Dress, shoes, wedding rings, and your handwritten vows should already be on your wedding-day checklist. Though, there's one more thing every bride-to-be should add to their must-have list: dish detergent. Yes, you read that right! The reason you need to dig through your kitchen cabinets before you say "I do"? It removes makeup stains!
Whether you accidentally transferred some foundation onto your dress while putting it on or that big hug from Aunt Lucy inexplicably left a lipstick mark on your gown, a makeup mishap can feel devastating on your big day. Luckily, a little detergent will remove it, even from delicate fabrics like lace and silk. There are just a few simple rules to follow—Joe Hallak Jr, co-owner of Hallak Couture Cleaners, breaks it down.
"Foundations, mascara, lipstick, and eye shadows might be different categories of makeup, but for stain removal purposes they all fall into the same category: oily based stains," explains Hallak. "This means the same technique will work for any makeup that gets smudged onto your dress."
Any dish detergent will work, but lemon dish detergent, in particular, has an ingredient that is a degreaser and breaks down the oil in makeup stains particularly well. (If you don't have dish soap on hand, baby shampoo, mineral spirits, or even blue laundry detergent will work in a pinch.) "Just make sure you're not only treating the stain with water," he says. "Because makeup is an oil-based stain, water will not remove anything."
"Once you have your solvent, first, dampen the area around the stain with water and put a drop of detergent on it," says Hallak. "Then you can use the back of a spoon or toothbrush to rub the soap in gently." But the important thing to know is that if you just rub it, you're moving the stain around the fabric. So, make sure you use a towel and pat the stained area repeatedly in order to transfer the stain off your dress and onto the towel. Repeat the process a couple of times and the stain should come out.
To prevent a water ring, make sure that you're cleaning the area with a "feathering" motion. Using a wet towel, make light presses on the fabric and push the towel up in an outward motion away from the stain. Continue this motion around the perimeter of the stain, so that you diffuse the water, which prevents a ring from setting. Finally, use a blowdryer to dry the area completely.
Dish detergent is pretty safe on all fabrics, even silk, Hallak says. But for those more delicate satin finishes, make sure you use a light hand so you don't damage the fibers.
In terms of what not to do, Hallak recommends never trying to treat the stain with hairspray, seltzer, or baby powder. "Seltzer is just water, hairspray has alcohol in it, which can damage the fabric and turn it yellow," he warns "and powder, especially if you apply it to a satin finish will dull the area."
Who knew dish detergent was such a miracle worker?