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How to get lipstick out of clothes

It's easy to get a lipstick stain on clothing, but not so easy to remove it. Kiss your stain goodbye with these simple tips.


By Cleanipedia Team

Striped top with a lipstick stain beside a tray containing an open tube of lipstick.

Lipstick can certainly enhance someone’s appearance, but the same can’t be said when it transfers on to your clothes.

Whether smudged on your dress or smeared on your shirt, an unsightly lipstick stain needn’t mean the end for your ensemble.

Learn how to get lipstick out of clothes using remedies you have at home, in our ultimate guide to lipstick stain removal.

Lipstick stains: what you need to know

  • Act fast! ­Fresh lipstick stains are easier to remove.
  • Always remove any excess lipstick before treating.
  • Cleaners with grease removing properties are ideal.
  • When possible, work from the inside-out. This helps the stain to lift off of the fabric instead of through the fabric.
  • Always check the care label for product suitability and test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first.

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How to get lipstick out of clothes in 5 easy steps

Many of us would agree that removing make-up stains from clothes is a hassle we could do without. But lipstick stain removal, thanks to its greasy and highly pigmented properties, is that little bit more difficult to shift. This straightforward method should do the job nicely:

1. Begin by carefully scraping off any excess lipstick with a blunt knife or dull edge. This will stop the stain from spreading, particularly if a piece of lipstick has broken off onto your garment. When using the knife, ensure that you direct it away from your body, taking care to avoid injuring yourself.

2. Apply a small amount of liquid detergent or prewash stain remover directly to the stain, applying on both sides of the lipstick stain.

3. Rinse the stain in warm water, making sure not to rub as this can cause further damage. Blot or dab the stain instead when removing lipstick from clothes.

4. Wash the fabric on a cool wash once the stain has been removed – a hot wash can cause the stain to bleed into the fabric.

5. When removing lipstick from clothing, it’s always advised to air-dry your garments instead of using a tumble dryer, as this can set-in the stain making it more difficult to remove.

Sometimes detergent alone isn’t enough to shift those stubborn lipstick marks – especially if the stain is on white clothes. For alternative methods, learn how to get lipstick off clothes using these clever tips and tricks.

How to remove lipstick from clothing using rubbing alcohol

When your laundry detergent can’t get lipstick off clothes, try using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitiser gel. The alcohol works as a degreasing agent, effectively breaking down the components of the greasy stain.

  1. Place the item on top of a paper towel with the stain facing downwards. 
  2. Take a cotton ball or clean white cloth and dampen it with rubbing alcohol, blotting, but not rubbing the stain.
  3. Rinse stain with cool water, blotting the area dry and repeating on the front.
  4. Wash the fabric as usual.

How to remove lipstick using hairspray

Yes, really! Hairspray is especially good at removing dried-in grease stains due to its active ingredient alcohol, which works as a degreasing agent. So if your item has already been washed and dried with the stain still present, this method is for you.

  1. Spray the hairspray onto the lipstick stain.
  2. Allow the hairspray to sit on the lipstick stain for up to 15 minutes.
  3. Take a clean cloth and dip in warm water.
  4. Wipe the hairspray off the stain with the cloth.
  5. Wash the fabric as usual.

How to remove lipstick using washing up liquid

This household all-rounder cuts through grease like a pro and knows how to remove lipstick from clothes with ease. Plus, it’s likely you’ll always have some at hand.

  1. Remove any excess lipstick.
  2. Spray some water onto the area to dampen it, and apply a small amount of washing up liquid directly to the stain.
  3. Leave for 15 minutes to allow the liquid to break down the stain.
  4. Use a clean cloth to gently rub the liquid, in a circular motion from the outside in, into the area.
  5. Spray more water to rinse, then leave to dry.

How to remove lipstick from clothes using peanut butter

You read that right. More than just a versatile spread, peanut butter is surprisingly effective at removing lipstick stains due to its natural oils’ ability to dissolve them. (We’re not sure how this was discovered either.)

  1. Spread a small amount of peanut butter over the stained area.
  2. Leave for 30 minutes, or until dry. 
  3. Rinse the stained area in warm water with dishwashing liquid, washing off all the peanut butter.
  4. The stain should disappear, but if not then you can repeat the steps above as necessary.

Removing lipstick from clothes using shaving cream

The soapy formula of shaving cream makes for an excellent solvent for lipstick that’s super easy to use.

  1. Apply a small dab of shaving foam onto the stain.
  2. Using a clean, damp cloth, work gently into the stain, but careful not to scrub.
  3. Leave to work for 30 minutes.
  4. Wipe off the stain with a clean, damp cloth - it should come straight off. If not, repeat the above steps.

Lipstick removal using liquid glycerin

Glycerin is an ingredient used in soaps, moisturisers and sunscreens to name a few, but it can also work well at shifting lipstick marks by loosening the stain up and making it easier to remove.

  1. Apply a small amount of undiluted glycerin into the stain. 
  2. Gently work the glycerin into the fabric with a clean, damp cloth.
  3. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Blot away the stain or rinse it away under cool water.

Your top questions on lipstick stain removal

What removes lipstick from fabric?

It’s not just clothing that can fall victim to a lipstick stain. To remove stains from things like couches or curtains, start by scraping off any excess lipstick with a knife. Then, dab a clean, damp cloth into some dry cleaning solvent and gently apply to the stain, taking care not to over-saturate the fabric. Keep blotting the stain (do not wipe) until the stain has vanished and all the solvent is absorbed. Remember to check the care label on your upholstery before attempting stain removal.

Can vinegar remove lipstick stains?

The best way to use vinegar to remove lipstick stains is to combine it with salt. This formula is ideal for fresh lipstick stains but won’t work as well on dried-in ones. Mix one part white vinegar (do not use brown vinegar) with one part salt to form a paste. Then, rub the paste onto the stain and allow it to work for 15 minutes. Next, wipe away the salt paste with a clean, damp cloth. If the stain remains, re-apply some salt paste and leave for 30 minutes, wiping away with a cloth.

How do you get lipstick out of clothes that have been through the dryer?

It’s certainly more tricky to move a dried-in stain once your stained garment goes into the tumble drier. Luckily, both rubbing alcohol and hairspray are effective at lifting out dried-in, greasy stains like lipstick – check out our step-by-step guides above.

Originally published