Act quickly to remove fresh makeup stains from your tailored black suit jackets.

How to Remove Makeup From a Black Suit Jacket

by Mimi Abney

Classic, chic and sophisticated, a well-tailored black suit telegraphs instant style and professional polish. Unfortunately, a vibrantly hued swipe of makeup on the outside lapel of your suit jacket can turn it from a fashion do into a fashion don’t. Instead of taking your suit to the dry cleaners for a pricey laundering treatment, save your pretty pennies and extend the life of the garment by removing the unsightly makeup stains at home.

Eyeliner, Foundation and Eyeshadow

Press a dark-colored cloth into the jacket to lift the liquid or powdered makeup.

Pretreat your makeup stains with heavy-duty laundry detergent. Lay the jacket down on a flat surface. Pour a teaspoon of detergent over the stain. Let the cleaning agent remain on the stain for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Launder the jacket using the fabric care label’s instructions. Hang the fabric to dry instead of tumbling the jacket in the dryer, which may stretch the fibers beyond repair.


Douse the corner of a dark-colored rag with a professional oil-cleaning solvent. The solvent helps to dissolve the protein-based agents that cause the mascara to stick to the jacket and your lashes. Press the dampened corner of the rag into the stain. Let the solvent dry completely. Once the solvent dries, brush away the particles with a nail brush.

Remove waterproof mascara stains by pressing an oil-free makeup remover on the stain to lift the makeup from the jacket’s fibers.

Wash the black jacket according to the manufacturer’s clothing care directions. Hang the garment to dry in a well-ventilated area.

Lipstick and Lip Balm

Scrape off any residual lipstick or lip balm with a metal spoon.

Soak the edge of a dark-colored rag with liquid laundry detergent or household products such as hairspray or baking soda to pretreat the stain. Press the damp cloth into the stain to lift the makeup. Dampen another dark-colored towel or rag with lukewarm water. Rinse the stain by pressing the damp towel into the surface of the fabric.

Launder the fabric according to the manufacturer’s care label. If the stain is stubborn, treat it with a liquid pretreating product for five to 10 minutes and rewash the garment.

Items you will need

  • Dark-colored cloths or rags
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Professional oil cleaning solvent
  • Oil-free makeup remover
  • Hangers
  • Nail brush
  • Metal spoon
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Household ammonia
  • Liquid pre-treating product


  • Test the cleaning solvent on an inconspicuous place on the jacket for colorfastness or potential bleeding of the fabric.
  • Purchase an oil-based dry cleaning solvent from your local dry cleaner.
  • If the black jacket has cashmere, polyester, acrylic, cotton or nylon fibers, you can wash it at home. Send delicate fabrics such as silk and velvet to the dry cleaner for stain removal.


  • To avoid wrinkling the jacket beyond repair, set the water temperature on warm and use a permanent-press washing cycle.
  • To prevent transferring lint and light-colored fibers to the surface of your black jacket, do not use paper towels or light-colored rags to remove any makeup stains.
  • Do not apply ammonia to wool or silk fabrics.

About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.

Photo Credits

  • James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images