How to remove mascara stains from pillowcases

Waking up to find unsightly mascara stains on your pillowcase can be a frustrating and disappointing experience. Mascara is a stubborn makeup product that can leave behind unsightly marks if it rubs off onto your bedding during the night. Fortunately, there are several effective methods you can use to remove those pesky mascara stains and get your pillowcases looking fresh and clean again.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best techniques for removing mascara from pillowcases, provide step-by-step instructions, and share some helpful tips to prevent mascara stains in the future. Whether you’re dealing with a fresh stain or a set-in mark, you’ll find the information you need to get your bedding looking its best.

remove mascara stains from pillowcases

Mascara is a water-resistant and oil-based makeup product, which is what makes it so effective at lengthening, thickening, and defining your lashes. However, this same composition is also what makes mascara stains so difficult to remove from fabrics like pillowcases.

The pigments and waxes in mascara can adhere tightly to the fibers of your pillowcase, creating a stubborn stain that’s resistant to typical laundry methods. Additionally, if the stain sits for too long or is rubbed into the fabric, it can become even more challenging to eliminate.

Factors that Contribute to Mascara Stains

Several factors can influence the severity and persistence of mascara stains on your pillowcases, including:

  1. Type of Mascara: Different mascara formulas, such as waterproof, volumizing, or lengthening, may leave behind more stubborn stains than others. For example, waterproof mascara is known to be particularly difficult to remove, as it is designed to resist water and oil-based cleansers.
  2. Frequency of Wear: If you wear mascara every night and sleep on the same pillowcase, the stains are more likely to accumulate and set in over time. Consistent use of mascara can lead to a build-up of product on the pillowcase, making it harder to fully remove.
  3. Sleeping Position: If you tend to sleep on your side or stomach, the friction and pressure from your face against the pillow can cause more mascara transfer and staining. This can be especially problematic for those who toss and turn during the night.
  4. Fabric Type: The material of your pillowcase can also affect how well mascara stains come out. Satin and silk pillowcases, for example, may be more prone to staining than cotton or linen, as the smoother surfaces can allow mascara to more easily adhere to the fibers.
  5. Time Elapsed: The longer a mascara stain is left untreated, the more difficult it will be to remove, as the pigments and oils have more time to penetrate and set into the fabric.

Effective Mascara Stain Removal Methods

Now that you understand the nature of mascara stains, let’s explore some of the most effective methods for removing them from your pillowcases:

1. Baking Soda and Water Paste

Baking soda is a powerful natural cleaning agent that can help break down and lift mascara stains. To use this method, create a paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water. Gently rub the paste into the stain using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers, let it sit for 30 minutes, then launder the pillowcase as usual.

2. Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide

The combination of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide can be highly effective for removing mascara stains. Start by blotting the stain with a clean, damp cloth to absorb any excess mascara. Then, make a solution of 1 part dish soap and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Apply the solution directly to the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then wash the pillowcase.

3. Laundry Pre-Treaters

Commercial laundry pre-treaters and stain removers specifically formulated for makeup stains can be a great option for tackling mascara marks. Look for products that contain enzymes or solvents that are designed to break down and lift oil-based and pigmented stains. Apply the pre-treater to the stain according to the product’s instructions, let it sit for the recommended time, and then wash the pillowcase.

One popular pre-treatment option is the Persil ProClean Stain Fighter, which uses a specialized formula to target and remove makeup stains, including mascara.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be an effective way to remove set-in mascara stains. Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently dab the stain, being careful not to rub too hard and spread the stain. Allow the alcohol to sit for a few minutes, then launder the pillowcase as usual.

5. Laundry Detergent and Hot Water

Sometimes, a simple combination of laundry detergent and hot water can do the trick. Soak the pillowcase in hot water mixed with your regular laundry detergent for at least 30 minutes before washing. The heat and detergent can help break down and lift the mascara stain.

