Guest left makeup on towels -- won't wash out

The recent guest I had was quite messy. They booked a private room however I was out of town and they really took advantage of the space.
I’ve just done the laundry to prepare for the next guest and noticed he (yes, he) left makeup on the towels that didn’t wash out.

How do you solve this? Any tips on getting the makeup out? Thanks.

We had a guest spill a bottle of foundation makeup on the guest bed. Thankfully, she told us right away. We Googled “How to remove makeup from fabric.” The advise was to blot the stains with paper towels, then scrub gently with a toothbrush and liquid dishwashing soap. It worked.

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Cabinhost posted a lengthy and informative thread on is very topic.

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If using pale towels change to something darker in the future. We use dark grey.

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Yes, we learned the hard way early on that some women won’t be respectful of your towels and will use them to remove make-up. So, since then we stock the bathroom with inexpensive gray towels in the guest basket. No problems since.

Not a woman.

"I’ve just done the laundry to prepare for the next guest and noticed he (yes, he) left makeup on the towels that didn’t wash out. "

@EllenN – I’m so sorry for your experience; you should send a note to your guest that one of the lessons women learn when they start wearing make-up is that they should not use white towels to remove it and if he was committed to wearing lipstick he should learn about a ladylike and proper way to remove it.
I love white towels and it breaks my heart when guests carelessly use white towels to remove lipstick and other cosmetics. My last guest did leave large smudges of red lipstick on the lovely white face towels. I used dish detergent and scrubbed it in, followed by Oxy spray, followed by a bleach soak. The stains are gone.

Actually, the makeup spilled on the bed linens. It was a bottle of foundation that was in the guest’s purse which was on the bed. The bottle broke and the makeup leaked. I don’t use any white linens. I use grey sheets, pillowcases and towels. The blankets are black and grey.

I bought make up remover wipes and put them out where they can be seen. Also got an 8-pack of light grey and dark grey washcloths on clearance at Target for $3.50. The problem with buying dark towels as @Lou suggests is the benzole peroxide in face cleaners will leave bleached spots.

On a similar note I had a friend stay here over the weekend with a brand new tattoo. It oozed through a t shirt and onto the fitted sheet and the mattress pad below. We used hydrogen peroxide for the blood part and oxy clean and spray and wash but after they were hung on the line I could still see a big yellowish stain on the mattress pad and a faint, almost greasy looking stain on the sheet. The yellowish stain was sprayed with a diluted clorine bleach sprayer and then rinsed again. It’s good as new. I used Dawn dishwashing liquid on the “greasy” stain and that sheet is good as new. If you get a stain on a dark item you aren’t going to be able to bleach it out.


I hate it when people coat themselves in greasy stuff like foot creams on my sheets. Always more than one wash to get it out.

I only get mad when each and every towel left for the guest gets soiled. If it’s just one washcloth or one handtowel, I chock it up to the cost of doing business

I now have a small note next to the extra towels that simply reads: “Please do not use towels to remove make-up”. It seems to have worked. Ever since I added that note, no more ruined towels. Knock on wood…

Also when I’ve had a large towel get stained, I simply turn them into dog towels.

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Another reason to get a dog! :wink:


I love white towels but despite written notices, individual packs of make-up remover cloths, etc, I’m still facing ruined towels, pillowcases and even some sheets. I just bought some multi-colored towels and ruined one myself drying a counter with it (I had cleaned the counter with a cleaning product that contained bleach).
I used to buy Italian high-end towels but gave up on it. Strangely, the folks who ruin my towels are the ones who give me the most heart-warming reviews…I feel guilty for all the years that I traveled on business, even living in hotels for weeks, and being totally careless with the towels.

My aunt uses Pinol to get stains out of white clothing, sheets, towels, etc. and it works wonders! Put Pinol directly on the stain and let it soak for 5 minutes then wash with hot water and a splash on Pinol!

nice thank you for sharing!!

I just had my 3rd guest leave today and they apparently spilled a ton of liquid foundation on my comforter. THANK YOU to Ellen N, all who shared some tricks and suggestions. I did the wet paper towel thing and it came out!!! I was so afraid it was ruined after only 3 stays. :frowning: I also took the advice and have makeup removers in the room. Hopefully it will help makeup marks from ending up on my towels. The only thing that bothered me was that they curled the comforter up in a ball and put it in the dirty laundry basket. Didn’t even tell me or give me a heads up. I am sure it was an accident, but geez, a heads up would have been nice, lol. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks. I enjoy this forum. It helps us newbies. :slight_smile: