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.
- Martha Stewart. "Lipstick Stains." (April 10, 2012) http://www.marthastewart.com/270277/lipstick-stains
- Real Simple. "Hairspray as a Lipstick Stain Remover." (April 10, 2012) http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/stain-removal/lipstick-stain-removal-00100000068375/index.html