How to

How to Remove Mascara From Carpet—An Experiment & Best Result

If you’ve got mascara on your carpet and are struggling to get it out, this post is for you. And I’m happy to report that I found one quick, easy, cheap fix.

Tl;Dr: How to Remove Mascara From Carpet

I don’t want to bury the lead, so here’s what you came for:

Dish soap is the best way to get mascara out of carpet. You’ll

  1. With a toothbrush, mix a few drops of soap with an ounce of water.
  2. Pour a bit on the carpet.
  3. Scrub with a toothbrush.
  4. Blot with a paper towel.

I suppose I could add repeat if necessary, but I don’t think it will be. For me, the dish soap got the mascara out beautifully the first time.

Want to see how my experiment led to this conclusion, including the performance of some other removers? Read on!

Experiment Prep

Hot on the heels of my “how to get lipstick out of carpet” experiment, I was ready for round two—mascara edition. What I learned in that experiment helped guide this one.

The first thing I did was collect some cleaning contenders. Here’s what I decided on.

Vinegar, nail polish remover, dish soap with cleaning implements + mascara stained carpet
Kitchen science.

I chose the vinegar because some sites said to try it, and I’ve mostly gotten over my vinegar resentment from my “how to clean brushes with vinegar” post. (My brushes still stink, though.)

I chose nail polish remover because of how well it worked in my previously mentioned lipstick removal experiment.

And I chose dish soap because it’s become a real stalwart in my cleaning arsenal. To prep it, I prepared a cup of 1 oz hot water and a few drops of the dish soap.

Next, I wrecked my carpet swatch with my much-hated Milani Highly Rated (by who?) mascara. Seriously, this stuff’s the worst. I had no problem wasting it.

Finally, I got a dirty toothbrush. Again, from the lipstick-in-carpet experiment, I know that using a toothbrush to work in wet cleaning supplies is the way to go.

Experiment Proceedings

At this point, I poured small amounts of the cleaning supply on each stain and worked it in with the toothbrush.

After working product into the stain, vinegar and nail polish remover assigned stains are still there, dish soap has removed stain
After working product into the stain.

I was ready to call the experiment results about ten seconds after doing this. I didn’t even need to blot or let it dry to know who the winner was.

Experiment Results

Final stain results, described below
Picture taken in natural light.

I was surprised to find nail polish in last place after its success removing lipstick. Perhaps it’s that the ingredients (maybe the pigments?) in the mascara differ enough from lipstick that you can’t count on the same things being effective. Either way, nail polish remover is bad for your carpet and worse for removing mascara stains.

Vinegar was slightly more effective than the nail polish remover, but why go round after round with the stinky stuff when you could use the clear winner…

Dish soap!

Maybe 15 seconds of scrubbing with dish soap water got every last bit of mascara out. The carpet was still a bit damp when I took the picture, but none of that is mascara pigment. A second blot resulted in a clean, if wet, paper towel.

Dish Soap Wins the Day Again

You wanted to know how to remove mascara from carpet, and I’m so glad my experiment delivered such a clear-cut answer. It’s not always that easy.

Man, is there anything dish soap won’t fix? Cheers to that trusted bottle of suds.

So bust out that bottle of Dawn—you know, the one with the cute little oil-free chick on it—and fear not that mascara stain on your carpet!