For best results, consider using a detergent specifically designed for tough stains, such as Persil ProClean Original Liquid Laundry Detergent.

6. Enzyme-Based Stain Remover

Enzyme-based stain removers are specifically designed to target and break down tough, set-in stains, including mascara. Apply the enzyme-based product directly to the stain, let it sit for the recommended time, and then wash the pillowcase in hot water.

One popular enzyme-based stain remover is the Biz Advanced Laundry Stain Remover, which is formulated to tackle a wide range of stubborn stains.

Tips for Preventing Mascara Stains on Pillowcases

In addition to having effective stain removal methods on hand, there are also several steps you can take to prevent mascara from transferring to your pillowcases in the first place:

  1. Remove Mascara Before Bed: Make it a habit to thoroughly remove your mascara before going to bed. Use a high-quality makeup remover or micellar water to ensure all traces of mascara are gone from your lashes and the surrounding skin.
  2. Use Waterproof Mascara: Invest in a good quality waterproof mascara, as these formulas are less likely to smear or transfer onto your pillowcase during the night. Some popular waterproof mascara options include Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara and L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara.
  3. Consider Silk or Satin Pillowcases: Silk and satin pillowcases are less absorbent than cotton, which can help reduce the likelihood of mascara stains. The smooth surface of these fabrics may also make it easier to remove any stains that do occur. Some highly-rated options include the THXSILK 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase and the Ravmix Satin Pillowcase.
  4. Wash Pillowcases Regularly: Aim to wash your pillowcases at least once a week, or more often if you wear mascara regularly. This can help prevent stains from setting in and becoming harder to remove.
  5. Treat Stains Promptly: As soon as you notice a mascara stain on your pillowcase, treat it right away using one of the methods outlined above. The longer a stain sits, the more difficult it will be to remove.
  6. Avoid Rubbing Stains: When dealing with a mascara stain, resist the urge to rub or scrub the fabric, as this can actually push the stain deeper into the fibers and make it harder to remove.

By following these tips and utilizing effective stain removal techniques, you can keep your pillowcases looking fresh and mascara-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use bleach to remove mascara stains from my pillowcase?
  • While bleach can be an effective stain remover, it is not recommended for use on mascara stains. Bleach can actually set the stain and cause the pigments to discolor or yellow the fabric over time. It’s best to avoid using bleach and instead opt for milder, enzyme-based or solvent-based stain removal methods.
  1. How can I prevent mascara stains on my pillowcase in the first place?
  • Preventing mascara stains starts with proper makeup removal before bed, using waterproof mascara formulas, and regularly washing your pillowcases. You can also try using silk or satin pillowcases, as they are less absorbent and may make it easier to remove any stains that do occur.
  1. What’s the best way to remove set-in mascara stains?
  • For stubborn, set-in mascara stains, a combination of rubbing alcohol, enzyme-based stain remover, or a baking soda and water paste can be very effective. Be sure to test any stain removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the pillowcase first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to the fabric.
  1. Can I use the washing machine to remove mascara stains?
  • Yes, you can use your washing machine to help remove mascara stains from pillowcases. However, it’s best to pre-treat the stain first using one of the methods mentioned above, and then wash the pillowcase in the hottest water recommended for that fabric. Avoid putting the pillowcase in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed, as the heat can set any remaining stain.
  1. How can I safely remove mascara stains from delicate fabrics like silk or satin?
  • When dealing with delicate fabrics, it’s important to be extra gentle and use milder stain removal methods. Start by blotting the stain with a clean, damp cloth to absorb any excess mascara. Then, try using a small amount of mild dish soap or a specialized silk/satin stain remover, and gently dab the area. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can damage the delicate fibers. Finally, wash the pillowcase by hand in cold water and allow it to air dry.

By following these tips and techniques, you can effectively remove those pesky mascara stains from your pillowcases and keep your bedding looking its best. With a little patience and the right approach, you can restore your pillowcases to their original pristine condition.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.