attract more dirt than dry, and you may end up with a bigger stain than you bargained for.


  1. Amber says:

    The best thing I have found for getting nail polish off of carpet is window cleaner. It doesn’t even have to be “Windex.” Any window cleaner will do. Just spray it and scrub with a cloth. It takes elbow grease, but it works. I have removed dark purple polish from my sage carpet and green toilet seat cover. Works like a charm!!!! And it doesn’t matter if the polish is still wet or dried for weeks!!!

  2. Wendy says:

    I have a pet who got my daughter’s stage make up from her drama class and it is all over my light gray carpet! Blue, yellow, & red!!! I’m going to try the rubbing alcohol, but if anyone knows of anything better, please let me know! Wish me luck… here goes!

  3. Alex says:

    Does anyone have any idea on how to remove blush from a carpet – besides warm water? :) I would really apprecate it if someone would tell me. Thanks

  4. Melanie says:

    The article says that the best way to remove a blush stain is with six drops of laundry detergent in a cup of cold water. You can also try stain removers that are safe for your carpeting. I would recommend that you vacuum the area first with the vacuum hose, then clean the stain.

  5. Amie says:

    How do I get make-up off my carpet?

  6. Cathy says:

    I just tried the laundry detergent and cold water and it removed all of the powder makeup from my carpet. There was a lot; I basically dumped my makeup on the floor. Thank you for the tip; it worked wonders!

  7. Carol says:

    How do I remove red pigment make up from my carpet? My daughter and her friends were doing makeovers in my living room. One of them spilled the red loose pigment on my light carpet. They tried to clean it with out telling anyone. It looks like they smeared it all over the carpet trying to remove it. They used my bath towels instead of my cleaning towels as well.

  8. Joan says:

    Just had an accident with cream blush on my new nylon wall-to-wall carpet. What works on my face, worked on the carpet. After carefully removing a glob of it sitting on top, and using water and soap detergent, and only making a smear, I grabbed my cold cream I use to remove the same blush from my face. Amazing… you’d never know I made a mess. I really worked the cold cream in and then rinsed with cool clear water, then sponged dry excess water. I checked this several hours later… it’s dry and impossible to detect.

  9. Angel says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just removed mauve blush from my carpeting and it was there for over a week and ground in a bit. Worked GREAT!!!

  10. Rebeca says:

    I dropped my dark-colored eye shadow on my light-colored carpet. We used lighter make up to cover it up; it just made it worse. Then I used the detergent and cold water trick and it worked.

  11. Antoinett says:

    What if it’s an old liquid foundation stain? Any suggestions?

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