Quick Tips on How to Get Lipstick and Makeup Out of Clothes

Have you ever had the blue-collar red lipstick nightmare? We’ve all done it – gone to give a significant other a peck on the cheek (or a full-on hug) and missed and ended up with lipstick on their collar. Or you’ve pulled your favorite top over your head before you took your make-up off and ended up smearing it everywhere. 

Fear not! We’re here to help with the lowdown on how to get lipstick out of clothes without ruining your beloved rags. Read to the bottom for top tips on how to get lipstick out of clothes and handle other common make-up issues.

How to Get Lipstick Out of Clothes

How to Get Lipstick Out of Clothes

Knowing how to get lipstick out of clothes can be a huge relief, especially if it’s a favorite shirt that’s got your lip-prints all over it! A lipstick stain might not come straight off after the first wash, so here are some tips on removing lipstick from clothing permanently. First, always check that the item of clothing isn’t dry clean only, as it might be time to get a professional involved!

Always Treat It Fast

Lipstick is oily and full of high-quality pigments. Great news for eye-catching lips. Bad news for clean, white blouses. The longer you leave a lipstick stain, the higher chance it will become permanent. Never put a stained item of clothing in the dryer or near a heat source, as the stain will set forever.

Try Dish Soap

Why dish soap? It’s designed to break down grease and oils, so it helps lift the stain from the fabric without damaging the fabric itself.

  • Put your stained shirt on some paper towels so that the stain is touching the towels.
  • Put a little dish soap directly onto the back of the stain, undiluted, and leave for ten minutes.
  • Dab carefully at the stain with a damp cloth or sponge. If the stain starts to transfer onto the paper towel, carefully get a fresh one to replace it. Don’t smear dirty paper towels across the rest of your blouse!
  • This should remove enough of the stain that putting it through the laundry as normal does the trick. If not, repeat the process or try one of our other tips.

Try Rubbing Alcohol

If you have isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol in the house, try dabbing some all over your lipstick stains. Once the whole stain is blotted with alcohol, rinse the item thoroughly with cold water then wash as normal. Be aware; this may affect the color on some fabrics, so you might want to patch test first, if possible.

Try Hairspray

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol in the house, try hairspray. Hairspray also contains alcohol, so it can be just as effective to use to get rid of lipstick stains. Spray the area, leave for 10 to 15 minutes then rinse with cold water.

If you get stained while you’re out and about with none of these items to hand, try baby wipes or facial wipes to remove the worst of the stain. It could make a big difference later on.

Don’t use bleach or strong chemicals that may harm your clothes or change the color of the fabric.

Don’t use an iron or other heat treatment until the stain has fully gone as this could seal it in permanently.

Don’t scrub so hard that you tear or wear away the fabric or color.

How to Get Chapstick Out of Clothes

how to remove lip balm stains

Chapstick isn’t quite the same as lipstick, as it rarely has pigment. Still, you don’t want waxy Chapstick smears all over your clothes. Here’s how to get Chapstick out of fabric easily.

  1. Check clothes aren’t dry clean only.
  2. Scrape any residue with a spoon or the edge of a credit card. Avoid knives as you could damage the fabric.
  3. Use an enzyme-based detergent and dab the whole stain. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Wash as normal.
  5. Always ensure the stain is completely gone before placing items in the dryer. If not, repeat steps 1 to 4 again.

Other Common Make-up Mishaps

Removing Foundation Stains

Don’t rub at foundation stains as you’ll only make it worse. Lift the excess away with the edge of a credit card, then treat with undiluted detergent. Work the detergent in with a soft-bristled brush. Leave for 15 minutes, scrub lightly with a clean brush, and rinse in hot water. Wash as normal.

Removing Mascara Stains

Mascara is dark and very noticeable. Plus, high-end mascara is designed not to run when wet! So how do you clean mascara off clothes? Treat the stain with a heavy-duty stain remover, following the instructions on the package. Let it sit for fifteen minutes then wash on the hottest setting possible for that item of clothing. Always check the garment’s label for any warnings. Ensure stain is gone before putting the garment in the dryer.

Removing Eyeshadow From Clothes

Eyeshadow ranges from loose powder to thick cream, and it’s heavily pigmented, so it can leave a startling stain, even on dark fabrics. Shake or scrape off any excess, treat with a stain remover, and wash as normal. Repeat as necessary.

Now you have everything you need to keep your wardrobe make-up free  even if you are a professional makeup artist! Remember to remove your everyday make-up before you get changed and put it on after getting dressed for that big night out… or Zoom catch up!


Knowing how to get lipstick out of clothes can keep your favorite items of clothing looking fresh and new for years to come. Learn how to remove lipstick stain from fabric using alcohol, hairspray, and other common household items.

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