How to Remove Face Paint Stains from Clothing

by Philadelphia Tivoli · 52 comments

Okay, so you’ve been face painting this last weekend and now you’re in the laundry thinking…”How on earth am I going to get this face paint out of my clothing?”

So I thought I’d let you know what has worked for other face painters and I’d like you to share your own tricks and techniques for gettings paint stains out of your clothing.

  • Wet the stained area of clothing
  • Rub vegetable/glycerin soap into it
  • Stretch the area tight and then
  • Run under a fast-flowing hot water
  • Once the stain it out you can throw it in the wash as you normally would.

You’ll have a better chance at getting the stains out the earlier you try to wash the stain out.

If you have any ideas, tips and tricks on getting paint stains out of your clothing
Click here to leave a comment on our blog!!

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Tue at 6:41 am

I love Wonder Sard! It’s available in the laundry isle at the supermarket.


Philadelphia Tivoli from Face Painting Tips Tue at 8:37 am

Thats right Sard works quite well! Do they have Sard in the US though?


Kamellia Csorba Tue at 11:27 am

Great Stain removing Idea ! Thx :-)
Here’s one that really works for me especially for the really tough colors like black red, orange and blue.
Using a pump action hairspray, any kind will work, spray enough hair spray on the stain to get it to soak through the material, I find that about 5-6 sprays usually works great, but you can judge how much you need, let the hair spray dry, then wash as usual, it works amazing. :-D
Happy stain removing all,


Jacqui Tue at 11:45 am

Hi Philadelphia
Yes, Sard can be bought from Safeway and Walmart in their laundry dept’s…
I googled to find out for your US friends.


Wendy Tue at 1:12 pm

Where do you find vegetable/ glycerin soap. can you name a brand?


Sharon Danley Tue at 1:38 pm

The simplest thing is not to get the stain in the first place. Simply use a professional cape (much like hairdressers do) and drape the client. You can also get smaller capes for kids. This saves a lot of clothes and the concern as well.


jen Sun at 2:38 pm

Smart thinking, but what should we do when our child hurts themselves with a freshly painted face and needs a comforting cuddle, should we as mothers be wearing a cape all day long while they have their face painted. Obviously you dont have your own kids who like to rub their faces on their own clothing or yours when being comforted. We are smarter than that, give us an answer for getting it out of clothing not a sterile living arrangement.


emma Wed at 12:57 am

Well said jen!


Sally Tue at 1:39 pm

Thank you for all your information, we throughly enjoy it. I am retired from my business, however, we still do face painting for our church functions. The “getting paint out of clothing” is fantastic to know. I have been face painting for 18 years, however, I am a bit rusty from not doing it daily! Sally A.K.A. Pokadot


Jenn Amato Tue at 2:29 pm

I use a product from Melaleuca. It is an environmentaly friendly product that is concentrated. It works on getting ALL SORTS of stains out. I even got grape juice that had dried into a WHITE shirt. OUT!!! It is amazin. http://WWW.MELALEUCA.COM
You can say I sent you!


Nikki Tue at 2:41 pm

As of yet, I only face paint my own kids or their friends, but am wondering if you ever get complaints from parents of kids whose face you painted? I can see how putting a drape on them while working would help, but I’m wondering about afterward when they are running around playing and reach up to rub their arm across their face, etc and get the paint on their clothes? Do you ever send them away from your station with a tip sheet of how to clean face/clothes, or is this necessary?


Alvina Tue at 3:00 pm

I love getting tips. I am just starting out in Calgary,Alberta,Canada. I like the cape suggestion. Thanks


priya Tue at 3:36 pm

good tips,really i am in my kids made mess on their clothes while face painting.thanx for the useful tip.


Debbie Smith Tue at 3:39 pm

I have been challenged by parents who say it’s not sanitary the way I use same brushes or sponges while face painting. I always keep my kit immaculate and wash and clean everything before and after jobs. What can I say to comfort parents regarding germs?


