Make-up stains on facecloths

mountaineergirlJune 5, 2009

Does anyone have a secret to get mascara and foundation make-up stains from facecloths? I just got a new Samsung with an internal heater (my Neptunes didn't have that) and when washed with the extra hot setting w/bleach - still not white. Wonder what hotels' secret is? the facecloths are always white at a hotel LOL!

I usually use colored cloths, but occasionally pick up a white one - then its ruined.

I'm not complaining about the performance of my new washer. I love it so far, I just think its next to impossible to get out make-up stains.

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Try using STPP, and Oxyclean. I'll bet they brighten right up.

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ - STPP

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 5:54PM
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How about using disposable make-up removing toweletts to get off most of the make-up first? There may even be "recipes" for them similar to homemade baby wipes.

I don't use make-up very often, but I DO keep a stack of inexpensive white facecloths I got at the Dollar General Store I use on my face only. That leaves the more expensive ones for regular use. The inexpensive cloths are rough enough to exfoliate and if I do get "gunk" on them, I give them a spritz of Charlie's Soap All-Purpose Cleaner and wash as usual.

Our daughter worked as a clerk at a hotel when she was going through college. She told us the gal in charge of the laundry used an old-fashioned washboard and liquid Dawn dish soap to scrub make-up off the facecloths left by the hotel guests.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 9:11AM
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I use Huggies to remove makeup from my face. They are disposable and save my washcloths.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:15PM
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wow Huggies - who'da thunk? I buy them already for when TP doesn't seem to do the trick :)

What about mascara stains tho?

grainlady - now I feel so bad for ever leaving makeup on the facecloths at a hotel :(

I will try oxyclean, altho I think I have already tried it before on them. and also will look for STPP. can you get that at Walmart or Kroger?

I think I will buy cheap ones at Walmart or the DG store. Or stick to using dark colored ones I guess.

Thanks for your replies!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 9:52PM
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Nothing I tried will get that makeup off the nice white washcloths.

So I now use the disposal makeup remover cloths from Walmart to wipe off the make up; after I get most of the makeup off I rinse it with warm water, add my facial cleaner, scrub my face with it then toss. It saves my really nice white and almond colored washcloths.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 12:56AM
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On your old washcloths, you will never get them white. Once you run them through the dryer it pretty much sets the stains. Your new washer will help, but with my experience they just won't go back to snowy white.

I bought the pack of white washcloths from Costco. I think it was 2 dozen cloths for $20. Nice washcloths. With the new washer, using the sanitize and oxiclean, they are staying as white as the unused cloths. Seems like the oxiclean is working better than the bleach. Or maybe it's the Sears stain fighter powder?

But I also use the facial cleansing cloths from Costco. I was using the disposable cloths with the old washer and still was having the problem with the dingy wash cloths. I really think my old washer just wasn't washing very well.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Remember mascara is basically a mixture of oil, paint and powdered dye/pigment.

So that is a very complex stain. If you're using something like the old standard pink bottle Maybelline, then you've got the full complex stain to deal with.

First you might want to try one of the alternative formula mascaras that "tube" over the lashes - like Kiss Me by Blinc. Those come off in little tubes (like straws) from your lashes w/ a little water and light pressure. No wash cloth needed.

If you're stuck on using one of the oil or silicone formulas, then you have a 3-fold stain to contend with.

1) Oil - which needs a strong surfactant and dissolver.
2) Paint - either a latex component or binder of some sort that will need breaking.
3) Dyes/pigments - which need surfactant + bleaching.

For the paint component you'll need a good breaking agent. Rubbing alcohol would be the first choice in my house. Dry cleaning solvent would work better. Acetone can substitute in a pinch. Use it as a pre-treat before anything else.

For the oil component you'll need something like Charlie's Soap (CS), Simple Green, Dawn, etc. Pretreat w/ that product and let sit to pre-dissolve. A surfactant boost in the wash will help immensely - either STPP (if you can get it), high phosphorus detergent or a zeolite product.

The dyes/pigments will need good old fashioned bleaching. You'll have to experiment with what works better for your particular mascara - chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach. I'd start w/ oxygen bleach since most mascaras (except the pink tube) have started switching to natural pigment bases which should respond better to oxygen bleach.

Now, as to why hotels can get their laundry white... simple... detergent + lots of bleach + heat. The heat acts as a break and the detergent is the surfactant. That's also why most hotel laundry is stiff and on the rough side. They're taking all the softening agents out every time they wash (and most are using cheap or cheaper fabrics than you have at home).

If you have a multi-cycle front loader, you can try a pre-wash in something like CS followed by a Sanitary cycle w/ a good powdered detergent + oxy bleach w/ chlorine bleach in the rinse dispenser.

I've done laundry from photo shoots that happened at my house where the makeup artists got ahold of my white towels. Yes, you can get the stains out. It may take multiple cycles. And do not, under any circumstances, put the article in the dryer until it's 100% clean or, as the previous poster said, you will never get it clean because you'll have set the dye/pigment into the fibers of the fabric. (Remember cotton fiber is substantially more porous than your eye lashes!)

- IT Geek

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:17PM
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wow itgeek - thanks for all the info! I use Clinique mascara, so not sure about the ingredients, but I'll try your suggestions. I don't use Charlie's soap, but I'll try powdered detergent with oxyclean, with regular bleach also. And on the sanitary cycle - which I have been using on my whites since I got my new washer. Didn't have that setting before on my old. I understand my previously stained cloths are hopeless.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:30AM
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Mountaineergirl, DON'T use the oxyclean and bleach together.

