How To Remove Lipstick From Clothes

Discovering a lipstick stain on your favourite piece of clothing can be frustrating. Whether it’s from changing your clothes after doing your makeup or an accident, lipstick stains are a common issue. Thankfully, they are quite easy to fix, as long as you use the right methods and products. 

To remove lipstick stains on your clothing, acting quickly and doing a spot treatment using products like laundry detergent or even washing up liquid before washing your garment can make all the difference

Let’s have a closer look into the effective techniques and we’ll leave you to decide which one works best for your stained clothes!

Removing Lipstick Stains The Right Way

Lipstick stains can be challenging to remove due to their ingredients. After all, they are a combination of various oils, waxes and pigments. This means that simply trying to wash them off with water will not work. 

To successfully remove these stains, it’s crucial to break down the oils and waxes, allowing the pigments to be washed away. 

Pre-Treatment Steps 

Before officially getting to the actual removal of the stain, here are the things you need to know to make the process easier:

  • Get Moving ASAP
    The sooner you address the stain, the easier it will be to remove. Allowing it to sit for a while just sets the oils further in the fabric, which means you’ll have to use more time to scrub it off. 
  • Check The Care Labels
    The little tag on the inner part of your clothes contains important information about how to clean, dry, and even store them properly. Before using strong products that may damage your clothing or a temperature that may shrink them, read and follow the label!
  • Scrape Off Excess Lipstick
    Gently scrape off any excess lipstick with a blunt knife or a spoon. Be careful not to spread the stain further.
  • Blot The Stain
    Using a clean, dry cloth or paper towel, blot the stain to remove as much lipstick as possible. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.

WARNING: Dry-clean-only items are best treated by professionals. You can attempt cleaning them by yourself, but make sure you are ready for the risks as it is very easy to damage delicate garments. 

Now that you’ve done the preliminary steps, let’s start cleaning your fabric up!

Using Laundry Detergent

Using laundry detergent directly on the lipstick stain can be highly effective, especially if the detergent is enzyme-based, as these enzymes can break down oils and waxes present in the lipstick. 

pouring liquid detergent on lipstick stain

Apply a small amount of the detergent onto the stain and gently rub it in with an old toothbrush or your fingers. 

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing as usual. This method works best for fresh stains and could be the first method to do as you’ll only need to use the laundry detergent you already have at your home. 

TIP: Air dry your garment once you’ve already removed the stain. Doing so will ensure that if there’s ever a residue, you’re not making the mark permanent and you can remove it by pre-treating or washing the fabric again. 

Using Shop-Bought Stain Removers

Want to deal with the stain and don’t mind using products that may contain strong chemicals? Then get a trusty stain remover from the shops!

Vanish Oxi Action Pre-Treat For Tough Stains, Fabric Stain Remover Spray, Effective On 100+ Stains, Chlorine Bleach Free Formula, Safe on Everyday Fabrics, 500 ml, Pack of 2
  • Makes it easy to pre-treat tough marks before they go into the wash
  • Our powerful formula lifts stains away, even those deep within the clothing fibres

Of course, since they are formulated to get rid of stubborn marks, you can choose from a variety of stain removers available on the market, specifically designed to tackle tough stains including lipstick. 

When choosing a stain remover, look for one that’s suitable for the fabric you’re dealing with and follow the instructions on the label carefully. These products often contain solvents that dissolve the lipstick, making it easier to wash away. 

TIP: Always spot test on a hidden area of the garment first to make sure that the product is colourfast.

Using Washing Up Liquid

Washing up liquid is not just for dishes; its grease-fighting properties make it ideal for removing oily lipstick stains from clothes. 

washing up liquid

Place the clothing on a flat surface. Apply a small amount of washing-up liquid directly to the stain and gently rub it in. 

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Repeat if necessary, and then launder as usual.

TIP: Using warm water can help remove stains faster. Just make sure that your fabric is hardy by reading its care label. 

Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural stain remover that can break down the pigments in lipstick. Not to mention, it’ll leave your clothes smelling fresh due to its disinfecting properties!

Mix one part white vinegar with two parts water and apply this solution to the stain. 

Let it soak for at least 30 minutes before blotting it with a clean cloth. You can also soak a cotton wool ball with the solution to blot the stain. 

After treating the stain, wash the garment according to the care label.

Using Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone

Rubbing alcohol, hand sanitiser, and acetone are effective solvents for removing lipstick stains.  However, they should be used cautiously as they can damage certain fabrics. 

hand sanitiser

Choose which liquid you want to use, then put the solution on a cotton ball or cloth and dab until the stain is removed. 

Wash the garment immediately to avoid fading its colour.

Using Lemon Juice and Bicarbonate Of Soda

For a natural approach, make a paste using lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda. Apply this paste directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. 

The acidic nature of lemon juice combined with the mild abrasive action of bicarbonate of soda can help lift the stain. Rinse off with cold water before washing as normal. 

Using Bleach

Bleach is a powerful stain remover, but it should be used with caution and only on white or very light-coloured fabrics to avoid discolouration. 


Dilute the bleach according to the instructions on the bottle and apply it to the stain for a brief period before thoroughly rinsing and laundering. Always wear protective gloves when handling bleach and work in a well-ventilated area.

Unconventional Methods

It does sound weird, but believe us – these products are just as effective as your laundry detergent when removing lipstick stains!

Using Shaving Cream

Shaving cream, especially the traditional foam type, can help remove lipstick stains. 

Apply the shaving cream to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before washing off with warm water.

The shaving cream can help break down the oils in the lipstick, making the stain easier to wash out.

Using Hairspray

Hairspray contains alcohol, which can help break down the lipstick stain. 

Spray a small amount of hairspray onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot with a clean cloth and then wash the garment as usual. 

Be sure to use an old-fashioned hairspray that contains alcohol, as newer formulations may not be as effective.

TIP: This method is best if the lipstick stain is old, as it will easily break down the oils. 

Using Peanut Butter

Peanut butter might seem like an unconventional choice, but its oily nature can help loosen the lipstick stain. This is possible as the oils in the peanut butter will help break down the lipstick, making it easier to lift off the fabric.

Spread a thin layer of creamy peanut butter on the stain and let it sit for an hour.  Wash the garment thoroughly after treatment to remove any residue.

Tips For Success

Removing lipstick stains from clothes requires quick action and the right approach. Whether you choose a conventional method like laundry detergent or an unconventional one like peanut butter, the key is to act quickly and follow the fabric care instructions closely.

Here are additional tips to keep your fabrics safe when removing stains:

  • After removing the stain, air dry your garment to ensure any residue can be addressed without setting it permanently.
  • Always test stain removal products on a hidden area of the garment to ensure colour fastness.

Do you have questions? Ask away!

SEE ALSO: Damaged Your Clothes When Removing Stains? Try this

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lipstick stains easy to remove?

Yes, lipstick stains are quite easy to remove as long as you act quickly and use the right methods and products. The effectiveness of removal techniques depends on addressing the stain promptly and applying the correct cleaning approach.

What removes lipstick from fabric?

To remove lipstick from fabric, you can use laundry detergent, washing up liquid, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol or acetone, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda, bleach (for white or very light-coloured fabrics), shaving cream, hairspray, or even peanut butter.

Can vinegar remove lipstick stains?

Yes, vinegar can remove lipstick stains. Mixing one part white vinegar with two parts water and applying this solution to the stain can break down the pigments in lipstick, making it easier to wash out.

Can toothpaste remove lipstick stains?

Toothpaste is not recommended for removing lipstick stains as it can set the stain and make it more difficult to remove.

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