How to Remove Lipstick Stains

You'll be glad you learned this simple trick if you ever find a smudge of your favorite lip color on your clothes.

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Painting on a rich colored lipstick is an ingenuous way to round-out any look. While putting on a tinted pout is almost always a good idea, be sure to remember the golden rule of getting ready: clothes first, then lipstick. But if your favorite lip-smacking hue ends up on your collar, not to worry—you can easily remove the stain with this method from Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook.

The Removal Process

First, use a dull-edged knife to remove excess lipstick. Using an eyedropper, apply a dry solvent (such as mineral spirits or acetone) to the stain in a well-ventilated area before tapping with a soft-bristled brush. Apply isopropyl alcohol to flush the area and tamp. Repeat until all of the lipstick color is removed and let dry. Next, spray on diluted dishwashing-soap solution before finally treating the garment with an enzyme detergent prior to laundering. This method is only meant for washable items, so be sure to send any dry-clean only pieces out for their best chance at lipstick stain removal.

How to Make the Solution

The diluted dishwashing solution mentioned above is made with one tablespoon of fragrance-and-dye-free liquid soap—find one containing sodium laurel sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate—and 10 ounces of water. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle and spritz the affected area. Do not use the enzyme detergent mentioned above on protein fibers, such as silk, wool, cashmere, or angora. Always launder garments after using a dry solvent (such as mineral spirits or acetone), and do not use acetone on acetate.

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