It’s Possible: How to Get Black Lipstick Out of a White Shirt

Overdo it while trying out the vampy look? Get a little too excited dressing up for Halloween? However it got there, that smudge of black lipstick on your crisp white top is a total horror. Especially since most lipsticks are made from wax, oil, and pigment – which means you’re actually dealing with three stains instead of one.

But with a little fast action, you can get that bright white back to its pretty, pristine self. (And, fret not: these tips apply regardless of what color lipstick we’re talking.)

How to Get Black Lipstick Out of a White Shirt

Before you do anything else, figure out what material your shirt is made from. Different fabrics require different care. Cotton and nylon can be handled a little more aggressively, while linen and silk will require special treatment. Then follow these steps:

  1. Pretreat. If the material can withstand it, apply a stain-removing agent, like a Resolve® Stain Stick®, directly to the smudge. (Generally speaking, if the embattled garment can go in the washing machine, it can handle a stain treatment.) Don’t have one on hand? Give petroleum jelly or rubbing alcohol a try. And remember: Always blot. Never wipe or rub.
  2. Presoak. Rinse the stain-treating agent away with warm water, then drop the top in a warm enzyme presoak to break up any remaining stain. Let it sit for an hour.
  3. Launder – quickly. The older the stain, the harder it is to remove. Follow your regular machine-wash routine, but don’t put the garment in the dryer until you’re sure the stain is gone.

Or seek professional help. If liquid stain treatments and machine washing are off limits, it’s time to drop in on your dry cleaner.

By Lindsay Lambert, Editor

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October 21, 2013