Sonya Tue at 3:45 pm

Thanks for the tip about Sard – I’ve never heard of it! And Sharon, that is definitely logical thinking, but once the cape comes off, you can’t prevent a child from smearing it all over his or her shirt (or Mom or Dad’s for that matter as my 2 year old is always burying her face on me). There are times when it’s easier to let my 5 year old sleep with her face painted as opposed to a huge fight with her to wash it off, so my sheets will thank you for the advice!!


Caroline Tue at 4:02 pm

I use Pears soap – it also brings my brushes up a treat.


Jacki Manna Tue at 4:16 pm

Thanks for the tip! Here’s another one: peanut butter takes off body glue if the parent wants the body tattoo off early. (also takes gum out of hair! I’m a mom of many years).


Karen Dierksen Tue at 4:17 pm

I make a stain remover to spray on which works well. It is equal parts of Amonia, dishwashing liquid [ie: ajax or Palmolive] and water. mix together and put in spray bottle. Spray offending spot and rub well then put in hot wash. Works well. I have even gotten out mustard and spaghetti sauce stains.


Lori Tue at 4:56 pm

Glycerin soap is very common and is usually clear or has a toy inside. You can get bulk containers of it at Michaels craft store with your coupons. It comes in big buckets to melt down and shape into gift soaps.



Mrs. Bunny, The Clown Tue at 5:23 pm

Is this remedy for a specific brand of face paints? I use Wolfe Bros. FX that has a nice, strong pigment. I was wondering if Sard soap would work on this brand.


Cathy Meyers Tue at 7:26 pm

My experience has been that once warm or hot water is applied to the garment, the stain is there forever. This is especially true if you are using Wolfe Bros. paints. I was amazed to see you recommend anything but cold water until the stain releases, if it releases at all. I have been looking for a sure stain cure, b ecause although I always were an apron, I have managed to get paint on several favorite shirts. Your advice is apprecited.


Sandy the amateur Tue at 7:41 pm

Anyone got some tips for getting facepaint stains off bath-tubs? I got some feedback from a parent whose kid I painted last weekend that while the paint came off her child with the greatest of ease, she’s now got a face-paint ring around her tub!! Paint was a combination of Derivian and Tag. I’ve never heard of this happening before (our tub has never had a problem) and I’m baffled!


Trigger Goodtime Tue at 8:05 pm

In my opinion, we can wear apron to protect us from the stain of the paint


Trigger Goodtime Tue at 8:07 pm

Sir, if the paint stain in our clothes we can just soak with the soap powder and leave it for a while?


Cindy, Dancing Dolphins Art Tue at 9:23 pm

My problem isn’t the kids, it’s splattering Wolfe black tiny drips on my super bright tye dye dress! I’d love to know a name brand as well for the vegetable/glycerin soap… and I’ll check for the Wonder Sard for sure!


Jacqui Tue at 10:25 pm

Hi Sandy
Re: Bathtub stains…try using Bi Carb Soda (baking soda) mixed into a paste with water, smear or rub onto the stain, leave a while then wash off. Eucalyptus oil should work as well, cleans my practise pads beautifully!!


Howard, Bow-Tie the Clown Tue at 10:53 pm

Trying to keep the Snazaroo white plastic tray “white” is a real problem. But “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” will take the stain out of the plastic when other detergents fail. So I would assume it will also work on bath tubs.


Virginia Wed at 12:03 am

Great tips, Thanks everyone. Alvina, what area of Calgary are you in? Send me a message I am also in Calgary


catie mccarthy Wed at 2:27 am

grease lightning


Marie Wed at 3:03 am

If anyone is interested I have a few boxes of Vegetable/Glycerine Soap. There is 10 soap bars in a box for $A10 plus postage. Email;


Rainbow and Unicorns by Judy Wed at 1:47 pm

Thank you for all the sugestions. Really …all are great tips.
I start to do face paint 2 years ago and i was asking from the parents how to remove de paint from the face/clothes all the time.
Happy Halloween!!!!
From Dominican Republic


Rhoda Wed at 2:28 pm

Great info I will pass it along to all my face painters thanks so much


melissa new Wed at 10:03 pm

its that simple.i will tell my customer 2 do that.because the black seems 2 stain the u no how 2 get it off jumping castles


Kris in Alaska Fri at 7:35 am

Awesome tips everyone! Thanks for sharing!


