How To Remove Makeup Stains From Car Interior

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woman applying eyelash serum in the car

Removing makeup stains from the car interior was a pain in the butt for me until I learned the proper way of doing it. Now that I understand the whole process, it’s quite simple, and I would like to share a few tips for removing makeup stains from the car interior with you guys.

Very often, I find stains from lipsticks, hand creams, body lotions, powders, and other types of makeup in my car. They mainly occur on the passenger side on the dashboard, door handles, and a sunvisor.

These stains occur mostly during the summer when my wife applies sun protection and usually when she is doing makeup while we’re riding in a car.

So, without further ado, let’s see how you can remove makeup stains from some specific car parts.

Detailing Brush Is Your Best Friend

Before I show you the exact steps I do for cleaning specific car parts, I want to tell you that you shouldn’t even start cleaning most of these makeup stains if you don’t have a brush.

I have tried cleaning makeup stains with microfiber towels only, and every single time, the result wasn’t good enough. The reason is that microfiber rugs can’t get into all the pores, and they won’t be able to remove these stains properly.

So, before cleaning makeup stains, always prepare a soft detailing brush. Feel free to check out my recommended detailing brushes every car lover should have.

Removing Makeup Stains From Dashboard and Door Handles

Dashboard and door handles are the most common car parts where you’ll find makeup stains. Luckily, they’re pretty simple to clean because they’re usually made out of plastic, rubber, leather, or vinyl.

What you’ll need:

How To Do It:

  • Step 1: Spray a bit of car interior cleaner onto the detailing brush and start working the brush into the stain.
  • Step 2: Wipe off any residue with a clean microfiber towel, and the stain should be gone.

If needed, repeat the process, and the stain should be gone. However, some stains will be tougher to remove, so using a Purple Power degreaser might be needed to remove the stain entirely. Furthermore, you can also use a steam cleaner to break it more quickly, but in most situations, the two steps I have shown you above will be enough.

Removing Makeup Stains From Headliner and Sunvisor

Removing makeup stains from headliners and sun visors is tricky if they’re made of upholstery. Luckily, most sun visors will be covered in vinyl or rubber, and on those kinds of sun visors, you can use the exact steps you would do on dashboards and door handles.

When it comes to cleaning headliners and sun visors made of fabric, you should follow this procedure.

What you’ll need:

How To Do It:

  • Step 1: Spray the microfiber towel with an upholstery cleaner
  • Step 2: Rub the towel onto the dirty surface on the headliner or sunvisor in circular motions. Do that for 10-20 seconds.
  • Step 3: Wipe the surface off with a clean microfiber towel.

If the stains don’t go, don’t oversaturate the area because it may cause the headliner to sag. If you can’t remove the stain, let it dry for 10 minutes and repeat the process. However, this time try spraying an upholstery cleaner onto the brush and then clean the area by agitating it with a brush.

Removing Makeup Stains From The Seats

Since most people have either upholstery or leather seats, I divided this into two categories: cleaning makeup stains from fabric seats and cleaning makeup stains from leather seats.

Fabric Seats Makeup Removal Guide

For removing makeup stains from the upholstery seats, the best option you can do is to deep clean car seats. Here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need:

  • Upholstery and fabric cleaner
  • Detailing brush
  • Microfiber towels

How To Do It:

  • Step 1: Spray a bit o fan upholstery cleaner onto the seat and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  • Step 2: Take a soft brush and rub the area to break up the makeup stain.
  • Step 3: Wipe off any residue with a clean microfiber towel and allow the seats to dry.

Those were the simple steps. If you want more info, here’s a full guide on deep cleaning car fabric seats without using an extractor.

Leather Seats Makeup Removal Guide

When it comes to leather seats, the process is much simpler. Here’s how to do it.

What You’ll Need

How To Do It:

  • Step 1: Spray the leather cleaner onto the leather cleaning brush
  • Step 2: Gently rub the brush over the stain and do this process in circular motions for ca. 20-30 seconds.
  • Step 3: Wipe off the residue with a clean microfiber towel.

Since leather cleaners are pretty mild, they might not be able to remove all the stains entirely, so if that happens, feel free to use a bit of diluted all-purpose cleaner. With APC, it’ll be much easier to clean any stains for leather, but don’t use it if not necessary.

A Few Tips To Clean Makeup Stains Quicker

Now you know how to remove makeup stains from different car interior parts. But I also want to share a few tips that will make the whole process easier and safer and ensure that the stains won’t seep deep into the car’s interior materials.

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Treat the stains immediately. Don’t let the stains dry and seep into the material. That way, they’ll be much harder to remove.
  2. Always start with the least abrasive product. To avoid damaging the car interior, always start with the mildest products, and then if the stain isn’t gone, gradually try a bit tougher cleaning products and methods.
  3. Vacuum the car before cleaning. Vacuuming the car will ensure that there aren’t any other dirt or dust particles that may affect the cleaning process.
  4. Repeat the process if needed. Some makeup stains, such as hand creams, will probably require you to do the cleaning process twice in order to remove them entirely. So, if that happens to you, don’t worry. Repeat the process, and the stain should be gone.
  5. Avoid cleaning in high heat or direct sunlight. High heat or direct sunlight might cause cleaners to dry, reducing their cleaning abilities. So, do it somewhere in the shade with car doors open.

Bottom Line

As you can see above, removing makeup stains from the car interior isn’t a big deal, but you should follow some simple guidelines to do it properly and avoid damaging the interior.

If you are somehow unable to remove the stain, I highly recommend going to a reputable detailing shop where they’ll fix it in a matter of minutes. That’s because they have all the needed equipment, such as carpet extractors, steam cleaners, etc.

Another important thing is that after cleaning any stains from the car interior, always protect it with a high-quality dressing. Those can be leather conditioners, interior protectants, etc. That way, the surface will be protected from harmful elements, but it will also be easier to keep it clean.

I hope that now you know the basics, and I hope that by following the tips above, you’ll be able to clean any makeup stain from your vehicle. Cheers!

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