lipstick stain on clothes

How to Remove Lipstick from Clothes

Lipstick is an oily, waxy, dye-filled product that comes in various colours and shades. It, undoubtedly, looks great on lips but it looks completely unsightly on clothes!

So, whether someone planted a smacker on you at a Christmas party, or your toddler tried to copy you but got lippy everywhere, you need to know how to remove it.

Removing lipstick isn’t actually too difficult, and you can use a lot of products you’ve got at home to treat the stain. The main problem is that you’ve got to have patience!

Just follow any of the methods below to remove the lipstick from your garments.

In some cases, you may need to repeat the treatment more than once, and you might have to try a few of the methods, especially if you’ve got a big, old stain.


Things to Know When Treating Lipstick Stains

tips when treating lipstick stains

Before you start treating your lipstick-stained item, consider these tips:

  • Act quickly! Fresh lipstick stains are much easier to remove than old dried ones.
  • Always read your item of clothing’s care tag before you treat it.
  • Scrape up excess lipstick before you start treating the stain itself.
  • Products that are made for removing greasy substances will work well on lipstick stains.
  • Test your chosen cleaning method out before you use it officially! Some cleaners might be too strong and will ruin the material you’re trying to clean.
  • No rubbing or scrubbing.
  • Don’t rush! If you take your time, you’ll find that the lipstick will come off easier. When you rush, more things will go wrong.
  • If you see ‘dry clean only’ written on your item of clothing’s tag, then this is how you treat it. It may be difficult to remove the lipstick stain with a dry-cleaning kit at home, so in this case, it would be better to take the garment to a dry cleaning shop.
  • Lay an old towel on the worksurface you’re going to use. This’ll protect it from potential damage that could be caused by the chemicals you use. You can then dispose of the towel when you’re done with it.
  • When cleaning the lipstick stain, hold the item of clothing in place with your spare hand/ large object, so it doesn’t shift around! If the item moves, the stain could spread too.
  • It may be better to take delicate materials straight to the dry cleaner to get the lipstick stain removed from them.


How to Remove Lipstick from Clothes

Option 1: Laundry detergent

remove lipstick stain with laundry detergent

Steps to follow:

  1. Lay your item out flat on a surface.
  2. Start to scrape any clumps of lipstick off the material. Use a teaspoon or plastic knife to do this.
  3. Add a dash of liquid laundry detergent to the stained area.
  4. Using a white cotton cloth, blot the detergent very carefully into the material.
  5. Turn the garment inside out and repeat Steps 3 and 4.
  6. Flush warm water through the back of the stain.
  7. Hold the garment under the water for several minutes, so you soak the stain through.
  8. Pop your item of clothing into the washing machine.
  9. Wash the item in warm water.
  10. Add a measure of detergent to the machine – try and use a strong detergent that contains enzymes to break down the greasy stain.
  11. Remove your item from the washing machine when it has been cleaned and check it over – you may need to repeat the steps above.
  12. Do not dry the item of clothing until the stain has gone – intense heat sets stains and makes them harder to remove.
  13. If the item is no longer tainted with lipstick, you can dry it on the line.


Option 2: Use a stain remover

remove lipstick stains with stain removers

If you plan on using an off-the-shelf stain remover to take out your lipstick stain, make sure you choose one that specialises in lifting greasy stains from clothes.

In particular, look out for stain removers that state they are designed to be used on lipstick marks!

Using the wrong type of stain remover may not do anything, or in the worst case, could ruin your item of clothing.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils Nature & Cosmetics can eradicate pesky lippy stains with ease. And it can also remove other cosmetic mishaps on clothes, like mascara and blusher. It’s a very simple to use product that is worth having at home, especially if you’re prone to getting make up on your outfits! (You might have to apply two treatments on some materials and for tougher cosmetic marks).
  • The Masters Kiss-Off Stain Remover does exactly what it says on the tube. The tube is quite small in comparison to other stain removers, but don’t be fooled by this. The small but mighty stain remover can take out greasy stains, including lipstick, with little effort. And it can also be used to remove oil paint, coffee and wine, from various different surfaces, including clothes and upholstery. The fact that the tube is small in size makes it the ideal product to have at home in case you have a mishap. It really won’t take up much room in the cupboard!

Note: Before you use any of the products listed above you must read their packaging and follow the instructions you are given by the manufacturer. If you don’t follow the advice, you could ruin your clothing.


