I Found the One Thing That Will Get Makeup Out of White Tees Faster Than a Tide Stick

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Every single day, I diligently apply my skin care and then a light layer of CC cream and concealer to make it look like I'm rocking the no-makeup makeup look (and I feel all sneaky about it). No one can tell that I'm wearing a full face of makeup (right, coworkers?) at all. But then, inevitably, I look down and see that my secret has been given out to everyone, because I have makeup stains all over my shirt.

Walking around with a shirt full of foundation isn't exactly the most stylish look, and it's also a true pain in the ass to get the stuff out. I can't tell you how many white T-shirts I've permanently ruined by accidentally touching them too shortly after applying foundation... because I have no idea how to get the stains out. But apparently there are some really great tried and true methods for getting those pesky makeup spots out of your clothes (that I just discovered today), and it's actually not as hard to do as you might think.

One way to get the job done? Use your dish soap (fun fact: dish soap can also clean your dirty white sneakers). "Dish soap does the trick," says Maeve Richmond, founder of home organizational company Maeve's Method. "Oil is an essential ingredient in most makeup, and dish soap is designed to gently break down oils to help get things clean." A-ha.

There are things you should try and do as soon as you realize you've also applied makeup to your clothes, too. "As a first line of defense, blot the stain with a clean tissue to remove any residual makeup not yet set into the shirt," says Richmond. "Always lift up and away, and never press into the shirt, since this can push makeup deeper into clothing fibers."

Then what you've gotta do is get it wet. "Spray the stain with water—distilled if you have it, so no mineral residue is left behind when the fabric dries—and gently rub a drop of dish soap onto the stain and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes," she says. "Rinse clean, and if the stain persists repeat this process this time using a soft bristled brush, like an old toothbrush, to work the makeup out of the shirt fibers." If you don't have dish soap handy, Richmond says a Dove bar also does the trick.

And if you've got a shirt made of synthetic fabric, it might be a little easier. "If your shirt is polyester or some other man-made fiber, you may not need to soak, because the stain might lift right out," says Richmond. "But if you have a stain on cotton or linen, take your time with it as these are absorbent fibers. Allow the soap to penetrate and do its thing." And now I know the secret to not letting my white shirts morph into a makeup artist's palette.

If you're hungry for more cleaning hacks, here are the expert-approved ways on how to clean your jewelry. And these are baking soda cleaning  hacks to have fun with. 

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