How to Remove Makeup Stains from Your Car

Whether you’re running late for work or doing some final preparations before a hot date – plenty of drivers are guilty of touching up their makeup in the car. But what you do need to be careful about is getting makeup stains on your interior as they can be surprisingly tricky to remove.

That’s right, things like foundation, lipstick and nail varnish might look good on you, but they certainly won’t on your seats, dash, and upholstered interior trim. Indeed, these types of products can result in some nasty stains that can be almost impossible to deal with, so both you and your passengers should be extra careful when getting dolled up behind the wheel.

Of course, these things happen, which is why we’ve put together an essential guide on how to remove makeup stains from the inside of your car.

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First steps: Check the surface you’re working on

Although you should make every effort to avoid makeup stains in your car, the severity of any cosmetic blemishes will vary depending on the material – particularly how porous and prone to staining it is.

For example, although the idea of getting makeup on your car’s leather seats might sound terrifying, any marks may be easier to remove than if they were embedded in upholstery. Because while leather does require regular care and maintenance, it’s generally much more durable and easier to keep clean than soft fabrics, which can absorb all sorts of stains, dirt and grime.

The material you’re working on will have a big say over how you treat makeup stains, so make sure you have the right cleaning products and tools to hand that are appropriate for your car’s interior.

Next: Is the makeup water or oil-based?

As well as the material itself, you should also assess whether the makeup is water or oil-based, as this will ultimately define how easy it is to remove as well as the solutions to use.

Water-based makeup is significantly easier to remove and can often be done simply by using a damp cloth and a bit of elbow grease. Oil-based cosmetics can be much trickier, with specialist cleaners required to break down the oil molecules and remove the stain.

Refer to the makeup’s packaging if you’re unsure what it’s made from – this should give you an idea of the best approach to tackling it, wherever the stain is on your car’s interior.

How to Remove Water-Based Makeup

Water-based makeup including the likes of foundation and concealer are by far the easiest forms of makeup to remove your car’s interior. Sure, you should still clean these off at your earliest convenience, but you aren’t likely to suffer tough stains on upholstery, leather, and trim.

To remove water-based makeup stains from seats and carpets, we’d recommend Simoniz Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner. With its tough cleaning formula and innovative brush-head applicator, our flagship upholstery cleaner is ideal for removing marks and stains from soft furnishings inside your car’s cabin.

If water-based makeup has come into contact with leather inside your car, try Simoniz Leather Wipes. These disposable wipes remove light surface marks from leather while nourishing the material, ideal for gentle cleaning on the go.

In the event that you don’t have these products to hand, a clean cloth and warm water should be all you need to remove water-based makeup from your car’s interior. If using this method, try to dab firmly rather than scrubbing, as this will only cause the makeup to spread to a wider area.

How to Remove Oil-Based Makeup

Oil-based makeup is decidedly more difficult to remove than water-based stains, but it is possible with the right products and the right approach.

Never allow oil-based makeup stains to linger on car seats and trim; the sooner you deal with the problem, the better. That’s because oil can actually gather more dirt over time, intensifying the appearance of stains.

Of course, oil isn’t absorbed or broken down by water alone, so you’ll need a specialist cleaner to do the job. For upholstered surfaces, try sprinkling baking soda over the stain, leaving it to work for 10 minutes, before treating it with a product like Simoniz Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner. You can also use an ammonia-based cleaner to break down the oil before applying general-purpose car cleaners.

Baking soda is also a good solution for removing oil-based makeup from leather surfaces inside your car, too. After applying it, be sure to clean the surface with a leather conditioning solution, too. Simoniz Conditioning Leather Cream is perfect for cleaning, nourishing and rejuvenating leather surfaces.

Bonus tips for treating makeup stains in your car

There are plenty of ways to deal with makeup stains inside your car, but their effectiveness will depend on the substance in question and the severity of the stain. With all that said, though, here are some tips that should apply to all types of makeup marks on your car’s interior:

  • Don’t let makeup stains linger – deal with them as soon as you spot them! The quicker you can treat a mark, the easier it will be to remove. Trust us on this one.
  • If you’ve spilt makeup inside your car, avoid scrubbing it immediately, as this will only spread it around. Instead, dab away any excess before working out what products and solutions will work best to remove it properly.
  • Spotted a makeup stain on hard surfaces around your car? No problem, these should be easy to treat if you have the right products to hand. We would recommend keeping a pack of disposable interior wipes in your glovebox for easy, on-the-go cleaning, so you can deal with any minor marks as soon as they occur.

We hope this guide helps you to deal with makeup stains around your car in a safe and effective manner. If you’re looking for more car care tips and cleaning advice, the Simoniz experts have a lot of guidance to offer over on the blog. Alternatively, tap here to browse and buy our complete range of interior cleaners.