How to remove lipstick stains from clothing

Lipstick has been a best friend to women for decades. They help express individuality and mood and are a perfect accent to any outfit. The best part is that they are compact enough and can accompany you everywhere.
Lipstick formula has changed throughout the years, however, to this day coloured lipsticks are made of oily or waxy components and dye. While they are a perfect touch to your makeup, the combination of grease and dyes makes dreadful stains.
Lucky for you, these stains can be removed with a strong laundry detergent and some patience. However, a cycle in the laundry machine will be required for the complete removal of all residue. Since the stains left behind by lipstick combine both grease and dyes, it is important that you do not throw the fabric in the dryer before completely removing any stain residue. The heat from the drying cycle will set the stain and make it permanent.

If you run out of detergent, various common household items such as hand dishwashing soap, rubbing alcohol, hairspray, and white vinegar can be used as substitutes.

A few important things to remember before attempting to clean a lipstick stain on your own. Even though the urge to rub it as soon as you see it may be strong – do not. Rubbing the greasy product will push it deeper into the fibres of your fabric and cause it to set and become hard to remove. The best thing to do is scrape off all solids, then press a paper towel on top of the stain and absorb as much of the product as possible.
Even though you should never put a stained garment in the dryer because the stain may become permanent, hot water should be used, especially for oily or waxy stains. It will liquify the grease and make it easier to remove.

Follow these steps to achieve the best results possible when cleaning a lipstick stain

  1. If there are any solids, pull them away with the edge of a spoon, dull knife, or credit card. Because almost all lipsticks contain an oil or wax blend to assist their application onto the lips, the first step is to remove any globs of oil or wax residue.
  2. Begin by pretreating the stain with a solvent-based stain remover, such as Zout or Shout. If you don’t have a solvent-based pre-treater on hand, dab a dollop of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Tide and Persil have enough enzymes to break apart the oil) on the stain and gently rub it in with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Allow at least 15 minutes for the stain remover to operate.
  3. Wash the clothing in the hottest water suitable for the fabric, following the care label instructions. Examine the stained area after cleaning. If the stain persists, repeat the treatment.
    If the stain has been removed, you can dry it in the dryer. The high heat of the dryer, especially for synthetic textiles, can make removing the stain extremely difficult.
  4. To eliminate any leftover dye component, combine an oxygen-based bleach solution with cool water. Follow the package instructions for how much product to use per gallon of water.
  5. Submerge the soiled object in water for at least eight hours. If the dye spots are gone, check the items and wash them as usual. If they persist, make a new batch of oxygen bleach solution, soak for another eight hours, and then wash according to the care label instructions.

Chlorine bleach can be used on white cotton clothes, but oxygen bleach is safe for any white, coloured, or print materials. In addition, goods only need to soak in diluted chlorine bleach for 30 to 45 minutes.

Here is how to use common household ingredients when cleaning lipstick stains

  • Acetone or rubbing alcohol – Moisten a clean white cloth with rubbing alcohol, wipe the lipstick stain with alcohol, and rinse with water. Launder as usual.
  • Hairspray – Before putting hairspray on fabrics, try it in an inconspicuous spot. Allow the hairspray to remain on the lipstick stain for 15 minutes. To remove the hairspray and lipstick, soak a clean cloth in warm water and use it to wipe the area clean. Wash the garment as usual.
  • White distilled vinegar can be used to remove lipstick stains from clothing. Gently dab vinegar onto the afflicted area with a cotton ball. Wash the garment as usual.

Additional tips:

  • If you already put the garment in the dryer and the stain has set and become permanent, do not panic. Before throwing the piece of clothing away, apply a drop of dishwashing liquid detergent to the stain and gently rub it in with your fingers. Add some hot water (the hottest your hands can tolerate). You can use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the stain. Work the cleaning solution into the fabric, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wash it as usual.
  • If the stain does not come out on the first try, repeat the steps. Alternatively, you can soak the item in diluted oxygen or chlorine bleach (white fabrics only) if the stain is stubborn.
  • Using a dull knife or scraper edge, lift lipstick solids away from the surface of your dry-clean-only garment. Do not rub. Only use a clean white paper towel to dab the discoloration. Go to the dry cleaners as soon as possible and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.