Lipstick Stain Removal From Clothing

What to do about lipstick stains on clothes? That is what a reader recently asked me in Household Management 101's Ask A Question Section. Read her question:

I did a load of laundry. When I got it out I found a tube of lipstick had been left in someone's pocket. How do I GET THE SPOTS OUT? Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Taylor's answer:

Oh, I'm so sorry, Sharon. What a terrible laundry disaster you had!

You haven't told me whether you noticed the lipstick stains after you washed, or both washed and dried the clothing.

Right now, I'm assuming you noticed this after you washed everything in the washing machine, but not yet put in the dryer. If you have placed everything in the dryer it just makes it that much harder to get the stains out, so I hope you didn't accidentally dry everything too.

Below is my suggestions on lipstick stain removal:

Lipstick Stain Removal From Clothing - A How To Guide

  • Place the stained cloth face down on paper towels

  • Spray the stained area with a pre-treating stain remover, like Spray & Wash (you could also use dry-cleaning solvent, but I don't normally have that in my house, so I don't use it)

  • Some of the lipstick stain will come out from this spray dripping through the fabric, so remove the paper towels and replace with fresh as needed, but generally frequently so you don't spread the stain around from lipstick pigments on the paper towel

  • Rinse the stained cloth

  • Rub liquid detergent on the stained portion of the cloth gently

  • Wash the clothing

  • Before you place the clothing in the dryer look at the area where the stain was carefully. You may need to repeat this process 1-2 more times to fully get out the lipstick stain. If you dry it in the dryer before the stain is completely out it may set it and make the stain permanent

Note: If the lipstick stain is red lipstick, or other bright color, on a light or white piece of cloth it may never fully come out -- I know you don't want to hear that but it is the truth.

Also, remember to wipe out your washing machine before you wash another load of clothing, or you are likely to transfer more lipstick that is currently still on the inside of the washing machine onto more clothes.

After wiping the washing machine down you should also run an empty hot soapy load in it, before washing additional clothing in the machine.

Now -- what about you? Have you had this disaster happen to you before? What did you do? What worked, what didn't?

Also, does anyone have any tips for how to remember to check pockets before washing clothes to avoid these types of laundry disasters? I dread this issue myself, not so much with lipstick but with stray crayons in my kids' pockets.

Photo by Jessica Flavin

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What about when have an entire load to deal with?
by: Anonymous

This advice is great for just a couple of pieces of clothes but I don't have the time to do every ruined piece of clothing. It was an entire load and I need an easier tip to do.

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