How to Remove Makeup from a Silk Pillowcase?

Megan Dominion

We are all guilty of it: getting into bed without first removing our makeup or taking a quick nap only to wake up with eyeliner smeared on our favorite pillowcase. Smudges of eye makeup, foundation, and lipstick, like many stains, can be difficult to remove from fabric, particularly silk. And sometimes a quick wash in the washing machine isn’t enough.


Try these simple stain-fighting tricks before tossing the bed and throwing away your favorite set of sheets. Whether your makeup is oil-based or powder-based, these cleaning methods should get rid of those pesky stains in no time.

What is Silk?

Silk is a natural fiber that insects use to make their nests and cocoons. Silkworms (the most common type of silkworm), beetles, honey bees, bumble bees, hornets, weaver ants, and a variety of other insects produce silk. No wonder why silk is an expensive fabric, given the numerous factors influencing its price, including manufacturing difficulty, handling issues, and supplier output controls.

Read more: What is the Difference between Silk, Satin & Polyester


Why we recommend Silk Pillowcases?

Is silk good for your skin? Since silk absorbs less moisture than cotton, it keeps your skin hydrated longer than percale cotton. Silk also provides a more gentle and clean surface for cradling your cheek. Silk pillowcases are gentler on acne-prone or sensitive skin than rough cotton pillowcases and compared to the friction from cotton, which often leads to inflammation or makes acne worse.

Shop Silk Pillowcases

Quick Guide to Remove Makeup from Silk Pillowcases

Since silk is sensitive to cleaning and many types of laundry detergents, removing stains requires a delicate, precise touch. Here is a quick guide you can follow in saving those beloved silk pillowcases:

Things You’ll Need

Sometimes hitting the pillow is more appealing than washing your face. If chances are you stain those precious silk pillowcases, make sure these things are prepared:

  • Clean, dry rags
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Household ammonia
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Make up

1. Identify the Stains

Start by determining the type of makeup stain you are dealing with. Different cleaning agents work better for different types of cosmetics. In general, you will have foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick stains.

2. Blot It Up

If the stain on your silk fabric is still fresh, most of it can be easily removed. Lightly clean the area with a cotton ball dipped in lukewarm water. To avoid spreading the stain further, swab it from the outside into the center.

3. Remove the Stain

Here’s the nitty gritty part, finally removing the stain:


Denatured alcohol can be used to remove lipstick stains. Wet a cotton ball with a small amount and lightly rub it in, working from the outside in. If the lipstick does not transfer to the cotton ball, gently rub the area with a toothbrush in a small circular motion. Continue blotting until the stain is removed.

Foundation, Mascara, or Eyeliner

The trick to removing liquid foundation eyeliner and mascara stains is to use hydrogen peroxide. This agent should be thoroughly tested since it has the potential to whiten the fabric with which it comes into contact. Gradually apply an ample amount of hydrogen peroxide to the stains with a cotton ball and gently wipe them away. Scrubbing the area will spread the stain, instead, it is recommended to do a dabbing motion.

Powder Makeup

Several powder-based makeups can smear on your bedding, ranging from eyeshadow to blush. Undiluted liquid laundry detergent works best for removing powder makeup stains. Simply apply the detergent directly to the stain and wait at least 10 minutes before rinsing with cold water.

Other Kind of Stains

Other stains on silk materials can be removed with diluted household ammonia. This powerful agent must first be mixed with two parts water to one part ammonia. Using cotton or a soft clean cloth, dab it gently onto the makeup stain. Because this is a strong agent, it is recommended that you wear protective rubber gloves.

4. Wash the Bedding

Wash your silk items in cold water by themselves. Only use silk-safe laundry detergent. Submerge items and gently agitate with your hand; do not rub or scrub.

If none of these methods work and the stain is too deep, the only option left is to take the silk to a professional cleaner.

How to Tell if Silk is Ruined from Cleaning?

Silk is a delicate fabric, and you will want to keep it looking good even after you have cleaned it. Washing it in hot water can cause it to shrink and damage it.

So how do we tell if silk is ruined from cleaning? If the sheen of your silk pillowcase has lost its luster or shimmer and appears to have a white film or appears dull, the silk fibers may have been damaged due to improper cleaning or excessive light or heat exposure.

Silk is sensitive to cleaning products and laundry detergents. When removing makeup from a silk pillowcase, you must be cautious. Silk’s rich colors frequently bleed, and since silk is delicate, it is best to test before removing any stains, after all, you would not want that precious fabric to go to waste.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.