I believe you have the 218. I put my machine on sanitize, heavy load, extra wash, and extra rinse. I would also use the delay start since this is going to take over two hours. I use probably 2 ounces of HE detergent plus another 2-3 ounces of the oxyclean. And this is for very soft water. My new cloths have been staying white.

I found better results with the oxyclean than the bleach. I actually use probably a little more oxyclean than I do detergent.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:28AM
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Our daughter worked as a clerk at a hotel when she was going through college. She told us the gal in charge of the laundry used an old-fashioned washboard and liquid Dawn dish soap to scrub make-up off the facecloths left by the hotel guests.

Grainlady, I'm in shock -- I had no idea washboards were even around anymore, thought they went out with the pioneers.

I don't wear much make-up at all, so I'm no authority on this subject. When I do wear it, I use a soapy washcloth (usually Dove soap) to remove it. Is that why my washcloths don't get stained?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:09AM
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housefairy - I have the 328's but they have the cycles that you mentioned (sanitize, extra wash, extra rinse etc) The last time I washed the whites, I used the sanitize and extra rinse, Tide HE and bleach. Stains were still there, but then again they had been set in from before. Really, I think the simplest answer for me anyway, is to use dark colored facecloths, not white ones.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:03PM
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Housefairy, you can use chlorine bleach in the rinse cycle because most of the oxygen bleach has been removed or reacted before the chlorine is added.

You are correct that you don't want to mix them in the wash cycle. The chlorine bleach would inactivate the oxygen bleach and form chemical compounds you probably don't want around. (And that would eat holes in the fabric with prolonged exposure.)

Mara, the main reason your washcloths don't get stained is actually simple... it's not "firm" holding makeup (compared to some of these cake foundations or waterproof mascaras). Since soap will remove them without any makeup remover or similar solvent (like oil), that tells me they're comparatively lightweight.

Also, that "moisturizing creme" in Dove is slightly coating the fibers of your washcloth with fat, dimethicone/silicone, etc. That in turn makes them slightly stain resistant.

Now Mara if you grab one of those crazy "it ain't coming off until the apocalypse" mascaras some day, you'll quickly find that Dove won't even budge it. (MAC makes some insanely hard to remove products along those lines.)

- IT Geek

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 1:30AM
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There was a TV interview with Tammy Faye Baker where the topic of laundry came up. She discussed her laundering procedures that dealt with washcloths & makeup. For what its worth; she said she always washed her makeup stained items in hot water & good measure of Tide.

Her recipe works!


    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:52PM
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After reading the composition of make-up, I would think Cascade d/w detergent (especially the powdered formula w/Dawn) and a hot water wash (maybe with a soak) would get it out of facecloths.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:14PM
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I use Viva paper towels and whitch hazel on my face. No stains on face clothes.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 11:07PM
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My secret for removing make-up from my washcloths was a pure accident. I started using Noxzema to remove make-up and have found that it washes out of the my washcloths better than anything else I've ever used on my face. It also removes the make-up and mascara better than anything I've used in years.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:43PM
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Hotels must have the same problem removing makeup from facecloths. On my last trip most of the places where I stayed provided disposable cloths for makeup removal.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 12:00PM
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I use waterproof mascara which it will remain on my eyes and everything else until the apocalypse. With that said, I have discovered that by using just plain old bar soap on my washcloths right after removing makeup the stains lift right out. I use olive oil to remove my mascara and dissolve it, rub that off with a wet washcloth and then work some bar soap into the cloth. I discovered this works when taking a shower one day and after using my washcloth to remove my makeup, I lathered up with the same washcloth to wash my body. When I was done, the makeup was completely removed from my white washcloth. Now If I can't remove my makeup while I am in the shower, I will just suds up the washcloth with soap and then hang it on the edge of the laundry bin to dry with the soap still remaining in the washcloth. I found the brand of bar soap doesn't matter. Then they just go into the laundry.

I wash my laundry in warm water and I use a small amount of bleach with my whites. I use whatever laundry detergent/soap happens to be on sale. All of my washcloths are white as the day I purchased them and with no stains.

Give this method a try and see how it works for you. It works perfectly in my household ;)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 6:37PM
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I have the Kenmore front loaders & to get the makeup out, I use vinegar in my wash. I use whatever clothes washer detergent I have in normal measure (I found powdered detergents work best for stains-I've got 2 boys, 3 if you count my DH, and they love the outdoors!) Try the whites setting first. Once the washer starts and all the powdered detergent is out of the dispenser, add about 1/2 - 1 cup white vinegar to the wash. For especially dirty items, I use the prewash cycle too and add the vinegar when the main wash cycle kicks in.

If that doesn't work, then it goes back in on sanitize with the same procedure. If sanitize doesn't do it, it's not coming clean.

For the items you've already dried, you may want to try some ZOUT pretreater before washing as stated above. Very often it will get out 'set in' stains that have been thru the dryer.

**Tip: Ever forget about your laundry in the washer and it sours? With the low water usage in these front loaders it can be very difficult to get the sour smell out. Solution: Use the pretreat cycle with detergent in addition to the vinegar & detergent in the wash cycle as stated above and the sour smell is gone 100%**

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:20AM
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I know it has been awhile, but in case anyone is still looking for the answer, I have it: Just 4 Lashes! It is a black, mascara removal cloth that works like magic to remove mascara with only warm water. It is machine washable so it is a green product, that can be used over and over. It promotes wrinkle-free skin and works great with eyelash extensions! Go to to buy yours! Great stocking stuffer and Secret Santa Gift!

Here is a link that might be useful: Just 4 Lashes

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 4:06PM
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