House Cleaning Tips > Stain Removal > Remove Lipstick Stains Proven Cleaning Tips




Proven Lipstick Stain Removal Methods

Red lipstick stain – no problem!

I love my lipstick, but finding lipstick on my clothes or in the dryer is not a good feeling at all.

Fire-engine red can cause some very serious damage if it goes through a wash and dry cycle in the pocket of your (or your teenager’s) jeans- and that's a real emergency in my book!

Now you can get rid of those hard-to-remove lipstick stains easily.

Don’t let lipstick stains ruin your clothing – use these techniques for lipstick stain removal and your clothing will look just as good as new.

Ready then? Let's get busy cleaning and remove those lipstick stains once and for all!

The Problem with Removing Lipstick Stains

Lipstick can contain dozens of ingredients, and they usually fall into a few basic categories:

  1. Oils
  2. Waxes
  3. Pigments

Even at a very high level, you have 3 very different types of stains that need very different types of cleaners.

Oils come out with degreasers, waxes come out with solvents and pigments that remain after using degreasers and solvents might require oxidizers to be completely removed.

One of the problems with lipstick stains is that the stain might not be noticed right away. That means the stain has time to set in, making it even more difficult to remove.

As with most stains, you should try to work on the lipstick stain as quickly as possible for the best results.

Home Remedies for Lipstick Stain Removal

Before you do anything, check the label of the affected garment to determine the fabric.

Since many shirts require special treatment such as dry clean, you may need to take the item directly to the professional.

However, if the lipstick stain is noticed once you get home, start by creating a plan of attack. Keep in mind that lipstick is an oil-based cosmetic.

Therefore, you want to use remedies that will combat the grease. First, we recommend you always use a pre-treater, which will definitely help.

The key when removing the stain is to work gently from the outer edge of the stain inward.

Stain Removal Steps

  1. Put the item, stain side down on a clean paper towel or something similar that you won't mind absorbing the red colored lipstick.
  2. Dab the pre-treater, degreaser or solvent (listed below) that you are using onto the back of the stained area.
  3. Use another paper towel and apply pressure to your garment which will force the cleaning solution (and the stain) into the paper towel beneath it.
  4. Replace the paper towel to keep it absorbing new traces of the lipstick the solution is removing and keep it from spreading to other areas.
  5. Rinse the garment and launder as usual when all traces of the stain have been removed.

Rubbing Alcohol

Start with alcohol, which works well. Do not rub, or you'll spread the mark. Simply take a clean, white cloth and moisten it with alcohol. Then, blot the lipstick stain, which will disappear.

Liquid Dishwashing Detergent

Another home remedy is to use a mild liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn ®, formulated to fight grease. For this method of lipstick stain removal, dab on a little Dawn, let it set for about 10 minutes, then gently begin working on the stain from the outside edges inward.

You could use laundry detergent, shampoo, or other similar type of cleanser as long as it does not contain any lighteners, brighteners, or bleach.


Another great home remedy for removing lipstick stains is ammonia. Just about everyone has ammonia at home for cleaning and if not, it can be found at any grocery store for just a few dollars.

Again, start by blotting off as much of the stain as you can, using plain water. When done, use a cotton swab moistened with ammonia to dab at the stain. Once the stain begins to fade, wash the shirt by hand in warm soapy water.


Finally, hairspray is an old trick used by women (and men) for years. As long as the fabric will permit it, spray right onto the stain, and then let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

In most cases, a clean cloth moistened with warm water is all you need to wipe the stain away. If your find this method of lipstick stain removal does not completely remove the stain, repeat and then wash by hand using Dawn ®.

Professional Stain Removers

These stain removers are solvents which are helpful in removing lipstick that detergents can't help with.

Motsenbocker's Lift Off

A product called Motsenbocker's Lift Off ® is petroleum-based (solvent) and works fast on lipstick and any oil-based stain such as paint, crayons, tar, candle wax, sap, chewing gum, bumper stickers, price tags, contact paper, and more.

Motsenbocker’s also works for fabric, tile, tools, plastic, vinyl, etc.


Another product for lipstick stain removal is called Xenit ®, (pronounced Zeenit). It works on lipstick as well as gum, decals, marker, ink, shoe scuffs, labels, and other grease-based things.

Xenit contains no soap or water, and uses an all-natural extract of citrus fruit breaking down the complex molecules found in difficult stains.

By using the tips provided in this article, you can wear lipstick and not worry about mishaps. If you get lipstick on something from a friend or significant other, just remember stains can be removed.

The truth is that lipstick is no more difficult to remove than any other kind of stain. All you need to do is treat the stain as quickly as possible using the tips provided.

Although you may need to work on cleaning the stain more than once, be persistent and the stain will come out.

Image courtesy of Michael Lekas, CC BY.

Connect with Mrs Clean!

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

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