How to Remove Makeup From Leather & Fabric

Updated April 17, 2017

A simple blotting process can remove most make-up stains from your leather coat or handbag. Make-up stains on other fabrics, including clothing, can be removed with a few minutes spent on extra treatment before washing. No matter the fabric type, it is best to remove stains immediately after make-up has touched the leather or fabric, if possible. This prevents the affected area from spreading into a larger stain; also, once stains set, it takes longer to remove them.

Use a dry dish or face towel or paper towel to blot out make-up stains. Brush off excess residue from pressed powders before blotting.

Blot as much of the stains out as you can by pressing down gently on the affected area with the towel or paper towel. Do not rub the stain into the leather, as oils from lipsticks may damage the surface of the leather.

Leave leather lying flat for 24 hours. Soap and water are not advised to clean oil-based stains, as chemicals contained in the soap may react with the leather, potentially ruining it. If stains are not lifted, call or visit the store or manufacturer from which you purchased your item for cleaning instructions specifically for your item.

Treat the stained area with a stain removal brush or treatment stick. Follow the directions on the product packaging.

Rinse out the treated stains on the fabric with cold water, then wash fabric in a regular wash cycle. You may need to adjust your washer settings, depending on the type of fabric you're washing.

If the stain has not completely been removed after it has been run through the washer, repeat the treatment process. After the stain has been lifted, you may place the fabric in the dryer.


When trying a new cleaning technique, especially if treating with a cleaning or conditioning product, always do a test run on a hidden area of the clothing or item being treated. This allows you to see how the product will react with your specific type of leather or fabric. If no obvious damage occurs, you may proceed with treating the larger stained area.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish towel
  • Paper towel
  • Stain removal treatment stick
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About the Author

As a former online magazine editor, Charisse Esmeralde ran her own publication for six years. She joined Demand Studios as a writer in 2009, and her articles have been published in Esmeralde is also an expert navigator around MySpace and Facebook communities.