How to Remove a Lipstick Stain From Clothing

All lipstick stains have one thing in common -- they are notoriously hard to remove. Whether it's the tell-tale evidence created by a lipstick smudge on a collar, or the results of accidentally washing a lipstick up in your pants or shirt pocket, removing lipstick stains from clothing is often a matter of attacking the stain as soon as you find it. Knowing how to remove a lipstick stain will improve your chances of success.

Remove Lipstick Stain from Clothing

Lipstick stains are so difficult to remove from clothing because they are, in essence, two stains in one: an oil stain, created by the waxy, emollient properties of lipstick, and a dye stain, created by the pigments used to give your lips color. Addressing both of these aspects of a lipstick stain will help you to remove the stain successfully on the first try.

Removing Lipstick Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothing

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Dry Cleaning Solvent
  • Dry, clean white cloths

Although you cannot wash a dry clean only item yourself, it's a good idea to get a head start on a lipstick stain on a dry clean only article of clothing before taking it to the cleaners to prevent stains from setting.

To remove a lipstick stain from a dry clean only garment:

  1. Check your garment's label for any instructions regarding spot-treatment. If the item is safe for spot-treating, proceed with the following steps.
  2. Lay the garment flat on a stable surface. Place a dry, clean white cloth underneath the stained area.
  3. Gently scrape off as much solid lipstick as possible with a butter knife or credit card.
  4. Soak a dry, clean white cloth in dry cleaning solvent.
  5. Dab the stain with the dry cleaning solvent until it becomes lighter or disappears, checking the underside of the stained area to make sure the stain is disappearing completely, and is not simply transferring to the underside of the fabric.
  6. Take the item to the dry cleaner for cleaning, taking care to point out the stain for further treatment.

Removing Lipstick Stains from Colored Washable Clothing

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • All-fabric (color-safe) bleach
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Dry, clean white cloths

Removing a lipstick stain from a colored washable item of clothing can be a challenge. Removing any dye stain, such as lipstick, from a garment that cannot be bleached using liquid chlorine bleach is often difficult. However, three crucial steps can help you to successfully remove these stains from colored clothing: one, act fast -- the sooner you treat the stain, the less time it has to set and become permanent. Two, use the right stain-fighting ingredients. Three, never expose a stained garment to heat, either in the dryer or by ironing, until the stain is completely removed, as heat sets stains, often for good.

To remove a lipstick stain from a washable colored garment:

  1. Check your garment's label for any instructions regarding spot-treatment. If the item is safe for spot-treating, proceed with the following steps.
  2. Lay the garment flat on a stable surface. Place a dry, clean white cloth underneath the stained area.
  3. Gently scrape off as much solid lipstick as possible with a butter knife or credit card.
  4. Soak a dry, clean white cloth in dry cleaning solvent.
  5. Dab the stain with the dry cleaning solvent until the oily residue disappears, checking the underside of the stained area to make sure the stain is disappearing completely, and is not simply transferring to the underside of the fabric.
  6. Rinse the garment in clear cold water.
  7. Rub the stain with liquid laundry detergent.
  8. Fill a sink, tub or washer with warm water. Add one cup of all-fabric bleach, and allow the powder to dissolve. Put the garment in the water/bleach solution.
  9. Allow the garment to soak several hours or overnight, checking the stain periodically.
  10. If the stain disappears in soaking, go ahead and wash as directed. If traces of the stain remain, repeat steps 7 through 10 until the stain is gone.

Removing Lipstick Stains from White Washable Clothing

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Liquid chlorine bleach
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Dry, clean white cloths

Removing lipstick stains from washable white clothing that can be soaked in liquid chlorine bleach is often much easier than removing similar stains from garments that cannot be bleached. However, you should still attack the stain as soon as you find it, in order to increase your chances of removing it completely.

To remove a lipstick stain from a white washable garment:

  1. Check your garment's label for any instructions regarding spot-treatment. If the item is safe for spot-treating, proceed with the following steps.
  2. Lay the garment flat on a stable surface. Place a dry, clean white cloth underneath the stained area.
  3. Gently scrape off as much solid lipstick as possible with a butter knife or credit card.
  4. Soak a dry, clean white cloth in dry cleaning solvent.
  5. Dab the stain with the dry cleaning solvent until the oily residue disappears, checking the underside of the stained area to make sure the stain is disappearing completely, and is not simply transferring to the underside of the fabric.
  6. Rinse the garment in clear cold water.
  7. Rub liquid laundry detergent on the stain.
  8. Fill a sink, tub or washer with warm water (at least one gallon of water is necessary). Add one- half a cup of liquid chlorine bleach, and agitate. Put the garment in the water/bleach solution.
  9. Allow the garment to soak several hours or overnight, checking the stain periodically.
  10. If the stain disappears in soaking, go ahead and wash as directed. If traces of the stain remain, repeat steps 7 through 10 until the stain is gone.

Those pesky lipstick stains do not have to be a permanent fixture on your clothing. Treat lipstick stains promptly, using the right stain-fighters, and your garments will thank you.