How to Remove Lipstick Off of a Glass Window

Chris Deziel

That little pucker on the window may have scored romance points, but when cleanup time comes, you'll find lipstick sticks as well to glass as it does to lips. Lipstick products vary, but most are a combination of wax oils and pigments -- and none of these are water soluble. Never fear.

You usually can remove lipstick from glass with rubbing alcohol. Some other cleaners that may work include dish detergent, ammonia and hairspray.

Dab With Rubbing Alcohol

Your lipstick-cleaning solvent must emulsify the wax as well as dissolve the oils in lipstick or you'll end up simply smudging the stain around the window. Rubbing alcohol is a good candidate you probably already have. To use it, moisten a soft cloth or a cotton swab and dab the stain. In most cases, that's all you need to do --- the stain should disappear. Clean the spot with window cleaner to make the glass shine again.

Emulsify With Dish Detergent

If you have a dish-washing detergent formulated to cut grease, you can use it to remove lipstick from a window. The procedure is a little different than the one you use for alcohol. Dab a little soap on the stain and let it stay there for five or 10 minutes, then wipe it off. The detergent needs time to emulsify the oils. Finish off by washing with plain water then cleaning the window with window cleaner.

Hairspray and Ammonia

People often use hairspray or ammonia to remove lipstick stains from fabric, and there isn't any reason why it won't work on glass. Hairspray works because of its alcohol content, so use it like rubbing alcohol. Spray it on and dab it off with a cotton swab -- no need to give it time to work. You also can clean lipstick stains with ammonia. Remember to dab; if you wipe, you may spread a thin layer of wax and oil over a wider area that you can't see until you're standing some distance from the window.

Cleaning Up Lipstick Pranks

If you're the victim of a prank and you have to remove lipstick from a large area, do it with hairspray or preferably, a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. Spray the entire window and wipe it down with a soft cloth, then discard the cloth. Spray and wipe again with a fresh one. You may have to repeat this procedure a few times to get off all the color. When a thin layer of residue is all that's left, you might have more luck with dish detergent. Wash the window with window cleaner to finish up.