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How to Get Mascara Out of Carpet

A girl playing with her mother's cosmetics on the living room carpet.

Ladies, we’ve all been there: In our rush to finish our makeup and get out the door, we’ve clumsily dropped our mascara wand to the floor, leaving a greasy, black stain. Fortunately, there are a number of DIY and commercial stain removal techniques that effectively remove mascara from carpet. Read on to find out more.

Fumbling around with my makeup in the morning before I’ve had my caffeine and while the gunk is still in my eyes is never a recipe for success.

On more than one occasion, I’ve failed to blend my foundation, applied eyeshadow to just one eye, or stabbed myself in the eye with my mascara wand.

But perhaps the most devastating result of my clumsy stupor is when I have dropped my mascara on the floor, leaving an ominous black stain. It’s bad enough when I smear my mascara on my eyelid or my cheek, but now I have to get mascara out of carpet, too?

With hardly enough time to finish my makeup in the morning, I certainly don’t have time to tackle such a tough stain.

Ladies, can I get an “Amen?”

So how do you get mascara out of carpet?

While mascara can certainly be a tough stain to tackle, there’s no reason to lose hope.

Mascara has an oily, waxy consistency, which can not only make it difficult to remove, but it can mean that some common stain treatment methods may be ineffective when it comes to lifting that dreaded black mascara stain from your carpet.

If you are using waterproof mascara, as most varieties are these days, then it can pose an additional challenge for removing a mascara stain, as the product is designed to resist removal by water.

As a result, you will need to be persistent as you address this stain and, potentially, use a number of products through trial and error to find the best option to remove your particular stain.

When it comes to removing mascara, it’s important to act quickly as soon as you drop that brush to the floor to avoid spreading of or setting in of the stain.

The following stain removal methods may prove effective at removing a mascara stain from carpet.

Related: How to get more stains out of carpet

Remove any excess mascara and blot

A close look at a woman with smudged mascara on her eye lids.

The first step to addressing a mascara stain is to remove any excess mascara from your carpet right away. If a blob sits on your carpet, act quickly to swipe it up.

However, you don’t want to use just any product or any motion to do so.

The best approach is to grab a butter knife or a similarly blunt object and gently scrape the knife beneath the mascara, lifting it from the carpet, rather than scraping or rubbing it off the carpet.

Take care as you perform this step not to press the mascara into the carpet, causing it to soak deeper into your carpet’s fibers, and to avoid spreading the stain further across your carpet.

Scrape the removed mascara onto a paper towel, clean cloth, or plate and make sure not to drip any of the removed mascara onto your carpet during the process.

After you have removed the remaining mascara, you can take a dry, light-colored cloth or a paper towel and gently blot the spot of the mascara stain. This may help to soak up some of the moist mascara and reduce the amount of product in your carpet that could potentially leave a stain.

The longer a product has to set in to your carpet, the more difficult it can be to remove.

Do not rub or scrub the mascara stain, as this can push it deeper into your carpet or cause it to spread further.

Try Eye Makeup Remover

A woman pouring makeup remover on a piece of cotton.

One of the easiest – and most convenient – ways to remove mascara or eyeliner stain from your carpet is to use eye makeup remover on the stain.

Eye makeup remover is designed to overcome the waterproof nature of your mascara, working to penetrate it and remove it from your eyelashes. It serves the same function when used on your carpet.

To apply eye makeup remover to a mascara stain on carpet, simply douse a cotton ball with the solution and blot the stain with the cotton ball, dabbing with a clean, dry cloth. Repeat the process as necessary until the stain has been removed.

Once you have finished using eye makeup remover on your mascara stain, it’s important to thoroughly rinse any product remaining in your carpet to avoid damage or discoloration.

Dish Detergent

A close look at a bottle of dish detergent next to a sponge.

If you do not have any eye makeup remover, or if you would prefer not to use such a product on your carpet, a good alternative can be the use of dish detergent.

A dish detergent is great a removing oil caked onto your cookware, and this makes it a great fit for lifting and breaking up an oily mascara stain from your carpet.

In a spray bottle, combine one tablespoon of dish detergent with two cups of warm water. Ideally, it’s a good idea to use a clear dish detergent, and you should always use a non-bleach solution.

Lightly spray the solution onto the area of carpet affected by the mascara stain. Allow it to sit for several minutes to give the detergent time to begin its stain-fighting work.

Using a clean, dry cloth or paper towel, gently blot the stain, reapplying solution as necessary, until the stain is gone.

