How to Remove Makeup Stains From Silk

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If you have gotten cosmetic stains on a beautiful silk item, you may believe that you have ruined the piece of clothing, since silk is hard to wash and can be damaged by most detergents and other conventional cleaning methods. However, in many cases makeup stains can be removed easily and without fuss from silk with a few surprising agents. Of course, be sure to test all cleaning methods on a small, unnoticeable part of the fabric before attacking the stain so that you can make an educated decision about whether to treat the stain yourself or take the clothing to a professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, dry rags
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Household ammonia
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Identify the type of makeup stain that you are dealing with. Different types of cosmetics come out better with different cleaning agents. Generally you will have foundation, mascara or eyeliner, or lipstick.

Blot up the stain if possible. If the stain is fresh or the makeup is caked on, blot and scrape as much of the residue off as possible. Use a light touch to avoid spreading the stain or grinding it into the fabric.

Treat lipstick with denatured rubbing alcohol. Pour a small amount of the rubbing alcohol onto a cotton swab or cotton ball. Apply it to the stain. The stain may lift right out onto the cotton ball. If not, you can rub the stain in a gentle, circular motion using the toothbrush and then continue to blot until it comes out.

Remove liquid foundation, eyeliner and mascara with hydrogen peroxide. This can bleach some materials, so be sure to test before you start cleaning! Apply the hydrogen peroxide to a cotton swab and apply it to the eyeliner and mascara stains. The tip of the cotton swab should turn dark as the stain leaves the fabric. Do not scrub, but you can blot and dab with new, clean swabs.

Treat other stains with diluted household ammonia. Always dilute your ammonia first using a 2:1 ratio of water to ammonia. You can dab this cleaning solution onto nearly any makeup stain on silk and it will lift it out. Use a cleaning rag or a cotton ball to apply the solution, and gloves to protect your hands from the ammonia.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not forget that most dry cleaners can get stains out of silk without damaging the fabric, but this can get expensive.
  • Always test any cleaning agents on a small, unnoticeable spot before you start cleaning. Depending on the colors and dyes in the fabrics, some of these agents will make the appearance of your fabric worse rather than better.

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