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How to get lipstick out of clothes and other make-up too

The steps for how to get lipstick out of clothes - or even other make-up like foundation and mascara - are simpler than you think. Read on for our tops tips and tricks for how to remove makeup from clothes with ease.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

Striped top with a lipstick stain next to open lipstick
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Lipstick can certainly enhance someone’s appearance, and a bit of foundation is great for covering unwanted blemishes. But we all know how easy it is to accidentally spill a bit of make-up on your clothes, and unsightly stains when your make-up transfers onto your clothes are less than ideal.

Removing make-up from clothes can be tough but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you act fast, before the stain can set, your clothing can be saved. Read on for our comprehensive guide to how to remove make-up from clothes in just a few simple steps.

Make-up stains: what you need to know

Before you get started, there are a few top tips you need to be aware of.

  • Act fast! ­Fresh make-up stains are easier to remove.

  • Always remove any solid excess make-up before treating the stain.

  • 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.

To achieve the best results when trying to get rid of mascara stains or remove lipstick from clothing use the correct solution for the stain type. For example, mascara is oil-based, so it requires a grease-removing product.
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You will need
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RequiredPersil Bio Liquid or Persil Ultimate Non-Bio Liquid
Persil bottle
  • Spoon or blunt knife
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Washing machine
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hairspray
  • Washing up liquid
  • Peanut butter
  • Glycerin
  • Shaving foam

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How to remove lipstick from clothes in 5 simple steps

Using laundry detergent to pre-treat a stain is one of the quickest and easiest options when it comes to removing lipstick stains. Read on for our five simple steps for how to get red lipstick out of clothes at home.

  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.

    This should be applied to both sides of the lipstick stain.

    Step 2: Hand spraying detergent onto a red stain on white fabric
  3. Rinse the stain in warm water.

    Make sure not to rub as this can cause further damage, instead aim to blot or dab the stain.

    Step 3: Hands rinsing a white sleeve with lipstick stain under water
  4. Wash your clothing as normal.

    Always double-check the care label to ensure you're washing at the correct temperature and use a good quality detergent such as Persil Bio Liquid or Persil Ultimate Non-Bio Liquid.

    When trying to remove lipstick from clothing, a cool wash is best as a hot wash can cause the stain to bleed into the fabric.

  5. Dry your clothes.

    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. Read below for how to get lipstick off clothes using alternative methods.

How to remove lipstick from clothes using alternative methods

When your laundry detergent doesn't quite do the trick to fully remove lipstick from clothing we recommend trying one of the alternative methods below.

  1. Try using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitiser gel.

    First, place the item on top of a paper towel with the stain facing downwards. Use a cotton ball or clean white cloth dampened with your chosen alcohol to blot, but not rub the stain. Rinse the stain with cool water before washing the fabric as usual.

  2. For dried in stains, whip out the hairspray.

    Hairspray works as a degreasing agent, so if your item has already been washed and dried this method is for you. Spray the hairspray directly onto the lipstick stain and allow it to sit for around 15 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the hairspray – and stain – before washing your garment as normal.

  3. Cut through the stain with a little washing up liquid.

    Spray a little water onto the fabric to dampen it, before applying a small amount of washing up liquid directly to the stain. Leave it to work for 15 minutes then use a clean cloth to gently rub the liquid, in a circular motion from the outside in. Rinse the area with more water and allow it to dry.

    Step 3: Hand using a cloth to rub a lipstick stain
  4. Remove the stain with some peanut butter spread.

    More than just a versatile spread, peanut butter is a surprisingly effective way to remove lipstick from clothing. Start by spreading a small amount of peanut butter over the stained area, and leaving it for 30 minutes, or until dry. Rinse the stained area in warm water and washing up liquid, taking care to remove all the peanut butter.

    The stain should disappear, but if not then you can repeat the steps above as necessary.

  5. Work away the stain using shaving foam.

    The soapy formula of shaving cream makes for an excellent solvent for lipstick that’s super easy to use. Work a small dab of shaving foam into the stain, using a clean, damp cloth. Be careful not to scrub as this could push the stain further into the fabric fibres. Leave it to work for 30 minutes, before wiping it away with another clean, damp cloth.

    If shaving foam doesn't work, you can also follow these steps to attempt to remove the stain using glycerin as an alternative stain remover.

How to remove foundation from clothes

The steps for how to get rid of a foundation stain are easy enough to follow - all you need is a spoon, paper towel, liquid laundry detergent and a little elbow grease. Follow our four-step guide to how to remove foundation from clothes below.

  1. Remove excess product with a blunt knife or spoon.

    Liquid foundations will quickly absorb into the fibres of your clothing, so start by gently removing any excess product with a blunt knife or spoon.

    When using the knife, always use it moving away from your body to avoid injury.

  2. Blot the stain with a clean cloth.

    Gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel, using a lifting motion to sponge out the foundation without smearing it deeper into the fabric. 

  3. Pour laundry detergent onto the stain and work into the stain with fingers.

    Pour a small amount of laundry detergent onto the affected area and use your fingers to work the solution into the stain as a pre-treatment.

    When using any cleaning product, always read the instructions to check it is suitable for the fabric and test on a hidden area first.

  4. Wash in a washing machine and leave to air dry.

    Wash as normal and leave to air-dry. If the stain still hasn’t lifted, repeat the whole cleaning process again.

    Do not tumble dry until the stain has completely gone as placing a stained clothing item under the high heat of a dryer may set the stain more permanently.

How to remove makeup from clothes: mascara stains and more

It may not only be lipstick and foundation stains causing you a bit of bother. If you want to know how to get mascara out of clothes, or other types of make-up, read the simple steps below.

  1. Use washing-up liquid to remove mascara and eyeliner stains.

    If you want to know how to get mascara out of clothes - or even liquid eyeliner - head to the kitchen for your trusty washing-up liquid. Use one part washing-up liquid to two parts cool water and sponge with a clean, white cloth before blotting. Repeat until the stain disappears, before sponging with cool water and blotting again.

  2. Use laundry detergent to get eyeshadow, blusher, and powder out of clothes.

    Thankfully, powder stains should be a little easier to get out of clothes. Simply use a liquid laundry detergent without bleach on the mark before washing as normal.

    An alternative to laundry detergent, which can be just as effective, is a gentle make-up remover.

  3. Use a bar of soap to remove concealer stains from your clothing.

    The steps for how to get concealer out of clothes are simple once you know how. Start by wetting the concealer stain with water. Rub bar soap directly over the concealer stain until a thick layer of soap is covering the stain. Using your fingers, gently work the soap into the fabric until the stain disappears. Flush the area with hot water to remove any traces of bar soap.

    Don't be afraid to repeat the process with liquid dish soap if the clothes still look oily or greasy.

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So, there you go. With just a handful of simple steps we've been able to walk you through just how to remove make-up from clothes in the comfort of your own home. Now that the make-up stains are dealt with, why not check out our guides to help you with other troublesome stains such as how to remove hair dye stains or how to remove fake tan stains?

Frequently asked questions on how to remove makeup from clothes

What removes make-up from fabric?

If you want to know how to remove make-up stains from things like sofas or curtains, you’re in the right place. Start by scraping off any excess solid make-up with a knife. Next, dab a clean, damp cloth into some dry-cleaning solvent and gently apply to the stain. Don’t 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 trickier 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