Every woman who wears makeup has almost assuredly, at one time or another, ended up with some of it on her blouse. It’s a real damned if you do, damned if you don’t choice we make — either you apply your face before you put your top on, which puts you at risk of getting a nasty makeup smudge around the neckline of your favorite shirt or dress, or you get dressed first and are liable to have excess powdered makeup drift downward.

One obvious solution is to stop wearing makeup, but I’m certainly not going to do that and therefore wouldn’t ask you to, either. Fair is fair!

We’ve already covered what to do about lipstick stains and mascara stains, so it’s time to round out the trifecta and talk about what to do when powdered makeup, like blush, bronzer or eyeshadow, spills or smudges and creates a nasty mess.

How To Remove Powdered Makeup Stains From Your Clothes

The biggest thing to be aware of when treating a powdered makeup stain on clothing is that you want to use a gentle touch so as not to grind the makeup into the fabric, making things worse.

The first thing I always tell people to do when they have a powder spill is to try to blow it off the garment. A puff of air, either from your mouth or from a blowdryer, will lift that powder up and away. Sometimes that will be enough to get it all off.

Once you’ve done that, remaining makeup can be wiped off using a damp washcloth or sponge and a tiny amount of liquid soap. The important thing about this process is to wring the cloth or sponge out very well, which will do two things: 1. extrude water, which will ensure that you don’t wind up flooding the garment and causing the pigment from the makeup to spread and make the staining worse and 2. create suds that can be used remove the stain. This is my go-to recommendation for makeup spills because a washcloth and liquid soap are generally pretty easy things to grab for in a bathroom.

Another thing that tends to be around when we’re applying our makeup is the stuff we use later to take it off: makeup remover. Yes! It makes so much darn sense, doesn’t it? But still, you’ll want to avoid flooding the stain with anything liquid, so if you’re going to use makeup remover to treat stains, apply it to a cotton ball or rag and then treat the garment by dabbing the remover-soaked cotton onto the stain.

If you have pre-moistened makeup removing pads, great! Those will work, and considering them will give you a good sense of what I mean when I talk about using something damp and not wet—pre-moistened pads aren’t so moist that you could, say, wring liquid out of them. That’s what you want to aim for if you’re using a washcloth, sponge or cotton ball, too.

Another kind of wipe that you can use are adult or baby wipes meant for use on the hindquarters. These kinds of wipes also mimic a damp, sudsy cloth — they’re low-moisture and the soap with which they’re impregnated is on the mild side, making it safe even on delicate fabrics like silk.

How To Remove Powdered Makeup Stains From Your Grout Or Carpet

For those of us who put our makeup on in the bathroom, makeup spills on the floor should be fairly easy to clean up, since bathroom floors are often tiled. To remove powder-style makeup from tile, something as simple as a damp rag will probably be enough—just wipe it up! A bit of glass cleaner or all-purpose spray will allow you to clean up more stubborn stains.

The problem with spilling on tile actually comes in when makeup gets onto the grout. Here’s why: Grout is porous, which means that it will retain stains much more so than harder surfaces like tile or natural stone. If your grout is stained, a scrub brush or even an old toothbrush is a great tool to use in concert with a product like Soft Scrub, which contains a bit of bleach, or an oxygenated bleach like OxiClean that’s been diluted in water.

If you apply your makeup in a space that is carpeted, like a bedroom, and have a spill there ,a carpet cleaner like Resolve will make short work of removal. Most carpet and upholstery cleaners come in both foaming and spray form; both work, the choice of one versus the other is mostly a matter of preference (I prefer the foaming kind, for whatever that’s worth to you!)

How To Remove Powdered Makeup Stains From Inside A Purse Or Makeup Bag

It’s always terrible when a compact breaks in your purse or makeup bag, because it’s such a two-for-one disaster. One, you’ve lost a perfectly good pot of makeup! And two, you have a mess in need of cleaning.

The first thing to do is to take everything else out of the bag and upend it over a trashcan. Knock a few times on the bottom for good measure — the idea is that you want to dump out as much of the loose powder as you can. Once you’ve done that, you can follow any of the instructions for cleaning makeup stains off of clothing.

If you’re on the fly and want to use what you have in your purse, here’s a sort of weird thing to bear in mind: Hand sanitizer generally contains alcohol, which is an excellent stain remover. So in a pinch, putting a blurt of hand san on a tissue is one good way to get makeup stains off of any kind of fabric, whether it be the lining of your favorite pocketbook or the collar of your best white dress shirt.