Once you have finished using this dish detergent solution on your mascara stain, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly from your carpet. Leaving detergent in your carpet can lead to discoloration, as well as the collection of dirt and development of additional stains.

Dry Cleaning Solvent

Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution 32 Oz. (1)
Click image for more info

It is also recommended, if you find yourself unable to remove all of the mascara stain with dish detergent, to consider the use of a dry cleaning solvent on your mascara carpet stain.

Simply moisten the edge of a soft cloth or towel with a bit of dry cleaning solvent, such as Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution, and then blot the stain using the solvent.

Allow the product to sit for at least five minutes before continuing to blot the stain until the stain is gone or no more mascara is being absorbed into the cloth.

Once you complete this treatment, it’s important to rinse the product thoroughly from your carpet.

Nail Polish Remover

A woman preparing to clean her nails with a bottle of nail polish remover and some cotton balls.

Another potential option for treating a mascara stain in your carpet is the use of a non-acetone nail polish remover. These products are great at removing oily stains and waterproof products like mascara.

Take a cotton ball and soak it with nail polish remover. Apply to the area of the stain and gently blot. Allow the product to sit for several minutes before resuming blotting.

Continue this process until the stain has lifted. Once complete, rinse the carpet well.

White Vinegar

A glass bottle filled with vinegar.

A common product found in most households, white vinegar can actually work quite well for removing a dark, greasy stain like that left by mascara. Vinegar is great at tackling stains for a number of reasons. It works to break up and lift tough stains, while also lightening dark stains and neutralizing odors.

So it’s use on a dark mascara stain is a no brainer for anyone still struggling to get that pesky stain completely out.

Combine one teaspoon of white vinegar with three teaspoons of warm water into a spray bottle. Apply the solution to the mascara stain and allow to sit for fifteen minutes.

Then, gently blot using a dry cloth and reapplying solution as necessary until the stain is gone or no more mascara is lifted from the carpet onto your cloth.

This should help to break up the stain while also lightening the darkened spot on your carpet.

Rinse the area thoroughly following removal of the stain.

Ammonia

A glass bottle of ammonia with child safety lock.

As an alternative to vinegar, ammonia can also work well. It has a bleaching effect and can work well for the treatment of some tough stains.

However, ammonia should not be used without caution. Avoid use with any bleaching product, as well as with chlorine bleach, as this can produce dangerous fumes, which can even be deadly.

Ammonia is also not safe for use around pets or children, so be sure to remove them from the area before using this product on your carpet. You’ll also want to make sure you clean the carpet thoroughly after applying an ammonia solution to ensure your pets or children do not come into contact with it.

To use, combine one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water. Allow the solution to sit for up to fifteen minutes to begin working.

Then, using a dry, clean cloth, gently blot the area affected by the stain, repeating the motion and applying additional solution as necessary until the stain is gone or no additional mascara is lifted onto the cloth.

Once complete, rinse the carpet thoroughly using cold water and drying with a clean towel.

Commercial Stain Remover

Nature's Miracle Dark Stain Destroyer Trigger Spray, Designed for Life's Messes, 32 Fluid Ounce
Click image for more info

If you’re finding none of the solutions highlighted above are proving quite sufficient for tackling that tough, dark, greasy stain left by your mascara, then you may opt to use a commercial carpet cleaner.

Some may opt for a commercial solution above any of the DIY options to start. And that’s ok! There are plenty of commercial carpet cleaning options that can work well to penetrate your carpet’s fibers and break up a greasy, dark mascara stain.

One potential option that may work well is Nature’s Miracle Dark Stain Destroyer Trigger Spray. This product is a great option for those with pets or young kids in the home who are looking to avoid use of bleach or products that contain it.

This product is safe for use around pets and it works specifically to target dark stains.

Cleaning Up

A woman scrubbing the carpet with a hand brush.

Regardless of which of the above stain removal methods you select, it’s important to always clean the area you have treated for the stain.

Even if the stain is gone, it’s important to remove any remaining product from your carpet, as this can cause damage, discoloration, and even additional staining.

Rinse the area thoroughly with water and blot dry with a dry towel or cloth. Make sure the area is sufficiently dry, as leaving any part of your carpet moist can lead to mold or mildew.

Once the area is dried, you can run a vacuum cleaner over the area of carpet you treated to restore your carpet’s natural fluff and smoothness.

It’s always a good idea to test any stain removal product on a non-visible area of your carpet before treating your stain to ensure the product does not damage your carpet.

Although a mascara stain can be a real headache, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for your carpet. Fortunately, use of any of the above stain removal techniques can prove effective at tackling a tough, dark mascara stain.

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