Dolores Doucette Mon at 5:32 am

Hi from Medicine Hat Alta
Can we find Sard in Canada? Please email me if I can find it here…
Can anybody help me get grease or cooking oil out of cotton/ poly t shirts ??
Thanks Dolores


Sharon Danley Thu at 5:59 am

Cleaning your brushes and sponges in front of clients solves the problem of parent concern about hygiene.

Drapping your client is an industry standard for professional artists .

A sealant after the face has been painted – or a fixing powder will keep the makeup from rubbing off on sleeves, etc. In a pinch, hairspray also works as a sealant, but I wouldn’t suggest spraying directy on the face. Spray into the air and have your client walk through it.


Michelle Wed at 5:20 am

Hi everyone,
came back to read all the comments!
Firstly – If you are using a really good brand of face paint – best is Diamond FX – it won’t rub off onto the clothes or skin when dry. So kids can rub their faces (to a point) and they will be ok. Liquid paints will rub off. (and crack.. and fade.. blurgh!)

Bathtub and other white plastic accessories, like the fresh water rinse well – use a cream based cleanser. I use Jiff. I don’d know if this is available in other countries. Then scrub with a a nail brush. If taking a while, let the cream cleanser sit on the stain for a while before you scrub it.

Clothing stains, even black wolfe – use sard. Available in laundry isle. I get the soap shape one. Wet the stain with cold water, grate the soap over the stain and scrub it in. You may want to let it soak overnight. Then wash normally. Repeat if stain is not completely out yet. Works every time!

Melaleuca stuff sounds interesting!

Hope that helps! :)


jaidaa Sat at 1:19 pm

thank you so much Philadelphia.
It is an easy way.


Gail Sun at 1:52 am

Puting a drape on a child is a great Idea …
But do you not worry about Lice?


Deann Sat at 4:50 pm

Any suggestions for removing face paint (orange & black) from the upholstery of a rocking chair??


Amatur Wed at 1:01 am

I was painting my nephue’s face and somehow I got paint on my new shirt. My mom could not get it out soI found this website. It really works! I had used black and white and the stain is out completely!


Philadelphia Tivoli Wed at 1:06 am

That is fanastic to hear Amatur!!


Redpepper Thu at 6:01 pm

I got white paint on a black top-hat, which I obviously cannot “wash as usual” after applying any of these stain solutions. Any suggestions?


Philadelphia Tivoli Fri at 3:04 am

What have you tried so far? Handwashing with soap?


Jayne Mon at 2:00 pm

I recently stained my trousers with black & was a bit worried that because it was quite a concentrated blob. I rubbed it with neat liquid Ecover ( vegetable based detergent) and then soaked it in cold water and left overnight. Put it in a normal wash the next day & it completely came out!
I’ve never had any problem with my face paints staining children’s clothes or the bath…I use Kryolan which are glycerine based paints.


Rain Sun at 11:27 am

I was wondering if u can use face paints in hair? Does anyone know or has anyone tried it?


Philadelphia Tivoli Sun at 7:28 pm

Absolutely, they are safe to use in your hair and it comes out with soap and water — some of the darker colors may stain light colored hair for a short time though.


Rain Mon at 12:07 am

Thank you so much. Hugz


Sonza Tue at 3:31 am

A friend of mine got a black robe (heavyweight shiny synthetic fabric) stained with white snazaroo. He has already washed it on a 30 degree cycle, and it hasn’t come out. Most of the suggestions I can see are for coloured paints on pale clothing. Any idea what will work on this?


Lorna Sun at 3:56 pm

Thank you everyone. My daughter covered herself in oil based face paint, jumped in a paddling pool, then jumped on me to warm up. I was wearing a brand new dress! Getting daughter clean was a nightmare which involved large amounts of olive oil! Was panicking about my dress. Based on your advice I have used my corn based (and therefore vegetable based) organic shampoo on the dress and the paint came right out. :-) thank you


Judi Thu at 12:17 pm

So now I’m more confused than ever about getting red face paint out of an already washed favorite white t-shirt. I soaked it in Resolve Oxyclean and then washed it but some of it is still there.Guess I’ll try the soap next…with a toothbrush!


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