Wearing a swipe of lipstick on your lips is a surefire way to help you look confident and put-together. But wearing lipstick on your clothes? Well, that may have the opposite effect. If you know how to rock a bold lip, you’ll also want to learn how to get lipstick out of clothes in case an accident occurs. Read on for useful tips on the removal of lipstick from fabric.
Why Does Lipstick Stain?
Most lipsticks contain a dye for color and a wax or oil for consistency. While this combination of dye and wax ensures a smooth, pigmented pout, it also makes lipstick stains difficult to remove. To remove lipstick stains from your clothes, you need to target both the wax and the dye stain.1
What To Do When You Stain Your Clothes With Lipstick
The first rule of removing makeup stains from clothes is to act as soon as you see the stain. A fresh stain is much easier to tackle than an old, dried-in stain. If you’re out and on-the-go, this means you may have to improvise and use cleaning materials that are available to you. Be flexible, and remember that fortune favors the quick.
Scrape Excess Lipstick
If your lipstick stain is more of a smudge than a smear – say, there’s actual chunks of lipstick on your shirt – you’ll need to remove that first. Use the edge of a dull knife or a credit card to scrape away any solids.2
Check The Fabric Care Label
Before you continue treating the dreaded lipstick stain, glance at the fabric care label. Almost every piece of clothing you own will have one of these. This will act as your guide when you’re working on that stain.
Look At The Fabric Type
On the care label, you’ll see information on the fabric that your article of clothing is made of. Depending on the type of fabric, it may react differently to cleaning materials. Here are a few rules of thumb:
- Do not use chlorine bleach on polyester fabrics.
- Do not use acetone nail polish remover or alcohol on clothing that contains acetate (like rayon or satin).
- Do not use hot water on clothing made of acrylic.
- Refrain from using alcohol, ammonia, or bleach on wool garments.3,4
Check For Machine Washable Fabrics Vs. Dry Clean Only
Check the tag on your stained article of clothing. If it says dry-clean, it’s best to obey. Rather than attempting to treat a dry-clean item yourself, take it to the dry cleaners as soon as possible. Resist the urge to rub the spot with warm water or seltzer – it may make the stain spread out and look even more noticeable.5
These fabrics are typically dry-clean only:
These fabrics can typically be treated and washed at home:
Work From The Inside-Out
If possible, turn the clothing item inside out to treat the stain. This helps lift the stain off the fabric instead of pushing it further into the fabric fibers.7
Try One Of These Methods For Removing Lipstick Stains
If you’d like to try to treat the stain yourself, here are a few DIY cleaning strategies you can try.
Pretreat The Stain With A Stain Removal Product
If you’re at home near your cleaning supplies, grab a solvent-based stain removal product and dab it onto the stain. You can also use a heavy-duty liquid detergent to treat the stain. Dab it on, and let the cleaning solution sit for 15 minutes. Wash the garment according to the label.8
How To Get Lipstick Out Of Clothes With Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap or dish detergent should be gentle enough to use on your clothing without damaging it. Since many dish soaps are formulated to cut grease, they can help fight the wax component of lipstick.
To use: Dab a small amount of dish soap on the backside of the stain, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Blot the stain using a damp cloth or paper towel until the lipstick starts to come out. Launder according to the care label.9
Removal Of Lipstick From Fabric With Hairspray Or Rubbing Alcohol
Due to its high alcohol content, hairspray can also work as an effective stain remover. Spray hairspray onto the stain, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Alternatively, dampen a cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol, and gently blot at the lipstick stain. With either of these methods, you’ll want to test a small area first to check for fabric discoloration.
Once the stain has loosened, rinse the clothing in cold water to remove the hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Wash with liquid laundry detergent according to the fabric label instructions.10
How To Remove Lipstick from Clothing With Vinegar
To use vinegar to remove lipstick stains, you’ll make a paste with vinegar and salt.
To use: mix one part white vinegar with one part salt to form a paste. Rub the mixture into the stain, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wipe away the mixture with a clean, white cloth. Repeat as many times as necessary.11
Removal Of Lipstick From Fabric With Shaving Cream
Here’s another bathroom cabinet staple that may help remove lipstick stains: shaving cream. Like dish soap, shaving cream may also be able to cut through the oil of lipstick and lift the stain.
To use: Apply a squirt of shaving cream directly to the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Blot up as much of the stain as you can with a clean cloth. Rinse with cool water. Launder in the washing machine as usual.12
How To Get Lipstick Out Of Clothes With Lemon Juice And Baking Soda
You can use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda to remove lipstick from clothes. The acidity of this combination of ingredients makes the lipstick break down.
To use: mix one part lemon juice and one part baking soda in a small bowl. Apply the paste to the lipstick stain, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Without removing the paste, put the item in the washer and launder as usual. Ensure the stain is gone before moving it to the dryer or air drying it.13
How To Get A Lipstick Stain Out Of Clothes You’ve Already Washed
You already know that it’s easiest to treat fresh lipstick stains. But let’s be real here – sometimes a lipstick mark goes unnoticed until after you wash and dry your clothes. Are you doomed? Not necessarily.
While a set-in stain will be harder to remove, you can still try any of the above methods to treat it. Try dish soap, hairspray, rubbing alcohol, or any other method that appeals to you. You may need to apply some elbow grease to cut through the lipstick oil, so don’t give up. After a few repetitions, you should be able to lift out that stain.14
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