Makeup stains happen to every woman, no matter how careful we are! At some point, there will always be a spill of liquid foundation on your favourite dress, a smudge of bright pink lipstick on your white top, or a runaway mascara wand that slips out of your hand and lands on your trousers. It’s inevitable, and unfortunately much of the advice out there for removing these stains is very outdated. Bleaches and other chemicals seem to be the most common sorts of advice, but these are just way too harsh for many of the more delicate fabrics out there, such as silk, wool, and synthetics. So what’s the solution? Believe it or not, all you need is a good laundry detergent – yes, really!
Why Laundry Detergent?
The big question is, how does a gentle laundry detergent perform to as high a standard as bleach in terms of stain removal? The answer – it doesn’t. Bleach and laundry detergent work in very different ways. Bleach essentially dyes clothes, not removing the stain but simply covering it up, while laundry detergent actually lifts the stain from the fibres of the clothing, removing it completely. How does it do this? Through things called ‘surfactants’.
Between 15 and 40 percent of your laundry detergent will be made up of surfactants, which are compounds that help water interact with grease and oils. As you’ll know, water and oil don’t mix by themselves, so they need the help of these surfactants to blend together and clean your clothes. It’s a laundry detergent’s ability to cut through oil and grease that makes it the perfect cleaning product for makeup stains. Can you guess what your makeup is made of? That’s right, oils!
Grab a few of your favourite makeup products and take a look at the ingredients. You’ll probably see ingredients such as sunflower seed oil and olive oil on foundations, kernel butter and avocado oil on lipsticks, and emulsifying wax and castor seed oil on your eye shadows. Makeup manufacturers are obsessed with oils, butters, waxes, and so on for two reasons. First, these oils act as moisturisers, so you can wear these products all day without your face starting to wrinkle up like a prune. Second, greasy products are very difficult to remove as water won’t affect them, so oils play a very major role in these new ‘24 hour’ makeup products that claim to last for an entire day without needing a touch up.
How to Use Detergent
Using your laundry detergent to remove makeup stains is a two-part process that’s very simple. First, apply a small amount of liquid detergent (or a powdered detergent made into a thick paste with a small amount of water) directly onto the stain. Leave it for 5 minutes for the enzymes to start working, then gently massage the detergent into the stain, allowing it to penetrate deeply into the fibres. You may see some of the stain already starting to come out of your clothing. If so, dab the stain with an absorbent cloth to remove as much as possible before popping into the wash.
Now it’s time for your washing machine to do all the hard work. Put the garment into the washing machine and add your regular laundry detergent, and let the machine work its magic. Just don’t add more detergent than necessary thinking that more soap will do a better job – it won’t! If you add more than the recommended amount, it may not rinse properly, leaving your clothes feeling stiff and tight. The stain should be completely removed following this wash cycle.
Stains? What stains? Makeup may be tough, and it may cling to your clothing like a monkey clings to a rope, but it’s just no match for a good laundry detergent. So forget about the bleaches, forget about the harsh chemicals, and make use of the superpowers of your laundry detergent. It really is the hero of your utility room!