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How to remove lipstick stains from clothes, upholstery and carpet

Flaming red lipstick may be sexy on your lips but it’s anything but that when it gets on your favorite dress, lands on your carpet or is smudged on your couch. Lipstick is one bear of a stain, for sure, but if you follow the advice from our team of cleaning experts, you won’t be seeing red anymore.

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How to remove lipstick from your clothing

According to Robert Bell, co-owner of Texas-based THREADS dry cleaners, lipstick is one of the hardest stains to remove because of the wide variety of lipsticks and fabrics.

Step 1: Identify the fabric

If lipstick is on silk, wool or cashmere (or on a non-washable item), Bell advises sending it to a pro. “These textiles are organic and can be easily damaged by an untrained person.”

Step 2: For washable cotton or synthetics, lightly scrape off any excess lipstick.

Step 3: Work the stain.

Place the soiled area of the garment stain-side down on some paper towels. Apply a grease-removing dish detergent, like Dawn, to the back of the stain. Work the detergent into the stain from the back.

Turn the garment over and, using a wet toothbrush, lightly work the detergent into a lather, starting at the outer edges of the stain and moving toward the center. While the area is wet and soapy, wash the garment on the delicate cycle, using your regular detergent in the water temperature recommended on the care label.

If the stain persists, repeat the above process. Do not machine dry as long as the stain is present or you’ll set the stain.

If the stain persists, bring the garment to the dry cleaners.

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How to remove lipstick from upholstery

Jack White, vice president of technical services for Rainbow International, suggests removing any excess lipstick by lightly scraping it with a dull object, like a spoon.

Then, working from the outer edges of the stain and moving toward the center, apply a dry solvent to the stain, blotting with a white cotton towel. This may take multiple attempts but the dry solvent should do the trick. (Dry solvents are available at hardware stores as paint/oil/grease removers) Once the stain is removed, rinse by dabbing the area with a dampened cloth. Blot with a dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible. To speed up the drying process, use an electric fan.

Call a professional if the stain remains. Also, automatically take any silk, wool, antique and vintage upholstery to a professional before trying to clean it yourself.

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How to remove lipstick from carpet

Carpet cleaning expert Dean Carter recommends using a dry cleaning solvent to remove lipstick from carpet.

First, use a spoon to gently remove as much lipstick as possible.

Next, apply dry cleaning solvent to a white cotton towel, not directly to the carpet. “Follow package directions because this product can do damage to the backing if not used with care,” says Carter.

Using a clean, white cloth and a lifting, twisting motion, remove the stain from the carpet.

Repeat process until stain is gone.

Rinse solvent from the carpet by alternately dabbing the area with a wet sponge and a dry, white cotton towel. To remove remaining water, place a folded towel on the area and stand on it. Move to a fresh area of the towel as it gets wet. A wet/dry vac can also be used to quickly suction the water from the carpet.

If the stain remains, contact a professional carpet cleaning service.

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