How to remove foundation from carpet

Foundation spills can leave unsightly stains on carpet that are difficult to remove. With the right techniques and cleaning solutions, however, you can get your carpet looking fresh and clean again. This guide covers simple step-by-step methods for removing various types of foundation from carpet fibers.

remove foundation from carpet

Act Quickly to Blot Up Wet Foundation

  • Immediately blot wet foundation with a clean white cloth or paper towels. Apply pressure to lift the stain rather than rubbing it in.
  • For liquid foundation spills, use an old towel to gently blot and soak up as much of the excess as possible.
  • Use a spoon or dull knife to scrape up any thick, caked foundation. Hold the utensil at an angle to avoid damaging carpet fibers.
  • Work from the outside of the stain inward to prevent spreading.
  • Avoid abrasive rubbing as this drives the foundation deeper into the carpet.

Choose the Right Carpet Cleaning Solutions

Carpet Stain Removers

  • Look for carpet stain removers specially formulated for makeup and grease. Spray or pour directly onto the stain.
  • Biokleen Bac-Out Stain+Odor Remover dissolves cosmetic stains. Spray and let sit 5 minutes.
  • Carbona 2-In-1 Oxypowered Carpet Stain Remover uses oxygen to lift makeup stains from carpeting.
  • CRC Makeup Remover Spray breaks down all types of makeup for blotting and removal.
  • Shout Advanced Ultra Gel clings to surfaces to break down foundation and lift stains.

Dish Soap and Warm Water

  • Mix a few drops of clear, mild dish soap with warm (not hot) water. Use a soft cloth dipped in the solution to gently blot the stain.
  • Dawn Ultra Original Scent dish soap works well for lifting makeup oils and pigments.
  • Seventh Generation Dish Liquid is a plant-based, hypoallergenic formula safe for carpets.

Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stained area. Let bubble for 2-3 minutes to lift the stain then blot.
  • Hydrogen peroxide whitens through oxidation. It’s safe for most colorfast carpeting.
  • Follow up with baking soda to neutralize and absorb any remaining residue.

Baby Oil

  • For heavy, dried-on stains, apply a small amount of baby oil. Let sit 10-15 minutes to moisten and loosen the foundation.
  • Blot with clean cloths until no more makeup transfers.
  • Wash with dish soap afterward to fully remove oily residue.

Lift Stains with Absorbent Substances

Baking Soda

  • Sprinkle baking soda generously over the stain after blotting up excess liquid.
  • Let sit for minimum 15 minutes to give the baking soda time to absorb makeup oils and pigments.
  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove baking soda along with stain residue.


  • Like baking soda, cornstarch will help draw out foundation stains. Sprinkle it on liberally and let sit before vacuuming.
  • Combine with lemon juice for added stain-fighting acidity.

White Chalk

  • Crush white chalk into a powder and apply to the wet stain.
  • The chalk will absorb the foundation so you can vacuum it away.

Alternative Home Remedies

White Vinegar

  • Spray or pour white vinegar directly onto the stain. Gently rub with a soft brush.
  • Vinegar’s acetic acid breaks down makeup residues. Use undiluted for best results.

Club Soda

  • Pour club soda onto the stain to lift foundation from carpet fibers. Blot continuously with a cloth as the fizzing subsides.
  • The carbonation provides light abrasion to remove residues.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Lightly sponge rubbing alcohol onto the stain. It dissolves oil-based makeup products.
  • Blot continuously, reapplying alcohol as needed to fully lift the stain.
  • Use a 60-70% alcohol solution for best results.

Lemon Juice

  • Fresh lemon juice contains citric and ascorbic acids which break down foundation stains.
  • Squeeze juice onto the stain, let sit briefly, then blot with a clean white cloth.

Step-by-Step Stain Removal Process

Follow these steps for the most thorough foundation stain removal:

  1. Blot up any wet foundation immediately upon noticing the spill. Avoid excess rubbing.
  2. Pre-treat the stain with an oxygen-based carpet stain remover. Follow product directions for dwell time.
  3. Mix a few drops of dish soap in warm water. Use a soft cloth dipped in the solution to gently blot the stain.
  4. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch generously over the stain. Allow to sit for 15+ minutes.
  5. Vacuum up the baking soda or cornstarch thoroughly to lift away absorbed stain residue.
  6. If needed, apply lemon juice, club soda, or vinegar. Lightly rub and blot continuously with clean cloths.
  7. Rinse the area with clean, lukewarm water. Blot until fully dry.
  8. Vacuum again once fully dry to lift any remaining residue from deep in carpet fibers.
  9. Repeat steps as needed for complete stain removal.
  10. Use carpet protector spray to seal fibers and prevent future stains.

Preventing Future Foundation Stains

While staining is sometimes inevitable, you can take steps to avoid foundation spills on your carpets:

  • Apply makeup carefully over a bathroom vanity or at a dressing table.
  • Use a towel or yoga mat beneath your makeup area to catch spills.
  • Immediately wipe any makeup residue off hands and skin before walking on light carpeting.
  • Have designated makeup chairs with washable slipcovers to protect upholstery.
  • Place washable area rugs over high-traffic carpet near vanities and dressing areas.
  • Vacuum carpeting frequently using a soft brush head to remove surface dirt and stains.
  • Professionally steam clean carpets every 6-12 months to keep them fresh and stain-resistant.

When to Call in a Professional

For carpet stains that resist DIY removal methods, contact a professional carpet cleaning service. Experts have commercial-grade cleaners and powerful equipment to deep clean carpets and lift stubborn stains, including:

  • Truck-mounted extraction machines that clean carpets with hot water and strong suction
  • Pressurized stain removers injected deep into carpeting
  • Professional-strength enzyme cleaners that break down makeup strains at a molecular level
  • Steam cleaners that heat water to high temperatures to dissolve residues
  • Dye stabilizers and deodorizers to restore carpet appearance and freshness

Though it takes a little elbow grease, you can get foundation out of your carpet yourself in many cases. When needed, call on the pros for their specialized industry tools and cleaning solutions. With immediate action and the right stain removal methods, you can keep your carpets looking pristine and prevent foundation from damaging the fibers.

Sharing Is Caring:

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.

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