Removing Lipstick Stains

by Emily McBride
(last updated September 21, 2015)

Unfortunately, lipstick doesn't always stay on lips. Hugging can easily leave lipstick on jackets and shirts; if you touch your lips and then touch your dress, you might leave a smudge; the cap might come off of your lipstick tube and leave parts of your purse an unsightly red. One of the problems with lipstick stains is that they sometimes aren't discovered until hours later, when the lipstick has already deeply set into the fabric. Whenever you can, try to get rid of your lipstick stain as soon as you notice it. Lipstick is an oil-based cosmetic, so lipstick stains are treated similarly to grease stains.

If you are out at dinner or in another type of situation where you do not have access to your cleaning materials, excuse yourself to the restroom. Use a damp paper towel to dab at the stain. Do not rub the stain or you will rub the lipstick even further into the fabric. You will not be able to completely get rid of the stain, but dabbing at it should lighten it so that it isn't as noticeable until you can get it home and clean it correctly.

Hairspray is told to be the secret remedy for removing lipstick. Spray a large amount of hairspray on the stain, and then let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the lipstick, and then wash the fabric as normal.

Before you attempt to remove the lipstick stain, check to see the fabric instructions on the tag. If the fabric is dry clean only, you should talk it to a dry cleaner. Do not try to clean it or get it ready for the dry cleaner—it might make it harder for the stain to be removed. If the fabric is not dry clean only, you can try to clean it yourself.

First, you will want to lightly moisten the stain with alcohol. Just dap lightly. If you rub it into the stain, the stain will spread. After it is moistened, blot at the stain with a rag, and it should come out. Then, wash the entire article of clothing. Other ways that you can try to get rid of your lipstick stain is with dishwashing detergent or with ammonia. Follow the same directions as the alcohol method.

If you are having a hard time removing the stain or if you are nervous to do so because it is on an expensive article of clothing, take it to a dry cleaner. Often they have special remedies and chemicals that you might not have access to.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...


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