Beauty requires sacrifice, right? And still, is it worth it to sacrifice a vehicle’s upholstery, which could easily become damaged or stained from makeup products?

When cleaning customers’ cars, many common makeup stains can be removed fairly easily. Still, it’s important to be careful when removing makeup, or when cleaning/detailing a car’s interior in general, so you do not damage the upholstery by using aggressive chemicals.

Here are several hacks that will help you easily and quickly clean makeup stains from a car’s interior:

  1. Makeup stains should be treated right away because most cosmetics contain oily substances, which get oxidized in the open air. In addition, some cosmetic stains can deeply penetrate fabrics, so trying to clean them when dry will be even harder.
  2. If the makeup stains are water-based and do not contain any oily substances, cleaning is normally easier. In fact, you can encourage customers to take care of these stains on their own. For these products, use a soft sponge dipped in warm soap water to clean the stain.
  3. Makeup stains can also be treated by applying a soft cotton pad dipped in a 10 percent solution of ammonia and letting it sit for a few minutes. Then sprinkle some baking soda on top of the stain, let it sit there for a couple minutes and use the cleaning method with the soft sponge, mentioned above. Remember not to apply too much pressure on car upholstery fabrics because some are more delicate than others, and you can make things worse instead of simply cleaning the stain.
  4. If a car’s upholstery is made from synthetic fabric, first use a cotton pad dipped in hot water and then apply a delicate cleaning product — but only on the stain’s surface. Rub it gently with a wet sponge or towel, and the stain should start to disappear. This method is especially useful when it comes to cleaning car upholstery in pale colors. However, it is not so suitable for brightly colored upholstery.
  5. Removing lipstick stains could be a more difficult task to successfully complete. Lipstick stains are normally oily stains because lipsticks contain special pigments. Apply several drops of regular dishwashing detergent on the stain, and rub gently with a soft sponge or brush; you should be able to treat the stain this way.
  6. If a liquid face foundation stain is on the car interior and upholstery, you can use an old toothbrush to apply some mild cleaning detergent directly on the stain. Rub with a clean sponge dipped in warm water until the stain starts getting smaller and smaller. You can also use a standard wet wipe.
  7. Nail enamel stains are normally among the hardest ones to clean. Make sure to not rub the surface of the car’s upholstery, try instead to absorb the substance with a towel — if it’s still damp. Rubbing will only make the stain look bigger. Then, after you have absorbed everything you could, take an old towel, dip it in some acetone and start pressing on the stain again. Rubbing is of no use here, so pressing and absorbing should do the job. Once the nail enamel stain gets paler, get another dry towel and press it on the stain — this way the substance is supposed to soak on the towel. Try to do this several times, and the stain should be removed. Still, remember not to use acetone on delicate upholstery fabrics or leather.

Katherine Fowler is the owner of PromptCleaners Canary Wharf, a London-based cleaning company.