Option 3: Rubbing alcohol or acetone

Steps to follow:

    1. Lay your item out flat on a surface.
    2. Scrape any clumps of lipstick off the material. Use a teaspoon to do this.
    3. Slip a few sheets of kitchen roll up behind the stain. This’ll prevent any liquid from going through the material and wetting the back of the garment.
    4. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol/acetone to a cotton ball.
    5. Blot the cotton ball very carefully over the lipstick patch.
    6. Continue to do this but use a new cotton ball each time, so you don’t reapply the lippy.
    7. Flush warm water through the back of the stain.
    8. Hold the garment under the water for several minutes.
    9. Pop your item of clothing into the washing machine.
    10. Wash the item in warm water.
    11. Add a measure of detergent to the machine. Try and use a strong detergent.
    12. Remove your item from the washing machine when it has been cleaned and check it over. Repeat the steps above, if you need to.
  1. Do not dry the item of clothing until the stain has gone. The heat from a dryer can make stains harder to remove.
  2. If the item is no longer smeared with lipstick, you can dry it.

Tip: You can use a white cotton cloth instead of cotton balls. Just remember to use a new patch of cloth each time you blot at the stain with rubbing alcohol/acetone.


Option 4: Washing up liquid

remove lipstick stains with washing up liquid

Steps to follow:

  1. Pop the item of clothing flat out on a sturdy surface.
  2. Scrape off lipstick residue with a teaspoon.
  3. Squirt warm water over the entire lipstick stain.
  4. Add a small blob or two of washing up liquid to the stain.
  5. Work the stain into the fabric by blotting it with a damp, white cotton cloth.
  6. Wait ten to fifteen minutes.
  7. Grab your stained item and flush warm water through the back of the stain.
  8. Launder the item as normal but use warm water.
  9. Don’t dry the garment until you’ve checked it over for lipstick traces.
  10. If there is still lipstick present, repeat the steps above.
  11. Line dry your garment when there are no lipstick stains on it.

Tip: A credit card can be used to scrape lipstick off clothes if you haven’t got a teaspoon at hand! Just remember to clean the card before you put it away.


Option 5: Peanut butter

Steps to follow:

  1. Lay your garment out on a flat surface.
  2. Scrape off excess lipstick from your garment using a teaspoon.
  3. Grab a jar of peanut butter, and spread some of it over the lipstick stain. Use a new teaspoon to do this.
  4. Wait about half an hour.
  5. Flush warm water through the stain.
  6. Continue to do this until all the peanut butter has been removed from the garment.
  7. Inspect the garment, and repeat the steps above, if need be.
  8. Wash your garment as usual and line dry it.


Option 6: Bleach

remove lipstick stain with bleach

Steps to follow:

  1. Remove as much lipstick as you can from the garment before you bleach it.
  2. Add a measure of oxygen bleach to a large tub (see packaging for instructions).
  3. Add the correct measure of water to the bucket, so you dilute the bleach correctly.
  4. Submerge the garment in the water.
  5. Wait seven to eight hours/overnight.
  6. Remove and inspect the garment.
  7. Repeat the steps above, if need be.
  8. Wash your garment as normal in the washing machine with detergent.

For white clothes only you can use chlorine bleach. Simply follow the advice on the packaging, so you add the right dose of chlorine bleach to fresh water.

Only leave your white garment in this mixture for thirty minutes. And wash the item of clothing afterwards.


Option 7: Dry cleaning

professional dry cleaning

If you’re worried about cleaning your item at home, or if the garment is extremely delicate or expensive, you should ask a dry cleaner for help. A quick online search will bring up dry cleaners in your area, and they should be able to help you with your lippy-related issue.


How Do You Remove Dried Lipstick?

If you accidentally dried your item of clothing and there was still some lipstick on it, don’t worry, you can still get rid of the lippy stain.

Simply spray the entire stained area with hairspray and leave the garment to rest on a flat surface. Wait about fifteen minutes.

Then go back and blot at the stain with a damp, white cloth. Once you’ve lifted the stain off, you can launder the item as normal.


Can Vinegar Remove Lipstick?

can vinegar remove lipstick

Yes, in some cases white vinegar can remove lipstick. However, it is better to use this method on fresh stains rather than old ones. And, of course, you should only use white vinegar to treat such a stain. So, refrain from using any other kind of vinegar in case it discolours your item even more so.

To use white vinegar to remove lipstick from clothes, just soak a cotton wool ball in the liquid and blot at the stain repeatedly. Then wait a few minutes, dab the surface clean with a fresh white cloth, and launder the item as usual.

In some cases, a salt and white vinegar paste can be put over a lipstick stain to get rid of it. Although it’s worth pointing out that this stain removal method does get mixed results. But if you fancy giving it a go follow these steps.

Mix some salt and white vinegar together until you get a paste, then spread this paste over the stain. You then need to wait fifteen minutes before you start to blot the area clean with a fresh, white cotton cloth.