Can you get lipstick out of washed clothes?

By: Alison Cooper  | 
lipstick kiss stain on shirt collar
As far as stains go, those made by lipstick can be tough to clean and almost impossible to hide.
Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

As far as stains go, the ones made by lipstick can be double whammies: They're oil-based and brightly colored, so they're tough to clean and almost impossible to hide. Even in the best-case scenario, when you see the stain immediately, and can work on it right then, it'll take a bit of elbow grease to make it disappear. But if you discover a lipstick stain on a shirt that's already been washed and dried -- well, things just became that much tougher. The heat from the dryer will have set the stain and made it even more stubborn. But don't worry: It might take a few tries, but you should be able to banish that stain!

Because lipstick stains are oily, you need to use cleaners that fight grease. But before you go out and buy a special stain remover, try some of these home remedies:


  • Pour some room-temperature rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and dab at the stain (don't rub!) for a minute or so.
  • Spritz strong-hold hairspray onto the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes, then dab with a cloth soaked in warm water.
  • Apply mineral spirits or acetone (nail-polish remover) to the stain and then scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse the area with isopropyl alcohol and blot dry.
  • Spray the stain with diluted dishwashing soap.
  • Use a cloth or old toothbrush to work some petroleum jelly into the stain.
  • Rub liquid glycerin into the stain and let it stand for 30 minutes or so.
  • Use an eyedropper to treat the stain with diluted ammonia, vinegar or oxygen bleach.

Make sure to thoroughly rinse the area after each attempt. You might have to repeat a step or try a couple of different remedies, but the stain should come out eventually. If all else fails, there's no shame in calling in the dry cleaner.


Lipstick Stain FAQ

How do you remove lipstick stains?
Take a clean damp cloth and blot out the stain from the clothing using a dabbing motion. Avoid rubbing the stain as this will only cause it to sink deeper into the fabric. Turn the item inside out on some paper towels with the stain side down. Apply a grease-removing detergent or cleaner and work the stain from the back. Turn the clothing item back over and agitate the stain until a lather works up. Then put it in the washing machine and launder it according to the garment’s directions. Repeat as necessary.
What gets lipstick out of clothes after it dries?
An acetone-based nail-polish remover or mineral spirits can be used to remove lipstick stains from fabric after they’ve dried.
Can lipstick stains be removed?
Yes. A lipstick stain can be removed by using a stain remover, though it may not be an easy stain to remove - especially if it’s a bright, pigmented color.
Can vinegar get out lipstick stains?
You can use a solution of dish soap and white vinegar to get rid of lipstick stains. The same solution can be applied to other fabrics such as carpets or upholstery.
How do you get lipstick stains off your face?
There are multiple ways to remove lipstick stains from your skin. One quick fix is using a toothbrush to gently scrape away the lipstick from your skin. You can also use lip balm, lip scrub, Vaseline or oil.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Martha Stewart. "Lipstick Stains." (April 10, 2012)
  • Real Simple. "Hairspray as a Lipstick Stain Remover." (April 10, 2012)